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Bass Recording Tips from the community

While I was preparing the recent Bass Guitar Recording article I inquired on Twitter about tips for recording bass. Look what happened

@ikmultimedia: Ampeg SVX!
@MarcusSt0ne: Making sure the player is consistent and doesn’t peak random notes.

@jacobgemmell: record a cab and DI two seperate tracks, and when it gets to editing make sure that beast is on beat.
also doubling up with a synth bass can be cool wide

@djdanlib: Yeah, use compression on finger bass, and don’t kill the high frequencies – there is important audio up there

@bobbyjonesmusic: 700HZ is magic for bass recording.

@RecordingBlogs: My very limitted experience with bass on the cheap – – although you sound a lot more professional šŸ™‚

@pakit0_Q: Low threshold plus a 4:1 ratio plus high output equals a pretty tight bass

@MrTonyDraper: P-bass into Ampeg! Split into two amps, one clean, one distorted. U47 and U67 both really nice, not too close.

@timgosden: make sure they only play one note at a time with tight note starts AND endings. šŸ™‚

@seankalaras: if using DI and amp, calculate and adjust for the delay between the signals. About 1ms per foot off the speaker is usually ok.

@817audio: I once used this configuration on a 10′ speaker. Provided a super punchy sound. #D2 #SM57

@lucesdaniel: you could emphasize the difference of amp versus plain DI, many people go the easy way then struggle to fit a DI in the mix.

@recordinghacks: bass guitar: steve albini uses one of these: (not sure that’s useful information though!)

@sonicvalentine: I like to take a DI and smash the ever loving shit out of it… in mix just bring it in slightly.
An alesis micro limiter is surprisingly good for this. Sounds best plugged directly into it. I run it out of the tuner bypas
hire steve mackey
clean di… dirty amp… also… have a sock ready to use to mute some strings
one more. I no longer own autotune… and bass is the only thing that makes me regret selling it.

@kentsheehey: tune while playing the note your tracking. Always tune with the tone nob down

@TechOttawa: New strings and battery you cheap S.O.B.’S

@BenPeilow: using a DI and a large diaphragm dynamic up close. I’ll use a SM58a beta about 12 inches away for some added grit.

@Duane_BAMF: we used a combination of a beta52, sm57, and a direct line!
used an ampeg svt head, ampeg 8×10 & a hartke 4×10 with a Warwick 5 string

@CreateMusicPro: Don’t accidentally leave the HPF engaged on the mic. I did that today and was wondering why the sound lacked low end. #fail

@kimlajoiestudio: I love recording bass through my @moogmusicinc FreqBox! Such a lovely range of soft dulcet tones. Good for ballads.

@snapascrew: Parallel comp, using a dirty and a clean DI
and auto tune the bass track if doing hip hop

@bradadevine: avalon u5 and sansamp running two channels all you need to know

@theaudiogeek: miking the back of my bass amp is pretty cool!
@ObiWonder: Really? Don’t you lose transients clarity?
@rileyibell: for boomin’ low end.. sounds good on guitar amps as well.
@StreetMeatMsngr: Never tried that! Have you tried laying a mic on the floor and lowering the bass cab on top of it, grill cloth down?
@theaudiogeek: I have not, my downstairs neighbors might not appreciate!
@StreetMeatMsngr: Ha yeah probably not. Just try it and tell them an airplane flew very very low. Stoked to read the article though!

<<sub plot>>
Jason Miller and Ben Strano went off on their own tangent about EQ. I enjoyed it and thought it was worth saving.

@JasonMiller0607: I do. But I’m in a session now. Tweet you later.
@sonicvalentine : he’s just gonna say hire Steve Mackey.

@JasonMiller0607: Ok. Bass tracking. Hire Steve Mackey. After that, the trick is shit tons of EQ + even order harmonics
I add 8-12 dB of low end (depending on the bass) and then another 10-16dB of 1k(ish) to add clarity
Seems like a lot, but it’s really not. Use a comp with even harmonics in the mix (makes it sound deeper)

@sonicvalentine: it sounded odd to me at first until I realized I do the moves that large… only it is subtracting everything else.

@JasonMiller0607: Yes… but it does VERY different things than subtraction does.
I prefer doing that with a 1081 (model). It adds some character that does amazing things to the bottom.
I used to subtract on bass… and I could never get an AMAZING sound. This method rocks every time.

@sonicvalentine: ok… ya… well… I guess I hope to get an AMAZING bass sound one day.

@JasonMiller0607: I’m sure your subtractive bass tones are amazing. Try the uber-additive thing. You might love it.

@sonicvalentine: it’s all the same unless you’re using a modeling plug…

@JasonMiller0607: You may be right… but I think it STILL affects phase differently when you subtract instead of boost.

