Old 02-19-2021, 03:55 PM   #1
The Adam Smasher
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Default Recording Clean Bass Tones

Hey Reaperites

I'm into my first few weeks using reaper and there's growth. I'm currently recording bass just so I can get a feel for things and learn as I go.

I'm getting a signal in Reaper but the sound is very muddy. I have my bass guitar going through my audiobox and it's being recorded on my track but it's just not clean.

I've been watching some of Kenny's video's where he puts compression and eq on the track but I remember him saying this was more for playback and not really for recording.

What are your tips for recording a fuller bass sound?
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:17 PM   #2
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Post an audio clip of your "muddy" bass.
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:13 PM   #3
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put a fresh battery in if it's active?

does bass sound OK thru an amp?

if not,tried a different cable?

is your interface an old usb 1 device? (don't ask !)

what bass is it?
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Old 02-20-2021, 05:24 AM   #4
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Does your particular audiobox model have a Hi-Z or Instrument "line" in input, or just straight line-ins? If you have straight line-ins, the reason you are struggling is almost certainly down to NOT having an instrument input. I switched from an older Behringer ADA8000 to the current ADA8200 recently & didnt realise that the 8200 didnt have proper instrument-switchable inputs like my old 8000 did. I bought a direct inject box which allows you to plug a guitar, bass or other high impedance output instrument in & the take the output of the D.I. box into your Line In input on the audio/Midi interface.
Cheap to try, by the way. I bought an active one from Studiospares for 22 UK pounds & it more than does the job.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:17 AM   #5
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HI. Not specifically about recording but this may be of interest and possibly will help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phgoTLs4b8g&t=8s

I hope your name is not a sign of antipathy to Mr Nelly BTW 😊...
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Old 02-20-2021, 07:32 AM   #6
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Post a clip, we can hear what issue you're having most of the time
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
Does your particular audiobox model have a Hi-Z or Instrument "line" in input, or just straight line-ins? If you have straight line-ins, the reason you are struggling is almost certainly down to NOT having an instrument input. I switched from an older Behringer ADA8000 to the current ADA8200 recently & didnt realise that the 8200 didnt have proper instrument-switchable inputs like my old 8000 did. I bought a direct inject box which allows you to plug a guitar, bass or other high impedance output instrument in & the take the output of the D.I. box into your Line In input on the audio/Midi interface.
Cheap to try, by the way. I bought an active one from Studiospares for 22 UK pounds & it more than does the job.
are you talking about the behringer DI20?
i'm thinking about one of these to plug gtr / bass into my 8200 - does it stand up ok in the studio - my only experience with them has been in (less fidelity critical) live situations
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:35 AM   #8
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@domzy - Do you have a single guitar pedal? That’s really all it takes.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazzbass View Post
put a fresh battery in if it's active?
+1 on that.

I also found that using a cabinet emulator of some type helps when directly recording a guitar.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye View Post
Post a clip, we can hear what issue you're having most of the time
Ok good point.
I've been working on this for the past 30 minutes. Is there a simple way to export a wav from a drop down menu or something?

PS
I plug my bass into my audiobox and not straight in
Attached Files
File Type: rpp Muddybassrun.rpp (2.7 KB, 24 views)

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Old 02-20-2021, 10:41 AM   #11
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@domzy - Do you have a single guitar pedal? That’s really all it takes.
yeah, i know, but i don't, i don't play much guitar & i just use sims when i do - those little DI20s seem to go for about 5-10 pounds second-hand, plus i like the idea of phantom powering, not having to worry about batteries or wall warts (but then there's the hassle of the phantom powering being on on all chs of the 8200!)
It's not a big issue, i have hi-Z inputs on a couple of interfaces on my networked PCs, just not on my main machine.
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Old 02-20-2021, 05:15 PM   #12
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domzy: YES that D.I. from behringer would do OK.

EDIT: Oops That particular behringer DI is indeed getting lots of whines about noise, but they do offer others that get better reviews.

My studiospares one is a cheap copy of a BSS AR133 one & whilst it is not that cute to look at, it does a good job with both bass and guitars. Plus it is still only £20 inc VAT.
I use it with both my passive and my active basses & it all works fine.
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Adam Smasher View Post
Ok good point.

I plug my bass into my audiobox and not straight in
that is what we call going straight in, ie straight in to the interface, no DI or pre amp pedal before it.

because your bass is active,you can also use a passive DI, ie doesn't require power. They are even cheaper. Some say you should use a passive DI with active basses and active DIs with passive basses, but I've found either or works fine.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:10 AM   #14
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those little DI20s seem to go for about 5-10 pounds second-hand,
That's because everyone who buys one sells it after hearing how noisy it is.
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:35 AM   #15
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That's because everyone who buys one sells it after hearing how noisy it is.
that was my suspicion
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:07 AM   #16
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Ok good point.
I've been working on this for the past 30 minutes. Is there a simple way to export a wav from a drop down menu or something?

