Bass Tone Setup


Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp


Lesson Info

Bass Tone Setup

Bass tone, I think, is like the hidden weapon on any metal recording. It's the most important part, next to the drums. Yeah, in my opinion, too. Well, because it's part of the drum tone and part of the guitar tone. A lot of people don't even realize that you don't get a really good and powerful guitar tone that has real teeth without a great bass tone and you don't get drums that really push without a great bass tone. It marries everything together. It's the hardest part to dial in, I think, and the mark of truly pro mixer is how well they balance their low end and it's the thing that people struggle with the most. It takes the longest to get right. It's the hardest to hear and I think it's the most fun to track also. It's definitely the most fun part, I think, as well. Yeah And another thing as well that bewilders me is the fact that a lot of metal bands have terrible bass players when it's like one of the most important parts. I think it's because the importance of it is ...

not a lead role. It is to those of us who understand what comprises a metal mix, but as far players go, it's a support instrument, so-- It's actually the lead instrument. In my opinion too. The guitars are supporting you with white noise on the sides of the track. I agree but, in the way that it's presented to the world, it's a support instrument and so it doesn't attract as many people, and often times even, it's the instrument that bad guitar players get demoted to. When in reality-- It should be the other way around. Yeah. Lots of my best mixes have been when the best musician in the band was the bassist. And also on the subject of having to redo other people's parts, I find that bass is the instrument that I play the most in the studio. I mean other than guitar in my own stuff, when I'm working with other people, I replace their bass with myself more often than guitars. Yup You find that too? I find that too, yeah. I also enjoy tracking it more than not-- Yeah it's way more fun, isn't it? And you only have to get one, so. Yeah Yeah, it's fun. Well, one but tons of tracks of, let's start talking about this set up. They've got a lot of interesting stuff with them, that we all wanted to try, but at the same time, I just wanted to capture clean DI. Not just for the reason of re-amping and not just as a safety net, but because I like to use it for generating MIDI and all kinds of different things. It just has lots of uses and I just do it as a matter of discipline. So, we had to figure out how to take one bass and get it into several places without murdering the tone on the way. So, the first thing was, we've got this Little Labs splitter. And what's interesting about it is that this is an XLR end, but this XLR has a guitar cable end put on the other side and it has a chip in here that converts it back to unbalanced. Originally, we were going from this Little Labs and splitting it and going straight to the front of this API for the DI, right? Yeah, that's correct. And then out to the front of this POD XT, however, as lots of people know, these APIs that don't have input and output trims, they really clip, very, very easy. That's why I have VP-28s, for instance, because you've got input and output, makes your life a lot easier. As a matter of fact, I know a lot of people who use, when they have real APIs or 3124s or whatever, they actually have, in their rack, a set of pads right after them where they plug in line pads to the outputs of their APIs, because a lot of the cool part of an API is when you drive it, that's when you start to get the cool distortion harmonics that it can provide. So, in reality, if you don't have the ability to pad the output, an API is actually crystal clear. It's actually kinda cool that it can go from crystal clear to just distorted and punchy. However, we want crystal clear for the bass DI. So, that wasn't working, so we had to rethink this. So we know that John's POD XT has a clean out, so we decided okay, instead of splitting this out to the API, we're gonna send one to the front of the POD, correct? No, we're gonna plug the bass directly into the front of the POD. That's right. Cause we've got the pad on the front of this. We can pad it. It goes through the unaffected out into the splitter and then we can-- That's right. Into the API, therefore you've got pad before the API which causes us to not lose much clipping. So you've actually got two pads on it before. Two pads and how low is the volume? It's pretty much on zero, pretty much, yup. Yeah, so I got that wrong that we're going straight into the front of the POD? Yup. Okay. So one of those is being split straight to the API and that's just a clean signal from the API right into Pro Tools. Done. Yup. Then, from that little Labs, this is where you might want to take over. Yeah, okay, we've split into another Little Labs. This is the Redeye. That's the Redeye. So we split into the Redeye which is this thing here and we're running two more signals. So one is going back into another API here which then is feeding through to the bass amplifier that we have in the live room which we'll go over a little bit later and then the other side is going to these pedals here. We have a Cali 1176 replica in the pedal, sounds great. It's a compressor which then is going into a B7K Ultra which is the new pedal from Darkglass and then that's going into Pro Tools as well. Yeah, that's going into another API? It's actually going into another API, yeah. (laughs) Wow, quite an intense signal, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. So then-- Oh yeah, one thing I forgot to mention, actually, about going to the bass sample as well. So from this API which is going to the bass amp into the other room, we're actually running through this compressor equalizer here by Audio Design, a vocal stressor, so we're going to compress the signal before it hits the bass amplifier, so we get a more consistent sound. Now what's crazy about that is, we'll show you in a moment that on the front of the bass amp, we've got a reamp box because this studio here puts out line level outputs and you don't want to put line level outputs into the input of an amp, but we wanted to use this sick compressor. So, then we have a reamp box out there converting it to high-Z signal. And so, let's continue this, go out there. Yeah, let's see what the mics are saying.

