flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

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AJOwens
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by AJOwens »

Most of what needs to be said has been said. Even the cheapest Yamaha bass is a reasonable-quality product, and there's nothing wrong with the one you have. I use a '65 Hofner 501 (almost the same model Paul bought in Hamburg because he could afford it at the time) and an American P-bass (sounds a lot like a Mexican P-bass) , and at one point I had a red Peavey and a cool-looking Washburn with a super-long neck, and while they all have different sounds, they're all capable of rich, punchy bass sound.

Your recording does not sound rich and punchy. It sounds a bit tanky, as if it's not picking up the low frequencies properly. As a rough test, can you get a satisfactory fat sound out of a bass amp? If so, the bass is fine. You said you're going direct into an audio interface. The general quality of the input matters; a low-end audio device might not flatter a bass. Also, make sure you're impedance-matched. Try a DI box and see if it makes a difference.

The recording has echo on it. I would be careful with echo or reverb, because it can sometimes mysteriously deflate or dissipate a bass guitar sound. Not all echoes or presets are built for bass frequencies.

If for whatever reason there's just not enough bass signal to start with, you can EQ to try to boost the low end and remove a bit of the midrange. Compression can add punch and presence, or if done wrong can suck the punch right out. Try the compression presets for bass, but be prepared to drop it altogether. Compression on bass is more of a mix thing, to thicken up a groove with a big fat pencil line, or alternatively create a spacious sound with wispy brush strokes.
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by gizo »

I really like this thread - I have no way of offering help to Ray, but I appreciate reading the advice and guidance given.
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Caravan Ray
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by Caravan Ray »

AJOwens wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:18 pm

The recording has echo on it.
Yes. I noticed that too. Weird. Not intentional- it should not have been there on the clean take. I will have to see what’s going on there.
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by Caravan Ray »

AJOwens wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:18 pm
Most of what needs to be said has been said. Even the cheapest Yamaha bass is a reasonable-quality product, and there's nothing wrong with the one you have.
This makes me slightly sad. I was slightly hoping Lunkhead or Paco would say "no...you need a new Fender...that will fix everything". I am not a guitar hoarder - but one day I would like a pale blue PBass to match my pale blue stratocaster. It is not that I can't afford one - but I am a tight bastard and I know it is only for status - it won't actually help my recording.
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Lunkhead wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:49 am
I think that plain bass sound is totally fine. The plugin sound also seems fine. You may want to work more on muting the strings that you're not actually playing. You can do this by muting them with either or both hands. I hear a fair amount of open strings vibrating/ringing when they're not being played. That's just going to add noise to your track which could make things more difficult. Playing more cleanly will make things easier.

But yeah, I think you've got a decent sound to start from. I think you need to focus on making sure all your other tracks, beside the bass and the kick drum, have a high-pass EQ on them. In case GarageBand doesn't use that term, it's an EQ setting that causes all the sound at frequencies below the chosen frequency to be cut more and more the farther below the chosen frequency. It's the down slope on the left hand side of this image, which I'm guessing is enabled by that red icon above it:

Image

Then you need to make sure your kick and bass are not clobbering each other. Give the kick the 60-80Hz or even 60-100Hz range, by putting a high-pass filter on your bass. You may want to notch down the kick in 100-120Hz and boost the bass there, etc. Have your kick and bass solo-ed and play with the EQ in those sub/low-low frequencies till you can feel both the punch of the kick and the rumble of the bass.
What is that picture?

Well - I know that picture very well - it is a Garageband thing - but why the drop at 1k? Is that to make a hole for vocals?
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by crumpart »

You need a new Fender Caravan Ray. It will fix everything.

We have a very nice bass bought on sale on a whim many years ago (a Musicman Stingray). I’m using the excuse that it’s too heavy and the tuning pegs are to just too far away to buy this one day. https://www.thomann.de/ie/harley_benton ... series.htm
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:19 am
You need a new Fender Caravan Ray. It will fix everything.
Yeah yeah. They said the same thing about snorting cocaine off the back of a thousand dollar hooker.... and they were right.

I better buy a new Fender.
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by Lunkhead »

The point of the screenshot was to show the down-to-the-left slope on the left side, that's what the high pass filter looks like, the filter you want to make sure you put on the EQ of everything but the kick drum and bass, generally speaking. Ignore the rest of it. I was too lazy to crop it.
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Re: flabby, farty bass (and mix balance in general)

Post by ujnhunter »

So I didn't read the whole thread and I'm kindo fdrink... but the main thing about bass... is you need to know what your going for. I'm personally really a Steve Harris/Geddy Lee kinda guy. I have to say that I'm a finger player and find a pick awkward when playing bass. Probably because bass was my first instrument and usually guitar players who switch to bass find a pick to be more up their alley. Anyhow... Steve Harris and Geddy Lee have a much more driven mid range and top end grind on their bass tracks. So I try to use compression on the low end to tighten it up and adding some distortion on the high end to give it some presence. Basically splitting the bass DI into two tracks split EQ wise and handled separately. Again... this is a preference. Find out what type of bass or player you like... then figure out how they achieve that sound.

Edit: After reading (or attempting to read...) the thread... You don't need a new Fender... Unless you need an excuse to get one... but every single song that I've recorded bass to for at least the past 3 (?) years has been recorded with a $25 Davison PBass. While I won't pretend it's the greatest, no one has ever said that I need to work on my bass sound.
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