PS
I plug my bass into my audiobox and not straight in
Click on File and then on Render.

Or you could just share the wav file used in your project (the name is at the top of the waveform - 01-210220_1214.wav).

You will need to use Soundcloud or something to share it.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:09 AM   #17
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Orchid electronics micro DI is a great no frills option for £28.

SOS review https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...onics-di-boxes

Reaper user recommendations https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=174210
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Alistair S View Post
Click on File and then on Render.

Or you could just share the wav file used in your project (the name is at the top of the waveform - 01-210220_1214.wav).

You will need to use Soundcloud or something to share it.
Ahh Alistair. We meet again!

OK everybody this is a learning experience for me. What I did yesterday didn't really work so I took Alistair's advice.

Try this link: https://soundcloud.com/mike-martin-8.../s-xfV7qmkBzJ8
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:30 PM   #19
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You are overdriving your preamp, turn your volume knob down on your bass would be my first guess. If it's not that then you are hitting a VST or something too hard...something is getting overdriven. A little distortion in the low end is good but you don't want to over-do it. If it's not that...are you getting distortion on everything you record? The other thing is to turn your tone down, you are running a bit bright right now.

Also if it doesn't fix it, can you post what kind of bass it is...a P-Bass of some sorts?

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Old 02-22-2021, 07:13 AM   #20
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The other thing is to turn your tone down, you are running a bit bright right now.
Er, the opposite, surely?
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:26 AM   #21
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I run my P-bass tone close to off...I don't consider a P-bass with tone closer to 100% as smooth not that it's not a usable tone in certain situations. Pino Palladino on the John Mayer Trio is what I consider smooth and supposedly he runs his tone at 0%, that's my benchmark for kick-ass smooth bass tone.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:08 AM   #22
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The OP is complaining that the "sound is very muddy" So I think we can be fairly sure that turning down the highs with the tone knob isn't going to help. (yes, I know there's a little more to it than that).
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by camerondye View Post
You are overdriving your preamp, turn your volume knob down on your bass would be my first guess. If it's not that then you are hitting a VST or something too hard...something is getting overdriven. A little distortion in the low end is good but you don't want to over-do it. If it's not that...are you getting distortion on everything you record? The other thing is to turn your tone down, you are running a bit bright right now.

Also if it doesn't fix it, can you post what kind of bass it is...a P-Bass of some sorts?
I wasn't sure what to think when I read your reply C but I went and tried it immediately. I had been busy working through Reaper trying to find out what was going on that I never tried just pulling back on the volume.

Sure enough it worked a lot better! I'm getting more of a natural sound. I'm in the ballpark now and can probably work it from here.

Thank you Camerondye!
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:01 AM   #24
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Default haveing the same issues

hi mr smasher

i have been trying to learn to record bass as well
i bought a yamaha bass just for the purposes of recording
my normal bass is a 5 string ibanez (not a good bass)
the set up and fretwork and active pickups make the yamaha easy to record
theres lots of new tech re basses now

i fpound 90% of the work was in technique
playing as close to the top of the fret with the pads of my left hand
and useing it for quick muting

the other thing was playing "through" the strings with "power"
but again just with the tips of the pads
the index finger is used as well for muting

i think the idea here is seperation between the notes
i always found playing through an amp better than a di

i uploaded some bass lines if anyone has any comments
you will noticw theres a huge technical problem with the 5 string peddling root notes on different strings

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...tU?usp=sharing

have a nice day
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:19 AM   #25
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Glad it helped
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:55 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Adam Smasher View Post
Hey Reaperites

I'm into my first few weeks using reaper and there's growth. I'm currently recording bass just so I can get a feel for things and learn as I go.

I'm getting a signal in Reaper but the sound is very muddy. I have my bass guitar going through my audiobox and it's being recorded on my track but it's just not clean.

I've been watching some of Kenny's video's where he puts compression and eq on the track but I remember him saying this was more for playback and not really for recording.

What are your tips for recording a fuller bass sound?
No generic answer to this, but generally :
- Good guitars, with good setup and not too fresh strings but not too old either.
- Good cables. Fresh battery if active bass.
- Consistancy in playing.
- Recording at -18db in Reaper. Preserving headroom.
- ALLWAYS use a DI or the line output of the amp (a MarkBass for me).

Don't mess with the DI. It worth it to spend the "right" amount of money for something wich is going to last a lifetime.

