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bass preamp and DI for home recording
Old 29th August 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

bass preamp and DI for home recording

Hi Guys,

I am new on this forum and would like some advice. I need to get some bass tracks done on a project and using my bass directly on the DI input of my audient ID22 interface doesn t give me the sound I really want (even after playing around with a bunch of vst).

I am not willing to buy am amp cos I want to record in my bedroom at decent levels. I was thinking about buying a preamp DI before my audio interface and then use impulse response from two notes (then a bass amp head would also work).
The max I can put in it would be 200-300 USD.

I was thinking about the electro harmonix battalion or two notes le bass or even the hotone bass little head. I basically need to use something I can use with impulse responses, cos I love the one I have.

I am playing indie rock / punk rock. So the guitars are most of the time clean/crunchy and would need the bass to have some punch with some distortion to make the sound bigger.

Thanks a lot,
Jean
Old 29th August 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Get one of these. Vox StompLab IB Bass Modeling Effects Pedal | Sweetwater

I have dozens of different Preamps DI's and Sans Amp type units I've used over the years for bass and they all have their positive and negative attributes. I found units that have amp modeling and cabinet emulation is going to get you ideal recordings faster then any other tools available.

The problems with straight preamps is they have no modeling at all. You get 100% of what the pickups produce and have to do all kinds of tweaking in the mix to make the bass sound right and sit right in the mix. It can work of course but the question is, how good are you at doing it and how much time you plan on investing to learn how to do it well. A Beginner may get lucking for one recording and completely botch it on the next. Getting consistent bass tones on and entire CD's worth of material can be next to impossible without years of experimentation. There are some plugins that can help but why go through all that trouble, Because someone who doesn't know any better and uses that horribly complex method told you its what they use?

I can guarantee you, you can use that box I posted, even with many of the factory presets, track your part and its done. It fits so well into the mix, you don't even need to do any additional mixing. I been using one for two years and the most I may use is a small amount of compression or maybe a single EQ bump to enhance bring out finger tones or a small cut to reduce metallic tones. Prior to using amp modelers you had to try and do it all in the box including trying to create the cab resonances which simply didn't work out very well.

Prior to using the one I listed above I used a Korg Bassworks which does an amazing job nailing a couple of amp types. Its Ampeg head and 8X10 cab is indistinguishable from the real thing. I could play you recordings of that unit and an actual SVT cab miced up and there is no way your ears can tell the difference. I should note that Vox unit does have the full gambit of effects too. I'm not a huge fan of effects on bass. Sometimes I'll use a little chorus but that's about it. I mainly use Compression for dynamic control, Head modeling which includes adjustments for gain/drive and EQ then cabinet modeling which selects the proper cab impulse and adds the sag and delay of a cab and also provides the bass resonances you'd get from micing an actual cab. You can select 10 different heads that have multiple settings, 12 different cabs, some which can also be tweaked to your own custom settings. You have a hundred other effects if you need them.

I've owned one for over two years and I've barely scratched the possibilities using one. The unit does have a stereo out when you use a TRS to two TS cable. Might find that useful when running chorus, reverb, Univibe or others. (I typically just use a mono cable for bass) The unit can be switched between Line level for recording direct or putting it in an amp loop and instrument level for using it before an amp. Building presets is very easy too. Its only got 20 uses banks, but I've fond that more then enough playing bass. The guitar version (which I also own) is excellent too.
Old 7th September 2018
  #3
You remind me of the old joke about the man searching under the streetlight for his diamond ring that he lost down the block because the light's better here.

If you don't like a DI sound, maybe it's because that's not the sound you're looking for. Maybe you need an amp. In recording bass it's not really necessary to turn up very loud, but a good amp (like an old Ampeg B-12) does something for the tone that recording direct just won't do. You need a good sounding studio amp and a good microphone like an EV RE20 or a Beyer M88.
Old 7th September 2018
  #4
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
Second-hand Avalon U5
Old 7th September 2018
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 691ca21 View Post
Second-hand Avalon U5
If you're going that route I'd greatly prefer the A-Designs KGB-1.

It's slightly more expensive and the box isn't nearly as pretty but it's a much better unit and has vastly superior EQ - there's no comparison.

The EQ section is a modified Baxandall circuit with a peaking midrange control similar to that used in the classic Ampeg bass amps. Designed by Carl Johnson, who also did the A-Designs Ventura channel strip, the CRS-IND boutique mic preamps, and a lot of other stuff.

