Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Pasha
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Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by Pasha » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:41 am

I need your help on a very interesting topic, at least for me..
I have a Bass Guitar with active pickups and PreAmp and a Parametric EQ.
The switch has two positions, EQ active or Full Range (I suspect the Full Range simply bypasses
EQ). I have experience in sound shaping having played live for as much as 20 years.
I have learned from very good professionals how to mix a Band playing live, how to create
that sound.. However, when Recording in Ableton I experience a problem.
I want to give to my recording the 'playing live' sensation so I shape my Bass sound before
recording it by using the PreAmp with Active EQ. Later when mixing, the Bass is drowning in the mix
and it's actually booming around 125Hz. Conversely if I record using the Full Range position
the 'Bass in a mud' problem goes away. Usually I would say, record full and adjust EQ later on the Track
rather than shape your sound but that is against what I saw happening in studios and in live situations
along my Band life. What's the verdict of you Professionals out there? What do you think should be done?
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Live 9 Suite,Zebra 2.6,Guitar, Bass, VG99, JV1010 and some controllers
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Sepp Ultura
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by Sepp Ultura » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:57 am

I'm not a professional. But I usually record bass with a proper amp and decent miks without any compression and EQs. Then I apply EQ and compression and whatnot in the DAW. I also use a lot of multiband compression. Hope that gives you some ideas..
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3dot...
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by 3dot... » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:33 pm

if it's resonanting more at certain freqs..bad eq..
or it's a room problem (standing wave)..in case you use mics
in this case try and move the amp/mics around..
or alternatively use a DI..
Last edited by 3dot... on Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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3dot...
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by 3dot... » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:37 pm

also..if using a preamp.. you need to make sure 'gain staging' is right..
an electric guitar needs a hi-impedance input..(line instrument level)..
if it's not available..use a DI to convert it to Mic level..
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JayNiko
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by JayNiko » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:10 pm

I use Korg Pandora PX5D (as audio interface) for my bass recording (Fender AV Jazz or Nordy VJ5), for the rest I switch to NI Komplete Audio 6. Pandora is actually pretty good device for amp/cab modeling if you find proper combinations of 'em.

Pasha
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by Pasha » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:18 pm

3dot... wrote:also..if using a preamp.. you need to make sure 'gain staging' is right..
an electric guitar needs a hi-impedance input..(line instrument level)..
if it's not available..use a DI to convert it to Mic level..
I do not use anything else except Bass connected to Mixer to Audio Card.
So the Mixer takes the Hi-z Bass input and the Audio Card takes the Line output
as input. The thing here is should I use or not the PreAmp EQ I have got
embedded in my Bass?
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3dot...
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by 3dot... » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:35 pm

oh... so the eq is on the guitar itself..
it all falls into place..
the "active eq" button..
is turning on the the active eq-circuitry in the bass..
(typically a "loudness tone booster" )
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Samaritan Sound
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by Samaritan Sound » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:59 pm

If you're cranking the bass on the onboard EQ, in most cases that is overkill. On my active basses (even live) I rarely need to adjust more than a quarter turn or so in either direction. Make your final EQ adjustments while mixing.

simmerdown
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by simmerdown » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:58 pm

good thread...watching it, learning...jus t been playing a few years and have never been totally satisfied with my recorded sound...

schecter omen 5 string thru xenyx minimixer...sometimes i have mic'd my amp...sometimes i just plug direct to the soundcard...pretty good result, but im still searching for that dubby sound for reggae and dub music

anyway, not a whole lot to contribute...gonna try working with the multiband compression today, any guidance greatly greatly...

anyone who who like to discuss/list a good Live native effect chain for bass that would be awesome..
Last edited by simmerdown on Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stringtapper
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by stringtapper » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:42 pm

I found I finally nailed the recorded bass tone I've wanted once I started using a DI (I use the passive Radial). Where the EQ comes in depends on what you're trying to do. On my Roscoe (active) I have to dial it in if I want to get the same kind of tone I get from the bridge pickup on/neck pickup off setting on my Jazz (the "Jaco setting" essentially). So for a sound like that there's inherently some shaping going on before the signal hits the DI. This is going to be more important if I'm playing something where I'm changing the tone throughout a performance. If I'm playing something that's a static line and needs to sound uniform then I might shape the tone some with effects, but always trying to get the best sound out of the instrument itself with minimal need of work after the fact.