Depending to the sound I am targetting and the available gear, I've been using successfully as a DI :
- a MXR Di+ (my favourite one when I'm on the move)
- a Boss Eq GE-7 with flat settings I allway have in the gig bag (can work as a DI, it made may day more than I can remember in some rehearsals with poor equipment)
- a cheap Art Tube MP Preamp (very effective)
- a JoeMeek 6Q preamp (today my go to gear for recording all basses)
- a little 4 channel mixing desk that I use mainly for the keyboards but is very good with basses too

As you may see, there a lot of combinations. The cheapest is the buffered effect pedal. The most effective for every situation is probably the MXR Di+ (acts as a DI AND as a preamp).

Hope that helps!
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:46 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Rhonin View Post
hi mr smasher

i have been trying to learn to record bass as well
i bought a yamaha bass just for the purposes of recording
my normal bass is a 5 string ibanez (not a good bass)
the set up and fretwork and active pickups make the yamaha easy to record
theres lots of new tech re basses now

i fpound 90% of the work was in technique
playing as close to the top of the fret with the pads of my left hand
and useing it for quick muting

the other thing was playing "through" the strings with "power"
but again just with the tips of the pads
the index finger is used as well for muting

i think the idea here is seperation between the notes
i always found playing through an amp better than a di

i uploaded some bass lines if anyone has any comments
you will noticw theres a huge technical problem with the 5 string peddling root notes on different strings

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...tU?usp=sharing

have a nice day
Dear Mr. Rhonin

Thank you for the playing tips. Although the bass isn't my first instrument it still takes time spent both playing and reaping to get a solid tone. I am still working on it.

I will start working techniques tonight sir. I've been playing at the bottom of the fret (closest to the body) to help with covering space between frets but I'm not set in my ways yet. Separation in notes is a good point.

I have also listened to all the examples in your drive. Could I interest you in putting up a video of your playing techniques? Especially what you do for separation and muting.
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:56 PM   #28
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Just so you don`t think I am talking out of my ass, I started playing bass in 1963 using a 62 Fender precision. Before that I had been playing jazz and rock n roll on guitar & banjo.

As far as basic technique is concerned, one thing well worth spending time on is getting your two hands in synch with each other.
I used to teach people to get this done by tapping on the same string simultaneously with a finger of both left and right hand.
Once you get them both hitting the string at exactly the same time without thinking about it, this translates to a really solid "in the pocket! playing style.

And of course you need to keep your fingernails well trimmed to avoid clanking noises when you hit a string with a nail instead of a pad.

Also remember that with bass it is crucial to get used to when you should END a note as well as when to start it. It really is important to get the starts and finishes to follow the groove you are playing to. It is all too easy to let a bass not carry on too long and bury the snare hits.

Have fun!
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:29 PM   #29
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I was back at it today. The recording has improved but I'm still not getting the clean tones I hear from you guys. I have a fairly good Yamaha bass and audiobox but after working with recording levels, compressors and eq's I may just call it a day.

I've been working through this video to guide me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwpMDJeAGNc

I'm still not happy with what I'm getting and at this point may just switch over to the Ample Bass P lite in my fx list.

The other option is throw all this crap in the trash and pursue a goal of porn producer.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:32 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
Just so you don`t think I am talking out of my ass, I started playing bass in 1962 using a 62 Fender precision. Before that I had been playing jazz and rock n roll on guitar & banjo.

As far as basic technique is concerned, one thing well worth spending time on is getting your two hands in synch with each other.
I used to teach people to get this done by tapping on the same string simultaneously with a finger of both left and right hand.
Once you get them both hitting the string at exactly the same time without thinking about it, this translates to a really solid "in the pocket! playing style.

And of course you need to keep your fingernails well trimmed to avoid clanking noises when you hit a string with a nail instead of a pad.

Also remember that with bass it is crucial to get used to when you should END a note as well as when to start it. It really is important to get the starts and finishes to follow the groove you are playing to. It is all too easy to let a bass not carry on too long and bury the snare hits.

Have fun!
What I'd really like to see from you Ivan would be a video demonstrating just running through a couple of bars of eighth notes. Something simple to make sure my technique is solid.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:48 AM   #31
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I am clueless and equipmentless when it comes to video. IF I had some sort of camera on either of my computers, I suppose I couldn but there are already a LOT of people on Youtube doing this.

Some bloke from the UK called Scott is probably as good as anyone else.. Hang on.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWT...QIsrTGSm4kM34g
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:04 AM   #32
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I am clueless and equipmentless when it comes to video. IF I had some sort of camera on either of my computers, I suppose I couldn but there are already a LOT of people on Youtube doing this.

