What is your preferred method of recording bass DI?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Ohhenry97, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Ohhenry97

    Ohhenry97 SS.org Regular

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    Jun 10, 2020
    Hey guys,

    I don't play bass regularly but I do record bass when I produce my own music. I would either run my bass into my audio interface's Hi-Z instrument input or I would run it through my external mic preamp (GAP pre73) using its DI mode. Nowadays I found the audio interface input method to be a bit bland sounding, even with an amp sim plugin (NI Guitar Rig). The bass would sound a lot fuller using the pre73 and can sound decent without any plugins. Lately I've been looking at dedicated bass DI boxes like the Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI, trying to figure how to improve the sound.

    So I was wondering what your guys' methods for recording bass through DI? Like what kind of gear, ITB effect chain/plugins, etc.

    Any experiences and thoughts on the equipment/methods I mentioned? Or alternatives?

    I know that there are purists out there who insist on miking up a bass cab/amp but it might not be viable for me, especially since I am only an occasional bass player. For the time being I'm mainly looking at DI options.

    Thanks in advance
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Jun 8, 2007
    Gatineau, Quebec
    I almost always do something like:
    preamp/DI -> Interface -> Split to two channels using lo/hi passes -> compress lows until it can't be compressed no more, but otherwise keep the DI clean -> Do whatever with the high end until it suits the music.

    If I have my Ampeg SVT-IIP at home, I'll use that as the DI, otherwise I have one of those radial boxes.
    buriedoutback likes this.
  3. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    May 3, 2014
    I used to use my Radial J48 for DI’s. The DI quality itself was great; but tracking a DI in general required my playing to be completely even, and I couldn’t hit the strings too hard. I would spend a lot of time automating volume and staging compression to get something useable. Adding Wall of Sound made a big positive difference in the overall tone, as well as controlling the transients.

    I commit to a bass tone now adays. I’ll sometimes use one of my guitar amps (usually for a dirty bass tone) into my Torpedo Studio, or just plug into the hi-z on my Apollo Twin; and record with a Neve 1084 mic pre into the UA Ampeg SVT amp sim.

    Committing to a sound is a real time saver. The amp’s (real or digital) compression controls transients and adds beautiful sustain to the notes. I can still duplicate the track and add eq, saturation, etc. to a second track to sit in a mix if necessary.

    I still have the option of splitting my real amp signal with the J48, or to arm a parallel track in the Apollo, for a simultaneous DI track (which I’d do when tracking for someone else just in case) but I don’t find it necessary in most cases anymore.
  4. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula A series of interconnected fortune cookies.

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    May 29, 2007
    It would be helpful to know what kind of sounds you're after, i.e. how much gain, what style of music, or examples of tones you're chasing.

    The best DI bass tone I've ever gotten was through a Universal Audio tube preamp in a local studio. But even my lowly Carvin rig with a good mic had more presence in the mix than the UA into an amp sim plugin. That's not to say I'm a purist about micing a bass rig. In fact I've just gone direct most of the time to save time and money.

    But if you're tracking at home, try using whatever speaker cabs you have available. Basically a +1 to the posters who recommend using a guitar amp - it's actually a fairly old trick to add presence to bass tracks. Track your bass direct, then reamp through a guitar cab and blend with a low-passed/compressed version of the DI track. Might be helpful to high-pass the signal going to the amp, especially if you want to crank it.

    As far as just using a hardware DI like the Tech 21 BDDI, sure. That particular piece of gear has produced some pretty memorable tones and isn't a hassle to set up. The Darkglass Vintage Ultra might be worth looking at as well - it has more detailed EQ options and is also clearer-sounding on the whole IME, which may or may not be a good thing for you. Be advised that the first version of the cab sim loader on the Darkglass ultras is much noisier than I'd be comfortable with for recording. But that's an easy thing to take care of in the DAW instead.
  5. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Jan 22, 2007
    London ONT
    Axe fx 3. I find I am getting better bass tones than when I had a helix LT, and the LT was good.

    Crafting great bass tone is an art, not to mention playing well.

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