Mixing Bass/ Recording Bass
The Uncreator
Mar 11 2010, 02:02 AM
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Mar 11 2010, 02:02 AM
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Ok so recently I have actually acquired a bass guitar to actually record. Problem is, I never really recorded one, ever. So I was wondering if there is anything I should be aware when recording bass. I have high passed the guitars at about 140 to make some room for the bass, and have the bass high passed at about 90 or 100. These are just settings I have experimented and found a comfortable sound somewhat. Is this a good thing to do? Also, Should bass be double track? I have a feeling it shouldnt but I double track everything with guitar so you never know.

Lastly, when making a "tone" for bass, is there anything I should or shouldnt do to help it sit in the mix better. I'm trying to get a nice beefy low end to hold the songs I have up.


PS

Here is a song with a demo bass track recorded. You can skip to about 1:50 and listen from there until you get an idea. all help is appreciated greatly!

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Attached File  Drift_Of_Light_HiLow.mp3 ( 6.75MB ) Number of downloads: 345
 
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Emir Hot
Mar 11 2010, 04:28 AM
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Mar 11 2010, 04:28 AM
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I think you need more bass on this recording. What I usually do I record raw bass and then tweak it with the EQ. You shoulnd't have too much of high frequencies. Also the guitars should not interfer with bass frequencies. Try to cut those from guitars (20-100 Hz) and bass will just magicaly come out. I have never doubled bass guitar when I was recording but I did record both amp and DI signal at the same time so I could blend 2 different sounds from just one take. I also use analyser like sound spectrum plugin to check whether I have enough bass and the rest. Mixing is sometimes tricky.

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Adrian Figallo
Mar 11 2010, 05:03 PM
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Mar 11 2010, 05:03 PM
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recording and mixing bass is super challenging, i don't recommend to double it, but you can use two separated signals of the same take, and blend for example a cabinet sound with a DI box.

it's cool to take the mids out of the bass, BUT, sometimes it's also good to leave some mid-high freq, hear stone temple pilots, rancid, green day, rush bass sound, the key is roll of the mids, but left some kick wink.gif

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Ivan Milenkovic
Mar 13 2010, 12:28 AM
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Mar 13 2010, 12:28 AM
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I suggest that you don't hipass the bass at 90-100, the main bass sound energy is revolving around 70-90Hz.
Instead, try to cut bellow 40-50Hz with a very sharp hipass, like Wave Broadband EQ, to remove the possibility of loosing the bass energy in the speakers.
Compressor is also very welcomed with bass, but there are many different methods, and no general rules. There is an important aspect of bass in hi mids where the clicks are, but that also depends on the instrument and it is not a general rule.
My advice is to experiment and see what you can find. And be careful with bass, it caries a lot of energy for the whole mix, but it can muddy it up if not handled well.

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The Uncreator
Mar 13 2010, 01:20 AM
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Mar 13 2010, 01:20 AM
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Thanks guys, I'll start experimenting with this stuff now. smile.gif

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Bogdan Radovic
Mar 13 2010, 02:23 AM
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Mar 13 2010, 02:23 AM
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For bass I would recommend getting two signals (at the same time no overdubs) - DI signal and sound from micing the bass amp. Then you can mix both to get a good sound. Amp will give you color and DI will give you structure. Try to capture a really clean bass sound (withouth too much of anything on bass preamp and/or amp). Somewhere around the flat position will be cool. Then when you get a good recording you can EQ the tracks to your needs. Many make the mistake by pumping too many low frequencies. Don't scoop the mids, they will help you cut trough the mix well and provide structure and definition to the notes. Very important part indeed. You don't need to record two bass tracks by playing them two times, don't do that - it doesn't work with bass as it does with guitars.

Apply compression to the bass track, that will really help you get a powerful bass driving sound. Experiment with settings.

