e q u i p m e n t

Equipment

Digital Audio Workstaion

  • Asus A8V-Deluxe / AMD 64 4400+ X2 (dual core)
  • 2x WD2500 IDE
  • WD3200 320GB sATA
  • WD2500 250 sATA (reclaimed from last DAW)
  • 4x Corsair 512M DDR400
  • Matrox P650 AGP8x driving dual head into 1600x1200 21" and 1280x1024 17"
  • 2x UAD-1 in slots 2 and 4
  • Motu 828mkII driven from the mobo FireWire port

Instruments

  • Eminence upright bass, see picture on the right.
  • Sadowsky Modern 5 fretless, ebony neck with cheater-stripes, see picture on left.
  • Sadowsky Modern 5 fretted.
  • Taylor CE-314 acoustic guitar.
  • Ibanez Artcore AF75
  • Fender Mexi-Strat (w/ SD SVR-1 pickups)

Recording Process

Here are some notes of my experiences of what works for me while recording and mixig bass tracks.

Tracking

I set the bass up with medium strings, semi-fresh, not more than 3 months old. Also, medium level action. On fretless, the neck truss needs to be set just right to get mwah without too much buzz. Set the volume all the way open, and no tone control modifications (no roll off on passive and no boost/cut on active).

Next, a DI/Preamp. Yes, you need one. I use my regular head, an Eden WT400, this has a great DI out. I keep this flat tone-wise as well, and no clipping. I don't use any in-line effects, compression etc.

Many folks like to record the speaker. I used to, and it has nice tonal characteristics. In fact, I relied on the speaker as the primary source until I came up with a good set of effect bin setups (more on this below). Anyway, these days I don't use the speaker, and now I can track anytime of day without bothering others, and still get the desired tone.

I record at 24b/44.1KHz (unless requested to use 48KHz, which is silly since bass doesn't/shouldn't go above 5KHz). And set the top limit playing really hard at -6dB; nominal at -12dB to -8dB.

Now, play the track as smoothly and consistently as possible. Make sure you dig in enough to get tone but not so much as to introduce fatigue or slight timing inconsistencies. Strong and smooth, not wild and choppy.

Mix Processing

Favorite tools:
  • UAD-1 Fairchild bias: 2 o'clock, threshold 3.5, input: 12 ~ 14
  • GlissEQ +2 dB at 60 with compression at 1/2 way, -3db (at least) at 190Hz and compression at 1/2 way, roll off at 5K.
  • Wave Renaissance Bass - this is a new add to the kit. Set the limit to 90Hz ~ 100Hz and mix in just enough to just be noticeable. This is nice with fretless, since I normally favor the bridge pick up and that is lean on the fundamental.

I've not been about to get good tone out of the Sonitus kit, nor the UAD 1167LN, that one it to grindy.

I have a couple favorite set ups:

  • Jaco fretless: Fairchild, UAD-1 PultecPro with a 3 cut at 200Hz, 3 boost at 500Hz, and 2 boost at 1.2K
  • More acoustic sounding fretless: Fairchild, PultecPro with a 4 cut at 300Hz, 1 boost at 500Hz
  • Rock bass: GlissEQ
  • Pop bass: Voxengo Polysquasher threshold -18dB, ratio 2:1, with about 2dB ~ 4dB reduction; the GlissEQ

You get the idea, start mix and matching to suit the sound you want to get. My favorite eq points:

  • HPF at 35Hz (5string) / 45Hz (4string)
  • Cut -3dB at somewhere in the 190 to 275 region
  • Boost +2dB at 500Hz (narrow 1.5 or more on the Q)
  • LPF at about 5K

Note, always keep the mono/stereo interleave in the mono setting.

2006 Ed McGlaughlin for CirrusPark
CirrusPark
CirrusPark