@sonicvalentine: you know we are both running tests on this tomorrow
@JasonMiller0607: I’m doing a test tonight.
@sonicvalentine: dork
@JasonMiller0607: It will not have the same results with just “any” EQ. Needs to be one known for being “bootylicious”
@sonicvalentine: +/- sucess would all depend on the q… I’m a fan of eq’s that aren’t trying to replicate hardwr… where it’s all up to me
@JasonMiller0607: I don’t think there is any way to get the same sound with just subtracting. I think it affects the phase differently.
@sonicvalentine: we will always disagree on this one then.
@sonicvalentine: On modeling plug ins it absolutely might… on linear phase stuff and eqs that aren’t based on models… never
@JasonMiller0607: I’m not speaking of linear phase. Most EQ’s are not linear phase. Unless they say linear phase…
@sonicvalentine: ya the linear phase should have never been brought into this debate… who brought that up?!!!
@sonicvalentine: are you using the waves 1081? I’ll try it…. my money is still on motu mweq and psp vintage warmer.
@JasonMiller0607: Yes, Waves 1081 is my fav!!
@sonicvalentine: so what I’m getting at is… with a 1081 plug boosting would sound different/better… I don’t use that though… so I sub
@JasonMiller0607: I won’t do the test with the 1081. I’ll use others. I’m thinking add +5dB of something to white noise, then subtracting
If I add 5dB of something, then subtract 5dB of the same… it should result in the original sound, no?
@sonicvalentine: that’s my theory
@JasonMiller0607: Just did it using the standard Waves “Q1”. Nulled perfectly. Now going to try the 1081…
@sonicvalentine: I WIN!!! Don’t care about the 1081… ok… I’m curious. I hope it doesn’t.
@JasonMiller0607 :Results: Very different with the 1081. But those have different “Q’s” between +/-
I think it also has to do with distortion characteristics… which have also been modeled into the 1081.
@sonicvalentine: plus it says neve on it… if it’s a true repro it will never sound the same way twice
@JasonMiller0607: Ha!
@sonicvalentine: exactly!! have we been agreeing this whole time?
@JasonMiller0607: Not sure. All I’m saying is that using copious amounts of “1081” EQ on bass will result in a fucking awesome sound.
@sonicvalentine: but your original notion of + over – is specific to a plug in that you didn’t mention.
@JasonMiller0607: Yes and no. I tested it on the Waves SSL as well. Similar concept to the 1081. Tested other plugin EQ’s. Same result as Q1
So I think it matters with analog EQ’s, or analog models. The additive effect is hard to create using normal plugin EQs
@JasonMiller0607: They seem to lack the needed “character” for that particular sound. Not saying you can’t do something else great, though.
@sonicvalentine: I get “charecter” from the player first and foremost… now if you’re talking cool distortion… I use comps or amps.
@JasonMiller0607: Sure. Players. Yada, yada. But Steve Mackey through the 1081 sounds more awesome than SM not through a 1081.
@sonicvalentine: says you.

@JasonMiller0607: More testing this morning…. breaking out the PAZ frequency analyzer. I have the funnest job.
@Sonic Valentine: Nobody is paying you for this. Consider this “hobby time”.

@JasonMiller0607: Continued from last night. Would you guys agree these curves are similar?
LEFT: My typical 1081 curve for bass guitar. RIGHT: My attempt to recreate with Waves Q6
Screenshot with EQ plugins…
@sonicvalentine: similar yes
@JasonMiller0607: Great. Now I need a virgin bass track to run through both of these. Will they SOUND “similar”?
Okay, I bounced passes from both DIs through both EQ’s. They are labelled A and B. A is the 1081 on one, the Q6 on the other
See if you give a shit about the difference.
@sonicvalentine: I care as much about the difference as you care about my opinion of it.
@JasonMiller0607: It’s really the science part that I’m interested in. I got my ways, you got your ways… I don’t care if they are similar.
@SonicValentine: man… great job matching. The only one that I thought I could really tell the difference one was bass 1 b sounded like a neve to me. But from an outside ear I don’t know if the difference is noticeable much if at all.
@JasonMiller0607: 1b was Q6. So there ya go! I bet neither of us change our workflow.
@sonicvalentine: what were the others?
@JasonMiller0607: 1a: 1081, 1b: Q6, 2a: Q6, 2b: 1081

@theaudiogeek: Are you talking DI box or amp+mic?
@JasonMiller0607: DI. I almost never used an amp ever. DI (preamp) > 1176 > PT aux track with VEQ4 > PT audio track with SMACK plugin
@sonicvalentine: have mackie bring his b20 (i’m pretty sure… might be a 30)… and his Vox bass… mmm… bass chub.
@JasonMiller0607: We need to have a bass party at the studio with Mackey. Soon.

@JasonMiller0607: This is the typical EQ I track bass through…

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