The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
bass guitar- micing amps vs. di ....etc.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #1
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
bass guitar- micing amps vs. di ....etc.

Ok, for the past few months i've been using only a di sound for bass guitar. Of course the variables have been different players, different bass guitars, different preamps, sometimes going through amp heads first, sometimes using things like sansamp, sometimes played with a pick, sometimes with fingers, sometimes with dead strings, sometimes with brand new out of the pack strings...etc......

phew...ok. So my results are mixed, of course. In general i'm pretty satisfied but...

So what am i missing by not using a bass amp?

How many people here use bass amps FIRST and that is their "go-to" sound (rather than a di)?

What do you gain by "mixing" di and mic'ed amp?

What amps are your favorites in the studio? Which ones should be avoided like the plague?

Are there certain types of music where a mic'ed bass is more appropriate than a di sound? (and please use something more specific than "rock" if you could...please name some bands or songs to help me understand the differences in sounds)

Ok...i guess that's enough to satisfy my curiosity for the moment. As you can tell, I don't have a bass amp in the studio and many people come here with a crate or something similar so rather than wasting our time i just reach for the DI and usually i like it. I'm just looking to learn about what i have experience with.

Thanks!!!!
Old 23rd December 2002
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I almost always take the amp and a DI. Sometimes it's only a DI but that's on sessions where time is really limited. The amp can add many things ranging from more problems to good or better sound. It really depends on what the player dials up on the amp. Stick a 9 band EQ on a bass amp and you can get all kinds of tones... Some of them might even be halfway decent.

Right now the bass in on the current project just doesn't sound right without the amp. He's got a solid state SVT and an 8x10 cab, we tried a few other amps but kept coming back to this. I don't think there are many "bad" bass amps except for the Harkte cabs. Those things are totally useless IMHO. Aluminum speakers... yeah right. I have a little SWR combo here that sounds decent enough, Ampeg is pretty much a standard that you can't go too wrong with. Eden stuff is also great but is on the expensive side.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
IMHO...mostly its the bass itself....we use three or four here...and they all sound great di or amp........65 p-bass, stock......80's yamaha 5string with active pu's....56 p-bass w/ the single coil bar p/u,stock.......a newer martin acoustic bass w/fishman system....these all sound distinct and they fret perfectly so you get all the note......for amps we use an swr workingmans 160 head...this acts as our di for the bass also.....its very nice and the impedance matches well....also an old ampeg b-15 is available....mostly we use this amp head on the 120 leslie.....we also have an ampeg pre which is the svt pre ..compleet with toobes....for cabs we use custom built Harvey Gerlitz cabs ...a 2-10 w/ev's and a single 15 with ev....but really even with all this stuff the SOUND has to be from the bass first and then have a bassist with good hands to make it sound good all the time......
Old 23rd December 2002
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

This is probably the most troublesome instrument to record and I am looking to forward to learning from others successes. So a big BUMP.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #5
Here for the gear
 

as a bass player and mediocre tracking/recording guy the setup that i have had some success with is a steinberger (ok in the studio but a little dated for playing live) run into a peavey Mark III head into a 18" cabinet. I'll mic the cabinet with a D112 right against the grill and also run a di. Both go thru a FATSO to hard disk. I find that I don't always use both signals but it's nice to have them available. most of the time i'll get the grit or bite that I need from the amp'ed signal and a rounder tone from the di (although I think the gritty part is just as much from guitar as the amp).

for me I thought there was a huge difference once I got the FATSO. i don't remember the settings that I use but it's usually always tracked with the tranny in. for me it really helped to bring out the bass in the mix without taking up too much space.

since jay just finished mixing the stuff that I tracked, i'll let him weigh in (if he desires) and see if he thought the bass tracks were any good. (no offense jay if you didn't, i'll use it as a learning opportunity

- neil
Old 24th December 2002
  #6
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Actually the bass on Neil's project sounded great for the most part. It needed little work to make it fit into the track. Usually just a little compression from an 1176 or a Demeter VTCL-2a and just a little EQ from the console or a Daking 52270. I usually high passed it or EQ'd in a little growl or took some out. I tended to favor the DI which had more mids then the amp. The amp had way more top and bottom and I used either very little to none.

