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Do you fancy a distorted bass, or a clean/full round one? Single tracked?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by AD Chaos, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. AD Chaos

    AD Chaos MGTOW

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    Hey guys,

    Been wondering about this for a while, that is, about how do you usually prefer to use the bass (guitar) in the mix. Don't know how much of a standard the 'clean on one channel and very distorted on a second one using a single take, both centered' approach is -or isn't- much of a ''must'' - I've seen guys like Ola go this way, but then again, I listen to a bunch of records (90 stuff, also 80s) when that doesn't seem to be the case; normally I'm listening to a single, 'clean' bass track (which, I guess, in a way could clear up the mix?) I'm guessing the 'grit' thing is more of a modern mix trend?

    How do you prefer to go about it? Do you think there would be any benefit in double tracking the bass part at all, with the same effect or a different one on the second take, for beefing things up? Or opening it up from dead center? Does any big name ever do that? Or would that make the mix more difficult to work with (clarity and whatnot).
    Never seen this mentioned before, so...


    Thanks for your opinions!
     
    #1 AD Chaos, Jan 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  2. MrBongo

    MrBongo idiot at work

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    I like bass most when it´s got a slightly drone-like sound at most. Far less distortion than some other engineers use in their mixes, or bassists in their live sound. Also, I feel that the entire mix profits from a solid amount of dynamics in the mids (never have too much clank on single notes though).

    for doubletracking: that hardly works in your standard metal song. Either produces a mess and lots of mush, or irritates the listener when using separate frequency ranges for the two takes.
    Making music specifically for two bassists is fun though :)
     
  3. Jormyn

    Jormyn Member

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    In my head, I'd prefer a nice, roaring Motorhead bass tone that I can then sculpt to make room for the guitars, etc.

    In real life, with my crappy bass and terrible skills, I usually end up with a slightly grittier Peace Sells.

    As for how to do it, I think most people on this board will suggest using two or three tracks (of the same take), with one processed to handle the lows, another for the mids with some distortion, another for the highs with a bit of grit to make it "clank", etc. You get so much more flexibility this way when it comes to mixing, and automating later.
     
  4. Crank

    Crank Sound Engineer // Geek

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    I will sometimes put DI & midi together, can find some nice sounds.
     
  5. KillFrenzy

    KillFrenzy Member

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    I've tried double tracking bass just as an experiment, but didn't like the results. Even "leveling" both takes with a lot of compression and different methods, the low end sometimes gets a little canceled or the panning sounds simply too distracting. Maybe it's a genre dependant thing, but it didn't work on that modern thrash metal song

    As for the regular processing, it all comes to the source and the result I'm after. I usually get some nice tones with just 2 (duplicated) tracks: a full bandwidth and a distortion one. Most of the times I don't hi-pass the distortion track very high - around 300Hz and a low-shelf reducing a few more dBs when needed. Like MrBongo, I tend to use less distortion then other engineers.

    Edit: For less heavy metal and rock, sometimes a single track is enough. With a little drive or not. When I want a more dinamic track with drive, I use something like a Sansamp bass driver in the middle of the chain: right after the EQ or the first comp
     
  6. Adee

    Adee Member

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    Hi mate,
    This is not the trend - it rather allows you to take a better control over the sound of your bass.
    Double tracking makes no sense at all. I usually record two tracks of bass at the same time DI + amp and cab. Input 1 is DI and input 2 is a MIC. But you need to remember to check all the phase issues between tracks. You can duplicate DI track as KillFrenzy mentioned and work on 2 or 3 tracks (1. low, 2. mid grit, 3. hi dist). For me DI + MIC is the best sollution.
    Here is my bass sound I work on at the moment. Its rather clean(ish) than distorted. Just one pinch of distortion added (obtained from Ampeg amp gain).
     
  7. Nuno Filipe

    Nuno Filipe You talkin' to me?

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    The distortion on bass seems really useful because it gives definition to the bass and makes the bass much more audible in a mix. Works mainly for metal, other styles not quite. For other things sometimes a clean fat bass even without much definition besides the low end it´s what the music only need.
     
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  8. wishtheend

    wishtheend clip the apex

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    Single track, two layers DI + B7k thru SVTCL. Never liked dual track unless it's completely different register/riffs going on (ambient layering). If I need stereo width, chorus or other stereo plug to taste (usually only only clean tones)
     
  9. BassTard

    BassTard Member

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    Pretty much what everybody said. No double tracking here - and the higher the gain of the guitars, the more distortion for my bass.
    I pretty often automate my distorted tracks - less to none in "riff reduced" parts and an extra boost in the chorus.
    In live situation, I use my EBS MultiDrive for the boost and may bypass my parallel guitar distortion to mimic this stuff. (Done it now in a recording session and will most likely keep it this way.)
    If I want to get out of dead center I'll use the classic way: chorus and maybe some ERs (preferably real).

