Dialing in good recorded bass tones

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Thread: Dialing in good recorded bass tones

  1. #1

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Boston, MA
    ME: JP6 / Carvin CS4
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    Dialing in good recorded bass tones

    I'm not happy with my bass tone at all, and I think it's got a lot to do with the fact that I've no idea how to dial one in with an active bass. I like my basslines to be tight and clear, without a lot of string noise. That said, I snagged this patch from the Fractal forum, and I think the EQ curve and 100% lack of treble might be part of it.

    Gimme some pointers, bass-types! This is what I'm setup with now:

  2. #2

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    Are you playing with a pick or fingerstyle? What sort of sound do you want, a John Patitucci smooth, warm sound, or a John Myung distorted bright sound?

    I'm no expert, but I certainly wouldn't set either my amp or EQ settings like that. No mids or treble at all will obviously only give you low end rumble. It's only being boosted where the kick drum lives. If you're not making DnB music, you'll probably want some mids in there, and a little treble to let the attack shine through.

    I'm using Pod Farm for my bass tones. I've remixed the Soilwork cover I did since I posted it (it's not available to hear in the same thread). If you dig that bass tone (I'm pretty pleased with it), I'll take some screenshots later when I finish work and post them up.

  3. #3

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    My only nugget of wisdom is you should have a very strong midrange with enough treble to give you the crispness you desire. That EQ does not appear to serve that purpose. Can you tweak the EQ knobs on your guitar, i.e. does the bass have a 3-band?
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  4. #4

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    Finger noise generally = a lot of high treble. If you want a "rock" bass sound and the SVT bass amp sim is any good, I recommend keeping the knobs around noonish, rolling treble back slightly and mids up slightly. Be careful with the drive knob on an SVT as it can scoop your mids and low end right out if it's too low.

    If you are playing pickstyle, feel free to roll off some treble on the bass as well. For more aggressive/cutting sounds with either pick or fingers, I use the bridge pickup with some small amount of active bass boost and occasionally some treble cut.

    Just keep in mind that your bass sound will likely be a little thin and "honky" but punchy, which is kind of where you want it to fit in the frequency spectrum, especially if it's competing with chuggy guitars.

    Also, that EQ is awful. A lot of the "meat" of a good bass sound is in the 500 Hz range, and the sub lows (mostly under 100 Hz or so) just make your mix muddy if boosted too much.
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  5. #5

    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    How about something like this?

    The bass tone I'm shooting for is something like this:

    [VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dMX7IpXnIc]YouTube - Joe Satriani - Up In The Sky[/VIDEO]

    I love how it cuts through the mix (even though my playing is quite a bit heavier than Satch's), but you can't hear any string noise. I want it to compliment the guitar, not shit all over my bottom end. I have JJ's mom for that.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    This isn't the sound you're going after, but you need to watch the video anyway:

    [VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mol6awk_aDo]YouTube - Tutorial: Recording metal Bass guitar at home - The Fearedse way[/VIDEO]

  7. #7

    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    I'm unfamiliar with the Axe FX, are you using a cab sim? Alot of modern bass tones don't involve a cab at all. You might want to do something like mix 30% cab and the rest DIed. Pickstyle vs. Fingerstyle is a huge factor as well. If you have old dull strings thats a huge disservice to the overall tone as well.

    Also, action makes a huge difference for how much "clank" you get. Some people like the Alex Webster kind of clank (as an aside Steve Harris Clank just comes from being a mofo, he plays with super high action). I personally go for a bass sound like this.

    [VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl3mYnJE9dc]YouTube - Helloween - The Time of the Oath[/VIDEO]

  8. #8

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    Chris - I'm not exactly sure what Stu Hamm was running through on that track, but at the very least, that is NOT a clean bass guitar, there's definitely some grit in the signal.

    I'd really advocate trying to bi-amp your signal. Can you set up a stereo patch so that one side is clean and run through something either very low gain or a DI box sim, and another is run through a distorted bass amp? Then, pan both to the center in the mix, sum them in a buss and roll off the high end?

    Another thing - part of the reason that bass tone has so much punch in the mix is that it's really not THAT compressed. The distortion really helps a lot to smooth out the attacks, so you don't need to add much more to that (in fact, if anything, I'd add no more than 2:1 on the bass buss, and instead compress the DI track a fair amount. Let that fill out the body, and the grittier bass handle the attack).

    Bass tone and the low end in my mixes is something that's frustrated me for a long time, but when I started doing this was the point where I started getting results I liked.

    Also worth mentioning - there's not THAT much low end in the guitars here, so if you want this sort of a bass tone you're probably going to have to roll back the bass on your rhythm guitars somewhat too, either on your patches or in the mix (I'd do in the mix, just in case there are any sections you want the bass to drop out, so you can add back the low end to the guitars there).
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