Bass

The bass guitar is the most underrated part in a metal production. Despite the fact, that it adds that punchy lowend to the mix that makes the song sounds fat and brutal. Newbies often think, that also guitars can offer that bottom part to the mix. I say: Forget about that and look for a tight bass player with a good and brutal bass sound. If you look at the posts in this section and listen to the examples you will know what I mean.

Metal Bass Sound

The bass guitar is the most underrated piece in heavy metal music. Probably this is the reason why only a few good bassists bustle around in this genre?! When I record a bass guitar for a heavy metal sound I usually use the following signal chain:

Bass -> BDDI -> Ampeg

In the following sound samples you can hear, how every element in this chain enhances the sound. The first sample is the raw bass signal. It is recorded with a simple DI Box directly into the recording device. This signal is routed through one of the free outputs into a re-amp box (I usually use a Radial Engineering X-Amp Box) into the Bass Driver D.I. and back into the recording interface. So I am able to record the raw bass signal and the signal from the BDDI together. Finally I use the Ampeg SVX Plugin. Sounds f***ing brutal, isn’t it?!

 

Bass track direct

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Bass track BDDI

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Bass track BDDI + AMPEG

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Re-amping Guitar and Bass Tracks

Re-amping is a recording technique that allows you to dial in every possible sound after you have recorded your tracks. The trick of this process is to record the dry signal coming from your guitar or bass. This source signal can be routed back from your DAW to every possible amp and mic combination you like. So you are able to set the right sound for your mix after you have recorded a tight track. It is also possible to send the source tracks to a professional recording studio and get the sound of your favorite setup.

Usually you can divide the signal route into two sections, that can be successively recorded. In the input chain you record the source signal from your Guitar. It is important that you route the signal coming from your guitar or bass through a DI-Box. But it is also possible to use an instrument input of your recording device. The input chain looks something like that:

Guitar/Bass -> DI -> DAW

Theoretical this small setup is enough for recording you guitar or bass tracks and send them to a re-amping studio to get the desired sound. The problem with this setup is, that it is no fun to record your guitar without any amp. The simplest way to overcome this problem is to use an amp modeller in your DAW (like Revalver, Amplitube or GuitarRig) to get a reasonably sound during the recording process. The other way is to route the source signal to one of the free outputs of your recording interface and through a re-amp box (e.g. this one or a reversed passive DI-Box; that converts the low-impedance signal to a high impedance signal) back in your guitar amp and record it with a mic. This output chain looks like this:

DAW -> Re-amp Box -> Amp -> Mic -> DAW

Usually this routing is also used in a professional re-amping studio to get the right sound from your source signals. Another thing that is really cool on this setup is, that you can dial in the right mic position an experiment with different amps and setups without playing. So you are able to concentrate on the sound!

 

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