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Rock/Metal Bass Tone
Old 5th September 2019
  #1
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Nightmare Circus's Avatar
Rock/Metal Bass Tone

How do you get it? From what I've seen it's super common in metal at least to just convert the bass to midi and use a VST but I'm trying to avoid that if possible.

I have an ESP LTD F-404FM Bass with EMG40DCs, brand new strings, perfect setup and intonation, running it straight into my DI Box as hot as I can get it without clipping.

I've tried various versions of the "split bass technique" these include:

1)

Low Track: Low Passed somewhere between 100-300 Hz
Dist Track: High passed somewhere between 600-1k Heavy distortion

Blend those to get your tone

2)

Same as above but duplicate it yet again and use that track exclusively for the mid range

3)

Take the original DI and scoop it heavily from 500-1.5k then take your duplicate and HP/LP it from 500 - 1.5k and distort that

As far as processing/EQ goes. I've tried slamming it hard with compression, limiting the low end track to never move. On the buss slam it again with compression and various different EQ situations. Typically High pass somewhere between 60-90hz and low pass at 5k. I've tried cutting 250hz heavily, 150 hz heavily (my pickups really want to live here), "smiley face" eq, bell boosting the lows (somewhere between 80hz-130hz) while cutting the "mud" 200-300hz. I have also tried using a hardware sansamp and running the DI out of my bass head into the interface and i can't dial in anything useful with those.

Basically I've tried just about everything on the internet and im still not getting a desirable result. At this point Im just feeling like I have to blame the pickups, even though my bass sounds incredible through my live rig. Is it the EMGs? Any tips appreciated. For references here is a link to a google drive with 4 rough mix tracks.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...dEwvh88CZRwyoI
Old 5th September 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

That tone comes from three things that all have to be present.

1. The right bass set up with the right strings. You cant expect to take a muddy sounding bass like an EB1 and make it sound like a Fender, Jackson or Ibanez.

2. you need to be able to produce those sound live using your playing technique and whatever gear you have "Before" you try and record it.

Facts are, the ability to change the sound of an instrument after its been recorded is extremely limited, especially for something like bass. You can compress it, EQ it, change the amount of gain or add ambiance. None of that's going to change the fundamental tones. The bass has either got what it needs or it don't. period. If the musical performance is weak on top of that you may as well wipe the track and start over.

3.. If you record a bass raw plugged straight into an interface the ability to make it sound like you're playing through an actual amp is really tough. Success rate is very low and just getting something that's competes with the other instruments no less matches a particular genre is not very good. Believe me I been recording direct since the early 70's and used every trick you can imagine. I own allot of hardware including instrument preamps, compressors and all kinds of bass specific effects for getting better tones recording direct. For live I used to mic bass amps and use the line outs too.

All of these have varying amounts of success, but I cant honestly say, I was able to produce genre specific sounds. I got close because I own 4 different basses and know my gear well and have allot of digital tools for tweaking which I pretty much exhausted too. None of it comes close to the modelers available now. What you want for recording is a bass amp & cab modeling unit that really nails the tones you want. I started getting really great tones when I bought a Korg Bassworks unit. It was in fact already fairly dated when I bought it used and by the looks of it you'd think it couldn't possibly do very good given its size.



There a good reason why those tiny units still sell for big bucks too. Their special effects totally suck but the EQ Compressor, Head and cab modeling kick major ass recording. Finally I was able to simply plug in and track a part and not have do anything to that track besides adjust the volume. My favorite settings are the 8X10 SVT cab and either the Classic SVT tube head or SS SVT head. Both have slightly different tones but that 8X10 cab will rattle your teeth it sounds so solid.

That my friend is what you want for most metal recordings. SVT tone, then its merely a matter of the correct bass type, plus a little EQ and compression.
It all comes out at the proper line level so plugging into an interface should sound crisp and powerful. Some of the other cabs and heads sound good too, you can get a good Portaflex tone for doing Motown and slap bass and The 2X15" cab and studio amp isn't bad either.

