Getting Good Bass Sounds?

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Getting Good Bass Sounds?

Post by A-Barr » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:47 am

Howdy all,

Just curious what you guys and gals are using to capture this critical, yet elusive part of the recording process.

I'll share my method, nothin' too special:

Squier Jazz Bass into Boss CS3 into the DI on my Grace 101. I know the Squier and CS3 aren't the most highly-regarded pieces but they sure get the job done. The di on bass turned out to be my main use for the 101, it has a great clean and deep low-end response. I mainly aim for that smooth, toned down McCartney sound, wouldn't say I'm in that league but I am fairly happy with the sounds I've been getting.

What do you use? Please share!

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Post by joel hamilton » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:59 am

As always,
it depends on the project, player, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc...

The things I do find work all the time for me though are a mic and a DI. Sometimes both, sometimes one or the other.

I use an avalon u5 99.9% of the time, and I either use a FET47, a Blue MOUSE, or a neumann BCM705 these days on a bass cabinet. I have used all the "usual" suspects, like the RE20 and all that stuff, but I never liked the lack of mid definition.

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Post by vvv » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:54 am

As I only record in my bedio, I only go DI (which somehow does not apply to the Marshalls I occasionally crank up, but those are with guitar :roll: ), an ART TPS2 into a dbx163X for cleaner tones, and I substitute a Hafler T2 for the ART to get dirty.
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Post by A-Barr » Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:43 am

Believe it or not, I got a pretty cool upright bass kind of sound just using a ribbon mic pointed somewhere near the higher frets on the neck of my bass, no amp or di. This didn't work at all with condensor mics but the ribbon was down wit it.

Interesting to see theBCM705 getting good studio time, I always wondered about that mic,

My experience amping has been hit or miss, sometimes you get a huge overdriven SVT sound in the room and it comes out in the mix small and buzzy, but I guess that's where good engineering comes in. Even when it works, it's hard for me to capture the really deep thick stuff without a DI, funny how the exact opposite tends to be true on guitar.

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Post by WillMorgan » Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:54 am

I loved the tape op ( ? not more than a year and a half ago ) letters answers to how to get great bass sounds where Jack Endino says rip the grill off of the bass cabinet so you can get the microphone just as close as possible to the speaker cone and then in the next letter Steve Fisk said take your mic way back, like fifteen feet or something to give the sound space to develop.

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Post by dsw » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:34 pm

New Bass strings.
Avalon U5.
Audix SCX25 about a foot away from Ampeg B12 (60's).
Mix well.

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bass sound

Post by Freakmagnet451 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:39 pm

I use one of three basses - a Musima made in East Germany that looks like a Hofner Senator and has great old German flat wound strings on it, or a Larrivee solid body bass with EMG pickups and Rotosound Nylon Wrap strings or this sick P-bass monster that I built a neck for with a solid brass fretboard. The last one has the four low strings from a 5 string roundwound set on it. Usually I go DI with an HHB Radius 40 that has upgraded tubes. Sometimes I mic the Musima also. On the HHB, I compress a bit and EQ out some midrange depending. I'm happy with it.
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Post by Mane1234 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:02 pm

If I'm recording something for me it's usually the bass run through a Meek channel strip just for the pre and then into an Amek 9098 comp or an LA 4...The last project I did I miced an Ampeg with an Audix D6 and ran that into a Presonus Digimax and then went into the Amek compressor at about 2:1 with a moderate attack and quick release. Sometimes I use this little Fender practice bass amp that works pretty well. I would like to start trying some different micing styles like close up or far away. Ribbon or LDC...
Of course I've had it in the ear before.....

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Post by A-Barr » Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:11 pm

A-Barr wrote: My experience amping has been hit or miss, sometimes you get a huge overdriven SVT sound in the room and it comes out in the mix small and buzzy, but I guess that's where good engineering comes in.
:oops: I just discovered that one of the two main preamps I use on guitar and bass cabs seems to be broken and makes everything sound very tinny, distorted and quiet. Sucks that it needs some work but at least I know I'm not losin' it!

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Post by The Real MC » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:18 am

Nothing else matters unless you have a good bass guitar. I happened to be browsing one of my regular stops with no plans to buy anything until I picked up this Fender MIM Jazz Bass that was just alive. The wood components were just right and the thing had a real nice resonance to it (you could FEEL the notes resonating through the neck and body). That Jazz bass has this mid range bark that translates well in a song, not harsh or overbearing at all.

Strings make a difference. I experimented with several brands and settled on DRs. Most strings go dead in less than a month, the DRs not only had a long life but they sound great.

Then there's the preamp. I found a used Ampeg SVP-Pro preamp in a store. I'm partial to tubes and this box uses tube circuits not just for the front end but for the EQ as well. Very warm sounding, and quite flexible. It also includes an overdrive stage using a low gain 12AU7 for mild overdrive, not the overkill distortion normally associated with guitar amps. The real nice feature is you can dial in the threshold at which the overdrive kicks in, which happens to work very well for picking and slap-n-pop because the overdrive adds harmonics on those transients and helps the track fit in the mix. It also includes a DI that can be pre or post EQ.

I haven't even changed anything on the MIM Jazz yet - totally stock. Everybody that plays it loves how it sounds and feels.

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Post by T-rex » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:50 pm

Recently, I have been getting some really great bass sounds by plugging whatever bass into my Apogee mini-me DI and using a little Vintage Warmer on the track during mixdown. Start with the semi driven tape setting and tweak to taste.

I also mic occasionally, use a sans amp etc. but the apogee/vintage warmer has given me the most consistently good sounds of anything I have tried so far.
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Post by these_go211 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:17 pm

"well, it's one louder, isn't it...."

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Post by kayagum » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:30 pm

Jerry Jones bass --> SansAmp Original --> Aphex 107 (for the Big Bottom)
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Post by mikeyc » Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:47 am

For DI: MIM Jazz into a Joemeek VC1Q.

As far as mic'ing goes, I took a note from an old Geoff Emerick interview for the McCartney bass sound-- Doesn't matter what amp or what bass, but a dead room with a figure 8 mic a few feet away from the amp. It works really well for me-- even using a MIM Jazz and a middle of the road Crate bass amp through a Studio Projects B3. The Jazz Bass works really well if you're after the Band on the Run McCartney sound.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:47 am

i've been extremely happy with the results i'm getting just using the D.I. on my Hamptone tube preamp with a little bit of "over-easy" compression through my DBX 160x. sits so well in the mix. great tone. i'm planning on grabbing a sansamp soon. i've used the bass driver a lot and love it.

if i'm micing a cab, so far the best sounds i've gotten were using an sm7b, or AT4040.

for amps, my new favorite is the Ampeg V4-B. so awesome.

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