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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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:





 

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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.
 

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NSLALP
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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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Dream Crusher
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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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How about something like this?







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


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. :jj:
 

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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.

 

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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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Also, my ear isn't good enough to give you a good estimation of what the emphasis is, but to me it sounds like Stu Hamm has a LOT of lower midrange going in that bass tone.

Listen to how everything fits together, in the mix - the bulk of the body in the low end is in the low-mids of the bass, with the guitar coming in where the bass stops and the kick drum's attack poking out above, with a bit of the meat and thunk of the kick below the bass. Why that tone works for that album is the way everything fits around everything else.
 

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\m/ Tits & Beer \m/
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I personally like the bass tone of Justin Chancellor from Tool, John Myung and Dave Larue… that kind of cutting/clanky bass tone that's not too harsh in the mix, but is also articulate enough to decipher without much strain on the ears. I know shit about Axe-Fx programming. This is about as far as I get with it…



...in retrospect the above doesn't even hit close to home. LOL

For metal, I prefer pick all the way because the attack is more consistent than using fingers. I tend to EQ fingerstyle bass playing much differently than pick style, focusing more on balancing low mids around 300-400hz, (depending on the bassist and how hard she/he plays) and boosting 3-4hz a bit to allow each note to be heard as much as possible. For pick it's much easier to dial in a tone, imho. I couldn't even tell you what I do for pickstyle bass
because my bassist is all fingers.
 

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NSLALP
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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?
Yes. You could even recombine them within the Axe-Fx. Split the signal through a pair of filter blocks (one highpass, one lowpass), then amp them and tweak them accordingly, and re-sum them with a mixer. Where should his crossover be, and how steep?
 

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Dream Crusher
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Yes. You could even recombine them within the Axe-Fx. Split the signal through a pair of filter blocks (one highpass, one lowpass), then amp them and tweak them accordingly, and re-sum them with a mixer. Where should his crossover be, and how steep?
My Sub-Lime bass fuzz pedal has a low pass filter that goes anywhere from 250 to 500 Hz. I usually leave it around 400 Hz.
 

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NSLALP
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My Sub-Lime bass fuzz pedal has a low pass filter that goes anywhere from 250 to 500 Hz. I usually leave it around 400 Hz.
Cool, so you just get some compressed subsonic rumble under a nice clean mid and top end? :yesway:

Chris, if you want to try this, try using a fuzz block on the low end of some kind and drive it into a bass amp, and try using your preferred bass amp on the top end as well. You could even try just using the "Tube Pre" amp for the top end - just a nice warm flat signal.

I'd audition each half of the signal separately - get the bass tight and punchy, and get the top end to have the bite you're looking for. Then combine them and tweak from there, for example playing with the crossover point.
 

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Dream Crusher
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Cool, so you just get some compressed subsonic rumble under a nice clean mid and top end? :yesway:
The opposite actually. Distort the upper mids and highs, and keep the low end tight, clean, and present.
 

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:lol: I'm not flustered at all, just trying to stress the point that I'm looking for a basic setup that sounds decent, not a 12-tracked bass back end that sounds professional and takes two months to mix.
it's comments like this that make me wonder though. the axe will let you with no more than 6 actions record 2 bass tracks, dirty and clean(if you want) panned to each side. the six actions are cab + amp, on one line, cab and amp on the next line and then panning each line in the output section to left and right.

eazymode.

then since your axe has stereo outs. you connect a cable from the left and right into their own preamp connection on your interface.

eazymode again.

this shit is seriously easy but again, i'll just export my own for you and then you can just adjust the eq to taste a bit. you can even "mix" inside the axe so if you want less dirty then you just punt it down a few db's and you won't even have to mix in reaper. you lazy coont.
 

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What are you looking at?
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Just hit record and go and get your fucking album done. You too Drew.







Sorry, I'm not feeling very helpful today. :spock:
 

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El Kabong
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The rule of thumb I usually start with when setting up a bass tone, especially if it's mainly intended to serve as a compliment to the guitar tone, is to more or less invert the guitar's EQ on the bass. Look at what frequencies are less prominent in the guitars and make that the bass's meat. Then add/subtract from there as needed.

As far as the signal chain goes, I usually keep it pretty simple. Load up the SVT sim and a 4x10 cab, maybe a bit of compression. I wish the Axe-FX had more bass amps and some bass effects. A Tech21 SansAmp Bass Driver would be lovely. Not having one in there, though, for dirt, I use a Rat before the amp and blend it in to taste, usually around or a little under 50% IIRC. You could also split the signal after the amp and have only one side use a cab sim to simulate mixing the direct and miced signals.
 

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Looking at your current settings, the two things that spring immediately to mind:

1.) Compression. You're using what looks like 8:1 compression with a threshold of -30db. Basically, you're compressing the living fuck out of your bass guitar. If you're peaking at 0db, then a signal that just barely passes -30db and one that comes in at 0db are, after that compressor, only going to vary by about 3 1/2 db. Especially before your amp model, that's a tremendous amount of compression. Are those "Analog In" and "Analog out" meters at the top in real time? Plug in, play a note, and then note where the sustain falls to after the immediate peak. Set your threshold around there, and then back off the ratio a lot - I'd start at maybe 2:1 if you're using a moderate amount of gain on the bass amp, 4:1-5:1 if not.

EQ: You're right, part of your problem is you're cranking the fundamental and then killing the treble. I'd leave 62hz pretty flat, try maybe a slight boost (+2db to maybe +6db, experiment jamming along with your guitar tracks and see what you like) from 100-300hz or so, and then start rolling off the high end above 2-4khz.

Also, try switching the Compressor and Amp modules, and running two EQs. I'd do Amp-EQ1-Compressor-EQ2, with the first EQ being your high end rolloff and the second being your slight low-mid boost to strengthen the first harmonic.

EDIT - the goal of these suggestions would be to give your bass more "punch' in the mix, and more thickness and audibility without really adding a heck of a lot to the high end. If that's not what you're after, let me know.
 

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Also, try switching the Compressor and Amp modules, and running two EQs. I'd do Amp-EQ1-Compressor-EQ2, with the first EQ being your high end rolloff and the second being your slight low-mid boost to strengthen the first harmonic.
To elaborate on this, because for me the "why" really helps make the "how" click - an EQ before a compressor changes (duh) what's going into the compressor. If there's something you don't want in the signal, then getting rid of it before the compressor lets the compressor only react to the stuff you DO want. Similarly, if you boost before a compressor, it'll just cause the compressor to trigger earlier and squash down when those frequencies come through.

So, use one EQ to strip away all the garbage you don't want, hit the signal with a compressor, and then use a second EQ to "color" the sound, and boost anything you want to strengthen or reinforce.
 
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