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SLy_drums 11th July 2005 09:22 AM

Electric bass mixing and recording
Electric bass appears to be one of the most difficult instrument to record, even if it usually seems to be one of the less important instrument into a standard mix to a lots of hears.

I was wondering how you, guys, proceed to record an electric bass ? Mics, preamps used / where do you EQ, when do you apply comp... ?

Please also mention what sound you plan to get in each case, and what kind of music that bass is recorded for thumbsup

DrDeltaM 11th July 2005 10:29 AM

Depends of course on the genre, but i like bass thru a good DI. Works often great and makes it easy and cheap(er) to record heh

Wouldn't be the best choice for more rocking stuff tho.

max cooper 11th July 2005 11:13 AM

I think it helps to keep the kick drum and the bass out of each other's way... Try a hi-pass filter on the bass and move it around a bit and see if that doesn't make it better. Also, a sidechain signal from the kick to duck the bass slightly. If I'm doing that, I usually only duck one track of bass (out of a possible two.)

manning1 11th July 2005 12:07 PM

a trick i learnt from a very kind audio engineer years ago.....
i was having trouble at the time getting good bass sounds.
i was sceptical of this till i tried it...but it worked for me.
he told me to use a guitar with thicker strings (not bass strings - just a bit thicker guitar strings)....and turn the guitar control for tone so it was all bass.
then pump the signal thru a compressor. it requires a bit of fiddling/experimentation. but suddenly i found i was getting bass tracks that just sounded right sitting in a mix with a bit of eqing.
some songs tho' it might not work with. ive also used the same trick with the compressor thru' an amp for punch. all good fun.

SLy_drums 11th July 2005 12:29 PM

How do you EQ your bass tracks to get that 100 Hz "woooom" sound + the thick and violent meds (cf. Korn, Incubus ...) ? Where do you cut to get rid of the non-desired string noises ? What kind of preamp (tube or solid state)/mics/DI do you use ?

Manning1 : Very interesting, thanks for the advice, i'll try that !

Come on !

doorknocker 11th July 2005 12:38 PM

I mostly use a Sans Amp PSA-1, starting with the 'SVT' preset and adjusting it from there.
When it's not in use elsewhere, I'll DI the bass with the Little Labs IBP and then go to the PSA, although using the PSA input is surely o.k. I just hear a difference in clarity and bottom end. (although the IBP is great for phase adjusting, I use it even more as a straight DI, it's killer)
I really like the dbx 160VU for bass, it was rather expensive getting a pair of these but applying 'just a tad' of compression with the 160 makes a big difference. Set it to almost no gain reduction, it works equally well on kick and snare.

More often than not, the best sounds seem to come from plain Fender Jazz and Precision basses. I do mostly Americana/Roots rock-stuff that most often has acoustic guitars somewhere in the mix- and nothing beats a great player with a Fender bass, IMO. Actually, I convinced some folks to put 'Fender bass' in the credits, like they used to do in the old days.....

Like always, checking the mix in one speaker mono really helps, especially with kick/bass 'marriage counseling'.

I use quite a bit of Low Pass filtering too, often it will give more roundness to the bass.

Kick feeding a bass sidechain compressor sometimes works great, but even more often not. Just experiment.


DrDeltaM 11th July 2005 12:41 PM


Originally Posted by SLy_drums
Where do you cut to get rid of the non-desired string noises ? What kind of preamp (tube or solid state)/mics/DI do you use ?

Search for the stuff you wanna get rid of with a bell boost first, then simply cut them out freshflowe

The DI/pre-amps I use most aren't really low end hidz , Phoenix DRS-2 (solid state) and Tube-Tech MP1A (tube).
But I also used the BSS AR-133 DI with good succes, tho it depends on the pre-amp you use after it of course.

SLy_drums 11th July 2005 01:23 PM

I got a DBX 160X which I use on the bass and it works great.

I also use an AKG C414 ULS just in front of the bass amp, plugged into my DTC (with optocomp actived) and it's good for the softness and the "bass substance".

What is quite hard to me, is to catch those med frequencies without getting to much "krr" from the strings.

The tubes bring warmness (Tube Tech MP1A, Mindprint DTC...) and a solid state compression (DBX) brings loudness.

Nutmeg II. 11th July 2005 10:27 PM

You should try a dynamic mic instead of the condenser.
This might help you with getting rid of some of the fret noises.
Playing practice should help you too!!
You culd try to do is using the mic in bidirectionsl (8) or omni.
With omni you will get less of the proximity effect and therefor a better mid tone.
With the figure 8 you should try the back of the mic. I have learned that a lot ot mics sound different front/back in omni/bi.

Your room might **** up the mids, so moveing the amp into another spot in the room might help.
Moving the mic a bit back might clear up some of the mids.

A tube amp will help too. Try to get a small wattage one and crank it!
I have a Vox 100W tube bass amp that sounds fantastic when you turn the master up to >3/4 full power. The tube saturation + the speaker compression will give you a lot of the punch.

Nutmeg II. 11th July 2005 10:35 PM

Another thing I like is using the DI signal and use the link out to drive a small practice amp.
Make the amp sound mid rangey and even ugly and ad it back to the DI track for some nice (ugly) mid growl.

audioez 11th July 2005 10:59 PM

DI-->Neve--> gooof

rodhmos 12th July 2005 12:39 AM

I use the Randall Isolation box. It has a l0-inch Eminence Pro Series speaker.
Bass sounds great and I don't have to deal with a roaring amp.
It is also easy to find the sweat spots with the mic arm.
I usually power it with a SWR Baby Blue head.

retropete 12th July 2005 05:11 PM

It's 92 degrees in NY and believe me, it's easy to find the sweat spots ;-)

[email protected] 12th July 2005 06:31 PM

Time Adjuster
If you have a DI and an Amp, catch the DI up to the amp with the Time Adjustment plugin in Protools, usually anywhere from about 50 to 250 samples off, depending on how far away mic is from speaker and sample rate.

I prefer an RE-20 on Bass Amp with Ampeg SVT for finger players, and GK for pick players. Avalon U5 DI. Usually scoop a little 170hz out of amp and add a little 700 to 800hz depending on sound of bass, song, genre and player. I like the 160X for Compression on Bass and NEVE 1073 mic pres.

rodhmos 12th July 2005 11:33 PM


Originally Posted by retropete
It's 92 degrees in NY and believe me, it's easy to find the sweat spots ;-)

This is what happens when English is not your native language. I am sorry. heh

-silent-sam- 13th July 2005 01:23 AM

What about useing a mic thats made more for kick drum?...I.E a shure D112
Or would this end up being too mid rangy?

SLy_drums 13th July 2005 02:02 PM

D112 is actually a mic designed for the bass drum, and EV RE-20 is also widely used to put in front of a bass drum.

I'll try with a dynamic mic, the Beta91 is good, but it catches everything around.
I guess a dynamic will make the bass more easy to mix.

I plan to get an Avalon U5, which seems to be one of the best DI out there, and maybe a D112 ?

What compressors do you prefer on a bass, tube, solid state ?

adamcal 13th July 2005 02:23 PM

I quite like a D112 and D12 on Bass, and even guitar sometimes.