Firstly, thanks for coming back and doing this, your last Q&A was awesome, I'm hoping for more of your amazing drawings too!
My question is about bass tracking. You've previously mentioned you use 2 LA3As on bass (one for DI, one for amp mic). How hard are you hitting them? Do you for example hit the DI harder than the amp? Or are you trying to get similar compression levels on both?
Many thanks, and looking forward to all the other threads/ answers!
Yes! I find that a pair of LA-3As do a great job of controlling un-eveness on both a bass DI and a bass amp being recorded at the same time. From my experience, having a matched pair of these "audio levelers" usually provides the best results since they are processing very similar waveforms from the same performance.
I try to be reserved with the limiting on either DI or amp when recording bass initially, just controlling the wild sub notes that sometimes poke out. This leaves room for much harder compression later during the mix stage, if desired.
I might use less limiting with the LA-3A on the amp, depending, because the more gainy Ampeg SVT-type signals seem to have "built-in" compression. But a more open-sounding, cleaner bass amp may need to be clamped down harder to keep it even. I also find that some tube bass DI boxes have great color, but are very uneven from one note to the next, so depending on the type of DI box, I might want to hit the limiter harder there too.
When I talk about "hitting the limiter harder", this means increasing the left "Gain" knob while at the same time increasing the right "Peak Reduction" knob. While the unit is in the "GR" setting, I'll watch the meter to see that it moves to the left when reacting to those unwieldy bass notes, without moving a lot the rest of the time. I hope this description gives you a clearer picture of different ways to use these boxes. The Waves CLA plug-in reacts in much the same way.
Here is a diagram from the "Recording Unhinged" book that shows how I used the LA-3As on the Tool "Undertow" album.