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Getting a good bass guitar sound and balance
Old 18th September 2012
  #1
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pinksoir's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Getting a good bass guitar sound and balance

Howdy,

I'm having a bit of trouble getting a good solid bass sound in my mixes. I only have the option to DI and when I do that I find the bass to be very boomy in the low end with quite a few peaks in the higher end. I also run it through amp sims like Bass Amp Room and Studio Devil Bass Amp, and then blend the two.

I usually limit the bass to get it a bit more solid and consistent. The trouble is, it never sits right in the mix and there's always quite a lot of peaky and boomy stuff going on. It just never feels right and no matter how I eq it, it always sticks out. It's a drag.

Anyone got any tips or tricks to get a good solid bass sound? Anything I should really be doing and am not? Anything I could be doing before the preamp, like compressor pedal? Is having quite a boomy and peaky bass before processing the sound normal?

Thanks in advance.
Old 18th September 2012
  #2
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Tinderwet's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Bass Amp Room is a nice plugin, I don't know the other one but it seems to be nice too. Not sure if you need to blend the two of them though. Just get a nice tone with either of those, one that you're happy with, then use a separate compressor, try ratio 4:1 for starters, and adjust the threshold until you evened out the peaks. Watch the meters and pin the mofo. Now put an EQ on it, and remove the unwanted low end; if it's a 4 string bass, set up a high pass filter around 50Hz. The kick will have a happy life below that.
Make sure you leave enough space for the bass in the other tracks, so high pass guitars, keyboards, vocals, didgeridoos etc. as well if they are too boomy and masking the bass, so you don't need to add so much bass to make it cut through, and the mix will be more balanced.
I can't say anything specific without hearing your mix, but if you feel it's lacking presence, try a mid-boost, it can be anywhere from 1kHz to 8kHz, depending on your bass and the mix, and sometimes a low-mid cut can help the bass track too, around 200 - 400Hz. Make sure you don't thin it out too much in that range though, or it will stop sounding like a bass. lol
Old 18th September 2012
  #3
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BradLyons's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What model BASS GUITAR are you using? I've used both incredibly cheap and very expensive bass guitars that both have been boomy on the bottom end as well as thin. The thing with solid bass on the low-end is you can always take it out, but you can't really add it in ;-)

To add to what the other poster said to the kick and bass----this is very important! You see both the KICK DRUM and BASS GUITAR share the same task in that they need to be glue that holds the mix together, to be the solid foundation. HOWEVER at the same time they need to cut through the rest of the mix so not to get lost! At the same time, they are doing this together so they both need to be the foundation, cut through the mix, and the bass cut through the kick drum.

Compression is also your friend when it comes to a bass guitar. Too much volume and it takes over the mix, but too little and the mix loses itself. It's a fine line, but EQ'd and COMPRESSED properly---your mix will be solid.
Old 18th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
is it a good bass guitar, being played by an actual bass guitarist?
Old 18th September 2012
  #5
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pinksoir's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Cheers for the replies, some helpful stuff.

I've not had too much trouble eqing the bass and the kick, and in fact I can get a good mix between drums and bass. It's when I add in guitar that the bass gets lost and its boominess or peakiness becomes more obvious. I do hi pass all the other stuff to leave room for the bass but I'm never sure how far I should go...

The bass is a Fender Jazz ( neck pickup is P bass pickup though) played by myself. I'm not an actual bass guitarist but I'm fairly competent.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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BradLyons's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksoir ➑️
Cheers for the replies, some helpful stuff.

I've not had too much trouble eqing the bass and the kick, and in fact I can get a good mix between drums and bass. It's when I add in guitar that the bass gets lost and its boominess or peakiness becomes more obvious. I do hi pass all the other stuff to leave room for the bass but I'm never sure how far I should go...

The bass is a Fender Jazz played by myself. I'm not an actual bass guitarist but I'm fairly competent.
Welcome to the world of mixing I just setup a $35,000 home studio for a client who is starting to realize this. He thought that his amps sound great, his bass sounds great, the drums are electronic---everything will sound perfect after recording. NOPE! It comes down to your engineering chops AND techniques, as well as the gear of course. Ironically you'd be amazed at how some of the best recordings of all time have tracks that will sound AWFUL when solo'd. It's how everything comes together in the mix.