A year later I bought another inexpensive unit, the Vox Stomplab 1B This thing is amazing for the cost. They typically sell for $70 but I got one new on sale for $40. Worth every dime too. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-effects-pedal This one gives you 60 different effects on top of the 18 amp heads and 12 cabs.

The cabs aren't just EQ tricks either they use actual digital impulses to formulate the cab tones which give then a highly realistic 3D tone. I have pretty good studio gear and several great bass amps and I'd be extremely hard pressed matching those tones micing an amp. Plus when you add the work involved tweaking it for the best sound, its like, screw that man. There's nothing like being able to simply plug in, dial up a sound that matches the music and then put 100% focus into playing instead of twiddling knobs and hoping you might get lucky. My hears get numb after an our of intense listening to the point where I'm not hearing the small improvements.

I'm much better off selecting a preset I know produces killer tones. Then if I notice it needs improvement I can tweak its settings and save it as a new preset. Time needed, involves pushing a few buttons that take seconds then hitting the save button. If I had to do those tweaks within a DAW I'd first have to figure out what got me those tones and determine if an improvement is even possible. It may already be tapped out on the settings with no place to go.



This unit again, like many others I own does some things better then others. Some it does very well and others maybe not so hot. Its excellent for Vintage Rock, classic rock, and metal using something like a Precision bass, Ibanez, etc. Its got bottom end to spare too. This thing rocks on the low end without distorting the bass either. you're going to know somebody's home when you hear the bass tracks it gets you. I like it because it's so versatile. I can get Heavy metal when needed, Big fat SVT tones for classic rock, Funky slap bass tones on a precision, you name it.

I also have a couple of unique basses like by short scale Gretsch and The Hofner. The Gretsch gets deep burly tones with a nice bright end. Very fast action with its shorter scale neck too. The Hofner is just plain get out of town cool. I can really make that thing talk and get everything from upright bass finger tones to classic Beatles mole bass tones. I understand why the Beatles used Vox amps now too. The warmth you can get when that modeler is set for a Vox amp is self evident.

you want to get really out there. its got an octave synth tone you can dial up an octave lower. Or you can add one of the popular fuzz tones used on bass to get that early rolling stone/punk rock grind. The reverb is even excellent. Its tuned to the bass guitar and not some wimpy guitar reverb tone. It sounds like you're playing in a big space. Chorus excellent, Noise hate makes it dead quite between notes, Compression very comfortable, and the 4 band EQ changes depending on the head you select. if you choose and Ampeg head, the EQ mimics what was available on that head.

Like I said, its incredible what they can fit into such a small package but they did it and its made my entire life change. I must have 50K wrapped up in studio gear worth much more I've collected over the decades. Allot of it collects dust now. I even power it up every so often and record just to be sure my mind isn't playing tricks making me think newer is better. Well recordings don't lie, they are a truth detector on what's actually going on. When you play the songs back to back with new and old gear the proof is right there to be heard.

Anyway, get a bass molder unit. They make different kinds specific to guitar and bass which is important. I have them for bass and guitar and all work very well. As far as manufacturer type, theres allot of different types. I've tried over 9 different types, Digitec, Boss, Zoom, Korg, Lexicon, Rocktec, Art, Yamaha, and even have some of the old ones like Morley and Sans Amp which are pretty privative by todays standards. personally I use the Vox the most because it simply works well without allot of hassle. Plug in, dial a preset, set your volume and gain, and hit record. Bass went from being the most problematic thing to record to the least. It sits in the mix exactly where it needs to be all the time now and sounds great switching songs on a CD, No more drop outs or booming notes.

Here's an example using that vox unit I was using the guitar version and a Digitec on the guitars too. This is the closest thing I have to a metal tine already uploaded. https://soundcloud.com/wrgkmc/what-can-i-do-master
Old 6th September 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Hi there.

