whats the best way to record bass?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by regotheamigo, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I am a guitarist and need to lay down some bass stuff for my recordings and just wanted opinions on the best way to record the bass in the mix? Off to one side, straight down the middle, stereo? Thanks
     
  2. elambo

    elambo Member

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    It's almost always down the middle, maybe off to one side very slightly, and in mono. Sometimes it's cool to throw a chorus on the bass track to spread it out a little, but that begins to sound dated very quickly.

    The bass will end up working closely alongside the kick drum. You could pan the kick slightly to one side and the bass slightly to the other side, but try to make sure that the frequencies of each aren't so similar that they mask one another. It's standard practice to decide which will take the lowest frequencies, which will take the frequencies above, and eq accordingly.
     
  3. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Ya what elambo said is accurate. I would also add that most of my best results have been to record the bass direct. Unless you have a excellent amp, and mic-mic pre combo miking up an amp is tricky. When I have done it I have had really good gear to do it with and I still usually end up mixing in the D.I. signal with the amp.
     
  4. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    thanks for the replies. Basically all I have is a bass, and I was either gonna record it direct with my new RNP or record it with my Line 6 Guitar Port which has 5 or 6 bass rig set ups. Its cool because its already got the effects set up like what a bassist would do. How it sounds recorded I don't know. Hopefully good.
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    What elambo said. I record direct 'cause I don't have a bass amp, but sometimes I use a SansAmp Bass Driver DI which simulates amp overdrive rather well. Sometimes I blend the SansAmp track with a clean direct track (a Basso suggestion).

    I've found that the tone up front is very important. With bass it's hard to boost frequencies where there there's almost nothing happening, or to cut really strong frequencies without killing everything, so getting it pretty close to "right" before rolling tape is important. I like presence in the bass; bass tone that's too deep and ball-shaking with little happening above the fundamental I find very difficult to mix with the kick to get a clean separation.
     
  6. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Yes, imo, for the guitarist recording bass, direct is the way to go. I mean come on.......Thud, thud, bunga, bunga, thud, thud, thud, thud.....danga, danga, danga, p-tang, p-tang, dungada, dungada, dungada, boop, boop.. Thud, thud, thud.........


    No, really....
    For laying down basic/demo tracks, going direct has always been my best bet.

    M.E.
     
  7. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    For bass, I like direct through a good pre. I usually mix mine mostly center (usually just a hair off to one side) or dead center.
     
  8. JackC

    JackC Member

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    The SansAmp Bass Driver is an awesome recording tool - especially when used in conjunction with something else. I tend to like a bit of an aggresive bass tone. I runs the lows through the Sansamp and run a separate signal through a guitar rig (usually a POD Marshall sim) with the bass rolled down. You can get a really full signal that way. The Sansamp lets you split the signal and run an unaffected line into something else. Very handy.
     
  9. wolf9309

    wolf9309 Member

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    My personal favorite way to record bass is combine direct through a good tube pre and a bit of a fairly bright mic on the cab. Covers the whole spectrum pretty well
     
  10. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Ampeg B-15 > MD421 or RE20 > API preamp. It's been done for 35+ years for a damn good reason.
     
  11. jbird327

    jbird327 Member

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    I usually just go direct but just tried some using a Bass Pod Pro. I would record dry and then eq/comp later. I center the bass along with the bass drum.
     
  12. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Nothing new here from me.

    As to panning, I'd concur with what's already been said. Either straight up center, or with the kick drum and bass guitar very slightly offset, L & R. If I'll also be adding a baritone guitar, I'll pan bass and baritone slightly, as well. Either way, we're talking 11:00 and 1:00, not hard L & R. Some Beatles and Sly & the Family Stone records had drums panned hard to one side, and if you're going for a retro-cool approach, this of course changes everything.

    My typical approach with electric bass guitars is to route through a Demeter tube preamp, direct to the board. Sounds great. Occasionally, I track with an Epiphone acoustic-electric bass, and I'll split a direct signal and a mic'ed signal. However, if the mic'ed signal is used at all, I must say that it's little or nothing; perhaps as a bit of spice, but the DI signal has always been the overwhelming default choice.

    Unless I was going for some ultra-funky lo-fi thing, I couldn't imagine mic'ing an electric bass guitar through a bass amp. I've tried it, and it's simply too problematic and high maintenance for general purposes. I've not yet recorded an upright, which is of course an entirely different beast.
     
  13. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Putting the bass dead center gets the left and right LF drivers of a pair of speakers excursing exactly simultaneously and the same amount. This gives you maximum impact in my experience. That is, of course, if that's what you're going for.

    You can get a totally acceptable tone going direct, but I second the notion of an old ampeg B-15 (I actually use a tube B-25 through a single 15," similar character but cheaper). You'll want to make sure you get that speaker up off the floor and experiment with mic placement if you go that route. The amp can add the low-end presence and you get the articulation from the DI. Experimentation is a much better teacher than a message board.
     
  14. Mayor McCheese

    Mayor McCheese Member

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    Use the Guitar Port. I use a Tone Port and the Tom Sawyer patch, sounds great.

    I pan my bass slightly off center just to get it off the kick a nudge.
     
  15. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    If you have an ampeg amp or better , and split the signal before the amp to a nice compressor unit , like UREI to get the lowest bass nicely compressed... then mix the two signals to taste. Put it in the middle traditionally or wherever you want hippiestyle.
     
  16. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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  17. 2012studios

    2012studios Member

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    use the RNP, and then a multi-band comp plug if you have it, with a side-chain triggered by the kick. otherwise, a regular compressor is fine.

    usually down the center, can be panned slightly left or right (or both) to leave a little room for the kick and/or vocal. ride the bass fader if needed.
    don't be afraid to automate before starting in with the compressors.

    it can also be panned to either side. there really are no rules... but generally, when you're talking about rock records, the bass is centered or close to it.

    good luck. great bass tone can be elusive. from my experience 95% of it comes from the player.
     

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