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A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

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A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ITHertz » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:36 am

Hi Folks,

I have a small home studio that I use for sonwriting and demos. I'm a long-tine guitarist and recently bought a bass (Yamaha RBX).

I'd like to get a smallish bass amp for practice however I was wondering if there was anything out there that would be useful for recording as well?

Suggestions welcome.

Cheers!
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:10 am

Shameless spam!

Have a look at the new Unity Bass range from Blackstar Amplification. (any reviews in the pipeline? )

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby Wonks » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:20 am

The reality is that almost all bass tracks are recorded with a DI box, rather than a miked-up amp. If you haven't got one, then I suggest getting one as they aren't expensive for a decent one (though you can pay a lot for a top-end one).

Orchid is a brand that gets recommended here a lot.

Micro DI if you want to go straight into your DAW, http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/micro.htm

...or the Classic DI if you also want to play through an amp for latency-free monitoring at the same time. http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/classic_DI.htm
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby John Egan » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:16 am

Wonks wrote:The reality is that almost all bass tracks are recorded with a DI box, rather than a miked-up amp. If you haven't got one, then I suggest getting one as they aren't expensive for a decent one (though you can pay a lot for a top-end one).

Hi,
I am also a guitar player who uses a bass for recording and have found that the Sansamp pedals are excellent. At the moment, guitar guitar have one on clearance. Still not cheap, but worth the outlay.
Regards, John
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:34 am

The Unity 60W x 10" already has DI out on both jack and XLR with level control and earth lift.

Also has a "jam-a-long" MP3 input. And no! I am not on commission!

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby Hewesy » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:48 am

A good number of bass amps will offer an XLR out so you can feed a recording interface whilst playing. Or even allow you to mic the combo and send the direct feed into your DAW.

Depending on the amp this will be a completely clean signal or a feed from the pre-amp to add some amp "tone" to the signal going out.

The other option would be to run a splitter before the amp and send a signal to the amp and another, entirely clean, to your DAW. You might need a DI box if your interface doesn't offer an instrument level input.

You'll then need something within your DAW to process the signal to make it sound like a bass amp.

Loads of options out there, depending on budget and what space you have?

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby garrettendi » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:43 am

If you go the route of a DI box to split to both the desk (as a dry tone) and also to the amp to monitor, I can heartily recommed the Orchid Classic DI.

It was recommended to me last year on these very forums and it's proven to be a fantastic bit of kit!
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby Wonks » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:52 am

You can of course mic up a bass amp if you want, but it's usually to mix in with a DI signal to add some extra bottom end. Which means a bass amp with a decent amount of bass and a suitable mic, often something you'd use for a kick drum. So don't go for anything too small in the bass amp area if you want to use it for recording as you won't really benefit from it. But if you DI to record and use the bass amp for practice or as a monitor when recording, then get whatever you feel sounds OK as an amp without taking up too much space (If that is at a premium for you).
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby CS70 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:22 pm

John Egan wrote:
Wonks wrote:The reality is that almost all bass tracks are recorded with a DI box, rather than a miked-up amp. If you haven't got one, then I suggest getting one as they aren't expensive for a decent one (though you can pay a lot for a top-end one).

Hi,
I am also a guitar player who uses a bass for recording and have found that the Sansamp pedals are excellent. At the moment, guitar guitar have one on clearance. Still not cheap, but worth the outlay.
Regards, John

+1

SansAmp bass driver is all you need.

I also like the Tonebone Bassbone, especially if you pair it with an optical compressor (the super cheap Mooer yellow one-knob compressor does the job perfectly).
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby BigRedX » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:51 pm

Wonks wrote:You can of course mic up a bass amp if you want, but it's usually to mix in with a DI signal to add some extra bottom end. Which means a bass amp with a decent amount of bass and a suitable mic, often something you'd use for a kick drum.

No. No. No. Never use a kick drum mic, unless you want your bass guitar part to be simply a slightly tuned component of the kick drum sound.