You will (generally) not get that tone going direct, nor using stomp-boxes -> direct regardless of how you split that recorded signal.

In general (yes I said it again), the best way to capture saturated tones especially on a bass, is to mic an amp or two - it is the "distorting" speaker that is giving that sound. Going DI means that you have to emulate speakers distorting, compressing, and generating harmonics - something that is more difficult to do convincingly in the bass frequency range.

Great metal-rock bass tones, let's say like Justin Chancellors, is a combination of direct, and mic'ing up a couple of amps, and they are cranked loud.

On top of that, as the previous poster has said, it is the instrument and playing technique.

Personally, to achieve that type of sound (Chancellors), dual-humbuckers played closer (but not over) to the bridge pickup with more of a hard-brushing down (as opposed to pulling up) technique works well. Now everyone cannot afford a WAL bass that does have a very distinct clarity as it is breaking up, but a dual buck musicman type bass will get you close. I am personally not a fan of EMGs they lack a low-mid and sound artificial. Alternately I've also found that older Telecaster-type basses with the giant humbucker right at the neck are great break-up distortion platforms - the Billy Sheean type rock sound. But I digress...

If you are trying to get close, here are some economical things to try: Split your signal, record direct, and through an amp - use a guitar amp that has a gain and a 12" (on low volume as to not blow up the speaker) and mic it with a 421. I've had decent results doing that with both a Marshall and a fender twin.

Then when back mixing - parallel the direct track and play with your plug-ins on that - if you want some fun, compress the hell out of it and use Lil Alterboy down an octave and mix that in for taste with the other signals.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Aa63; 6th September 2019 at 03:38 AM..
Old 6th September 2019
  #4
Quote:
Rock/Metal Bass Tone
Ive been a bass guitar player for over 336 years. I've recorded bass for 25 years. to get a great rock/metal tone, you need to mic a bass amp cabinet, along as recording the direct line out of it and adding effects to the direct track and then combiner to taste
Old 6th September 2019
  #5
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Nightmare Circus's Avatar
I will give these suggestions a try. What everyone has been saying is what basically every heavy metal tutorial and the engineers over at NTM said to completely avoid because "there's not enough room for a massive bass tone in heavy metal". I was under the impressive most if not all metal was DI bass or something like a sansamp/darkglass.

Then again most of them just say all you need is fresh strings and a sansamp bass driver or simply midi replace the bass and use a program which hasn't been working out for me anyway and im not using a midi bass.
Old 6th September 2019
  #6
Quote:
"there's not enough room for a massive bass tone in heavy metal".
I do not agree with who ever said that. There is plenty of room in the metal genre for a strong/big bass tones. In metal, you have guitars and vox and drums. so the only thing in the low end is the Kick and floor toms. This makes more than enough room for the bass tones
Old 6th September 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare Circus View Post
I will give these suggestions a try. What everyone has been saying is what basically every heavy metal tutorial and the engineers over at NTM said to completely avoid because "there's not enough room for a massive bass tone in heavy metal". I was under the impressive most if not all metal was DI bass or something like a sansamp/darkglass.

Then again most of them just say all you need is fresh strings and a sansamp bass driver or simply midi replace the bass and use a program which hasn't been working out for me anyway and im not using a midi bass.

The "problem" with those statements is that words like "massive" are too fluffy.

As is the term "heavy metal" for that matter.

Is what you are doing progressive (like Tool) type metal - or - more commercial like Metallica type metal - or Korn like metal - or is it like garage recorded Swedish death metal where it really doesn't matter how you are recording because it is so fast and redundant that at some point you end up vomiting from a motion migraine? Or somewhere in between?

I would suggest that well done (composed/recorded/mixed/mastered) metal has plenty of room for good sounding instrumentation - again bands like those I mentioned above have fantastic sounding bass parts and sounds - even though they are playing along with double bass drums and 7 string guitars.

There are a few of us here that are pro bass players turned engineers who could help you - best if you link to a sample of what you are after.