Anyway, the project I'm tracking now has at least an equal mix of amp and DI and we're favoring the amp by a bit. The DI was a regular BSS into a VMP-2 and an Aphex Expressor. The amp has an AT4031 (small diaphragm condensor) off-axis into a 1272 and 1176. It's all printed to 2" at 15ips, +9/185.
Old 24th December 2002
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I generally use a mic and a DI. I get more of the low-end euphoric tone form a mic and more definition form the DI. I use two tracks mostly and that way I can tailor the mix. I just mixed something with a wonderful bass player who is super tasteful and accurate. He does some very interesting two-handed things. On one song the bass handles the outro. It has a sustained low note on the low B and a melody on the higher frets of the higher strings. Alone neither the mic or DI worked, but the combination made the part sing. Of course as stated the player is fantastic and was playing a Ken Smith bass, which is awesome.
Old 24th December 2002
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

I use an Ampeg B-15. Fairly low volume. I bought the re-issue when it first came out (got rid of my old one). It gives you mid range and 100 watts over the older ones. On heavy stuff, I may crank it at 50 watts and get a bit of overdrive. I used to have an Ampeg SB-12 that sounded just like a tube SVT in a track when it was driven hard. Wish I still had it, (anyone have one they want to sell?)

Mics and pres, compressors change around depending on sound and vibe. Either Vipre, Neve or API with LA-2A or 1176. Avalon DI.

Hopefully the bass is a 4 string, no active electronics (unless a Music Man) and NO trendy knurled, bird's eye wood. Fender P bass is always a good start, especially from 60s.
Old 24th December 2002
  #9
Gear Nut
 
ROBB007's Avatar
 

Bas amps vs-di ?

I think miking a 4-10 cab with a D-12 and d-i ing with a great mic pre like a Avalon 737 really can yield great results .Mind you the problem with alot of young players is the bass.Find a solid jazz with great frets and a set of Rotosounds and your talking solid rock tone and easy to shelve with a kick drum.I have also had great results with old Fender pre basses and there growly throaty tones along side a Ampeg v4b ,they are only 100 watts so you can really lean into the preamps .Then di into say a Manly or Avalon . I learned these tricks from Jack Richardson[ALICE COPPER ,BOB SEGER ,THE GUESS WHO ,THE WHO ,KISS.




Good luck
Rob Begg
Marpole studios
Vancouver bc
Old 24th December 2002
  #10
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I've heard quite a few producers say "That's great, but can you make it sound more like a Fender?" Not every bass has to be a Fender but it's pretty hard to fuck up a good J or P-bass.
Old 9th November 2010
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I generally use a mic and a DI. I get more of the low-end euphoric tone form a mic and more definition form the DI. I use two tracks mostly and that way I can tailor the mix. I just mixed something with a wonderful bass player who is super tasteful and accurate. He does some very interesting two-handed things. On one song the bass handles the outro. It has a sustained low note on the low B and a melody on the higher frets of the higher strings. Alone neither the mic or DI worked, but the combination made the part sing. Of course as stated the player is fantastic and was playing a Ken Smith bass, which is awesome.
I love the Avalon 737 DI on bass!
But If I use it i can't send the instrument signal to the amplifier because the avalon have not intrument link!!
I would miking my bass cabinet, and mix the avanlon DI signal and the mic signal!!!
How can I do?? It's not possible???

Thanks!!
Old 9th November 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nsound View Post
I love the Avalon 737 DI on bass!
But If I use it i can't send the instrument signal to the amplifier because the avalon have not intrument link!!
I would miking my bass cabinet, and mix the avanlon DI signal and the mic signal!!!
How can I do?? It's not possible???

Thanks!!
This (multiple duplicate) post was also answered in this thread, FWIW. .
Old 10th November 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

What do you gain by "mixing" di and mic'ed amp?

it´s hard to get the lows from the amp and the dirt from di

What amps are your favorites in the studio? Which ones should be avoided like the plague?

everytrhing that worx is your friend, try
whats cool imo is sansamp stuff and this little stomp bass multiband from nothern europe, can´t remember right now (blue/black)
it´s cool
nothing else needed for me than a bass that is a bass and a player that is player ^^
Old 10th November 2010
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop View Post
How many people here use bass amps FIRST and that is their "go-to" sound (rather than a di)?