I'm the technical direct for my church and have a handful of drummers we use....the same kit, same mics, same heads, same sticks, etc. EVERY week I am using different settings on my dynamics, gates, and EQ solely based on WHO is playing. Some drummers are softer, so I need to bring out more attack while others play so hard I need more low end to compensate, etc. There's no one answer, unfortunately.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Tinderwet's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksoir ➑️
It's when I add in guitar that the bass gets lost and its boominess or peakiness becomes more obvious. I do hi pass all the other stuff to leave room for the bass but I'm never sure how far I should go...
Play the whole mix together and start high-passing those guitars at different frequencies. Notice that as you go higher, the bass will come through cleaner below that. Sometimes it's 100Hz, other times you need to go even higher, depending on how bass heavy your guitar tracks were to begin with. Knowing that though, next time you'll be able to record the guitars without the excessive low end and then you can use less EQ and chances are you'll end up with a better sounding mix right away.

The peakiness should be taken care of in the compression phase. Also, if your problem is the dreaded "one note bass", i.e. getting a resonant note that you hear ringing all the way through the song but you can't really make out the actual bass line, listen to that one note, find it on a piano or whatever instrument you have, Google up the frequency of that note and notch it out with en EQ.
Old 18th September 2012
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Recording metal Bass guitar at home - The Fearedse way - YouTube

It's a metal tutorial but the idea of splitting tracks and treat both differently might help you.
Works for me...
Old 18th September 2012
  #9
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pinksoir's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks again for the replies. I'm not getting the one-note-bass problem I don't think.

I'm not making metal, but that video gave me an idea. How about putting a hpf and lpf on the amp channel and using that for the vibe and tone of the mid range of the amp, and using the DI channel for the low end? Could be worth a go...

But yeah, I really have to change the strings on my bass anyway. I'll see if that helps some.

There's another project I'm involved in at the moment and the bass just sounds so good in the mixes (the stuff is pre-mixed, I'm just doing vocals live). It's so even and clear and well defined in comparison to what I'm coming up with. Obviously the dude who mixed it is a great pro engineer and I'm an amateur, but of all the parts of my stuff I'm mixing at the moment, I'm having the biggest trouble with bass.

So I appreciate all the help.
Old 18th September 2012
  #10
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ShawnKrewe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Try this: make 2 tracks and send them to the same buss. Copy the bass audio to both tracks. One track will be the top end of the bass and the second track will be the low end. Solo the low end track, use a lowpass filter around 200hz, then a highpass filter around 80hz, then a compressor. Then solo the top end use a high pass filter around 300- 500hz, a lowpass filter around 12khz, then add your amp plugin. Then solo both tracks together, bring the top end track down to 0db and slowly bring it up till it mixes with the low end track the way you'd like. You'll have to fiddle with the top end amp plug to get the sound your after and blend the tracks together. Please keep in mind all the frequencies I've noted are not set it stone and you should fiddle around with them to get the sound your looking for but with this method you have the option of eq'ing your low end and top end seperately and then blend them together. As far as the boomy problem your having, its all in the eq and volume really. Use the buss the tracks are sent to to blend them together better and eq together, as well as compress, and limit. I won't get to specific as far as eq'ing and bussing them goes because its really bout the track and sound you need so experimenting is the only answer. You should check out videos on youtube for eq'ing and mixing bass. I don't have access to give you links at the moment but I'm sure this problem is address on a tutorial video on there. Hope this helps!

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Old 18th September 2012
  #11
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pinksoir's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Cheers, that does help a lot.
Old 18th September 2012
  #12
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ShawnKrewe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Also check out side chain compression with the kick drum..should be another video out bout that as well.

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Old 18th September 2012
  #13
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pinksoir's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, I'm pretty au fait with SCC. That said, I didn't think of it for this particular song I'm working on atm, and in fact I reckon it might be just what it needs. Once I get a good bass sound of course!
Old 18th September 2012
  #14
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pinksoir's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Ok, that actually worked really really well. I used the DI signal for the low end and an amp sim for the higher end. With the compressed DI signal I get a really nice tight bottom end with the tone and bite of the amp in the mids. Kind of a hybrid between your and Soundsgoodtome's advice. Pretty cool, thanks!
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