note: a bass guitar playing a low E produces a sound wave roughly 27.5 feet in length). As with miking a guitar amp, the mic can be placed very close (1–2″) to the amp, and placing the mic at the center of the speaker will result in brighter tone, while placing it towards the edge provides mellower tone. While many bass parts nowadays are probably laid down with samples and synths, by keyboard players and guitarists, what you’ll get from a real bassist is more than just his sound, it’s the magic in his fingers, and his bass-players’ sense of just what to play to perfectly complement the song—it’s certainly worth a little extra effect to take advantage of what the true masters of the low-end have to offer. Guitarists who try their hand at bass parts often haven’t mastered an experienced bassist’s technique for damping the strings, and the little playing noises I referred to, as well as distracting undamped harmonics, can end up overpowering the recording if heavy limiting/compression brings them up (I recently struggled mightily to deal with a bass track that suffered from this flaw). Even when the bass track(s) are well-recorded, and sound good, you may want to enhance the bass tone for mixdown with your favorite bass-friendly plug-in processors. Most upright players (at least the ones who gig regularly) will also have a pickup installed, and once, again, the combination of mic (depth, air) and pickup (midrange punch and growl) can be a winning combination. A classic fast VCA compressor/limiter (like the dbx 160) could be employed to handle peaks, without really reducing the player’s dynamics at this early stage. If you’re trying to get that low frequency of the bass, you might want to pull that mic back a few feet. Ask.Audio is your ultimate daily resource covering the latest news, reviews, tutorials and interviews for digital music makers, by digital music makers. But most engineers will record both—a DI’d signal, and a miked-up amp. Slightly out-of-tune strings on a bass may not jump out as much as on guitar (especially in chords), but when that bass line is sitting under other parts in the mix, even slightly off-pitch notes will make their presence known, and sometimes be harder to track down (why does this song sound a little “off”?). During recording, a Limiter might be the ticket, to control transient peaks that might overload ADCs, producing pops and spikes that can ruin a take. Besides the obvious EQs and compressors, there are many distortion processors and amp sims out there suitable for bass. The easiest way to record bass is to just plug it straight into the console/interface—of course, using the correct instrument-level input or dedicated DI box, and not a standard line input. If you apply the amount of squeeze that may be needed for the mix as the part is going down, it might cramp the player’s style—better to leave that for later. The Sennheiser 421 is often used, as is the classic kick drum mic, the AKG D112, which has a bumped-up response tuned specifically for low-pitched instruments. Over the years, as a small studio operator and freelance engineer, he's made recordings of all types from music & album production to v/o & post. Dynamic mics will provide some natural compression. An SM57/58 will work, but a mic with a more extended low-frequency response would be a better choice. Fig 3 The waveforms of a DI’d and a miked-up bass track. An SM57/58 will work, but a mic with a more extended low-frequency response would be a better choice. I always liked the Tech 21 SansAmp on bass, and Pro Tools includes a well-modeled plug-in version of that unit. Aside from tuning issues, new bass strings, especially roundwounds, can be very bright, and this may result in a lot of finger noise and fret buzz. It is important that the mic chosen have a good low-frequency response. Best Black Friday Deals For Musicians & Producers 2020, Behringer Replies To Arturia Statement on Swing vs KeyStep: Competition. Even if the effected bass sounds good to you, many pedals and MI effect boxes are noisy, and you might have to recreate the sound anyway, to avoid problematic buzz or hiss from the player’s cool-but-dirty toys. Even if the mic is placed very close (an inch or so) to the amp’s speaker, that track will still be slightly delayed (on the order of milliseconds), due to that small distance, relative to the DI track. How to Mic a Bass Cabinet: 5 Quick Tips I ponder the grammatical nuances of recording bass - I make fun of your guitar player to build trust - I tell you to eschew YouTube wisdom for whatever personal truth/microphone you have laying around - I show you more pictures than usual and some are even relevant - I put the DI in DIY I prefer the Electro-Voice RE-20 (you know, the “announcer’s mic”)—it’s more neutral, and it has an extended low-end response, so you’ll get not just boom, but real depth. Additionally, the tone from direct recording an electric bass is usually quite good, so many choose to stick with this method. While effects on bass aren’t as common as with guitar parts, some bassists will come in with these big rigs of effect boxes, and want to record “their sound”, which often is clearly overprocessed for the song. Bass Mic. This may seem more daunting, but many of the same techniques apply—I’ll mention a few quick items that would be specific to the big box.