Recording Bass getting a good sound

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barrydbarryd Frets: 4
Hi All

I recently thanks to the fantastic help on this forum bought my first Bass guitar.  I play lead and acoustic normally so its all new to me learning Bass.  I mainly just do home recording for fun and needed a proper bass sound rather than use an effect on my guitar pedal with a Les Paul type guitar.

However I am struggling to get the right sound.  Its fine through a bass amp but I record via the PC through either my M Audio interface or my Zoom G3 Guitar pedal.  Now clearly the latter is designed for a six string guitar not a bass.  I did a recording last night and just added a bit of reverb but it sounds a bit thin.  Someone described it as sounding like it was being played through six inch speakers.

Has anyone put a bass through a guitar pedal?  What sort of effects and stuff should I be looking to use to get that really meaty low end sound?

Its just a cheap peavy Millennium Bass nothing fancy
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6899
    What program are you using to record? There might be an effect plugin already included for bass sounds
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 14427
    It can work well DI into the interface with no pedal depending on the pickups you have.. but I find the best results if not DI is using a preamp/DI pedal designed for bass. 

    At the cheap end of the scale, I have the Hotone B:Station and it's flipping good for the cash - lots of stuff to tweak and a good EQ to get it right.
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    Thanks.  I am using Audacity to record.  I know I Can mess about with equalisers etc in there I just was hoping to get some good sounds through the pedal.  I havent really messed about too much with it just through the M Audio interface with no effects so will try that again.  I just lined it up through the G3 just now with an equaliser and a bit of reverb and its ok but not great.  Clearly all the amp modules on the G3 are guitar amps "Marshall 59" etc.  I wonder if there is one that might pass as a bass amp.

    I dont have a clue what Im doing you know. Its just trial and error.  :#
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1372
    Try a Bassman and maybe some compression
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 512
    Behringer BDI is great and easy on the pocket. Or the GDI will so do guitar and bass.
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2733
    Simplest solution is to buy a Bass Sansamp
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 14427
    Simplest solution is to buy a Bass Sansamp
    Quite spendy tho. Agreed it's a good solution. 
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  • wrinkleygitwrinkleygit Frets: 57
    if you can find one the old korg Pandora px4d is a really useful piece of kit for guitar & bass
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    Thanks folks.  More money!!! FFS!  =)  The Bass purchase last week was almost the Divorce courts so anything else and ill be out on the street.  :#  ITs ok though.  I couldnt sneak the bass in the house but I could easily get one of those little pedals past her. 

    Any road up.  Ive had a couple of hours fart about.  I dont think it helps that my PC monitors are a not that beefy.  Good sound but it all sounds much better through my other PC which has a 2:1 with a Sub under the desk.  However I did several tests and the results were interesting.  

    Just through the M Audio with no effects its a bit dull, a bit quiet and not very bassey.  Through the G3 with effects but no amp it sounds better but not very deep.  Well it is a lead guitar pedal.

    However when I bought my bass second hand it came with a 15w Fender Rumble Bass Amp (well it was pretty much thrown in) so I plugged into that, put the phones outlet into the G3 and added reverb, maybe chorus and a bit of equaliser and there was that sound I Was after.  However there is a lot of hiss that way which of course I can remove in Audacity and it sounded ok but worra fart about.

    One of these pedals presumably will do what the bass amp is doing then?

     
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31575
    edited June 14
    (Edit - found a pic of the back. No Line Out jack.)

    Try connecting the headphone out to the audio interface directly, not via the G3. That should produce much less hiss. If you then want reverb etc, add that at the computer.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 14427
    barryd said:
    Thanks folks.  More money!!! FFS!  =)  The Bass purchase last week was almost the Divorce courts so anything else and ill be out on the street.  :#  ITs ok though.  I couldnt sneak the bass in the house but I could easily get one of those little pedals past her. 

    Any road up.  Ive had a couple of hours fart about.  I dont think it helps that my PC monitors are a not that beefy.  Good sound but it all sounds much better through my other PC which has a 2:1 with a Sub under the desk.  However I did several tests and the results were interesting.  

    Just through the M Audio with no effects its a bit dull, a bit quiet and not very bassey.  Through the G3 with effects but no amp it sounds better but not very deep.  Well it is a lead guitar pedal.

    However when I bought my bass second hand it came with a 15w Fender Rumble Bass Amp (well it was pretty much thrown in) so I plugged into that, put the phones outlet into the G3 and added reverb, maybe chorus and a bit of equaliser and there was that sound I Was after.  However there is a lot of hiss that way which of course I can remove in Audacity and it sounded ok but worra fart about.

    One of these pedals presumably will do what the bass amp is doing then?

     
    Exactly that - and in a controlled, tweakable way with no background hum/hiss.

