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A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby John Egan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:05 am

ef37a wrote:....Just come to me (old, meds you know) Those "ampless" suggestions require the OP to run the bass through monitors and therefore an AI and PC. Maybe he does not want to always have to do that?

Dave.

The Sansamp pedals are equally at home through an instrument amplifier, a mixer or an audio interface, so they can provide a versatile solution to the problem.
Regards, John
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:49 am

John Egan wrote:
ef37a wrote:....Just come to me (old, meds you know) Those "ampless" suggestions require the OP to run the bass through monitors and therefore an AI and PC. Maybe he does not want to always have to do that?

Dave.

The Sansamp pedals are equally at home through an instrument amplifier, a mixer or an audio interface, so they can provide a versatile solution to the problem.
Regards, John

Yes but that is my point John. The guy is looking for a single solution in an amp, not a pedal plus other stuff just to hear it! AFAWK he does not HAVE an instrument amplifier or a mixer just kicking around?

A bass practice amp, especially one with a DI output solves the problem. With the MP3 input he could even listen back from the AI!

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby SecretSam » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:50 am

BigRedX wrote:... top mounted controls are a completely terrible idea.

Hm. Not necessarily. If you do leave your small amp on the floor, the top-mounted controls might be easier to see and reach. And if you don't fiddle with your amp much after sound check, this might not be an important factor anyway ? And it might make the size of the combo smaller and easier to carry ?

I agree with your analysis of the diminishing role of backline. Personally, I just like the sound of a ' proper' bass amp that I can finesse before the sound engineer stuffs it up. I usually have a friendly chat on sound-check where we agree that a large part of the bass comes from my rig, and then the engineer can add or not add the last ten or twenty percent in order to balance the band. I don't use an especially big rig - SWR Bass 350 head plus Goliath Junior 2x10 cab (or a Spellblinder Blue if I am feeling too lazy to carry anything bigger) - but I don't think I have ever had the master volume on more than about 4 out of 10.

If you do large rock gigs where you positively want a load of sound going through the PA subs, then your mileage will most certainly vary.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:22 pm

ef37a wrote:My other reservation is that most musicians probably don't have an XLR to whatever cable handy!

I would have thought that XLR cables (usually used as mic cables) were pretty universal these days.

ef37a wrote:The Unity XLR is at least balanced (but I bet only Z balanced) and has a level control but I cannot find an output voltage range for that control. Those Blackstar guitar amps that have XLR do at least have +4dBu/-10dBV switching but even neg ten might be too hot for some mixer inputs?

I'm not sure where the nominal level is set relative to clipping level but if we assume 18dB headroom then the max output at the -10dBV setting is going to be slightly higher than the clipping level of the mic input on most interfaces.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby John Egan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:17 pm

ef37a wrote:Yes but that is my point John. The guy is looking for a single solution in an amp, not a pedal plus other stuff just to hear it! AFAWK he does not HAVE an instrument amplifier or a mixer just kicking around?

A bass practice amp, especially one with a DI output solves the problem. With the MP3 input he could even listen back from the AI!

Dave.

Hi Dave,
I appreciate the value he could get from a bass amp with a DI.
However, he did say he has a home studio for demos. He also is a guitarist so I made the assumption that he has an amplifier of some kind and he was hopeful that he could use whatever he bought for practice and recording.
As you say, he may not want to switch on the other stuff for practice, but it is an option, and one I use myself.
Regards, John
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby BigRedX » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:25 pm

For recording, unless it the whole band being recorded live, I've never used my actual bass rig. It will be bass guitar directly into something fairly transparent sounding and with a second channel for my effects for monitoring while I'm playing and as reference track for the mix engineer to use when they are adding plugins to the bass sound.

For practicing I play unplugged (even with a solid bodied bass) and only use amplification if I'm programming my effects.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby BigRedX » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:44 pm

SecretSam wrote:Hm. Not necessarily. If you do leave your small amp on the floor, the top-mounted controls might be easier to see and reach. And if you don't fiddle with your amp much after sound check, this might not be an important factor anyway ? And it might make the size of the combo smaller and easier to carry ?

