Getting the best bass guitar tone to tape is a never-ending quest. Hopefully, this blog post will be an inspiration to you.
Avid Eleven Rack (11R) is a guitar/bass preamp processor that can also function as an audio interface when connected to a computer. In today’s scenario, it will be used as a stand-alone device. It is the first device in the recording chain functioning as a signal multiplier and an amplifier/speaker simulator.
11R provides two instrument level outputs specifically designed for connecting to the input of a guitar amplifier or any other device with a Hi-Z input. I was able to send the bass signal to my Ampeg BA-115 combo and also to the DI input of my Joemeek Twin Q. Twin Q will provide a warm and leveled (thanks to the optical compressor onboard) clean signal sent to your DAW, which you can use along with a bass amp emulator plugin such as IK Multimedia’s Ampeg SVX or one of the uber-realistic bass amplifier emulations from Plugin Alliance.
In parallel, you will want to use your trusted bass mic to record the real bass amp. In my case, it is an AKG D112 MkII routed to a Universal Audio LA-610 MkII channel strip.
As the third option, I can record a processed version of the bass signal using 11R’s built-in preamp and speaker simulation using stereo effects. Effects will be the actual reason for recording this signal in stereo.
If you would like to push the limits any further, you might as well stick a second microphone in front of the bass amp, preferably a large-diaphragm condenser such as an AKG C414 or a Neumann U87 if you are a lucky owner of such treasures.
I certainly do not imply that you should use all of these tracks in your mix at once. It is only a matter of having sonic choices, various textures in your musical palette. Pick one that fits your track best or blend in a second.
Feel free to use a direct-injection box or an ABY pedal in your recording rig instead of my Eleven Rack to split the bass guitar signal.
Always keep an eye on possible phase issues when you record a single sound source onto multiple tracks using different techniques.
Until next time, keep up the low-end everyone!
PS. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need reamping for your bass tracks. I also offer remote recording services.