Bass Tone Mic Placement
So, you just saw our maze of cables in the other room. And, where we left off was the vocal stressor, going out from the control room into the live room here. Now, the vocal stressor puts a line level output, and you can't exactly feed the line level output into a guitar or bass amplifier. So, that's why we have the (unintelligible) reamp box which is a classic. Had this thing for about ten years. And this is converting it to a guitar level signal, which is the going into the front of the amp. And this is a mesa.
This is a mesa, so yeah just to go from the vocal stressor in the other room it was compressing the signal no more than around minus 6. And we were carrying a little bit of the fiery mids around two to four hundred on the bass. Just to make it a little bit more together when we came to the bass amp. So the bass amp here is a Mesa strategy 8:88. Which is an old tube bass head. And we're running that through a powerhouse eight by ten, here. Controls wise it's actually quite a ...
clean sounding bass signal. We haven't driven it really too much, but what we were hoping to achieve from this was actually more top end. But when we put the sub kick on, we realized that it had a really solid bottom end and so we were being lied to by this room a little bit. Which is a problem that we've been having throughout the entire recording session.
Yeah I think another one of the reasons, to control the two fifty to four hundred range. Even though you would normally wanna control that on a bass or guitar, really anything, is that this room blows those frequency ranges out of proportion, anyways.
Yep it really does.
Yeah. So then the fact that, these gobos we have to use them for vocals. We're doing vocals at the same time, we're out of gobos. So we know that the room will contribute into the signal going into these microphones. So we need to take some steps to mitigate what the room would be amplifying frequency wise.
So I guess we should go into what we've used here for mics. Just as we tried to set up as many mics as possible, just to basically give us some options to see what we liked. So, if we start at the top here, we have an AKGC four and four. A Neumann U eighty seven. An audix D6, an RE20, and then a Yamaha NS10 speaker which is being used as a sub kick. And so far, from in the other room, what we've listened to we've actually liked the combination of the AKGC four and four and the Yamaha sub kick. It's not that either mics sound bad, it's just that these two sound the best to our ears at the time.
Yeah. Absolutely. One thing that we did find interesting though, was the U87 had a very aggressive top end. And it was coming in out of phase. Once we flipped the phase on it, it kinda worked nicely. So we've kinda found that the subkick with the four fourteen, with the U87 blended in very quietly is pretty nice. I kinda hated the RE20 honestly.
Yeah I really didn't like it which is a shame really. Cause it does work sometimes on some bass tones, but it's not working for this. And the D6 wasn't bad either, but the C4:4 just made it sound kind of brittle sounding.
But yeah, and what we decided to do into the other room, which we'll probably explain in a minute, is that we've ran the C4:4 through a LA282A in there just to get rid of any of the really aggressive transients so it's a little bit more smooth when we're recording into ProTools. I was originally gonna face it towards the wall but I wasn't too sure if that was gonna work with this. Cause obviously it's bass so I've increased more of that three hundred if we faced it against the wall. So we tried this and it seemed to work. So, yeah. It's cool. Just to go on about the controls of the amp a little bit as well. It's on actually on the bright setting. As I was saying we wanted to originally get top end out of this. The bass and the mid are rolled off a little bit. Treble boosted a little bit. And on the graphic eq as you can see, I'm cutting out a lot of the bottom end and a lot of the low-mids. Which is what has contributed by this room basically to the three hundred to four hundred range we're talking about. And also, with the bass, the really low, lows like the sub lows, were really out of control in here. So I had to cut those on this graphic.
And besides, we're kinda getting those from other places as well.
We are as well, yeah. The reason that the head in in here is we go our bass player Swanee to play in the control room. I'd stand in here to play around with it until I thought it sounded pretty good. And we didn't have to really change much, did we? Once we put the mics in front of this it sounded pretty good, so. I'm pretty happy with the results we got through the mics.
I'm not surprised. (laughter) No, I feel like with almost anything else, usually if you don't have the tone within one, two, or three tweaks, you probably just need to start all over.
So I think this was within one or two tweaks. Really, once we got the signal path correct, and figured out the phase issues with the mics, which pres they're going into, what blends are right. We were pretty good to go.
Yeah definitely, yeah.
And solve the room of course.
And this room, we keep saying it, but this room has a personality all of its own. Like any room, but som rooms are very very pleasing. And some are not. So just because it's got tall ceilings, and interesting angles, doesn't mean that it's automatically great.
And it's obviously depending on the style of music playing as well.
Obviously in metal, you don't really want that frequency range. But for something like indie or jazz it'd probably works pretty nicely.
Yeah, possibly. Probably not.
Those of you who are intelligent enough to purchase this class, and I do say intelligent. There's a reason I was saying that, cause if you do the math the bonuses are actually worth more financially than the cost of the class. But you're gonna get the ProTools session, with this. Actually all the ProTools sessions, because I recorded different sessions. I do one for guitar, one for drums, one for bass. But you're gonna get all of these microphones, and all of the different DI's that we're taking. So you can really here the difference on your own monitors, and not just through an internet feed.
Yeah. I'd like to say one last thing if that's okay? I'd like to say I'd like to thank Tim McKee at Mesa for sorting us out with all of the amplifiers and obviously Zack for picking it all up as well.