Instrument Preamplifiers for Keyboards, Guitar and Bass: KGB-ITF and KGB-II
Old 8th September 2018
  #6
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TurboJets's Avatar
If you don't like the JFET DI on the Audient boxes then I can't imagine any DI box being worth your time or money.

Mic an amp or split the signal and do both.
Old 9th September 2018
  #7
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BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

I`ve found, by far(not sure what level you`re going for) is that a D.I. and a mic`d amp together(with a kick mic and condenser) has the best sound. The sucky part is shelling out a good $150 for a splitter that actually WORKS(Radial Twin City). But if you just want plain D.I., just get the Joyo American Sound for $30. It really does sound great on bass, despite the hate I may receive for giving such advice. It works.
Old 9th September 2018
  #8
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TurboJets's Avatar
Another thing to consider is that maybe you just need a good compressor up front in your signal chain.
Old 9th September 2018
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarcelonaMusic View Post
But if you just want plain D.I., just get the Joyo American Sound for $30. It really does sound great on bass, despite the hate I may receive for giving such advice. It works.
That's not a DI, it's a preamp/hardware amp sim. DI's convert an unbalanced instrument level sign al to a balanced mic or line signal. If it doesn't have a balanced output it's not a real DI.
Old 9th September 2018
  #10
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EvilRoy's Avatar
 

FWIW, recently upgraded the studio and found myself without a DI input. Picked up a Digital Art MPA pro for a couple of bills 'cause it doubles as a mic pre and 2 channel DA (haven't checked yet but I hear the AD is crap). Probably not the best DI but seems to do the job for now until I can afford to upgrade. Thinking about a high end tube mic pre one day and many of them have tube DIs so I don't want to spend bucks on a dedicated one. If I was, I'd consider Radial or Demeter. I don't do guitars thru a DI, just bass...hence the preference for tubes.
Old 10th September 2018
  #11
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BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
That's not a DI, it's a preamp/hardware amp sim. DI's convert an unbalanced instrument level sign al to a balanced mic or line signal. If it doesn't have a balanced output it's not a real DI.
Fair enough, it still works.
Old 10th September 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarcelonaMusic View Post
Fair enough, it still works.
It does indeed. If you have a bass preamp a DI is redundant.
Old 20th September 2018
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Another thing to consider is that maybe you just need a good compressor up front in your signal chain.
Compressors can be so important. Currently I'm using the Origin Cali76 bass version, which controls transients and enriches the tone in a very musical and hi-fi way. Also in the chain I use the Darkglass Alpha-Omega, which is beyond great, and the active Radial J48, which seems to hold its own against any other DI box, including the DI inputs on high quality preamps.
Old 20th September 2018
  #14
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Radial J48 will give you a lot of headroom and humpf undeed. Ideally a mic'd amp is better but over the year I've found a lot of tricks to make a DI'd bass sound great in the box including Klangshelm SDRR rock bass preset that really makes the bass sound like a SVT.

Last edited by numero6; 3rd October 2018 at 07:47 AM..
Old 28th September 2018
  #15
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EvgenyStudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by numero6 View Post
Radial J48 will give you a lot of headroom and humpf undeed. Ideally a mic'd amp is better but over the year I've found a lot of trick to make a DI'd bass sound great in the box including Klangshelm SDRR rock bass preset that really makes the bass sound like a SVT.
Can you share rock bass preset? I wanna try
Old 28th September 2018
  #16
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jdier's Avatar
I use a Radial JDI now. Prior to my current set up, I was using the 1/4" input on the FMR RNP and found that I did not have any troubles getting the sounds I wanted.

All my basses are passive. Mostly Fenders with either SD pickups or Fralins (one with Barts)

Out of curiosity, what is the bass you are using?
Old 30th September 2018
  #17
I spent over a decade seeking the ultimate bass tone (as it exists in my head) and it ended with the Ampeg SVP-CL, which I use exactly as you intend. They've been discontinued for a while so it might be hard to find one, but they are worth the quest. I'm taking mine to the grave with me. Versatile, warm, present, HUGE sound.