    Oh, and using a tiny amout of binaural simulation ("virtual-speaker" plugins for headphones) is sometimes a secret weapon.
    Back in the day that was the only reason why I used Steinberg's Externalizer. And I'm still digging it (from time to time). JB Isone Pro works good as well. But Externalizer has a real special feel on bass.
     
  10. MoTang

    MoTang Member

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    Typically I will first take the bass di and run it through a Sansamp, or a B7K/MXR depending on what I want. This usually depends on what genre I'm working in. Is the genre with heavy, distorted guitars (that make up the majority of the sound heard, think most modern metal) where the bass needs to have definition, but not be necessarily loud/present in the mix? I'll go with the B7K/MXR. Otherwise I'll stick with the Sansamp.

    Then I take that signal, generally run it through an Ampeg SVT amp sim/cab sim, general compression, EQ, etc. Waves Bassrider, make sure the DI is tuned of course. I'll do the filter "technique", the grit track described above (with B7K/MXR) + a low bass DI if the low end needs to be precise rather than large in the mix, gives you way more control over the lows (like most modern metal, or fast metal music in general).

    If it's a radio rock mix (which I typically am doing these days) I'll usually just go with one track, the Sansamp + Ampeg SVT sim. The bass can take a bit more space in these kinds of mixes, I find, a lot of times the guitars are much thinner, and the bass fills out the majority of the sound he

    This is my general approach that I've found works best for me, I think. I've tried three tracks, two tracks, one tracks, and I think I've settled on this general chain, providing the bass DI isn't shit (which is RARE).

    And no, double tracking bass will lead to a very unfocused low end, I'd imagine.
     
  11. Old Man Doom

    Old Man Doom Member

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    I generally use massive amounts of distortion on my bass, usually because I'm working on sludgier material. I've had some really great successful attempting to copy the various bass tones that Troy Sanders (Mastodon) achieves on recordings: a nice punchy, clanky, semi-gritty track for clarity/low-end blended with a copy pasted track that is absolutely destroyed and fuzzed out with a dimed TSE R47 (rat clone plugin) going through the same cab emulation that the grit/low-end track is going through. Remove the sub lows and harsh high-end from the fuzz track, take away a bit of the low mids on the grit track, and you've got a huge tone that can be shaped further to really compliment the crunchy guitars. Lots of mid content and clank that pokes through the fuzz gives the bass so much presence.

    I don't have a personal example right now, but this is my inspiration:
     
  12. KillFrenzy

    KillFrenzy Member

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    I rarely use chorus on bass but I do automate the distortion track a lot! That's a very important point. Not only the distortion level but also the gain
     
  13. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Depends on the music.
     
  14. crillemannen

    crillemannen Member

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    Depends on the music!

    I usually prefer the bass with some grit not fullblown distortion. But whatever works, I've done productions with awesome distorted bass, the B7K is really awesome for that. But keep in mind that bass distortion eats up allot of headroom and will affect the guitars allot too. So you can usually get away with allot less distortion on the guitars if the bass is really distorted.
     
  15. pattonfreak1

    pattonfreak1 Bored Member

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    2 channels same track:
    1 thru Audio Assaults BassAmpCM
    2nd thru TSE B.O.D. and high bass between 300-500hz
     
  16. schwinginbatman

    schwinginbatman It's shittay!

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    I almost always run one track through SHB-1 and an Ampeg impulse. I've tried just doing plain DI, but almost always I prefer the amped signal. Then I filter one to be just the mids, and crank the TSE-808 until it sounds disgusting, set it to taste, then process. The distortion track always ends up as a presence fader, basically. I set it just so that it makes the individual notes of the bass audible without it getting in the way of guitar clarity, while the amped track fills out the low end and provides extra help in the cutting through department.
     
  17. viralz

    viralz Member

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    Only one track for me , works like a charm.

    Bass > sound card > CLA-76 > TSE B.O.D
     
  18. pantera#1

    pantera#1 VanHaze

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    I prefer 2 channels With 1 Track.

    One is for the Low end, compressed Hard, but no distortion going on.
    The other one for the mid and Highs, but LP @ arount 4-5k - not too much compression here, let it breath and get some distortion going.

    Then i'll bus those to and slightly adjust to taste.

    Cheers
     

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