Finally, I forgot to mention in my first post - a good and common technique I've used to get some weight and grit, is to tune your bass down a half-or-full-step. The loosening of the strings has a distinctive effect on the width of the sound - again as we've all suggested, it is more obvious and effective when amplified.

Hope this helps.
Old 6th September 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aa63 View Post
The "problem" with those statements is that words like "massive" are too fluffy.

As is the term "heavy metal" for that matter.

Is what you are doing progressive (like Tool) type metal - or - more commercial like Metallica type metal - or Korn like metal - or is it like garage recorded Swedish death metal where it really doesn't matter how you are recording because it is so fast and redundant that at some point you end up vomiting from a motion migraine? Or somewhere in between?

I would suggest that well done (composed/recorded/mixed/mastered) metal has plenty of room for good sounding instrumentation - again bands like those I mentioned above have fantastic sounding bass parts and sounds - even though they are playing along with double bass drums and 7 string guitars.

There are a few of us here that are pro bass players turned engineers who could help you - best if you link to a sample of what you are after.

Finally, I forgot to mention in my first post - a good and common technique I've used to get some weight and grit, is to tune your bass down a half-or-full-step. The loosening of the strings has a distinctive effect on the width of the sound - again as we've all suggested, it is more obvious and effective when amplified.

Hope this helps.
I linked a google drive full of my current mixes Im working on in the OP if you want to get a taste for what im doing. I just mixed down everything to a higher sample rate MP3 yesterday. It varies in range from iron maiden-esq stuff to the borderline "oh my god its too many notes" type of metal. I'm not looking for feedback on my song structure or riffs, that's a massive personal preference rabbit hole and i'm writing music i enjoy playing not that I care about selling.

The problem i've found with the metal I specifically like is a lot of time the bass is midi replaced or barely distinguishable from the low end of the guitars. One of those "more felt than heard" kind of things. Examples of this are Symphony X, Lamb of God, older Trivium, Arch Enemy. Stuff of that nature. I want the bass to be fairly clanky and aggressive without being overbearing or too bottom heavy. Especially considering my amp of choice is the 5150, which is known to be quite aggressive sounding (or harsh as some people put it) Most of the stuff I listen to is also played with a pick, while I'm a fingerstyle bassist which of course already adds a ton of warmth to the tone. My thoughts right now is I need to try out something single coil and passive rather than these active EMGs. The warmth of the EMGs sounded great live when I was touring playing country music but they just don't seem to sit well in a very busy metal mix. I've watched quite a few "dialing in a metal bass tone" videos from producers on youtube and 9/10 times its a fender p-bass into either a sansamp or just splitting the DI signal and distorting the top end. Which as I mentioned I've tried several different split bass techniques on my DIs.
Old 6th September 2019
  #9
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mr. torture's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Ive been a bass guitar player for over 336 years.
Wow, you probably recorded during the siege of Vienna.
Old 6th September 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. torture View Post
Wow, you probably recorded during the siege of Vienna.
Time played or how long you've been doing something is such an irrelevant statistic anyway. It's all about how effectively you used that time, what your influences are, and how high you wanted to achieve.
Old 6th September 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare Circus View Post
Time played or how long you've been doing something is such an irrelevant statistic anyway. It's all about how effectively you used that time, what your influences are, and how high you wanted to achieve.
I can see my fun with your typo was not well received.
Old 6th September 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. torture View Post
I can see my fun with your typo was not well received.
Not my typo, but IIRC the siege of vienna by the ottomans happened like 450+ years ago.
Old 6th September 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare Circus View Post
Not my typo, but IIRC the siege of vienna by the ottomans happened like 450+ years ago.
Was thinking about the battle of Vienna, which was in 1683. Sorry to disrupt your thread.
Old 6th September 2019
  #14
Quote:
Not my typo, but IIRC the siege of vienna by the ottomans happened like 450+ years ago
iT WAS MY tYPO.. lol

Led by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1529, one of my most admired rulers. Love the man and prob going To Turkey top visit the museum that feature him and pre Ottoman empire 'Kayi tribe' (Ertugrul), another one of my Favorites
Old 6th September 2019
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Hmmm. So in your examples, there are a couple of things that I've noticed that may help.

