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Recording Bass - by Ross Hogarth (R.E.M., Jewel, Motley Crue, The Black Crows)
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When recording bass, the first thing is to have a great sound. You have to make this a priority and give it some real time and attention. Beyond that, I like to record several tracks at a time by splitting the signal up 4 different ways. Doing this gives me a lot of flexibility when it comes time to mix and helps maintain proper phase alignment.

To split the signal, I use a Jonathon Little D.I./Splitter. It takes the original bass signal and splits it four ways. I will then send one of these outputs directly to tape. The sound I get from the D.I./Splitter is very clean and untainted, which allows me to EQ the actual sound of the bass. I can also use this D.I. signal as the original bass signal if I need to add a track or fix a sound in mix down. However, the straight D.I. sound is too clinical to use by itself.

To get color and character in the bass sound, Iíll use different treatments on the other 3 outputs of the Jonathon Little D.I./Splitter. Iíll send one output to an amp, which I mic with a large diaphragm condenser. I often use a fet47, although I have also used a Blue Mouse. Iíve tried blending multiple mics, but I found that one great mic works the best. Unless the bass is clacky, an amp tends to have less detail. Therefore, placing the mic close to the dome of the speaker helps compensate for an ampís typical lack of detail. The amp is always crucial. Air is Air. But I also get a great sound from a tube D.I. that I have called the Evil Twin. It has a sound thatís similar to the tube front end of a Tweed Twin; itís very fat. The last output I will send to the ďSoup de JourĒ. Sometimes this is a Zvex Woolly Mammoth or one of the new Dunlop pedals. This is where I put on distortion and any weird effects. In rock, a little distortion goes a long way to bring bass out of a mix. It keeps you from having to compress the bass too much. A little bit of grind really helps. I like to actually hear it.

Finally, you have to pay close attention to phase. Using multiple mics will tend to create phase problems. Anytime you are mixing multiple bass tracks, you can have phase problems which will affect your sound. Make sure your tracks are phase aligned. With proper phase alignment and the versatility that I get from 4 different tracks, Iím able to get a sound that works well for a variety of musical styles.

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