It's also easy to forget how much of the tone is in the fingers themselves (assuming you're a finger player). Adjusting where you're playing along the string (close to the bridge for faster staccato, up near the fretboard for more legato playing) and what part of your fingers you're playing with (tips for more pronounced attack, soft part of the finger for softer attack and more "bloom") can give you lots of control over the tone and maybe save you some time and CPU that you might spend using effects to dial in a sound.
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Nilus
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by Nilus » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:23 pm

What preamp are you using? There is a good chance your line level (impedance) is off if the preamp was not designed for DI. Basically you end up losing the crucial harmonics (timbre) of your instrument. strigtapper mentioned a similar experience. Also avoid EQing your recorded bass in any way; you immediately dissolve the harmonics again. Try to get everything else to sit around your recorded bass sound. Obviously use light compression side-chained with your kick to get that punching through - this helps one stay away from EQ on the bass as well. Ultimately I have had best results by micing a cab and DIing simultaneously, then blending these channels. Hope these ideas help some and good luck.

Ah forgot to mention, if your kick and bass are hitting the same frequency (meaning your kick is tuned to the scale, etc.) you may want to detune one slightly to get them to sit together better. This tends to create a fuller sound. Anyways… have fun with it.
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masterblasterofdisaster
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by masterblasterofdisaster » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:20 pm

What kind of bass do you have and what is the brand of the electronics in it, Pasha?

Just curious. I've never come across a bass that has a active/passive switch described as active/Full Range.

I've been using the Mark Bass amp and cabinet simulator plugin. While I have issues with some of the interface, it's been useful for quickly getting good tones.
I think GK makes a plugin as well. Anyway, this is assuming everything else is working ideally, of course. ;) Like some others have suggested, I would check for an impedance mismatch which can dramatically thin out your tone. Also, don't discount the possibility that your bass preamp is fried, or that it needs a fresh battery (yes, I've forgotten more than I care to admit. ahaha.).

Muzik 4 Machines
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by Muzik 4 Machines » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:40 pm

i always try to get as many sources as possible, so when recording bass i DI and mic the amp(and if there is a DI out on the amp that is post preamp, i'd tap that too)

i used to record my guitar on like 5 tracks(DI before stomps, DI after stomps, amp line out, and 2 mics) just so i had possibilities in mixing

hacktheplanet
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by hacktheplanet » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:55 pm

Here's my rig:
Schecter Stiletto (w/ active EQ) or a Fender P
Ampeg SVT-AV
2x10"
1x15"

I usually go straight into the amp, no pedals. Crank the gain, low at 12:00, mid at 3:00, high at 9:00.
On the basses, I usually keep the tone pretty neutral.
1 SM57 a few inches away from the edge of the 10", and another a few inches away from the 15".
I also run another line direct just in case, but usually don't use it unless there's a freq that's missing in the mics.

That's for a loud punk/rock sound in my band. For my solo edm stuff I like to make it not so grungy, and boost the low just to add depth to synth bass.

I've tried just going direct and using amp sims, but it's always missing that... edge... that a mic'ed SVT has! :D
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3dot...
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Re: Let's discuss Recording Techniques for Bass Guitar.

Post by 3dot... » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:30 pm

+1 for proper gain staging ...(DI)
..recording many sources..
in case you don't have solid dynamics in your playing.
you cou can easily clip the input by playing a rough note (bad) distortion
in this case I'd suggest a compressor..
(most bass amps havem built in anyways...)
about the eq....whatever sounds good to ya..
I agree that getting it in range beforehand will work out better..
(than offline processing)
...if only because it puts you in the right mood!
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