As an aside, the "clank" you speak of - and I know what you mean - is typically (on a bass) in the range between say 400k-1.6k, then scooped, and then a narrow(er) peak around 4k (or higher) for the upper pick (or slap) shine. The challenge is to carve that space out in the other instruments and decide which of them will take it up.

So, in your examples, you have room in that lower mid from about 250-700k which seems to have been scooped out of everything - that is right in the range for a good bass-clank. I would start there and remember to not be overly obsessed with the sound of the bass while solo'd - it needs to work within the song first. You would be amazed at how "odd" some bass tones sound solo'd in some songs but work perfectly (especially in fast or "busy" arrangements).

Since you have double bass drum consistently throughout most of the arrangements that are percussively mirroring the notes you are playing, shaping those two together should yield your desired result on the low end. Choose which one you want to take up the very low end (40-80) then carve that out of the other track - together they should sound as one cohesive thick bottom end driving. Then deal with the 100-300 range to de-muffle - I would play with some ducking and/or multi-band compressors on kicks and bass to try and get that spacing correct. After that, the bass distortion/clank range should fit into the mids.

You are also going to need to deal with everything occupying the same freq's in the higher end of the spectrum - you seem to be over-occupying the kick-click, snare-snap, cymbals and guitar ice-pick highs - I mention this because the upper bass shine will be effected (not to mention the trouble you will have when adding vocals). It is also very perceivably loud. Same thing applies here - choose which will take which and listen to them TOGETHER, not solo'd.

So make some carving decisions as to what will occupy what range. The distortion/grind sound of a bass will not be audible until you do that. Once you've "de-masked" everything and put it in its place, then you can get into the finer-tuning type things like single vs. humbuckers. Again I mention this because you need the space to hear those things first.

I know it is a little more involved then perhaps what you are after, but you should not expect a "I used a P bass (or made it a midi track) and everything now works" type of result.

Hope this helps.
Old 6th September 2019
  #16
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Nightmare Circus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aa63 View Post
Hmmm. So in your examples, there are a couple of things that I've noticed that may help.

As an aside, the "clank" you speak of - and I know what you mean - is typically (on a bass) in the range between say 400k-1.6k, then scooped, and then a narrow(er) peak around 4k (or higher) for the upper pick (or slap) shine. The challenge is to carve that space out in the other instruments and decide which of them will take it up.

So, in your examples, you have room in that lower mid from about 250-700k which seems to have been scooped out of everything - that is right in the range for a good bass-clank. I would start there and remember to not be overly obsessed with the sound of the bass while solo'd - it needs to work within the song first. You would be amazed at how "odd" some bass tones sound solo'd in some songs but work perfectly (especially in fast or "busy" arrangements).

Since you have double bass drum consistently throughout most of the arrangements that are percussively mirroring the notes you are playing, shaping those two together should yield your desired result on the low end. Choose which one you want to take up the very low end (40-80) then carve that out of the other track - together they should sound as one cohesive thick bottom end driving. Then deal with the 100-300 range to de-muffle - I would play with some ducking and/or multi-band compressors on kicks and bass to try and get that spacing correct. After that, the bass distortion/clank range should fit into the mids.

You are also going to need to deal with everything occupying the same freq's in the higher end of the spectrum - you seem to be over-occupying the kick-click, snare-snap, cymbals and guitar ice-pick highs - I mention this because the upper bass shine will be effected (not to mention the trouble you will have when adding vocals). It is also very perceivably loud. Same thing applies here - choose which will take which and listen to them TOGETHER, not solo'd.

So make some carving decisions as to what will occupy what range. The distortion/grind sound of a bass will not be audible until you do that. Once you've "de-masked" everything and put it in its place, then you can get into the finer-tuning type things like single vs. humbuckers. Again I mention this because you need the space to hear those things first.

