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Senior Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 322
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Sunday, April 26, 2015 - 3:11 pm:   Edit Post

Thought I'd share this one around and see what you guys do differently... 

I took my Alembic to it's first recording session last week. I wasn't quite sure what all to bring, since most of the time I'm laying down upright bass tracks in a live situation. Other times I've brought my own preamp, (a D-Tar Equinox) for recording the Turner/Renaissance basses. It's a parametric eq with notch filters I find very useful for shaping the sound I like. I've mic'd my cab before too, the sticking point being, my Mesa Walkabout head is so noisy it has to be outside the booth. (the fan is like a freakin' jet engine in that thing) It does sound pretty sweet though, and has a very nice DI out, so we've done that too on some of the rowdier sessions where one more live mic in the big room is just one too many. So this go, the engineer there I've known for 25 years said just bring your bass, don't bother with the whole rig. He plugs me into a Demeter tube pre and went straight to record. 

Long story short, he was pretty blown away with not only how quiet my Persuader is, from a signal-to-noise ratio standpoint, but how much raw clarity and definition is there. Went on and on about it, well beyond his usual pleasant but detached-for-critical-purposes way. The results were great, but for some reason I found it very hard to play with just headphone feedback... I just couldn't gauge how much to dig in, so I felt like I had to play tentatively. 

Since I was only over-dubbing bass onto some imported tracks, I'm thinking maybe I should've just played along with the playback in the control room. So for future reference - is it just a practice/experience thing? I'm no stranger to wearing headphones or doing blind overdubs... I dunno... it just felt weird with no air moving around me. 

What ch'yall think?
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 866
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Sunday, April 26, 2015 - 9:21 pm:   Edit Post

Yep, control room playing is fine and I frequently even just go into the board (with a tube pre) and listen to just the recording monitors while recording.
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 1096
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 - 12:25 am:   Edit Post

Control room is the place to be if you're going direct or can't be along your cabinets
Intermediate Member
Username: moongerm

Post Number: 184
Registered: 8-2013
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 - 4:14 am:   Edit Post

Control room for sure.
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 2212
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 - 6:23 am:   Edit Post

Control room going direct from preamp to board and using the recording monitors to hear what I'm playing.

Senior Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 323
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 - 1:00 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks a lot fellas... that was kinda' what I was thinking, and really what I'd have rather done. I have recorded that way with the Turner Renaissance basses, although at a different studio. It was still a little awkward but at least I able to better reference my bass when listening to the sound through monitors rather than headphones.

I did one other thing maybe I shouldn't have... and didn't think about it until this morning.

Rather than running the filter wide open, letting all the frequencies pass through, thereby letting the engineer eq how he wanted, I set the filter at my 'sweet spot', which is about 45% open, set the 3-pos Q-switch in the middle, and favored the neck pickup about 65%. It's sort of what I've always done with the D-Tar... I already know that place I'm trying to get to in the mix sonically, IME, it's just been easier getting there if I do it from my bass or preamp.

This session was just a rudimentary, follow-the-piano-player's-left-hand and keep-time... wasn't a need for much more nuanced playing. Certainly nothing to be uptight about, or a lot of commercial reward or rep to lose. Still, you know... try to do a decent job. Just wonder what other schools of thought are... I know there's a bunch of experience 'round here. =)
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 867
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 - 1:44 pm:   Edit Post

Small thought, I use a guitar foot raising pedal for one foot which helps me balance better when playing bass (and guitar) while sitting and recording. It really helps!
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1506
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 - 3:59 pm:   Edit Post

I personally think that setting your filter the way you hear it is perfectly valid, especially if it sounds good! Sounds like you know your engineer but I can see some not knowing what to do with a super-bright signal. Alembic filter all the way open does NOT equal having a tone control set flat at "zero"... Especially since you had some Q going. With the Q set to 0 it makes more sense, but I think you did the right thing - plus the engineer dug it!
Senior Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 430
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Monday, July 06, 2015 - 3:47 am:   Edit Post

The next set of sessions for this guy's project are scheduled for next Saturday morning... this time, instead of overdubbing bass onto existing tracks, I'm supposed to cut the rhythm tracks live, with the drummer and guitar player in other booths.

Given the choice, I'm going to ditch the headphones and just play in the control room. (and if they've got time, I'd really like another pass on the first couple tracks done back in April... the more I listen, the less satisfied I am with the outcome)
Senior Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 442
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 8:37 am:   Edit Post

Engineer Tom smiled when I started setting up at Flat Five Studios yesterday morning. "I was hoping you would bring *that* bass again." I should do a little plug here... I've known Tom and recorded at his studio since it was just a Tascam reel-to-reel in his basement back in the 1980's. He's done well for himself as an audio engineer and musician.

Anyway, the session went great... the drummer and I hit it off very well. Interestingly, as small as the music community is around here, though we know all the same people, we had never met or played together before. Wish I'd had about a week to practice with him before this session... it felt like I was just getting to know him (rhythmically speaking) by the time we finished tracking. I really hope we get to work together again sometime.

Tom put the two of us in the same "big" room, but instead of using my amp, he just plugged me into that same Demeter tube-pre. I was worried about playing to those wretched headphones the whole time, but Tom said just trust them, and play. The results bore that out... we laid down four very solid, crisp rhythm tracks before lunch. I set the controls to my preferred tone, filter about 45% open, pan slightly favoring the neck pickup, and 3-position Q-switch in the middle. Wow, that bass sounds soooo good!

Now if only I had a fretless one... hmmm. =)
Senior Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 1828
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 4:18 pm:   Edit Post

One more vote aye for overdubbing through the control room monitors. I don't like, but can live with headphones at the original studio session getting drum tracks, most of my parts get redone anyway (at least 95% or so). My producer's thoughts: "Try another take, maybe play a little less.." He's more of a tight arrangement kind of guy, whereas I'm more of a "work for a groove with the drummer/whole band" live in studio, more jazz than rock.

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