DI Bass - Tones and Plugins?

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permanent hearing damage
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Post by permanent hearing damage » Mon May 28, 2012 8:03 am

lots of good points on here, but to add a couple:

1) distortion is your friend. in a dense mix, you can get away with a lot on bass

2) there was a tape op interview way, way back with dan rathburn where he talked about running bass through a cross-over around 500 Hz and compressing both signals separately. that technique saved some really miserable bass rigs over the years for me. when i switched to recording and mixing ITB, it didn't translate quite as well, but i still frequently mult the bass signal, high pass the one around 500 Hz and add it back in to taste to add clarity

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Post by roygbiv » Mon May 28, 2012 6:30 pm

here's a couple more tips (I started as a bass player back before Jimmy Carter started building homes):

1. try boiling your strings for 10-20 min in a big pan, then wipe them down with some rubbing alchohol and let them dry overnight. Can really bring round-wounds back to life. Not for very long mind you, they'll go dead again within a week or so, but this could let you know if the problem is your strings. By the way, take them off the bass before you try this.

2. Along with the pick tips, check how you are picking. A good way to get a tight bass sound is to rest the heel of your hand on the bridge, heavy metal gutiar-chugging style, and mute the note soon after each pick thrust. hard to describe, but this approach can help you get a tight bass sound that doesn't ring out too long, before you figure out how to do the same with your fingers/thumb.

3. I know you are broke, but if you can afford it, get a SansAmp bass DI thingy, they can be found used for ~ $125. With one of those you should be able to dial in that crunchy, bright tight sound. Don't blame your Peavey bass, they actually make pretty good ones - I've been playing a Peavey Foundation bass since the Mid-80's.

Good luck! I'm just an amateur, but I find bass still surprisingly hard to get recorded properly, so don't feel bad if you are struggling.
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Post by Rolsen » Tue May 29, 2012 7:13 pm

I typically use the same method when I record my bassplayer and when I record myself:

Record direct with Sansamp Bass Driver (or, straight to your preamp)
Apply a software compressor, like a 1176, liberal compression amount, medium attack, fast release
Distortion of some sort, even light applications (or better yet, IK Multimedia's Ampeg software amp modeller if you can swing it)
EQ bump around 900 hz
EQ roll off below 80 hz

Just as importantly, cut guitar eq wherever you bump up bass eq, and do similar symbiotic eq cuts/boosts to kick drum and other instruments. Bass guitar is really tricky for me, but compression and distortion are key.

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