I know it is a little more involved then perhaps what you are after, but you should not expect a "I used a P bass (or made it a midi track) and everything now works" type of result.

Hope this helps.
Yeah I will look into that, the "everything is scooped between 250-700" is odd to me because the only thing scooped there (high passed) is the cymbals and room mic. I did no cuts in the guitar mid range other than taking out the annoying tubescreamer frequency around ~800hz) and the bass is dipped out around ~175ish which seems to be very prominent in the bass itself. Although the sansamp naturally heavily scoops the tone of the bass so that could be the missing energy there. The only other thing would be the kick? It has a bit of 450-550 removed out of it.

I never mix in solo, mono sometimes, but never solo. Most I'll do in solo is remove resonances from the guitar, cymbals, or the snare. If you solo the bass now in those tracks it really sounds like ass by itself because of the distortion and as far as low end EQ i have the kick living below 60hz bass from about 60-110 and the guitars from 110 up. I also boosted the cut off frequency just a little bit on each of the filters. Rather than side-chain multiband compressing the bass>kick or doing the andy sneap technique on the guitars i opted to go the route of dynamic side-chain EQ. To me this seems more transparent but I can go back to the multi-band eq sidechain if you think it will make a difference.

The high end I will need to address as well because I'm not hearing what you're hearing and that's not a good thing. The snare has a slight boost at ~4kish where i cut a bit out of the guitars for annoyance reasons (it's also a steel snare with a HEAVY 200hz boost on it) cymbals i basically left alone after high passing them and removing some papery sound around 900hzish the kick I agree is very clicky and could probably use some toning down in the 8k region but there's no boosts there its just the way the sample sounds. Guitars are low passed at about 8.5k and I hear no "ice-pick" sound to them at all but they are fairly present (maybe too loud in the mix?). I'm afraid to low pass them any further than that because they start to sound very dull in the mix and lack the aggression. I always associated "ice-pick" with the 4k-6k region, is this accurate to what you're describing?

May I ask what you're listening to the mix over? I get all my panning and stuff done on my monitors then swap over to the 650HDs for the mixing process since I don't trust my room or my cheap monitors at all. Over my headphones the mix sounds fairly balanced, even a little dark and it has a slight high shelf (About a dB) on the top end with just a hair of 4k dipped out again but I also don't blast it at full volume when I'm mixing. I try to stay around ~80 dbSPL and take breaks every 30m or so to avoid high end fatigue.

EDIT:

I think I can see what you're talking about when I run it through a frequency and spectrum analyzer ( https://imgur.com/a/uUH2ijf ) Does appear to need some more energy in the 300 - 700 hz range but since I made no cuts i guess I just have to add the energy into something (the bass?) with some eq and tighten up the 2k-6k region. I can probably get away with cutting the cymbals a bit up there or maybe it was me overcompensating on the bass high end boost.
Old 6th September 2019
  #17
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Nightmare Circus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IGotWorms View Post
I like the bass. It maybe sounds under a pillow but on the other hand you have korn style bass where the treble is clacking all over the place.

I tried out for your band but my throat is not up to the task
At least you didn't scream lol. Despite the way my music sounds im not a fan of screamo vocals.
Old 6th September 2019
  #18
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Nightmare Circus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IGotWorms View Post
I like the music. It reminds me of what st. anger should have been! No offense meant if that's offensive!
I think it sounds pretty good for what I'm using to record it, compared to the st anger album it's the best recording quality to ever exist lol, but it definitely need some more work to be more "pro sounding". Apparently there's some mid range missing in there that I can't even hear over my gear.
Old 6th September 2019
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare Circus View Post
Yeah I will look into that, the "everything is scooped between 250-700" is odd to me because the only thing scooped there (high passed) is the cymbals and room mic. I did no cuts in the guitar mid range other than taking out the annoying tubescreamer frequency around ~800hz) and the bass is dipped out around ~175ish which seems to be very prominent in the bass itself. Although the sansamp naturally heavily scoops the tone of the bass so that could be the missing energy there. The only other thing would be the kick? It has a bit of 450-550 removed out of it.