Thank you Zack.
Thank you Zack. It sounded fantastic so yeah. This bass amp sounds really great.
Okay. So, we just discussed, exactly how this is all routed. We discussed, what microphones are in the cabs. And now we're gonna discuss what's happening when those signals come back in here. We've got most of these microphones actually, going through the desk. We've got the D6 going through the trident. We've got the sub kick going through the trident. And we had the RE20 going through the trident, but we hated it. So we ditched it. It honestly sounded pretty terrible. Which is disappointing cause I like that mic, very much. And the reason that we have this going through the trident is because we're out of API's and we didn't want to put these on Neve's. Because while Neve's are nice and warm, like everybody says, I don't think that they capture subs quite the way we want. They are very, very colored. And they do roll off on the extreme lows a little, and we wanted to capture clean and full sub frequencies. So, we did pick our two favorite mics though. To put through the API's. Which were the four fourteen, and the U87. And we've got the four fourteen going through this L A two A. And it's compressing between three and eight db. So you're getting about three and eight db of gain reduction. And the rest is just going right back into ProTools. So I will show you, kind of what we've got here. This is our sub kick. You'll notice these all sound very different. (drumming sound) I'll turn off the click. So this is the sub kick. (bass guitar music) Now there's a misconception about a sub kick. A lot of people think that all it captures is subs, which is not right. It captures a lot more than just the subs. It's just that it captures subs very very well. So lots of times, with a sub kick, you will end up just rolling it off like all the way down, pretty much. (low bass guitar kicks) But it actually sounds kinda cool without the roll off. (bass guitar music) So, this is our four fourteen. Going through the L A two A. (bass guitar music) Now like we said in there, we were trying to get good top end out of the bass amp. And as you can hear, that has a nice crunchy top end. We use the L A two A to tame those really sharp, transient peaks because they would get kinda painful. When you hear then blended, hear them blended with a sub kick, it's a nice full but defined sound. (bass guitar music) I'll show you what we got out of the U eighty seven. I'm gonna turn this off and this off. You're gonna be surpised. (bass guitar music) No low end, at all. Now, originally they hated it, the Monuments guys hated it. And I think that by itself that's kind of a crappy bass sound. But I was figuring that it might be good to possibly distort that and blend it into the high end. Because one trick that you use in mixing metal a lot, is to separate the high end and the low end. That actually could be a nice contributor to the high end. However. It is out of phase. And I will show you. Let me just, enhance these wave forms. I went ahead and I flipped it on the pre amps. And that's why I have this trim plug in, right here so that I can actually show you what it's like flipped. If you can get the phase right on the way into the computer, I recommend going that way. Rather than fixing phase with plugins. Just get it right at the source. So if you have pre amps that will flip the polarity, go for it. And that's what I did. However, the way it was coming in was like this. For instance, listen to it against the sub kick. (bass guitar music) Hear the difference in the low end there? This is how it came in before, with the polarity flipped. (bass guitar music) With the polarity naturally flipped, and then (bass guitar music) So yeah, phase. Makes a big difference. And then we blend it in with the four fourteen. I think it sounds pretty cool. (bass guitar music) So sound that has a lot of high end, and a lot of lows, and a lot of punch. So I'll show you some of the other options that we got. We go this D six. And like we said, it's okay. (bass guitar music) It's cool, but it, I don't know. We thought it was good enough to keep, maybe it could be used for something. But we weren't in love with it. We didn't hate it enough to get rid of. And we've got John Browne's bass pod. This is a sound that he made. And it's meant to just give a very, very consistent sub end and I'll let you hear that. (low bass music) Hear how consistent that it? It's a great low end. This is a dark glass. (bass guitar metal music) And then, this is the DI by itself. (bass guitar music) Our safety net. When we start tracking, we're not gonna just be leaving all these mics wide open. We're gonna pick the combination that is literally just the easiest to hear. And that gives us the best idea of what's going on. We're not going for a mixed tone, because as you may know, in metal sometimes the bass isn't out front. And you don't always know what the bass is doing. Sometimes you feel it more than hear it. And sometimes even though you hear it, it's hard to tell exactly what it's doing. So we're going for a tone now that will help us just get the parts right. The Monuments guys are about to come back in. And one thing that I want you guys to notice, is that we're gonna be passing the bass back and forth between Swanee and John Browne. Now lots of times on records, guitar players will track the bass parts because the bass player sucks. However, in the case of Monuments, Swanee is a fantastic bass player. And as you guys who have been watching this bootcamp know, they're all fantastic muscians. So the reason that we would have Browne playing bass on some parts, is more because only Browne can play in the same field as Browne. And part of the metal, modern metal sound is to have a cohesive wall of sound. And all the little variations that contributes to someone's unique sound, which is all the inflections, how they shift their feet around, micro bands, all of those tiny little things that can contribute to give someone their unique musical identity, will only match up if that same person plays all the instruments. So on the parts where we need the bass and the guitars to be exactly locked, Browne is gonna play the bass. And on the parts where the bass is kinda doing its own thing, we're gonna go with Swanee. Alright, and we can get them back in.