> Step by step

1. Bass gui­tar – record­ing and mix­ing ba­sics

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

1 When record­ing, the bassist must be able to hear (or ‘mon­i­tor’) them­self through a ba­sic record­ing chain. So, set your au­dio in­ter­face’s buf­fer size as low as it’ll go with­out the sound glitch­ing – this min­imises the time be­tween strik­ing the strings and hear­ing the note com­ing back through the speak­ers/headphones, known as la­tency. Low la­tency is es­sen­tial to achiev­ing tight record­ings.

2 Ad­just in­put gain to get around 6dB of head­room on the loud­est parts, en­sur­ing a healthy sig­nal level with­out clip­ping. On the track you’re record­ing to, en­able the mon­i­tor op­tion, and add a bass amp sim­u­la­tion plugin so the bassist hears an in­spir­ing ‘amped’ tone. Al­ter­na­tively, use an au­dio in­ter­face with low-la­tency mon­i­tor­ing and ef­fects builtin, such as Uni­ver­sal Au­dio’s Apollo se­ries.

3 Make test record­ings of pickup com­bi­na­tions and right-hand pluck­ing tech­niques to dis­cover which fits the track. If you’re us­ing a vir­tual bass so­lu­tion, you might think this step doesn’t ap­ply, but many fea­ture play­ing ar­tic­u­la­tions and switch­able gear set­ups – IK Mul­ti­me­dia’s Modo Bass lets you experiment with play­ing styles, hand po­si­tion, strings, pickup types, and even pickup po­si­tion.

4 Once you’ve recorded or pro­grammed your bass parts, you can dial in the vir­tual amp set­tings for real. In­crease Gain for a growlier sound, use built-in com­pres­sion to even out vol­ume vari­a­tions. Speaker cab­i­nets and mic setup can have a huge tonal im­pact, so these should ide­ally be de­cided upon be­fore us­ing the EQ con­trols to bal­ance the sound.

5 Place an EQ plugin after the amp sim. Use high-Q cuts to tame res­o­nances such as overly boomy bass fre­quen­cies or high-pitched metal­lic ring­ing. Also try cut­ting the kick’s main fre­quency from the bass, to sit kick and bass to­gether. For gen­eral shap­ing, cut/boost 80-100Hz for weight; 300-500Hz for mud­di­ness; 8001000Hz for clar­ity; and 2-3kHz for at­tack.

6 Next, add a com­pres­sor with a strong Ra­tio of at least 4:1, and mod­er­ately fast At­tack and Re­lease times. As a start­ing point, set the Thresh­old so you get 3dB of gain re­duc­tion. Try dif­fer­ent com­pres­sor types to see what suits your mu­sic. Use opto com­pres­sion to re­tain low-end fat­ness; FET for grit and fast re­sponse; and VCA for punchy ag­gres­sion.

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