I never mix in solo, mono sometimes, but never solo. Most I'll do in solo is remove resonances from the guitar, cymbals, or the snare. If you solo the bass now in those tracks it really sounds like ass by itself because of the distortion and as far as low end EQ i have the kick living below 60hz bass from about 60-110 and the guitars from 110 up. I also boosted the cut off frequency just a little bit on each of the filters. Rather than side-chain multiband compressing the bass>kick or doing the andy sneap technique on the guitars i opted to go the route of dynamic side-chain EQ. To me this seems more transparent but I can go back to the multi-band eq sidechain if you think it will make a difference.

The high end I will need to address as well because I'm not hearing what you're hearing and that's not a good thing. The snare has a slight boost at ~4kish where i cut a bit out of the guitars for annoyance reasons (it's also a steel snare with a HEAVY 200hz boost on it) cymbals i basically left alone after high passing them and removing some papery sound around 900hzish the kick I agree is very clicky and could probably use some toning down in the 8k region but there's no boosts there its just the way the sample sounds. Guitars are low passed at about 8.5k and I hear no "ice-pick" sound to them at all but they are fairly present (maybe too loud in the mix?). I'm afraid to low pass them any further than that because they start to sound very dull in the mix and lack the aggression. I always associated "ice-pick" with the 4k-6k region, is this accurate to what you're describing?

May I ask what you're listening to the mix over? I get all my panning and stuff done on my monitors then swap over to the 650HDs for the mixing process since I don't trust my room or my cheap monitors at all. Over my headphones the mix sounds fairly balanced, even a little dark and it has a slight high shelf (About a dB) on the top end with just a hair of 4k dipped out again but I also don't blast it at full volume when I'm mixing. I try to stay around ~80 dbSPL and take breaks every 30m or so to avoid high end fatigue.

EDIT:

I think I can see what you're talking about when I run it through a frequency and spectrum analyzer ( https://imgur.com/a/uUH2ijf ) Does appear to need some more energy in the 300 - 700 hz range but since I made no cuts i guess I just have to add the energy into something (the bass?) with some eq and tighten up the 2k-6k region. I can probably get away with cutting the cymbals a bit up there or maybe it was me overcompensating on the bass high end boost.

Yes. I listened to this directly on a computer, and through my rig (ProAc's).

Careful with the 650's - I have them and they are fantastic, but they tend to make highs and lows sound very smooth and pleasant, which often does not translate very well in the "real" world - a set of Apple earbuds is a good second reference.

I would definitely try removing the big snare 200h boost - that is occupying bass-territory energy for most likely little sonic gain - not sure what/how your compressing/limiting but that may be triggering your compressor(s) as well squashing everything needlessly.

My aging ears defines the ice-pick higher, around 7k and up.

To see what I hear, just take the mp3, put it back into your DAW and use an EQ that has an analyzer on it - its pretty clear (attached Home Inside My Head graph) - things to note is the low end is sloped "oddly" (over-wide multi-band?) and that upper-mid/high tilt on everything.

Hope this helps.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock/Metal Bass Tone-screen-shot-2019-09-06-3.57.16-pm.png  
Old 6th September 2019
  #20
Here for the gear
 
Nightmare Circus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aa63 View Post
Yes. I listened to this directly on a computer, and through my rig (ProAc's).

Careful with the 650's - I have them and they are fantastic, but they tend to make highs and lows sound very smooth and pleasant, which often does not translate very well in the "real" world - a set of Apple earbuds is a good second reference.

I would definitely try removing the big snare 200h boost - that is occupying bass-territory energy for most likely little sonic gain - not sure what/how your compressing/limiting but that may be triggering your compressor(s) as well squashing everything needlessly.

