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Please share your advice on how to record professional / studio quality bass


PatrickJ

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I approach source for bass in the same way I would anything else, what does the player need to hear to perform well, and what do I need to capture to have the materials for the mix later?

 

If your sound needs distortion and compression to get you the vibe and drive you need to play well, then that's the sound you record, but I ALWAYS take a DI directly from the bass onto a separate track so that I have a sound to work with in the mix if the players original tone doesn't work out (which it doesn't occasionally)

 

I run my bass direct into a RND Shelford channel, EQ and compress lightly to taste, you don't need something of that expense, a decent DI box with a link output is fine, but I really like the sound of my basses through that unit. Then I use the link output to run the unaltered bass sound into an HX Stomp where a set of models and FX turns it into an ungodly noise, this gets tracked onto a second DAW track.

 

The mixed bass sound is very often a combination of both tracks, with processing added to the DI sound.

 

The advantage of this is that I get the nasty distorted and compressed sound I need to actually play with the aggression and vibe I need for the song, AND I get the clean sound that can save/make a mix.

 

YMMV but the sound we make is very often the vibe and performance maker, track with that sound.

Edited by WinterMute
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5 hours ago, Velarian said:

Just so that I understand correctly, are you saying it’s best to record the bass dry straight from a DI signal and then apply any treatment afterwards, including EQ?

 

Also, what about compression, record with or without?

 

(Just for reference, my previous recording experience goes back to the early 80s using 8 or 16 track analogue equipment and physical outboard gear etc., so some of the concepts that I understand may no longer apply In this new world of DAWs, VSTS an amp/cab sims etc.)

 

When I'm recording at home, someone else's home or studios generally, the process really isn't that much different.  The more recent stuff I've been doing involves me basically plugging into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 , the bigger studio I've used recently (at Miloco, but now relocated to Canning Town) just utilises a bigger Scarlett (18i20), so effectively the same.

 

I will try to record two streams at one time by routing a signal into two channels and assign these to their own virtual track; so, one clean/dry and the other effected (either a Tech21 dUg or GED-2112DI) - as I said earlier, my live tone is generally quite gnarly, so I want to hear that while I record.  Engineers however prefer a clean bass that they can effect later.  I'll shoot these to different channels which gives the engineer the facility to either go with the dry recording or effected.  Or both.  Or just use the dry track and apply a VST* to it in post.  I would never expect my bass work to just pass through without any work being done to it, so I would expect it to be EQ'd, comped etc.  I would not record with any compression. 

 

*VSTs (as you asked).  Just on the subject of these, most of the guys I know use the TSE BOD plug-in for bass.  It's a very close approximation of the Sansamp BDDI and it's free.  The Canning Town studio uses the Ampeg Suite VST (or maybe its predecessor Ampeg SVX), so with that you can take the dry signal and emulate different cabs/heads/microphones/effects.  Interestingly, the old SVX VST used to allow you to simulate various mics, distance from the cabs, size of room. 

 

 

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The only thing to watch for when tracking with plug-in based tech is the latency, that delay induced by the amount of processing the plug-in has to do to make the sound, the more powerful the plug-in, generally the longer the latency for real-time work.

 

Universal Audio get round it by adding DSP to their hardware and running the plug-ins there rather than in the computer. 

 

Most systems have a work around in their monitoring, but you'll have to figure it out.

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You have many options. There is no rule. You can get an nice clean sound recording bass through DI which captures the bass' s character. Once you have the track you have endless options to process it. If you want to capture your amp and cab character the place a mic or two in front of the speaker, I would usually have a mic just off the centre of the speaker anywhere from almost touching to up two 3 feet away. Another option is to have one signal to Interface and second from  mic, you then mix the two. It's about imagination b, genre....Horses for courses. I prefer microphone technique , but  have used VST for convenience. 

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On 24/12/2021 at 16:06, NancyJohnson said:

The Canning Town studio uses the Ampeg Suite VST (or maybe its predecessor Ampeg SVX), so with that you can take the dry signal and emulate different cabs/heads/microphones/effects.  Interestingly, the old SVX VST used to allow you to simulate various mics, distance from the cabs, size of room. 

I'm assuming this is the Amplitube SVX add in which is occasionally available for free but sadly not at this time.  My recordings are far from professional quality but I have had good results with my bass recorded dry straight into the interface and then through Amplitube with either the SVX or Fender add on - currently I'm favouring the Fender add in for bass and it comes with the added bonus of some useable guitar amps at well below the cost of the bass only SVX add in.  The Fender add in is Euro 39 against the SDVX which is Euro 99.

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59 minutes ago, Nicko said:

I'm assuming this is the Amplitube SVX add in which is occasionally available for free but sadly not at this time.  My recordings are far from professional quality but I have had good results with my bass recorded dry straight into the interface and then through Amplitube with either the SVX or Fender add on - currently I'm favouring the Fender add in for bass and it comes with the added bonus of some useable guitar amps at well below the cost of the bass only SVX add in.  The Fender add in is Euro 39 against the SDVX which is Euro 99.

 

The BOD plugin is free and works great.  

 

The only thing I would point out is that we trouble ourselves so much with 'getting the tone', but by and large once everything is mixed, the nuances we strive to achieve in isolation, just get lost in the final mix (that is, of course unless you have passages where the bass is just playing on it's own).

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Just now, NancyJohnson said:

 

The BOD plugin is free and works great.  

 

The only thing I would point out is that we trouble ourselves so much with 'getting the tone', but by and large once everything is mixed, the nuances we strive to achieve in isolation, just get lost in the final mix (that is, of course unless you have passages where the bass is just playing on it's own).

 

Any mix engineer worth their salt will be able to extract and present that tone in the mix I think, but it often depends on the producer (or lack of) as a lot of production doesn't leave enough room sonically for the bass tone and it often gets relegated to simply filling the LF in.

 

If Rush can get Geddy's tone to cut through their massive mixes, there's no excuse...! ;)

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Reverb make some great wee vids (I’m basically trying to master home recording using a budget of zero and YouTube) 

 

Watched this one yesterday a c now looking at what my best set up option is for my bass. 
 

Looks like I need a decent DI a new interface (mine is terrible) . 
 

Enjoy

 

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Start with a good sound, then you will record a good sound. Kinda rule of thumb I suppose. I wouldn't focus too highly on plugins. Cubase has plenty tbh. But one plugin I use on bass and kick is Waves R-bass, look at Warren Hart hi outube on recording bass. They helped me. 

Db

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1 hour ago, whave said:

 

What was the problem with the BDI21?

 

It sounded less good than plugging in direct. I should mention that I have modded mine to take out some of the baked-in mid-scoop, which made it slightly less bad (to my ears).

 

I know a lot of people love the BDI21 but I don't.

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You'll see many different approaches to recording just about everything, including bass guitar, on YouTube. Many channels suggest suggest plugging direct into your interface. I have done this and got reasonable results. As long as your strings are in good fettle. (controversial, but I do change my strings regularly) 

It is accepted that many more modern audio interfaces are good enough for the task, and deliver great results. 

I have no experience of the BD121. 

I do now use my Line 6 pod go with just a little compression before it hits my interface. I like the results with all my bass guitars, plus I can also record DI track at the same time with that. 

Do check out Warren Huart on YouTube. Great channel. 

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