What do you gain by "mixing" di and mic'ed amp?

What amps are your favorites in the studio? Which ones should be avoided like the plague?

Are there certain types of music where a mic'ed bass is more appropriate than a di sound? (and please use something more specific than "rock" if you could...please name some bands or songs to help me understand the differences in sounds)

Thanks!!!!
Mic is my go-to 99% of the time. I used to try in mix in a DI (because everyone online says to) but it always ended up getting muted because I could get everything I needed from the mic.

Prefer all tube heads but whatever suits. Also prefer Ampeg (or similar) cabs but again whatever suits. The only ones I would "avoid" would be super transparent hifi rigs, if the rig isn't adding character you might as well DI (unless you want some room sound or something).

Hard to say when it's "appropriate", but I find that as soon as there is any overdrive mic is the only way.

Just my opinion, and let it be said that I am in the minority here.
Old 10th November 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by timi View Post
Mic is my go-to 99% of the time. I used to try in mix in a DI (because everyone online says to) but it always ended up getting muted because I could get everything I needed from the mic.

Prefer all tube heads but whatever suits. Also prefer Ampeg (or similar) cabs but again whatever suits. The only ones I would "avoid" would be super transparent hifi rigs, if the rig isn't adding character you might as well DI (unless you want some room sound or something).

Hard to say when it's "appropriate", but I find that as soon as there is any overdrive mic is the only way.

Just my opinion, and let it be said that I am in the minority here.
The issue is that oftentimes, the sound of the cab is dialled in to have phatness and balls and together with a bit of room that the mic is picking up, may sound great, but may be too much or not cut through enough when it comes to the mix.

Having captured the DI of the same take enables the mix engineer to blend to taste to dial back the flab if the phatness is overwhelming the mix, and to balance with sharper edges of the clean signal enough to slide into the mix. Worst case, you can reamp off the DI track if it's just not working.

It's not so much that there's a right or wrong way, and where you are at the point where you know it will work out right each time doing it just one way or the other, then that's fine and there should be no argument. In other cases, having some choices and a "fallback position" is prudent.
Old 11th November 2010
  #16
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
you can also use a guitar amp as the amp part of the tone, if you don't turn it up too loud (can ruin a speaker). lots of people used to use these amps interchangeably back in the day (not so much anymore) Showman, Bassman, Marshall Plexi, Selmer, Silvertone
Old 11th November 2010
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

I've had awesome results with an sm7 right up on an ampeg 8x10 or 1x15. I usually place it right where the dust cap meets the cone, just like a guitar amp. I've been pretty happy with what I've been getting. I always take a DI but I rarely mix it with the mic.
Old 11th November 2010
  #18
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I think it's been mentioned, but matching basses to DIs to preamps can be a "thing" too. One player with a passive bass with old strings on it thought a radial JDI through a transformer coupled "colored" preamp thought the sound was "too muddy." I plan to add a transformerless active DI to address this situation. Somebody else liked the sound, however. I thought a good balance was running the JDI (with jensen transformer inside) into a millenia style (clean/transparent, transformerless) preamp.
Old 11th November 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 

DI.

or

DI.

I have a 65 ampeg b15n and I still, 99% of the time DI. And I love that amp with all my heart... Unbelieveable tone. But for tracking... DI.

Tighter, mixes easier, translates better, I could go on and on...

If you usually pick an amp over a DI, you must have one crappy DI...

Why get a mic between the pickup and the recorder... Its not like a guitar... Yeah sometimes an amp is just what the doctor ordered but not most of the time... AND its easier? AND it makes overdubs a BREEZE?...