My aging ears defines the ice-pick higher, around 7k and up.

To see what I hear, just take the mp3, put it back into your DAW and use an EQ that has an analyzer on it - its pretty clear (attached Home Inside My Head graph) - things to note is the low end is sloped "oddly" (over-wide multi-band?) and that upper-mid/high tilt on everything.

Hope this helps.
Yeah that's what I did but your graph looks completely different than mine but I was using the built in frequency/spectrum analyzer in Reaper.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare Circus View Post
I will give these suggestions a try. What everyone has been saying is what basically every heavy metal tutorial and the engineers over at NTM said to completely avoid because "there's not enough room for a massive bass tone in heavy metal". I was under the impressive most if not all metal was DI bass or something like a sansamp/darkglass.

Then again most of them just say all you need is fresh strings and a sansamp bass driver or simply midi replace the bass and use a program which hasn't been working out for me anyway and im not using a midi bass.

If there's no room for bass in metal then there will be no IRON MAIDEN ever.

Have you tried different pickups, electronics in your bass guitar, bass heads, cables, etc. A lot of people expect one thing to produce another thing, when their thing can never ever produce what they are looking for. Visiting a specialist luthier and pickup tech to have a look at you bass might yield miracles. My 2 cents.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Ive been a bass guitar player for over 336 years. I've recorded bass for 25 years. to get a great rock/metal tone, you need to mic a bass amp cabinet, along as recording the direct line out of it and adding effects to the direct track and then combiner to taste
Damn. How old are you? And why did you wait 311 years to start recording bass?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 
mr. torture's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammiedodger666 View Post
Damn. How old are you? And why did you wait 311 years to start recording bass?
Careful man, this guy's sense of humor is equivalent to a cement brick.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Head
 

Everything that's worked for me has been mentioned above. In listening to your tracks, I'd say you have room in the guitars to carve out some lower mids for bass. They are pretty fat. As somebody else mentioned, in metal, you can often fit the bass somewhere in the 500-1.5k region pretty well, before the crunch of the guitar needs to take over.

One thing though that seems important about this style - it usually does have to be built around a huge guitar sound as first priority, with the bass locking into it, hence all the carve outs mentioned.

I have had good success with the "two tracks" approach. First I work on the low-lows to fit them under the guitar, making one big sound. And regarding kick/bass frequencies, try putting the bass lowest, cutting off around 90, then drop in the kick around 90-100. It can make for a huge sound. Then have your guitar highpassed just above that. And try to get those HPFs and LPFs steep - many will slope much more gently than you think, which in this case could leave tons of muddy lower mids in what you thought was just a "lowest lows" track, and overlapping with muddy mids in your guitar too.

The nice thing about this is you can really get your low bass and your guitar to lock together as one huge sound. Then work on your bass-mids track to fit with the guitar, and blend it in to where you hear it adding its signature mids to the sound. Again, per above, you'll have to fit it where the guitar isn't, so play with a variety of frequencies, boosting/cutting each instrument, because only you will know what you like best about your guitar mids vs what you can lose.

And also since you're direct, try all the amp modelers and distortions you have on that mids track. You will probably find one that fits great but they can all be very different. It will be easy for the first few to not help at all, and make it seem like distortion plugins aren't helping, but the right one probably will. Getting some good midrangey grit will be key to making that mids track sit right. I bet you can do it though with the tracks you have, from what I heard.

*Edited to add: I see above you mentioned trying heavy distortion. I would try lighter. Lighter crunch seems to give a bass a nice distinct aggressive tone in the mix with metal guitars; too much dirt and it can start getting lost.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Quote:
Damn. How old are you? And why did you wait 311 years to start recording bass?
I guess im older than i thought i was.... I thought i would be 51 in October, but maybe ill be 151.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Quote:
Damn. How old are you? And why did you wait 311 years to start recording bass?
I guess im older than i thought i was.... I thought i would be 51 in October, but maybe ill be 151.
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