I agree with your analysis of the diminishing role of backline. Personally, I just like the sound of a ' proper' bass amp that I can finesse before the sound engineer stuffs it up. I usually have a friendly chat on sound-check where we agree that a large part of the bass comes from my rig, and then the engineer can add or not add the last ten or twenty percent in order to balance the band. I don't use an especially big rig - SWR Bass 350 head plus Goliath Junior 2x10 cab (or a Spellblinder Blue if I am feeling too lazy to carry anything bigger) - but I don't think I have ever had the master volume on more than about 4 out of 10.

If you do large rock gigs where you positively want a load of sound going through the PA subs, then your mileage will most certainly vary.

While "bass" might be omnidirectional the component of the bass guitar sound that allows you to hear whether you are playing in tune and in time is in the mids and as directional as any guitar. Therefore at all but the quietest acoustic gigs you want your speaker(s) pointing more at your ears rather than at your ankles.

Controls mounted at the back on the top face of a combo date from a time when manufacturers thought that their amps would be placed at the front of the stage and musicians would stand behind them to play (they also allow them to cut some costs when making small all-valve guitar combos). These days even the most retro-influenced bands don't set up this way, so the continuation of top mounted controls for any new amp is an impractical anachronism.

IME there's nothing really great about a "proper" bass amp or cab (and I've owned some very nice and expensive ones in the past). They are just something to make your bass guitar loud that have a baked in sound that you find pleasing, and some tone controls that let you fine tune that baked in sound.

Since the amplification component of my current "rig" is as close to being transparent as is possible for a single PA-style enclosure, it's a lot more PA friendly than the traditional rig. Any EQ I apply with my Helix is there to make the bass guitar sound right for the band/song and not to compensate for the short-comings of the bass amp and cabs. This means that for a good FoH engineer their life is a lot easier getting bass to sit properly in the mix, and a bad engineer will have to work a lot harder at messing up the FoH bass guitar sound!
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:17 pm

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:My other reservation is that most musicians probably don't have an XLR to whatever cable handy!

I would have thought that XLR cables (usually used as mic cables) were pretty universal these days.

ef37a wrote:The Unity XLR is at least balanced (but I bet only Z balanced) and has a level control but I cannot find an output voltage range for that control. Those Blackstar guitar amps that have XLR do at least have +4dBu/-10dBV switching but even neg ten might be too hot for some mixer inputs?

I'm not sure where the nominal level is set relative to clipping level but if we assume 18dB headroom then the max output at the -10dBV setting is going to be slightly higher than the clipping level of the mic input on most interfaces.

You and I James and most guys here will have XLR to just about everything in triplicate! But it is not a connector that many home recordists will have handy except a dedicated mic cable.

This is part of the problem I have with the whole "tone" of the thread? It is being assumed the OP has gear he may not and the original question, "recommend a practice bass amp" is being mangled into other people's MOs.

I am not bothered whether he buys a Blackstar Unity or not, but I think a small combo is really what he need for go anywhere practice and a simple "one plug" solution.

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:55 pm

ef37a wrote:I am not bothered whether he buys a Blackstar Unity or not, but I think a small combo is really what he need for go anywhere practice and a simple "one plug" solution.

I'd agree that having a small combo of some kind around the studio is really handy - especially for the times when you don't want to have to fire up the whole studio just to try something out. I have a little Fender amp which gets used for all kinds of things (though I have an Ampeg head for bass).
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:57 pm

ef37a wrote:
....Just come to me (old, meds you know) Those "ampless" suggestions require the OP to run the bass through monitors and therefore an AI and PC. Maybe he does not want to always have to do that?

Dave.

Practice on headphones, recording to desk or interface line in. No loudspeaker necessary..
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:14 pm

CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote:
....Just come to me (old, meds you know) Those "ampless" suggestions require the OP to run the bass through monitors and therefore an AI and PC. Maybe he does not want to always have to do that?

Dave.

Practice on headphones, recording to desk or interface line in. No loudspeaker necessary..

Yes but that still requires something to drive the headphones and not the original question.
He did NOT ask "how do I record bass guitar?"

Also, a looong guitar and cans AND other things to do is a reet PITA. Seated, controls at one's knees is pretty perfect.

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby adrian_k » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:41 am

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:I am not bothered whether he buys a Blackstar Unity or not, but I think a small combo is really what he need for go anywhere practice and a simple "one plug" solution.

I'd agree that having a small combo of some kind around the studio is really handy - especially for the times when you don't want to have to fire up the whole studio just to try something out. I have a little Fender amp which gets used for all kinds of things (though I have an Ampeg head for bass).

+1 for a small combo. I inherited a small Watson bass combo, it’s fine for practice and can be ok for recording (line out) in certain situations. I think they are about £50. But then I’m more of a guitarist than bass player.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:19 am

Just as a left-field suggestion, i have a Yamaha THR10. It's a nice little practice amp that actually sounds good enough to stick a mic in front of but also, more pertinently to the original question, is a surprisingly competent bass amp.
I even run my upright through it.
One box solution for bass, guitar and recording?
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:03 am

ef37a wrote:
CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote:
....Just come to me (old, meds you know) Those "ampless" suggestions require the OP to run the bass through monitors and therefore an AI and PC. Maybe he does not want to always have to do that?

Dave.

Practice on headphones, recording to desk or interface line in. No loudspeaker necessary..

Yes but that still requires something to drive the headphones and not the original question.
He did NOT ask "how do I record bass guitar?"

Also, a looong guitar and cans AND other things to do is a reet PITA. Seated, controls at one's knees is pretty perfect.

Dave.

Sorry I was brief in my previous post, came out a bit smug :)

The post subject is clear: a bass amp for practice and recording. Many have replied that for both purposes you dont need an amp (in the sense of combo or amp head) at all.

That's because, if one wants to record, one has to have a preamp or line in available - be it as desk or an interface. And it's also reasonable to assume one has a way to monitor what he's doing.

Plus, many pedals (notably, the Tonebone) have a built-in headphone out.

So say with a Tonebone, you need a bass guitar, a cable, the pedal and headphones.
When recording, you need all of the above, plus a desk or an interface - which you must have anyways, for the purpose of recording.

I'm speaking from experience. I often record the bass lines in the demos for my songs, as I often use the bass in composition as a melodic contributor as well and so it's important that the bass player hears what bits do what for the whole song to work.

That means that I also have (sic) to practice bass - the two activities the OP mentions.

I use very much the setup above, which serves the purpose of practicing and recording perfectly well. The recording rig is the practicing rig plus a cable to the interface.

Btw, my bass player has moved to the Tonebone on stage after hearing the sound in the studio, and realizing that the biggest contribution of the gazillion kilograms Ampeg rig was to the looks on stage and to the bank account of his chiropractor. :D
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:54 am

Smugness I did not detect CS70 but there are several "pros" suggesting things that to me at least do not fill the OP's brief?

Then there is cost. The Tonebone is nearly the price of the Unity 60 (which has DI out) and so he could jam with his mates!

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:39 pm

ef37a wrote:Smugness I did not detect CS70 but there are several "pros" suggesting things that to me at least do not fill the OP's brief?

Then there is cost. The Tonebone is nearly the price of the Unity 60 (which has DI out) and so he could jam with his mates!

Dave.

Good point, I got mine second hand for some 50 pounds :)
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby Hewesy » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:57 am

Interesting post BlindDrew, I'd considered suggesting the Blackstar ID BEAM for the OP, which might offer a decent practice amp and DI interface (as it had 2 specific bass models) but the Yammy sounds good.

Does it have bass amp models or are you using like a bassman type combo?

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby SecretSam » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:12 am

CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote:
CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote: the biggest contribution of the gazillion kilograms Ampeg rig was to the looks on stage and to the bank account of his chiropractor. :D


If you mean the monstrous 8 x 10 speaker and an SVT, if your bass player can lift the cab by himself, never start a fight with him. I wish I had one, but would need roadies with it.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:31 am

Hewesy wrote:Interesting post BlindDrew, I'd considered suggesting the Blackstar ID BEAM for the OP, which might offer a decent practice amp and DI interface (as it had 2 specific bass models) but the Yammy sounds good.

Does it have bass amp models or are you using like a bassman type combo?

Hewesy
Just the one bass setting - so if you're after a whole range of options it's probably not the way to go, though obviously the standard controls provide a reasonable breadth of flavours.

In my case it also fitted into the criteria of not-another-big-black-box so it was an easy sell to the other half as something that lives 'on display' all the time. :)
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby Hewesy » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:11 pm

Nice! Yes I do like their "toaster" range, though as ever it's choosing the model that fits closest to your playing style, I seem to fall between the green and gold (?) boxes.

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