Become a member
Become a member
Continuer avec Google

or
Log in
Log in
Se connecter avec Google

or
learning

Direct recording a bass guitar

The ultimate guide to audio recording - Part 51

After two articles dealing with the pre-requisites for any bass recording worthy of the name, today we will dive into the heart of the matter with the direct recording of a bass guitar.

View other articles in this series...

Direct injection

Direct recording consists in tracking the electrical signal from the instrument exclusively, not the sound coming from a bass amp. To make such a recording you need to consider a very important technical detail of the bass in question: is it passive or active?

01

If it's active, in other words it features low impedance pickups and, hence, has a built-in preamp, you can connect it directly to a line input of your audio interface to make a direct recording. On the other hand, if the bass is passive, you will need to use a so-called direct injection box (aka DI box), before it goes into a preamp and then your soundcard. Do note that there are some digital interfaces that feature an instrument input, which allows you to connect a passive bass directly to it without the need of a DI box. Furthermore, certain bass amps feature a DI output, which spares you from having to use an external DI box.

But what's so interesting about direct recording, you ask? Well, it has two main advantages. First of all, the signal will sound "cleaner," "drier," better defined if you will, more accurate than the sound coming out of a bass amp. Plus, this take will allow you to do some reamping afterwards! In fact, under certain conditions, the signal thus recorded can be sent to an amp. This means you have the possibility to modify the amp or recording settings (mic type, position, preamp, pedals and/or hardware processors used, etc.) afterwards, depending on the sound you want to achieve. Isn't that nice? If you want to learn more about reamping, I recommend you to read this excellent article written by my good friend Red Led.

On track

To close this episode, here are the direct recordings of the same audio clips I used last week:

01 Bass Finger Ghost
00:0000:23
  • 01 Bass Finger Ghost 00:23
  • 02 Bass Finger GhostLess 00:23
  • 03 Bass Pick 00:23
  • 04 Bass Pick AD 00:23
  • 05 Bass Pick Bridge N Tone Off 00:23

Do remember that the differences in the samples are due to the following changes:

  1. The bass line is played using a finger picking technique
  2. The melody is played with the fingers, but this time without "ghost notes"
  3. The bassist used a pick
  4. Again, a pick is used, but instead of playing the E and A strings, the riff is played on the A and D strings
  5. Back to the E and A strings with a pick, but with the bridge pickup off and the tone set to minimum

As you can see, these recordings can be used as is within a music production. However, they are relatively "neutral," for lack of a better word. To get something with more character, more energy, more "fullness" you will need to go through a bass amp. Fortunately, nothing stops you from having the best of both worlds: the definition of a direct recording and the substance provided by a bass amp. But that's something we'll address in the next article...

Download the audio clips (in FLAC format)

← Previous article in this series:
Recording bass guitar - Prerequisites (Part 2)
Next article in this series:
Recording a bass amp →
  • loujudson 4 posts
    loujudson
    New AFfiliate
    Posted on 10/21/2017 at 10:15:28
    There is a basic fallacy in the beginning of this article, factually incorrect: An active instrument MAY be able to be directly plugged into a line input, but most cannot - their output is too low in level for a clean recording (or live amplification). They need a DI into a mic input for best sound. That said, the general rule is, active instruments (usually defined by having a battery on board) can use a passive (transformer only) DI box, and a passive intrument usually likes to have an active (phantom powered) DI.

    But even that is only a general rule. I usually use active DIs most of the time, except on keyboards which have more robust output stages. But even there, an active DI will work fine if that is what you have!

    Lou Judson, professional live and recording engineer.

Vous souhaitez réagir à cet article ?

Log in
Become a member
cookies

We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies

Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Website preferences

We store your preferences so that you do not have to re-enter them every time your come back (forums options, dark or light theme, classifieds filter, standard or buzz news, newsletters popups...).

Log in

This one makes sure you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you visit Audiofanzine.

Analytics

This data allows us to understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :)

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies

Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Website preferences

We store your preferences so that you do not have to re-enter them every time your come back (forums options, dark or light theme, classifieds filter, standard or buzz news, newsletters popups...).

Log in

This one makes sure you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you visit Audiofanzine.

Analytics

This data allows us to understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :)


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.