Good bass sound from DI

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Rapstam
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Good bass sound from DI

Post by Rapstam »

Anyone with experience with DI recording of bass, and to be more precise: Do you use some wonder-plugin ?
I usually use guitarix for both guitar and bass and while I get quite decent sounds using the guitar the bass has a kind of guitar'ish tone.
This is not really surprising and works great for some sounds (especially distorted), but not particular great for a deep dub/reggae bass tone.
DepreTux
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by DepreTux »

I don't have a DI box, but go straight from my bass to my usb interface.

The plugins I usually add to the chain are, in order: calf filter, calf gate, calf compressor.

The first I set to 12db/oct low pass, at around 300Hz (varies according to the context). The gate and the compressor have attack and release times set to 3ms and 50ms and 100ms and 100ms, respectevly. The gate gain reduction is set at the lowest, and the threshold is set according to the line noise. The compression ratio depends again on the context, but usually in between 1.5:1 for a very subtle distortion, to 5:1 or more for a very dense sound.
Both gate and compressor are set to peak envelope detection.

My bass is not of the best quality, so the 4th string lacks attack; with the gate the attack is sharpened (and by the way, the noise floor is hidden), the compressor has got the threshold level about 12db higher than the gate, that is the clean part of the sound, and then comes the compression (which I always use with a 'hard' knee).

You have to fiddle around, but this settings will give you something to start with. You may find you don't need either the gate, or the compression, depending on your mood and the quality of your instrument. The filter always comes handy, at least in my experience.


Let us know what you settle for.


Good luck

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Rapstam
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by Rapstam »

Hi,

Thanks for the advise. Your default settings makes a smooth bass sound.
I was fooling around with some different settings and this generic setup seems to work quite well. (Un)fortunately this plugin approach eliminates the need for guitarix, since I 99% of the time route the signal to qtractor and add delays/echo/tremolo or whatever effects in qtractor rather than guitarix for postprocessing purposes.

This approach got me started looking into C* / Calf / Tap etc for crunchy guitar sounds.

So right now I setting up the default file with 5 tracks for two different bass sounds and 3 different guitar sounds. Will post some settings later.
Linux audio is so plug'n'play :)
DepreTux
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by DepreTux »

glad to read it was useful. I forgot to mention that I host the aforementioned in qtractor, but I see you do the same.

let us know how your research turns out!
Rapstam
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by Rapstam »

Ok I admit it, I got carried away and put the bass aside and started playing guitar (my main instrument) and using the plugin-based approach rather than the embedded guitarix. I will get back to the bass setup when I am done playing around.

Guitars:
Tokai PRS replica with two humbuckers
Yamaha strat HSS pickups ( revamped with Seymour-Duncan pups)
Routing: behringer tube ultragain 200 into M-audio 2496.

Guitar setups:
1) C* noisegate -> SC4 ->C* AMP VTS -> TAP tubewarmth / GxTubeScreamer -> C* cabinet -> end effects ( clean / crunchy / semi bright sounding )
2) C* noisegate -> SC4 -> Calf saturator -> GxTubeScreamer -> C* cabinet -> end effects ( overdriven / distorted / fatter darker sound, classic rock'n' roll sound)
3) C* noisegate -> SC4 -> (TAP Sigmoid booster) -> Calf saturator -> C* AMP VTS -> C* cabinet -> end effects (clean lightly crunchy sound)
End effects: TAP tremolo / C* plate reverb / Tal-dub3

Overall I am quite impressed with the sounds. You do not get the crispy/crunchyness from a real tube amp, but the C* amp + cabinet has some of the elements of a tube amp, but the sound is flat/dull compared to the real thing (As expected).
Really distorted sounds (metal) are hard and I have not been able to generate a setup, at least for the entire spectrum of the guitar.
The Tokai really shines in the classic hardrock setup (2), whereas you can get some Hendrix/SRV sounds from (3) using the strat neck pickup with the TAP Sigmoid booster enabled.

The basic C* noisegate -> SC4 -> C* AMP VTS -> C* cabinet setup is generally capable of producing a decent guitar sound. I find the SC4 compressor the most neutral wrt. coloration of the sound. The calf saturator makes the sound more dark compared to the basic setup. C* plate reverb is brilliant for guitars. Tal-Dub3 is just funny.
DepreTux
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by DepreTux »

I got a nice distortion the other day with: calf multichorus > calf compressor > zyn distortion > zita-reverb

The chorus is the important part, depending on the depth, the voices, the modulation speed and the wet eq it will give you a warmer or harsher sound.
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English Guy
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by English Guy »

With Bass, like electric guitar, half the final sound is from the speaker, which shapes the sound. I know you can get cabinet emulation for guitars on Linux, but I have not seen it for bass (it may be out there - do tell please). I use a zoom bass pedal to get the speaker emulation when I DI.
DepreTux
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by DepreTux »

To do cabinet emulation of a bass amp you can search on the internet for bass amps impulse responses and load them on a convolver. There are many on linux.
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GMaq
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by GMaq »

Hi,

These IR bass cabs are quite good, especially the Ampeg ones with the Neumann "U" mics, I use them with the linuxDSP Black EQ, DYN500 Compressor and Robin Gareus' LV2 Convolver (part of the X42 Plugins package): http://www.freemusiciansresource.com/VS ... sponses-2/
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Qualitymix
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by Qualitymix »

A wonder plugin for bass you ask?
Why yes. Tap Sigmoid works absolute wonders on my bass sounds.
I don't know what it does (it's a form of distortion) but whatever it does, it is magic on my bass!
Rapstam
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by Rapstam »

So many options and so little time... and that convolver approach is really cool.
carlv
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by carlv »

I have a C* pack off plugin's by Tim Goetz installed, but can't find C* noisegate.
Where can i find this C* noisegate? Or is it a build in feature in other plugin's?
A quick search in Ardour's plugin manager pulled it up on this end.
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ufug
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Re: Good bass sound from DI

Post by ufug »

Edit: Oh man, zombie topic, sorry for the rant. :)

I always DI my bass straight into the USB interface and don't use any amp/cab emulation. It generally gets a modest amount of compression and a good nudge of high pass filtering to keep it relatively tight sounding (it's counter-intuitive, but bass guitar can often be too bassy and you often need to take a cut out of the very bottom or you'll lose note definition). If the track is dense I use Calf Saturator, which is a great tool for adding a small touch of mix-friendly fuzz--it's very subtle, but the added high end information can help define notes well.

To go on an unsolicited bass player rant (it's been my primary instrument for decades--I'm a decent bass player but a total amateur at recording/mixing), there are two less tech-y things which can make a huuuge difference to getting a good bass track, and they are rarely discussed re: recording bass:

1) The easy one: make sure your technique and set-up are in order. Bass guitar seems easy to play, but it's not as forgiving as some other instruments when you're recording. Make sure you are intonated, have decent strings (and relatively fresh ones if you use roundwounds), and that you are articulating each note clearly and relatively uniformly volume-wise when you track. If you can do this, it allows a much lighter use of your compressor--everybody needs a little compression on bass, but the less you can get away with the better it will sound.

2) The more challenging one: arrangement. It's amazing how many people add bass to a home recording as an afterthought only because they think they should. But it pays to put some effort into the role of the bass in the song, especially if you are not typically the bass player. If you add bass just for the sake of it, it often has to fight its way through the mix and then you have to over-EQ and compress the crap out of it and it ends up sounding sad. Bass cuts though much more easily if you pick the right notes for the right style and set them in the right places. And that includes knowing where NOT to play, or leaving bass out of a song entirely if it doesn't call for it. Many amazing, skilled guitarists can pick up a bass and shred on it, but are not able to truly shift into a bass player mentality. Some extra time and thoughtfulness will help you get a better sounding bass part and will help support the song overall.
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