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Saoirse O'Shea
Mar 21 2010, 04:31 PM
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Mar 21 2010, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Mar 13 2010, 02:23 AM) *
For bass I would recommend getting two signals (at the same time no overdubs) - DI signal and sound from micing the bass amp. Then you can mix both to get a good sound. Amp will give you color and DI will give you structure. Try to capture a really clean bass sound (withouth too much of anything on bass preamp and/or amp). Somewhere around the flat position will be cool. Then when you get a good recording you can EQ the tracks to your needs. Many make the mistake by pumping too many low frequencies. Don't scoop the mids, they will help you cut trough the mix well and provide structure and definition to the notes. Very important part indeed. You don't need to record two bass tracks by playing them two times, don't do that - it doesn't work with bass as it does with guitars.

Apply compression to the bass track, that will really help you get a powerful bass driving sound. Experiment with settings.


+1 with using both a DI and a mic'ed sound - and this is how many pro mixing engineers prefer to mix bass. Be careful about phase and comb filtering though. And in the same vein check the bass mix in mono.

To mix bass well you really need monitors that can go down to very low frequencies accurately. Not many can do this - some just don't produce bass end at all below 80 Hz.

For eq as Ivan says a lot of the main bass fundamentals are 70-110Hz so you need to look at this area carefully. As Bogdan says the area 110-350 produces a lot of the character of the bass (sort of is the bass a Fender Jazz or a Ricki...) with the mids and so also needs careful eq. You need to focus not just on the fundamental note but also the harmonics as these give a lot of the character - sometimes it is better to eq the harmonics rather than the fundamentals. Bass is quite a dynamic instrument and so often needs compression - try ratios of 3-5 to 1, and adsr settings of about 250ms as a starting point.

One final and very important bit as Ivan says - the bass produces a lot of its bit below 110Hz and can swallow up a lot of overall energy in the frequency spectrum just to get a reasonable level. A consequence of this is if you are trying to produce a (very) loud mix/master you may well have to compromise by cutting out part of the very low/sub bass - hence why some tracks get mastered with a HPF at 40 or so Hz. If you want to HPF then use a gentle slope of say 6 dB per octave.

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Staffy
Mar 21 2010, 05:42 PM
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Mar 21 2010, 05:42 PM
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I've used a plug in called Bass Devil on some recordings with real bass that sounds great. (from Studio Devils range of plug-ins), otherwise I think GR4 or Amplitube will also do agreat job simulating an amp.You can just leave the untouched line-signal for some brightness and then copy it for processing in the lower end. I also suggest that You try to find the frequency where the bass drum is most active and make a dip in the frequency here for the bass. As Ivan says, the bass tends to be most active within 70-90 kHZ something, and if anything needs to be boosted, it shall be here imo. Also watch out for the "ringing" frequency that almost every bass have, except the real good ones - eg. there always use to be one (or more) note(s) that have a stronger output than the others. Preferrable these must be played with care, but also some limiting can take care of this, which has to be done anyway. Be careful with the attack-time on compressors/limiters though, since too short time will result in bass sounding "baffled" and too long will cause it to "pump". A common trick that I think Paal mentioned is to overdub the bass one octave lower with synth-bass and then keep that low level-wise. I think that one will fit Your music... smile.gif

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Saoirse O'Shea
Mar 21 2010, 05:57 PM
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Mar 21 2010, 05:57 PM
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QUOTE (Staffy @ Mar 21 2010, 05:42 PM) *
...A common trick that I think Paal mentioned is to overdub the bass one octave lower with synth-bass and then keep that low level-wise. ...

//Staffay



Absolutely - you can use this very effectively to produce a sub drop; something that is quite common in metal and in techno and some house.

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The Uncreator
Mar 21 2010, 06:10 PM
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Mar 21 2010, 06:10 PM
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Thanks guys, this is helping out a lot!

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Gabriel Leopardi
Mar 21 2010, 06:10 PM
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Nice topic. There are many cool ideas here! My experience with basses has been recording the same signal twice in most of the cases. Sometimes I used a Sansamp in one of the signal and an Aguilar preamp in the other one. Other times I used a dry signal and a Sansamp signal and the other combination that I used has been a Sansamp signal and a mic'ed (with a SM57 mic) signal. Some time ago I used to use the old Amplitube as an amp simulator for the clean/dry signal. Nowadays I'm using their Ampeg simulator that I think sounds so great.
Regarding the mix I agree with Ivan and Tony suggestions.

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