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Best way to record direct bass with minimal gear?
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Bbd
Presonoid
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Joined: 01/08/2012 23:30:41
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After much experimenting, I have found that recording a direct bass in the following manner gives me the best resolution. Do you have any suggestions to improve upon this workflow?

1. Bass guitar to direct box with 0 db pad.
2. Direct box to Alesis MICTube Duo Stereo Preamp (sorry, it's all I own in a tube micpre).
3. The Alesis MICTube is set to about 20% tube overdrive on it which seems to add a little warmth. I drive the output close to zero DB on the peaks.
4. Alesis MICTube to Zoom R24 xlr in. The R24 is my DAW interface.
5. R24 to an S1 audio track. I drive the R24 at about 0 db on the peaks.
6. I have setup an input EFX (so that they are recorded into S1) for:
a. Gate
b. Tuner
c. Limiter (Limiter is set to -1 db threshold. I drive the limiter at about 8.4 db input level which slightly levels the peaks by about 4 db. I record the input level at -1 db which gives me a nice full waveform.
d. On the mixer channel, I add an EQ and Low Cut at 60 hz and High Cut at 10K.

I use an Ibanez Micro bass and play with my fingers.

All in all, this setup works. How do you like to record direct bass?

Thanks.

Bbd

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/06/2013 20:03:14

Bbd

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mikejantram
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Joined: 25/07/2012 04:40:09
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seems far too complex for my tastes.. i always run direct to my FS projects, and into S1. a little tweaking and im done.. compression, a little low boost and thats about it.. the active pickups on the Ernie ball Music man sound amazing just plugging right in and touching up a hair with some inserts
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apdeluc1
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Joined: 14/12/2011 17:00:28
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^ This. No need to overcomplicate it. Any halfway decent bass sounds great recorded direct into a FireStudio or AudioBox. And Studio One has more than enough options to tweak it to your preferred sound with little effort. Even the bass presets in Studio One are passable.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 02/06/2013 04:42:30

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matthewgorman
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Joined: 24/02/2011 21:30:31
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I will disagree slightly with the previous 2 posters. I have never been thrilled with the bass sound directly into the instrument combo jacks. A friend of mine turned me on to switchcraft di box (sc900), which has Jensen transformers. Made a huge difference. The gain structure is different when you plug into the combo jacks with 1/4" vs xlr. From there I re-amp out to my ampeg. I prefer to record totally dry, and have 100% control of processing in the daw. Some of my biggest mistakes have been effects.

Although from the previous poster, I can imagine that Ernie ball would sound good if you threw a mic on the strings and recorded that.
Matt

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rluk
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Joined: 11/03/2011 13:13:02
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I really would keep the chain as clean as possible. I see no point using some cheap stuff in front of it, unless I really-really like the sound.
Di, or direct in (depending the quality of di box).
And as for printing effects, I d have to be 100% sure that i don't want to tweak them later.
Bbd
Presonoid
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rluk wrote:I really would keep the chain as clean as possible. I see no point using some cheap stuff in front of it, unless I really-really like the sound.
Di, or direct in (depending the quality of di box).
And as for printing effects, I d have to be 100% sure that i don't want to tweak them later.


Hi rluck,

Thanks for your input.

What I am learning is that in my case, the best source bass tone is now the one that goes through a tube preamp first and then a limiter just to tame the peaks a little. The result for me is a much better bass tone (rounder and warmer) than going direct and trying to get this tone later. In fact, I cannot achieve this tone later. For all my recording life, I have been going direct with the same thought that I would adjust the sound later. For bass, I have now realized that improving the source input really helps.

I could split off the signal and have one go direct and another go through the preamp but have decided it is not worth the trouble.

Bbd

Bbd

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rluk
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Joined: 11/03/2011 13:13:02
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I hear ya, sometimes the funny little box you have laying in the corner has the sound you've been looking for years!
And ofcourse getting sound right on the way in definately has its benefits, like you are actually "playing" the effects.
My post was more of a general nature, that if one does not know what they are doing, then less is always more.

Glad to hear that you got your sound down the way you like it!
jdps150
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Bass->Ampeg BA-112 line out->FS tube input

Putting a plug in the headphone jack on the amp mutes the speaker too
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Rangersam
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If I had to remain relevant to the title I would say this.

If you have an active bass, you can pretty much use a 'line in'. Active basses will drive a line level input without a problem. As far as levels are concerned, most interfaces these days have settings to shift between "+4" or "-10", and depending on your bass one of these will be fine. As long as the level to track is above -20, it will work fine.

If you have a passive bass, you will need a high impedance input. If you don't have one, the easiest way to turn a line input into a high impedance input is to use any guitar FX pedal that utilizes 'buffered bypass'. If you don't know what this is, it is just the opposite of 'true bypass' that everyone seems to like these days (despite it having its own limitations). If you are unsure whether a pedal is buffered bypass or not, try it without a battery. If you get no sound when activating the switch, it's buffered. True bypass will give you sound on one switch position even without a battery.

You use the FX pedal in bypass mode and plug into any line input. Once again, you don't really have any level control, but you will be fine as long as the level is above -20.

This second technique even has some advantages. It's super low noise, and depending on the pedal you use, can have excellent clarity. You will also be free of AC noise if you use a battery.

I've used this 'fx pedal' technique with great success (in my living room setup). There seems to be loads of cheap 2nd hand pedals around these days due to the progress of DSP based sound.

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