Recording bass

Best way to rec. bass

Does anybody have any suggestions on the best way to record bass guitar?
Is it to mic up the bass amp, or is it ok to go through a bass pedal straight into the PC.
Any suggestion welcome!

Personal experience / opinion :

The two way I do bass recording

1: Line out out of bass amp.

2: Bass guitar direct into mixer, and then add some ‘ruby tube’ valve emulator plugin to it. You can also add just some compression on the dry bass sound.

I get pretty decent results with the above two methods…

Cheers !


It all depends upon the resources available to you. I record all my bass lines through a SansAmp Bass DI (about $170) and they usually sound pretty good. The SansAmp is probably the quickest, and easiest, way to get a good, classic, bass tone.

All the bass tracks on my CD were done with a SansAmp:

Go here for some mp3s.

The Bass POD is an interesting device with lost of potential if you like to experiment, or are into some alternative bass sounds. It also has a pretty decent range of classic bass tones, but I still prefer the simplicity of the SansAmp.

If you’re going to mic a bass cabinet, most people will suggest that you record two tracks (one track for the mic, and the other track direct out of the bass guitar itself), and combine the two at mix-down.

Good luck!


…and most definitely use a compressor at mix-down!

I use the original (guitar) POD for bass, using the Tube Amp model and the compressor. However, I’d like to get a Bass POD sometime when the gadget account allows for it… :)

regards, Nils

Right, John. Sans Amp bass DI has a great reputation, and compression is almost always used on bass in pop music (as opposed to classical, I mean, including rock, blues, folk, even jazz for electric bass).

I’ve had great results just going direct into a mixer channel’s 1/4" input, when the channels “trim” or “gain” pot affects the 1/4" input level. (This is usually true for channels with mike preamps and not for channels without them.) These inputs are often labeled “Line”, but they’re really more than that.

Of course, it depends on the sound you want. Try everything and see what works for you. But be sure to try going directly in, because if that works for you, it sure is simple!

Ruby Tube is definitely worth trying. You might also try MDA Combo’s speaker sim ( Speaker sim is more important for guitar than bass, but it’s worth a shot.

DI through direct box or sometimes my j-station.

I’m a big fan of my berry Ultra-GI, especially with the cabinet sim.

I’ve done some recording straight into the mic input on my soundcard, but it yields unsatisfactory “dry” results. I love that hint of tube on the bass sound, so these days I use my (standard guitar) POD, set to a clean sound. You may get similar (and much cheaper!) results with a nice tube plugin after a direct recording, though. :cool:

I’m using Berringers Vamp, and have just subtoned myself out of a mix! :D For the price this desktop processor has tuns to offer, with many presets, cab and amp types.

I’ve noticed some pod impulses at noisevault using SIR…whats that all about? IR Convolutions are typically for reverbs arent they?

Anyhoo…a friend of mine is a bassist and typically likes his bass recorded in quasi mode

Mic’d Amp with lower EQ
Mic’d Amp with higher EQ
Direct through DI Box with a nice compressor (cant remember which one)
Input from Amp flat EQ

Sounds interesting. (I know little about basses)

Heres an article from sound on

Also if you record both DI and with a mic I’ve read articles saying you have to "slide " one track slightly on the timeline to get it to line up with the other with the other.

FWIW, IMHO, etc., both DI and a mic on an amp is the way to go. DI though a simple DI box can sound rather unlively. And things like pod haven’t sounded quite real to me. I may have to change my mind about that, things change so quickly, and things have been soudning better and better. But add a mic on an amp to the DI sound and you can pretty easily get life and solidity. I like a LD condensor on the center of the speaker.

Concerning the problem nick is referring to, you don’t have to get them matched up if you like the effect - essentially a comb filtering efffect from teh two track having different latencies. But you can line them up pretty easily visually.

Again, FWIW, IMHO.

i go straight in the soundcard and compress it on the back end.



Convolutions are very powerful. In theory, a convolution can represent any “IIR” (infinite impulse response) filter. As it turns out, most physical processes that affect signals are IIR filters, or something like that. This makes me wonder whether a tube is an IIR, and if so, how come it’s taken them so long to get close to a tube sound? The devil’s in the details, no doubt.

The bottom line is that convolutions can do almost anything: EQ, reverb, amp sim, cabinet sim, the list goes on.

One of the difficulties is that some IIRs require very long “kernels”, which is the input data “covolved” with the signal to produce the effect – in other words, an “impulse file” is what a mathmatician would call a “kernel”. The longer the kernel, the more samples are required in a row before the first output. That is, the longer the kernel, the longer the latency.

Really cool stuff. If you want to learn the math, the classic book on it is “Digital Filters” by Hamming. The first chapter is a review of the necessary underlying math. Unfortunately, I never quite make it through the first chapter, not knowing eigenvalues from horsingoggles. :(

I usually record through my J Station or Joe Meek pre but the best bass sound I ever got was a P bass mic’ed up through a blackface Bassman amp.

Part of the problem with convolution is that something vary dynamically. SIR can’t handle that. I gather that the Waves IR can, although I haven’t tried it. But with an insturment like bass where the dynamic variations matter (think about what happens to a tube amp when turned up - and how soft notes differ from loud notes) well, the convolution has to model that and not just EQ.