Tip & How-To about Music
Once again, we dive into the subject of recording your band's (or your solo) album. So far, we've covered the basics, and how to record drums. Today, we talk about the all-important Bass Guitar.
There are a few different ways that you can do this, one being the industry studio standard of using a Direct In box, or DI. How this works is you run through this box, which then has two cables. One to the mixer, and one to your amp. You then mic the amp (see below for mic placement), and get both the clean and amped signals together on the track, giving you a fuller sound.
Method number 2 - Amp your bass, and add the effects there at the amp. Compression, chorus, and distortion are some popular ones with the bass guitar these days, even in country music. Light overdrive gives a bass more high end sparkle, making it easier to hear it at the lower volumes.
Method number 3, and suggested if you don't have a DI box as well as if you don't want to anger your neighbors, who bang on the ceiling with a broom (just joking on that. Still, don't tick them off!) - Plug your bass straight into the computer, and record two tracks simultaneously. On one of the tracks, apply an amp simulator with the desired effects. On the other, apply ONLY an equalizer and compressor, in that order. What this does is gives you the amp tone, as well as accentuates the lower frequencies of the bass guitar. It's the shortcut that actually produces great results.
For mic placement on your amp, you can use either a condenser mic (which requires a preamp, or a mixer with phantom power), or a dynamic mic. Both will give you a great sound, but it's up to you to find what fits your sound, and your budget.
Placing the mic. - Pick your best sounding speaker. To do this, turn your amp down, and play a note. Go to it, and listen to each speaker by placing your ear directly in front of it (this is why we said turn it down). If your best one is close to the floor, rotate the cab so that it's one of the top speakers. Using a standard mic stand, place the mic so that it's pointed directly at the speaker, but it's about 2 inches in front of the cone, and 2 inches to the side. You can experiment with different placements, such as directly in front, or to the side and pointed across the speaker, but this is usually the best sound you'll get.
That's all for this segment of Home Studio Recording. Join us later for part 4.
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