IME unless you have a nice big room with decent acoustics, some very good microphones, and a fantastic sounding bass rig, there is very little point in having a bass amp for recording.

I've ditched all my big and impressive looking bass rigs and replaced them with a Line6 Helix and an RCF 745 FRFR powered speaker (for on-stage monitoring).
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ore_terra » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:24 pm

Agreed with the lads. I’d only buy a bass amp if I would be thinking in using it live.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby Humble Bee » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:53 pm

Check out the Zoom offerings for good bang for the buck. Very underrated most of the time.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby SecretSam » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:25 am

John Egan wrote:
Wonks wrote:The reality is that almost all bass tracks are recorded with a DI box, rather than a miked-up amp. If you haven't got one, then I suggest getting one as they aren't expensive for a decent one (though you can pay a lot for a top-end one).

Hi,
I am also a guitar player who uses a bass for recording and have found that the Sansamp pedals are excellent. At the moment, guitar guitar have one on clearance. Still not cheap, but worth the outlay.
Regards, John


+1 for the SansAmp Bass DI. It is something you will find lots of uses for, because it has a really good preamp built in. So you can use it to get a workable sound if using someone else's not-very-nice rig, and it is one of the few pedals you can use as a bass overdrive without sucking all the punch out of the sound. It is also small enough to carry with you all the time, just in case an amp breaks.

I like the Line 6 Bass Pod as well, although it is a lot bigger and needs a mains socket. I can't speak for its other amp models, but it does a very good impression of the sound and feel of the SWR amps that I know and love.

I haven't had the opportunity to try the new Blackstars: looking forward to that, Dave :-)

Small but good bass amps have traditionally been fairly expensive (Phil Jones) or very expensive (SWR Spellbinder Blue etc.)
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby BigRedX » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:43 am

As others have said, if you are not playing live you really don't need an amp for your bass guitar.

However, if you really want something small and light-weight there are now plenty of options at all sorts of price points and some real bargains to be picked up if you are prepared to buy second hand.

Pretty much every bass amp manufacturer has a compact light-weight D-class amp in their range. Try as many as you can get your hands on. I'd recommend you start by looking at Eich or Genzler and pair it with any high-efficiency single driver 8Ω cab (so you can add a second one at a latter date if you need more volume) - maybe something from the Barefaced range. But as I said there are plenty of other makes producing similar products, so there will be something out there that suits.

Don't bother with the Blackstar bass range. It's all a bit average, and the design is a complete anachronism. Why are the controls mounted on the top of an amp where they are inaccessible if you have the amp stacked or on a tilt-back stand, which you will need for live use to be able to hear yourself properly at a sensible volume. Wake up it's not the 1950s anymore.

Also don't bother with any of the class-D offerings from Ampeg. They don't have the SVT sound and also have a very poor reputation for reliability.

EDIT: And finally don't bother with Ashdown either when it comes to lightweight bass amps. After almost 20 years of trying they still haven't managed to make anything that sounds good and is as reliable as their big heavy "traditional" bass rigs.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:31 pm

"Don't bother with the Blackstar bass range. It's all a bit average, and the design is a complete anachronism. Why are the controls mounted on the top of an amp where they are inaccessible if you have the amp stacked or on a tilt-back stand, which you will need for live use to be able to hear yourself properly at a sensible volume. Wake up it's not the 1950s anymore."

I think that is a bit harsh considering the range was only launched this summer and I for one have yet to read a review I trust (not that there ARE many other then here!)

I will agree that top controls are less useful on a guitar amp (unless you are in a big band or sat in a pit) but bass cabs benefit from floor coupling. Guitar amp cabs don't. Oh! And you CAN slave them to a bigger rig, in fact Bs make one.

You will of course say "I" WILL defend them but in fact the amps have only been around a few weeks, This time next year we might all have a different view! Blackstar have had a LOT of "stuff" chucked at them, almost from day one, "Pedal too tall, PSU not 9V (its a 300V VALVE FCS!) " 5W amp lacks clean headroom" Its FIVE watts FCS, But through it all and a recession they are still going.