Come on guys...
Old 11th November 2010
  #20
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
that's funny!
heh
Old 11th November 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Ron Vogel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I think it's been mentioned, but matching basses to DIs to preamps can be a "thing" too. One player with a passive bass with old strings on it thought a radial JDI through a transformer coupled "colored" preamp thought the sound was "too muddy." I plan to add a transformerless active DI to address this situation. Somebody else liked the sound, however. I thought a good balance was running the JDI (with jensen transformer inside) into a millenia style (clean/transparent, transformerless) preamp.
I was able to get some killer growl with my bass through a Marshall class 5...it's arguably a better bass amp than a guitar amp, but I still mix a DI/mic'd combo.

Building a "dual purpose" guitar/bass amp right now. It's a 12W push/pull 6v6 with a blackface front end (switchable to tweed), with a switchable ultralinear output... looks great on paper; hope it can replace my champ (which I would NEVER attempt to run a bass throguh)
Old 11th November 2010
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
margusalviste's Avatar
I use mostly Millenia TD1 as a tube pre/DI and different amps for mic'ed sound. I also have an Ampeg Tube Di. As for the pop, jazz, funk, world music etc I mostly use Epifani rig (UL502, 4x10) or Acoustic Image head/Schroeder 1210 cab. Sometimes I have used guitar amps for the mids and drive. Works nicely with the lows and highs from the DI. It's all about getting the right frequences and growl. Sometimes DI sound too sterile and HiFi compared to mic'ed instruments/amps.
NB! Stay away from Markbass cabinets!!! They are worse than Hartke. Their heads are OK though.
Old 12th November 2010
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by McDingus View Post
Why get a mic between the pickup and the recorder... Its not like a guitar... Yeah sometimes an amp is just what the doctor ordered but not most of the time... AND its easier? AND it makes overdubs a BREEZE?...

Come on guys...
Personally, I just do it to baffle and annoy you... it has nothing to do with being a lot more fun and recording a better tone while I play.


Cheers,

Otto
Old 12th November 2010
  #24
Gear Head
 

DI stands for doody injection. try getting a big sweet tube bass amp with killer sound in a big old room and place a sweet tube LDC like a pearlman 12 feet away or more from it. you know those bass frequencies take up a lot of space, so give em some room :D
Old 12th November 2010
  #25
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
another thing I was just reading about is parallel processing of bass. Apparently it's a widely known "secret" that duplicating your bass track and running it through some kind of distortion effect, and mixing in a little bit of that track with the original can give the bass a bit of definition in the mix without sounding obviously "distorted."

I haven't tried this I just thought it was a cool idea.
Old 12th November 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Jerrick's Avatar
 

Our bassist runs through a sansamp (all tone settings almost maxed), that runs into the front of his ampeg (all tone and separate eq settings almost maxed). The way he sets his sansamp adds some distortion to his tone, and a weird highend presence, its like it sits on top of the bass tone and not blending. Its weird, but he likes it. When the sansamp is engaged he doesnt have as much low end either.

My plan is to DI out of the sansamp, just to hear what that sounds like on its own, then DI out of his ampeg so I get his sansamp+ampeg tone, then a mic off axis or a sub-kick to grab as much low end rumble, a regular close-mic and a room mic a few feet back. That should be enough that I can mess with his tone a lot, or just mute all the track and just use the DI signal, or the mic signal depending on the song.

I generally like a micd sound more then a DI sound. On our last cd we did the clean DI, duplicated it and added some distortion and mixed that in. It sounds good, but its kind of missing something.
Old 12th November 2010
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
danetate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
you can also use a guitar amp as the amp part of the tone
I have used my Carvin Nomad mixed with DI to add growl and midrange while the DI provides the bottom.
Old 12th November 2010
  #28
Gear Head
 

Ususally I'll use a Sansamp BDDI, When tweaked right it will always work well enough. Sometimes in the mix I've used Cab/Mic impulses and it sometimes helps. IME with AMPs, (I've got a Trace elliot series 6 with a black widow speaker,) It's a little harder to get right. BUT if the stuff is punk rock or 80's rock I'd try the amp for sure. for times you need a good "smooth across the spectrum" sound, It's best to just go DI unless you have a good amp and a lot of time. I've only used the amp track in the mix a few times. Usually rather then spend an hour with different mics and positions I'll just suggest the BDDI because...I know it works.


But when the amp does work it, It definitely feels different in the track.
📝 Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
♾️ Similar Threads
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump