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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, any tips on getting a good bass sound when recording? I am using Reaper studio and a Mustang bass going through a DI box straight into my mixer. ( has built in interface)
Not happy with the sound at all. Tried different tone variations on the mixer but still sounds crappy . Any tips or what am i missing here?
Thanks
 

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How does it sound in context, in the mix? Nobody would say this is the greatest isolated tone. Also, What's Going On is almost a perfect album in terms of songwriting, production, engineering and performance.

 

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What is VST buddy? I really suck at all this new tech stuff
Virtual something something. But essentially amps or effects ran with your recording software. A bass DI wont sound like much of anything, gotta run the signal through a preamp pedal, real amp or pre/amp vst. I would start looking at youtube tutorials for the gear you have.
 

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As a starting point, I try to make an electric bass sound as much like a real bass in a wooden room first using EQ, room reverb, gain / compression taming.

moving forward from that, I then colour it with other stuff or up the gain for effect.

It‘s a good starting point to shape from. Same with drums. The goal should be to start with a nice woody acoustic natural sound and then manipulate to your liking from there. I do the same with guitar amps.

Mic’s are at least 1 -3 feet away, and I’m looking for a bit of air and no boom from bass or tang from treble. Just a flat response and a touch of controlled room.
 

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Virtual something something. But essentially amps or effects ran with your recording software. A bass DI wont sound like much of anything, gotta run the signal through a preamp pedal, real amp or pre/amp vst. I would start looking at youtube tutorials for the gear you have.
I have recorded bass directly from an amp (not miced) to my DAW. Is that different from just going straight through a DI? What I do is fix it using plugins in Reaper. I get decent bass out of it. So would it be a bit different if I connect through the xlr output of an amp as opposed to a DI box?

@marcos Have you tried using the plugins that came with Reaper to tailor the sound of the bass you recorded?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have recorded bass directly from an amp (not miced) to my DAW. Is that different from just going straight through a DI? What I do is fix it using plugins in Reaper. I get decent bass out of it. So would it be a bit different if I connect through the xlr output of an amp as opposed to a DI box?

@marcos Have you tried using the plugins that came with Reaper to tailor the sound of the bass you recorded?
So you used the XLR out from the bass amp to mixer correct?
 

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I go from a EHX Battalion DI into a Focusrite 2i2 interface into Reaper. I record the dry tone. Then I add some plugins compression, eq and sometimes an amp sim. Google bass plugins for Reaper. A place to start is a free plugin. This one is pretty good. Live Guitar and Bass Bundle LE
This is what I was talking about. Record it dry and add all the effects using plugins. Mind you I am in no way an expert in this but I thought it was the easiest way for me to come up with a decent bass sound.
 

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Yes. You've seen the Yorkville bass amp right? I just connect from the XLR output to my mixer/daw.
Yeah that’s a DI signal. Most bass amps have a DI out these days.

This is what I was talking about. Record it dry and add all the effects using plugins. Mind you I am in no way an expert in this but I thought it was the easiest way for me to come up with a decent bass sound.
Can get good results with plugins or preamp pedals. A line6 hx stomp would work well here too.
 

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This is what I was talking about. Record it dry and add all the effects using plugins. Mind you I am in no way an expert in this but I thought it was the easiest way for me to come up with a decent bass sound.
Forgot to mention that if you optimize the tone on it’s own it will probably not cut through in the mix. It may be very muddy in the mix. You need to optimize it for the mix. Once optimized for the mix, playing the isolated bass track may not sound that good.
 

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I've recorded different bassists using different techniques. For my own original stuff I was using an AKG D112 on a 15" bass amp speaker and experimenting with the positioning to get the sound I wanted (usually pretty close, a bit off center). Most bass players I worked with for cover demos would record themselves through DI and send me the files but I always felt is sounded a bit flat and dead (I prefer live recording). However, for DI recordings, I found the best results were with the Tech 21 SansAmp.
 

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Gonna grab my son in laws bass pre-amp and try it. If that wont work will get his bass amp.
I like DI rather than microphone. A preamp will get you where you wanna be.

[VST/plug-in/EQ/compression/etc "in the box" are generally free, so they can help if you don't have decent hardware. But I am not a fan.]

I found an improvement by using a nice tube preamp with a good 12a_7 (vintage Brimar). I don't spend a lot of time & effort on production. I am no expert, but I think I am at the same level as you, and the preamp idea will get you there for now. I think.
 

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Forget the DI; mic it. DIs are not necessarily better (though yes they can be the ticket); their selling point is isolation which does not apply outside of a live or band-at-once recording context. Get it through the amp sounding good in the room, then try micing the speaker. Something with more bass than a 57 (though a 57 will do); a large diaphram dynamic (EV RE20, Sennheisser MD421 etc) or a condensor. Then try moving that mic back away a yard or 2. If you just have a 57/58 (take off the ball) you may need to EQ some bass in as you move it back. You can even try mixing that with DI signal (sometimes it is better to add a micro delay, not echoes, a single repeat micro delay with no dry) to get the DI in phase with the mic'd track (longer signal chain means it can be a microsecond, usually a bit less behind the direct signal) but sometimes it is not needed/sounds cool; subtle thickening chorusy effect. If you want dirt, give it more than you think - the recording will come out cleaner than it sounds in the room.

+1 to what was said re solo tone vs contextually in the mix. Being a bit abrasive/clanky disapears in the mix but helps the bass cut through without adding mud. A deep round dubby solo'd sound will tend to get lost in the mix unless it is a really sparse arrangement (i.e. like dub reggae). If that's what you're going for, get some flats, roll off the tone, use the neck pickup, play fingerstyle vs pick, and DI (or mic the amp, but DI can be better for dubbiness as it will tend to have less noise than the mic'd amp route which can poke through more in a sparse arrangement).
 

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Bass is one of the easier instruments to track. You can get all "fancy" about it,( mic-ing etc.) or simply bass/pre-amp/straight into your interface.

Recording bass is one area where "modelers" actually impress me.
 
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