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby BigRedX » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:02 pm

Having actually had first hand experience of one of the Blackstar Bass amps I stand by my comments. If they truly offered something new and different in the modern bass amplification market I might possibly forgive the appalling control position. But IMO they don't and therefore the top mounted controls are a completely terrible idea.

Once you stack one of the combos on to of the powered extension cabinet - which you need to do in order to get at least one of the drivers closer to your ears than to your knees it places the controls in a completely inaccessible position. It is "cool" retro design in preference to useful practical ergonomics.

And IME floor coupling is vastly over-rated for bass rigs. In the days when I was still using one mine spent most of it's time balanced on top of a GrammaPad to try and prevent just that. Boundary effect is far more useful and you have to get the drivers a long way off the ground before it ceases to have any influence on the sound.

Blackstar make some cool guitar amps (and I would certainly be looking at them if I was in the market for one), but their bass range is completely out of touch with the way modern bass amplification is going.

I ditched my big and impressive looking bass rigs when I realised that they had been reduced to simply being an oversized and heavy personal monitor. None of the bands I play in are particularly well-known but at 99% of the gigs I play all the bass guitar that the audience hear is from the PA and not my rig. At some gigs that I've played in the last few years I have been asked to turn down on stage to the point where I could hear the bass guitar better from the guitarist's foldback wedge on the other side of the stage then I could from my cabs behind me. It was at this point that I realised that I would be far better served with an FRFR powered speaker that I could position unobtrusively on stage and point towards me without having it affect the FoH sound. This is the way that bass rigs are going for anyone who has seriously thought about what their traditional bass rig is doing in relation to being able to hear themselves on stage and for the audience to get the best bass sound FoH.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:45 pm

You never said you'd tried one Red!

Ok, you are a top line bass player of vast venues. I would suggest the Unity bass range was not aimed at such as yourself?

In their site information they "say" that they had sought ideas from many bass players over time and formed a design based on that information. Clearly the didn't ask you!

I do get the top controls point and in fact there is at least one other guy over at fretboard.com who agrees with you but HE is mainly a guitar players (and top amp tech!) and I have pointed out to him that a bass amp is more likely to live on the floor (and I think we is talking more "pub carpet" than "stadium stage" here?)

The other moan from Frets is "no heads". This was also said when the Artisans and the S1 combos came out and it might have been as result of player pester power that heads eventually emerged?

One thing I will stick my neck out on? The amps will be reliable.

All I ask is "give it a year"? Maybe by then they will "all be miwyonares" or the bass range will have flopped!

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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby forumuser939570 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:07 pm

Check your local want-ads for a SWR Working Man's 12 combo bass amp. Ideally, you want the "pre-Fender" model thats made in the US. I've picked up two of them off Craigslist for less than $150.00 each. They have a nice XLR output for recording. They will make a nice vocal monitor or small practice PA in a pinch besides being a nice bass amp. They have a tweeter which gives them a decent full spectrum sound when needed or can be switched off for situations that require less high-end. Considering that both WM12 I have are over 20 years old and work perfectly, I'd say they're pretty reliable!
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:54 pm

One thing to watch if you do decide to go for a bass amp with a DI output is that the DI output can sometimes be at a higher level than a normal mic. This is no problem for a well designed mic preamp but there are quite a few mic preamps out there that can't handle the level.
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Re: A Bass Amp for Practice and Recording?

Postby ef37a » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:57 am

James Perrett wrote:One thing to watch if you do decide to go for a bass amp with a DI output is that the DI output can sometimes be at a higher level than a normal mic. This is no problem for a well designed mic preamp but there are quite a few mic preamps out there that can't handle the level.

This is one reason James why I don't like the use of an XLR as an output on a guitar/bass amp. To those who use XLRs they generally mean balanced and at microphone level, many are not.
My other reservation is that most musicians probably don't have an XLR to whatever cable handy!

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?

....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?

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