Some bloke from the UK called Scott is probably as good as anyone else.. Hang on.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWT...QIsrTGSm4kM34g
Yup great link Ivan. Very familiar with Scott. Currently working through his videos.
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:52 AM   #33
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Also remember that with bass it is crucial to get used to when you should END a note as well as when to start it. It really is important to get the starts and finishes to follow the groove you are playing to.

Have fun!
this is what i was getting at
hit the 1 hard
but try not to play over top of the snare
its easy to get lost in the mix

the bass is really prevelent in lead ins for changes
and try harmonize the melody AND vocals
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:57 PM   #34
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@T.A.S.

Have a listen to Rhonin`s four examples & tell me what you think about HIS 5 string stuff.


@Rhonin: What do you "hit hard" instead of the 1 if you are doing a song with no 1 on the bass line?

Pocket nearly always needs to be followed, even at the expense of anything else.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:23 PM   #35
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Default sry i dont play "jazz" ...bootsy always hit the One

touche Ivan
ironically i was just going to point out that its really difficult to "swing" against a metreonome and that its will probably take a while to get used to the process.every note under a microscope
you really put it out there and everything sounds worse
its a frustrating process

im actually having these same issues with recording
I ve just found having the right bass made it much eaiser to record
if you listen to my examples of grooves they really arnt locked in
casue there is no solid beat to lock in with



so Ivan i would say my 5 string is very muddy and super hard to record
frequently overloading the input on the B string
if you look at the difference in the wave form between when im pedaling the low e and then when i play the octave the wave form is like 1/3 the size
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:24 AM   #36
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@Ronin
On the money. On your sixteens, it would be worth concentrating on your string muting. I have been doing it forever, so instinctively use whichever hand works for the muting, sometimes both.

One easy thing that a lot of people overlook is that if you teach yourself to rest your left hand fingers on the strings when not playing a note, this allows you to very easily mute all strings after playing a note by simply relaxing your left hand back to resting on the strings. Also means you can whiz around the fretboard faster & smoother.

I wish I could explain some of this stuff a bit better or (ideally) get a camera and learn how to do videos!

One other thought for you would be to see if you can introduce a little finger vibrato into your playing. Adds more life to notes that aren`t muted off.

Oops - forgot to say that the muddiness on your 5 is partly down to the lack of muting but also you sound like you have the level from your guitar up too high, so try reducing the volume on the guitar. And probably eq the recording so there is a lot less below 80hz and then see if you can put a broad Q lift in the mid to upper mid range.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:32 AM   #37
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I just thought of this.

Is it possible for people to post their examples of what they're getting? Lets hear what others are getting from home with reaper, maybe I'm in the ballpark on my stuff. It sure doesn't sound like what Camerondye posted on his reverb page though.
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:18 AM   #38
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Give me some info....What kind of bass do you have specifically? What is your ideal bass tone...choose a song by a famous band that you like? Which of the tunes I did was your favorite bass tone bDo you play with a pick or are you trying to play with your fingers or both? What's your main instrument?
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:51 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by camerondye View Post
Give me some info....What kind of bass do you have specifically? What is your ideal bass tone...choose a song by a famous band that you like? Which of the tunes I did was your favorite bass tone bDo you play with a pick or are you trying to play with your fingers or both? What's your main instrument?
I was just going to ask what the OP's main instrument was. If playing bass hasn't been seriously attacked in the past, that's something that can't be left out.

The posts about the little things in playing are good. It's a cliche but very true that a good bass player can plug into most anything, including a setup that isn't sounding good for a non-bassist, and usually sound great, great enough that doubts about the hardware go out the window

Not that hardware can't make a difference, but without solving what the fingers and brain are doing first you can have a great rig and still sound meh.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:12 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye View Post
Give me some info....What kind of bass do you have specifically? What is your ideal bass tone...choose a song by a famous band that you like? Which of the tunes I did was your favorite bass tone bDo you play with a pick or are you trying to play with your fingers or both? What's your main instrument?
I want to be very specific here. What this whole thread is about is CLARITY of recording. There has been a tangent of playing technique and that's fine but again...CLARITY of recording is the theme.

- I use a beginners Yamaha bass. I don't know the model because it was a show room model at a really good price.

- Some of my favorites: The Police - Bring On The Night!!! Anything by James Jamerson (listen to the The Funky Buzzard if you can find it) Mike Stern's Who Let The Cats Out cd. There's more but that gives you an idea.

- I like Rediscover and let me down although I listened to all of your tracks. Your tone in the opening of Let Me Down is great. This is a great example of clarity. I can hear you supporting what's happening above. Really nice mix too.

- I practice with both fingers and pick. I would use whichever tone would fit a song.

- I'm mainly a drummer but have played piano for years. The drums are all packed up so in the meantime I've been busy studying composition, a little bass playing and now recording with reaper.
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