Class Description

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp will give you access to one of metal’s most in-demand producers and educators. You’ll also get to watch the talented and seasoned performers of Monuments show you how to record flawless takes and how to prepare to enter the studio.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp is the definitive guide to recording and producing metal. From soup to nuts, start to finish, A to Z, you will learn everything you need to know about recording and producing a metal song.

Eyal Levi will take you inside the studio with Monuments as they record a song from scratch at Clear Lake Recording in Los Angeles. In this bootcamp you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for a session in preproduction by choosing tempos and organizing the session
  • Record flawless drums from selection and reheading/tuning to mic choice and placement to editing
  • Record rhythm guitars
  • Record clean and lead guitars
  • Record bass guitar
  • Record, edit and tune lead vocals, harmonies, and screams
  • Mix and master from session setup to final bounce

What comes with purchase of the class?


1Intro to Bootcamp 2Purpose of Pre-Production 3Technical Side of Preproduction 4Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map 5Pre-Production: Importing Stems 6Pre-Production: Click Track 7Creating Tracking Templates 8Intro and the Tone Pie 9Drums - Lay of the Land 10Bearing Edges 11Wood Types 12Depths and Sizes 13Hoops 14Sticks and Beaters 15Drum Heads 16Drum Tuning 17Drum Mic Placement Intro 18Basic Drum Mic Setup 19Cymbal Mic Setup 20Touch Up Tuning 21Microphone Choice and Placement 22Drum Tracking Intro 23Getting Tones and Final Placement 24Primary Tracking 25Punching In and Comping Takes 26Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking 27Amplifiers - Lay of the Land 28Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out 29Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement 30Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain 31Finalizing Amplifier Tone 32Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin 33Intro to Rhythm Tracking 34Setting Up Guitars 35Working with a Guitarist 36Final Guitar Tone and Recap 37Guitar Tracking with John 38Guitar Tracking with Ollie 39Final Tracking 40Tracking Quads 41Intro to Bass Tone 42Bass Tone Setup 43Bass Tone Mic Placement 44Bass Tracking 45Intro to Clean and Lead Tones 46Clean Guitar Tones 47Lead Tones 48Vocal Setup for Tracking 49Vocal Mic Selection and Setup 50Vocal Mic Shootout 51Lead Vocal Tracking 52Writing Harmonies 53Harmony Vocal Tracking 54Vocal Warm Ups 55Scream Vocal Tracking 56Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction 57Vocal Tuning and Editing 58Routing and Bussing 59Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels 60Setting Up Parallel Compression 61Setting Up Drum Triggers 62Gain Staging and Trim 63Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ 64Drum Mixing - Snare 65Drum Mixing - Kick 66Drum Mixing - Toms 67Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms 68Drum Mixing Recap 69Mixing Bass Guitar 70Mixing Rhythm Guitars 71Basic Vocal Mix 72Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars 73Mixing - Automation 74Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek



I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Amazing knowledge is being presented here. If you want to start out recording, this should be your first step, it'll save you lots of time and get you awesome results. Highly recommended class.


Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.