Best Bass sound

Without a cabinet

Say I want to record my bass guitar dry, directly into my mixer => into N-track…as in, no microphone, no amp; just line in directly from the bass…In your experience what is the best way to get a full bass sound and give the bass adequate level? Would I benefit from some type of direct/DI box? If so, would you have any recommendations as to brand/model/etc?

Thanks for reading,


Some good ideas here:…;t=2606

Thanks, Willy!
I did a forum search and found every topic but that…musta put in the wrong keywords…


I been recording directly through a compressor for years, I think it is the only way to record Bass, There is decent artcle on the N-Track Links page called beginners guide to recording with compression. Check it out it’s a good place to start. Also you can get a decent compression for pretty cheap these days.
I can’t say enough about the Sansamp. I still think it’s the best DI box out there for bass.

As a bass player, I would agree about the SansAmp - one of the best direct sounds for the price. One day (when I can afford to!), I will step up to the Avalon U5, but until then, I’m very satisfied.

At a minimum, all you need is any kind of instrument preamp or hi-z mike preamp to bring the bass up to line level (my mixer has hi-z mike preamps). Try any stomp box or FX unit you have that either stays active when disabled, or else has an effect you don’t mind using, and put that between bass and mixer line input. This may or may not be the best sound, depending on your playing style and the sound you’re going for. (If you play thumb & snap, you’ll probably need a compressor going in.)

Give you have an instrument preamp, try just putting compression on that track. I got results I really liked that way. However, I’m not a bass player so I don’t have a very specific result in mind before I start. Also, I was using my son’s Aria Pro II bass, which has pickups that are naturally very hot, almost distorted sounding (much like Texas Special pups on a Strat). But I believe you can get excellent results on bass going direct.

Another free option, if you want to add a little distortion and/or speaker tone, try the Ruby Tube VST plugin (google to find it), and/or the MDA Combo (from These aren’t good enough to make a guitar sound realistic, but they might cut it for direct bass.

And as pointed out on the thread mentioned above, bass players the world over say great things about the SansAmp Bass DI, which is available very cheap on ebay. I doubt you could go wrong with having one in your kit.

Here’s a promising looking auction – most ads spell it “sansamp” but this one is “sans amp” so maybe it won’t be noticed by as many folks.

Another thing you can try for free is going to NoiseVault and getting some bass cab Impulse Responses. Sometimes they can sound decent on the right material.

Wow! Thanks for all of the responses! All very informative and varied…It’s nice to have options…The spice o’ life, eh?

Much thanks,