Recording Bass getting a good sound

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3365
    barryd said:
    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.
    The dual J style pickups in the Peavey bass guitar should be constructed such that, when both of them are at full volume, the majority of hum and radio frequency interference is cancelled. 

    The next test is just the cable into the input of your chosen interface box(es). Expect a steady hum. Generous helpings of hiss suggest either lashings of gain and compression raising the noise floor or shite cables.

    Cirrus said:
    The trick when you record DI is that you go on to make it sound good ... Sounds like your first guy forgot that bit.
    Sounds as if the first engineer literally plugged the bass guitar into the mixing console but applied no outboard compression. In the digital recording age, there is no tape saturation or head bump contributing to the overall dynamics.


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33229
    barryd said:
    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.
    The dual J style pickups in the Peavey bass guitar should be constructed such that, when both of them are at full volume, the majority of hum and radio frequency interference is cancelled. 

    The next test is just the cable into the input of your chosen interface box(es). Expect a steady hum. Generous helpings of hiss suggest either lashings of gain and compression raising the noise floor or shite cables.
    It could simply be that the amp is hissy - since it doesn't have a tweeter, that will be naturally rolled off when going through its own speaker so you won't hear it, but if the headphone output is not speaker-emulated then the hiss will come out through that. So you either need to apply speaker emulation in the recording software or just cut off the high treble.

    A partial solution may be to run the amp louder than you would normally - assuming it doesn't distort or overload the audio interface - since that should increase the signal to noise ratio. It won't do any harm to the amp.
    "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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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    edited June 17
    Cheap cables for sure Im afraid. Im just cheap aint I?  o

    Not played around that much with the pickup volume controls to be honest.  I cant really figure out which is the best setting for them but thats worth a bit more exploration.  I have to have the Amp volume pretty low when playing through either interface otherwise it blows it right into the red even with the gain right down if using the M Audio Interface.  The G3 is not as easy to control anyway.

    I think its ok though.  I was messing about last night and trying to come up with a track that was Bass dominated and it sounds alright.  Well to me it does. I ended up making it into a song and recorded it.  I dunno if I Dare post the results on here though,  
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3365
    The signal from the amplifier Line Out or Headphone socket will be at line level. The Instrument input on your M Audio box will be expecting an instrument level signal. Thus, there is definitely a signal level mismatch and, possibly, one gain stage too many.

    The signal level mismatch can be corrected either by using the Signal Pad attenuation in the M Audio box or by feeding the signal between the amp and interface on a 1/4" jack to Phono (or XLR) cable.



    On the Zoom G3, it may help to make a few edits in the Global Settings menus.
    • Lower the Recording Level parameter.
    • Reset the Connected Equipment output to Direct. 
    • If those fail, the Master Level is the last resort. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    Thanks Funkfingers.  Actually I might have a 1/4" to XLR cable I could try.  Ill have a look and try that first.  Its not too bad really as I Can remove the hiss in Audacity to some extent. Its good enough for the crap I record I suppose. 
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    Ive bought one of those Behringer V-tone Bass Pre-amps off ebay. £16.  If its any good I guess I Can dump the Fender Rumble as I wont ever use it I guess.  Its a cracking little amp though.  Could be useful if I ever play a gig in a Hobbit house I suppose. Will report back on my findings.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 352
    Cirrus said:
    Bass is pretty much the easiest instrument to record, which is good news.

    The bass is nearly always the most problematic instrument on the sessions I get sent to mix. I think that's partly because very few people can actually play it really well, and there is only so much you can do with compression and EQ to even out a badly played bass line. But it's also because people often don't have a clear idea in mind of what they want the bass to sound like, or how it's going to fit in with the rest of the instruments. Either they DI in haste and you end up with a thin buzzy sound that needs loads of work, or they record an incredibly subby speaker with a D112 and produce nothing but 50Hz sludge.


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3365
    Stuckfast said:
    people often don't have a clear idea in mind of what they want the bass to sound like
    Very often, the bassist in a group only has the one instrument. The (entirely reasonable, if simplistic) expectation is that it will sound like what it is. i.e. Precision, Jazz, 'Ray, RIC, thing with humbuckers and active EQ. 

    Stuckfast said:
    how it's going to fit in with the rest of the instruments.
    Here, I entirely agree with you. "It's just da bass, innit?"
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3551
    Stuckfast said:
    Cirrus said:
    Bass is pretty much the easiest instrument to record, which is good news.

    The bass is nearly always the most problematic instrument on the sessions I get sent to mix. I think that's partly because very few people can actually play it really well, and there is only so much you can do with compression and EQ to even out a badly played bass line. But it's also because people often don't have a clear idea in mind of what they want the bass to sound like, or how it's going to fit in with the rest of the instruments. Either they DI in haste and you end up with a thin buzzy sound that needs loads of work, or they record an incredibly subby speaker with a D112 and produce nothing but 50Hz sludge.


    Eh, fair enough. I can't imagine those kinds of people, who upon being presented with an open goal totally and immediately fuck up, doing a much better job of recording a drum kit...
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 352
    Well, a lot of people aren't recording drum kits, they're finding new ways to make programmed ones sound strange... but at least if you are presented with a terrible drum kit recording you can replace the kick and snare with samples.
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3551
    Why don't you just replay or program the bass then?


    (I'm only yankin' yer chain!)
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    edited June 21
    The Behringer V-tone Bass Pre-amp arrived today.  As suggested there is no noise through it into either my M Audio interface or through the G3 Zoom.  I Think I prefer the zoom as I can add effects such as an equaliser or a compressor (Although Im not sure what to do with the compressor).  Of course all I have done is twiddle knobs so far with no real idea of what they do.  Unfortunately none of my 9v mains adaptors seem to want to power it so its either batteries or finding the right adaptor.  No biggie.

    Interesting points that Stuckfast makes about recording the Bass.  I clearly cant play it very well for starters as Ive only had it two weeks and Im under no illusions that being able to play the guitar the Bass will be an easy transition but I have discovered that getting the right sound down so it mixes well and doesn't sound like a sludgy mess is not that easy.  Are there any really good tips for this that dont require a degree in sound engineering?  I have started to realise through trial and error that its best to have everything on different frequencies so they dont clash as much. Roll off the bass on vocals, a low end bass and a higher frequency guitar.  The more simplistic stuff seems easier to get right.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3365
    Lead/rhythm guitar and bass guitar are two different head spaces.

    If, for the sake of argument, you listen to Dance The Night Away by The Mavericks, the element to which dancers should will shake their asses is the bass line. If whatever you play on bass makes you want to dance, you are doing something right.

    On a bass guitar with two Jazz Bass type single coil pickups and volume/volume/tone controls, try starting with the bridge pickup and tone fully up. As you bring up the volume for the neck pickup to almost maximum, you should detect a slightly notch filtered honkiness. With the controls set this way, it should be possible to extract a wide variety of sonic variety just by where you pick along the strings.

    If everything you try sounds almost identical (i.e. dull and lacking sustain), the strings probably need changing. If the intonation seems suspect at almost every fret, the strings need changing. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 561
    When you mix music the bass can often disappear into the guitar. There are probably things you can do to separate them via EQ, but what I tend to do is use stereo - by moving items to 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock they won't merge.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3365
    When you mix music the bass can often disappear into the guitar. There are probably things you can do to separate them.
    Alternatively, make a feature of this phenomenon.

    One of the things that I love about a Rickenbacker 4001 is that I can land the one in the low register then do something fancy in the horn register. THINK: Chris Squire, Paul McCartney, early Roger Waters or Geddy Lee.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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