I've been told that the Billy Sheehan preamp (also an SVP) covers similar ground but I've never tried it and couldn't say.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvgenyStudio View Post
Can you share rock bass preset? I wanna try
I believe it is part of the factory presets of SDRR. I might just mix a little more of the direct sound and play with the gain.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #19
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
It’s not, I already looked when you mentioned it before.
Old 3rd October 2018
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
I spent over a decade seeking the ultimate bass tone (as it exists in my head) and it ended with the Ampeg SVP-CL, which I use exactly as you intend. They've been discontinued for a while so it might be hard to find one, but they are worth the quest. I'm taking mine to the grave with me. Versatile, warm, present, HUGE sound.

I've been told that the Billy Sheehan preamp (also an SVP) covers similar ground but I've never tried it and couldn't say.
Indeed I recorded some amazing tracks with SVP Pro II. Unfortunately the transformer crapped out and the local repairman never managed to repair it. If I was to get a new tube DI I'd get a RDDI. I just find out they make a REDDI plugin for $50. I might even give it a shot.

Last edited by numero6; 5th October 2018 at 08:31 PM..
Old 4th October 2018
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tridelica View Post
Compressors can be so important. Currently I'm using the Origin Cali76 bass version, which controls transients and enriches the tone in a very musical and hi-fi way. Also in the chain I use the Darkglass Alpha-Omega, which is beyond great, and the active Radial J48, which seems to hold its own against any other DI box, including the DI inputs on high quality preamps.
I'm not sure what you consider a "High Quality Preamp", but the DI inputs on tghe majority of preamps and interfaces suck.

The J-48 is a decent direct box.
Old 4th October 2018
  #22
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
... the DI inputs on the majority of preamps and interfaces suck.
Interfaces, maybe.

I honestly don't have the breadth of experience that y'all might when it comes to the DI inputs on standalone preamps. But the ones I have are all a little different, but they're all pretty good. Definitely better on passive sources than the two Whirlwind DI's in the locker, for sure.
Old 5th October 2018
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Interfaces, maybe.

I honestly don't have the breadth of experience that y'all might when it comes to the DI inputs on standalone preamps. But the ones I have are all a little different, but they're all pretty good. Definitely better on passive sources than the two Whirlwind DI's in the locker, for sure.
Whirlwinds are not exactly what I'd call good DIs.

The impedance of the cheap transformer noticeably loads the pickup.

Inexpensive preamps and interfaces often have a similar problem - although they don't use transformers quite oftenh the input impedance is lopwer than it should be and loads the pickup. DI inputs should have an impedance of one meg or better.

Note that premium Di transformers generally have an audio impedance significantly higher than the DC resistance, so a typical ohmmeter reading is not a good indication on a transformer DI.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 5th October 2018 at 07:34 PM..
Old 10th October 2018
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Tanio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Another thing to consider is that maybe you just need a good compressor up front in your signal chain.
Like an LA-3A. Wonderful on bass.
Old 11th October 2018
  #25
Gear Addict
 
hodshonf's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
If you don't like the JFET DI on the Audient boxes then I can't imagine any DI box being worth your time or money.

Mic an amp or split the signal and do both.
i have an id14.

i used the JFET DI for quite a while. it was OK.

tone completely opened up when i got a Radial J48 DI into the mic preamps of the id14.

better all around.
Old 11th October 2018
  #26
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hodshonf's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
I'm not sure what you consider a "High Quality Preamp", but the DI inputs on tghe majority of preamps and interfaces suck.

The J-48 is a decent direct box.
as i just mentioned, i recently went the the J48 DI into my Audient id14.

Audient is an exception with excellent interface mic pres.
Old 13th October 2018
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdier View Post
I use a Radial JDI now.
Me too. We did some extensive testing with bass tracks in the mix, recorded with the JDI or amp/mic. Different yeah, but the Radial sat in the mix and punched out just as well in most situations. Sometimes better than the amp/mic track. Both situations provided very usable bass tracks.
Old 13th October 2018
  #28
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norbury brook's Avatar
 

How about this if you want some grit as well

Bassbone OD - Radial Engineering


M
Old 15th October 2018
  #29
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audioforce's Avatar
 

I second the vote for the Avalon U-5. It just sounds real good on lots of stuff. Making records all day long.

Also, the Evil Twin [Eclair Engineering] is top-shelf, particularly for bass.

There's a bunch of good stuff out there, actually, but those two are up there for sure.


audioforce
Old 15th October 2018
  #30
Gear Maniac
All good choices.
I got an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro head, and I'm so happy about that one; lots of different tones, a bit of dirt if needed, eq, etc ...
Brilliant stuff.

Ale
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