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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Comparison of Drum-Plugins and Presets

Here are five sound samples of existing drum plug-ins. The track I used for this test is from the first KOHATRED album ‘feel the silence’ and is called PEACEFUL SLEEP. You can hear the full song here. The first three files are made with out-of-the-box-presets that are included or are available additionally to the plug-ins. The last two examples are made with additional samples and the settings of Ola Englund that can be found here. I extended this version and used the cymbals from the Metal Foundry Extension Kit and changed some of the settings and volumes. (All sound samples are normalised to a RMS of about -11db)

 

BFD2: Joe Barresi – Evil Drums – Kit1:

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Superior Drummer 2.0: Metal Foundry – Devin Townsend – DevKit

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Superior Drummer 2.0: Metal Foundry – Andy Sneap – Teutonic

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Superior Drummer 2.0: Ola Englund – Original

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Superior Drummer 2.0: Ola Englund – Extended

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DIY: Rectifier Style 2×12

A couple of weeks ago, I started building my own 2×12 cabinet. Now all the work is done and I’m proud to show you the results and some pictures of the whole process.

Specifications:

  • Speakers: 2 x Celestion Vintage 30
  • Impedance: 8 Ohm
  • Construction: Rear-Loaded
  • Material: 18mm Birch Multiplex
  • Dimensions: 44.45 cm x 76.52 cm x 36.20 cm  (HxWxD)
  • Extras: Removable Front Grill

I have also recorded a short sequence to get a first impression of the box. It is recorded with a Diezel Herbert and a Sennheiser e906 placed straight to the front of the cone. For the drums I used Toontrack Superior Dummer 2.0 and the settings from Ola Englund which are available here. The bass guitar was recorded with a BDDI-like pedal directly into the recording interface. There are 2 guitar tracks in this mix: one on the left and the other one panned right. Additionally, I used a limiter on the sum to get things a bit louder. There are no plugins on the bass and guitar tracks!

 

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This tiny little box sounds fucking awesome… isn’t it?

 

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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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Pictures from Musikmesse 2011

Here are several pictures from the Musikmess 2011 in Frankfurt:

 

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