    TBH it would actually sound much better than the amp and will be more adjustable.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1372
    My Zoom B3 would do that and you're already familiar with that kind of format from the G3 ;)
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 820
    Can recommend the EDEN wtdi. Has a balanced output for hum free injection to your interface. Pre-amp, compressor, tone controls etc... sounds like a proper bass amp on recordings. 
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3123
    edited June 14
    barryd said:
    I dont think it helps that my PC monitors are a not that beefy.  Good sound but it all sounds much better through my other PC which has a 2:1 with a Sub under the desk.  However I did several tests and the results were interesting.  
    Computer 2:1 loudspeaker arrays with a sub-woofer are designed for gamers. To get a dramatic sound from such small drivers, the low frequencies are boosted to a ridiculous degree.

    In plain English, computer-oriented 2:1 'speakers are not suitable for critical monitoring of music content.
    barryd said:
    added reverb
    Why?

    Reverb rarely enhances bass guitar very much. More often than not, it makes the lower frequencies indistinct.

    One solution is to divide the bass guitar signal and only apply reverb processing to the high frequencies. Another is to apply a short delay with modulation. (Instant Jaco Pastorius.)

    On the Zoom G3, try to find a clean DI preset as a starting point. Compression or limiting will help with recorded level control. Equalisation at the correct frequencies will improve the definition of your bass sound. 

    barryd said:
    It's just a cheap Peavey Millennium Bass.
    All of my comments assume that the basic sound of the Peavey bass guitar is to your liking. It is possible that your computer is making extremely faithful recordings of a duff instrument.

    barryd said:
    More money!!!  
    Indeed. In your position, I would begin with fresh strings and a decent set-up for the bass.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    barryd said:
    Thanks folks.  More money!!! FFS!  =)  The Bass purchase last week was almost the Divorce courts so anything else and ill be out on the street.  :#  ITs ok though.  I couldnt sneak the bass in the house but I could easily get one of those little pedals past her. 

    Any road up.  Ive had a couple of hours fart about.  I dont think it helps that my PC monitors are a not that beefy.  Good sound but it all sounds much better through my other PC which has a 2:1 with a Sub under the desk.  However I did several tests and the results were interesting.  

    Just through the M Audio with no effects its a bit dull, a bit quiet and not very bassey.  Through the G3 with effects but no amp it sounds better but not very deep.  Well it is a lead guitar pedal.

    However when I bought my bass second hand it came with a 15w Fender Rumble Bass Amp (well it was pretty much thrown in) so I plugged into that, put the phones outlet into the G3 and added reverb, maybe chorus and a bit of equaliser and there was that sound I Was after.  However there is a lot of hiss that way which of course I can remove in Audacity and it sounded ok but worra fart about.

    One of these pedals presumably will do what the bass amp is doing then?

     
    Exactly that - and in a controlled, tweakable way with no background hum/hiss.

    TBH it would actually sound much better than the amp and will be more adjustable.
    Thanks. That sounds like the way to go.  One of those Behringer BDI boxes that Pintspiller recommended sounds cheap enough and looks pretty easy to mess about with.  Im watching one on Ebay at the moment although they are only £35 delivered new.  Clearly the Peavy Bass I bought has passive pickups so this will act as a pre amp as well as give me more tone control etc yes?

    What else do I need?  Oh yeah, to be able to play the ferkin thing


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 14427
    A preamp/DI will certainly give you EQ control and allow for some boost which you won't get on a passive bass's tone controls.

    I use a preamp/DI live and for recording and I think they are indispensable for a flexible bass tone
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 820
    wot @Funkfingers said.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 781
    edited June 14
    Bass Guitar > Interface DI > Helix Native (or similar amp VST)
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 14427
    Freebird said:
    Bass Guitar > Interface DI > Helix Native
    £ > £££ > ££

    compared to the OPs bass...!
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 820
    ...although, OP already has a bass and an interface and guitar rig player is free with a couple of bass pre-sets. Shit speakers are shit speakers though no matter how you look at it.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 14427
    blobb said:
    ...although, OP already has a bass and an interface and guitar rig player is free with a couple of bass pre-sets. Shit speakers are shit speakers though no matter how you look at it.
    That’s quite true..
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3508
    Bass is pretty much the easiest instrument to record, which is good news.

    Unlike guitar, the sound coming down the jack cable is pretty much fine, which means that the tone really does come down to the sound of the bass, and the way you play it. Plugged into a decent D.I. input with a suitable input impedance and enough headroom, you'll capture the sound of the instrument. Anything beyond that comes down to taste.

    When I'm working with a DI recording, I'll usually EQ it similarly to what an amp would do - broadly speaking, roll a low pass filter around anywhere from 3-6k depending on what you hear, tidy up some swimmy, tubby midrange around 300 hz and find a little meat down below 150 to boost a couple of DBs. Then compress it to even things out. Again, it just comes down to taste. Slow attack, release slow for rolling basslines and faster for more aggressive stabby playing. 3-5dB at 3:1 ratio is a good starting point.

    From there, it should basically sound like a bassline and you can move on. Often, a bit of saturation or overdrive can help once other things start going on the track that obscure the midrange of the bass (counterintuitively, bass is still a midrange instrument - how it sits alongside vocals and guitars etc totally defines it.) How you overdrive things is totally down to what you have at your disposal - there's a million ways to do it!
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    edited June 15
    Wow thanks!  A lot of that especially the last bit Cirrus has wooshed over my head.  However I get the impression I am thinking with my lead guitar head on. I told you I didnt know what I Was doing.  Useful info FunkFingers (I missed your post) about the speakers and using reverb etc.  Ill scratch using the 2:1s, I dont normally use them anyway, they are on a different PC.

    I think I have a copy of Guitar Rig somewhere, never used it though.

    Just to re-iterate though what I do is record in Audacity.  I just want to get the best sound possible for recording purposes.  Its only for home stuff and messing about on youtube for my mates to laugh at although Ive written 18 songs in the past year or so. Most of them complete shit of course but I am starting to take it more seriously.

    Cirrus.  I understand some of what your saying but its all a bit technical. Most of the stuff you talk about such as low pass filters frequencies etc I have seen in Audacity but not really sure what they do or how to work with them.

    I think I am getting closer to achieve the sound I want though.  It was much better when I put it through the amp so maybe that little Pre amp box might just do the trick.

    I am very interested in finding out more about frequencies and filters though as I have found my trial and error stuff clashes.  I dont play with backing tracks much anymore so might put down a track with Vocals, acoustic guitar, lead and Rhythm guitar and Bass now and the other day even a keyboard (although I really cant play that) and sometimes it sounds like a big muddy mess.  Ive just worked it out by using the equaliser in Audacity to knock off the lower end or boost mid range on an instrument etc but its complete guess work and trial and error.  It seems like a black art. Who Knew?     All good fun though. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31575
    barryd said:

    It was much better when I put it through the amp so maybe that little Pre amp box might just do the trick.
    Have you tried just connecting the amp to the audio interface?

    The amp is effectively a preamp if you're not using the speaker.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 820
    Go download Reaper.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 812

    Reaper is great but not everybody gets on with it. Download the 30 day trial of Magix Samplitude ProX 3. If you DO get on with it you can get the free Samplitude Pro X Silver. Limited to 8 tracks but can run plugins etc.

    BTW, Son informs me "they" have just bought a Jazz Bass. Anything dad needs to be prepared for?

    Dave.

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  • blobbblobb Frets: 820
    ecc83 said:

    BTW, Son informs me "they" have just bought a Jazz Bass. Anything dad needs to be prepared for?

    laid back attitude to life? Black polo neck jumpers? Pointy beards? It's all downhill from now on ......
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 512
    Our first demo was done on 16 track and the engineer had me go via DI into the desk. It sounded shit and lifeless. It was what he'd always done.

    Our second demo was in the same place with a different engineer. I convinced him to let me use an amp (my AOR30) and a line-out from that went I to the DI into the desk. It sounds so much better.
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    ICBM said:
    barryd said:

    It was much better when I put it through the amp so maybe that little Pre amp box might just do the trick.
    Have you tried just connecting the amp to the audio interface?

    The amp is effectively a preamp if you're not using the speaker.
    Yes, thats what I tried a few posts back and it got the right sound.  The only issue is there is a lot of hiss going through the amp into the M Audio interface or into the G3 pedal (the G3 is also a USB Interface).  I can live with that though as I Can just remove the hiss.

    As regards Reaper, I have heard about it and it sounds great but to be honest ive spent a couple of years getting my head around Audacity and for what Im doing for now its ok.  I do actually have Cubase LE on this laptop which I Got with the M Audio interface but ive not played with it yet.

    Im pretty technical to be honest as I work (Well I am semi retired) in IT but its the last thing I want to fart about with when it comes to music as its all about having fun, drinking and making a din.  :#
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3508
    Our first demo was done on 16 track and the engineer had me go via DI into the desk. It sounded shit and lifeless. It was what he'd always done.

    Our second demo was in the same place with a different engineer. I convinced him to let me use an amp (my AOR30) and a line-out from that went I to the DI into the desk. It sounds so much better.
    The trick when you record DI is that you go on to make it sound good, which I guess is the trick no matter how you're going about it. Sounds like your first guy forgot that bit.

    Despite my advocating DI as a fair option, my favourite bass sound = Ampeg SVT into an Ampeg 1x15 cab for rock, hard rock, anything short of metal or funk where the speed of a 4x10 is preferable. The 1x15 slows down those transients, thickens up the sound... love it.

    But you need to have the ability to play bass through a loud amp, a room that isn't lumpy in the bass end and a good mic to pick it all up.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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