Computer recording - bass

December 23, 2011 9:09 PM

Bass and recording on Macintosh

So i got some loot for my birthday and I want to buy a bass. I'm a beginner so I'm going cheap Ibanez, but--dumb question: What do I need to get so I can record it into my Mac? Do I need an amp? Preamp? What?
posted by Hoopo (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

i'd look around for a used line 6 bass pod, although those can be a little hard to find - more common are digitech's bp series - i've used both, as well as amplitube 3, which has a nice variety of amps - the korg pandora series has some decent bass amp modeling, too, but those are mostly for guitar

it's been my impression playing through amps at guitar center that you're not going to get much of a tone unless you get something BIG and expensive - and then you'd need a mike
posted by pyramid termite at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2011

You don't need an ap - you just need a decent audio interface with a preamp. Something like this will work great with Garage Band or Logic. The bass amp modeling software in GB is mediocre, but lots of bass is recorded direct, anyway, so some compression & tone control on the channel will usually do the trick. I usually use one of the "direct box" settings in Garage Band when I use it, and while it's obviously not a million-dollar tone, it still works pretty well.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:35 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

*you don't need an amp*
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:37 PM on December 24, 2011

I like both of these suggestions but if you plan on expanding and using condenser mics or other instruments you'll need an interface anyway.

OTOH, if you're just looking to rock the bass, the bass pod is very tweakable. With some of the free Line 6 software you can download, guitar port or monkey, (I don't remember because it's been a while since I've had to tweak anything.) you can tweak different amp sounds, mics etc. You can really find your own thing.

Good luck and I hope you post some of your results!
posted by snsranch at 4:30 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Personally, I'm a fan of using this little toy in lieu of a "proper" amp for recording.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 4:45 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

What everyone else said. Micing a bass amp can be a challenge and ideally uses a mic which may be quite specialized (eg a ribbon or a kick drum mic) and not as generally useful as, say, an SM57 or a Studio Projects B1, which are classic first mics.

Most often when a bass cab is recorded it's mixed with a DI signal anyway.

My signal chain is bass>interface>amp sim>compressor & eq
posted by unSane at 8:27 PM on December 24, 2011

Pretty muchw what snsranch said.

If you plan to record something other than Bass any time in the future, you will almost certainly want to use a microphone for that purpose. Because of that, you will want to get an interface that has a preamp in it.

Even the cheaper M-Audio USB interfaces (like this one) should work fine to record bass direct, or anything else with a micophone. If you want something with a slightly better pre-amp, IMO Presonus interfaces have some of the better built-in preamps around. You can do a lot better than a Presonus preamp, but those are almost always standalone preamps, and to boot are usually a lot pricier. The basic Presonus USB interface costs around 149 (i.e. from here.

I have 2 Presonus interfaces (a 2x2 USB for my laptop which is basically the second one I linked, and a 8x8 Firestudio Project for my main studio).
posted by chimaera at 8:31 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

+1: I used an M-Audio Mobile Pre for years, and still break it out to do mobile stuff. You have to be pretty deep into the whole thing before you start to want better preamps.
posted by unSane at 9:17 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

(what I mean is, the pre-amps aren't great but it will be a while before that is any kind of limiting factor on your music making - years in my case)
posted by unSane at 9:18 PM on December 24, 2011

Thanks guys! Good old M-Audio; I still use my little M-Audio keyboard frequently and the thing barely cost $100 5 years ago.
posted by Hoopo at 11:48 AM on December 28, 2011

« Older December Challenge - HOLIDAY MUSIC   |   You're worth it (hopefully) Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments