Bass Guitar w/ Mac

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by wowser, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. wowser macrumors 6502a

    wowser

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Location:
    Inglaterra, Europa
    #1
    Hullo,

    I used to have a Strat which, after attaching a 1/8" adapter onto the end of my 1/4" lead, plugged straight into my eMac. Under Garageband it gave pretty nice results, too - ie , after a bit of compression and reverb was added, I was happy with them.

    I'm now interested in buying a fretless bass guitar (nothing fancy, just the Squire Modified Fretless Jazz Bass appeals to me). I was hoping to do the same as I did with my Strat (just plug it straight into the line-in), but after doing some searching online, I am unsure whether this method will work with a bass guitar.

    The only other piece of equipment which may be able to help me is my Behringer MIC100 preamp, which I normally use with my mic.

    Would this kind of setup, with or without the Behringer, give satisfactory results, or do I need to buy another piece of kit? I really don't want to buy an amp, as I'm a true bedroom-studio musican, and don;t want all the frou-frou.

    Any ideas? Does anyone plug their passive bass guitar into their Mac?
     
  2. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    Jan 4, 2007
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    London/Norwich
    #2
    I think with your pre you will be able to figure something out even it's not that pretty.
     
  3. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #3
    'not that pretty' is quite an subjective thing, though. I suppose I'm going for a 'usable', rather than audiophile tone.
     
  4. aviddk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    SW Oregon
    #4
    I don't think you are going to get anywhere especially with a passive. You might be able to go from the preamp into a 1/8" adapter. I have a pre and the adapter but haven't gotten around to trying it out.

    Any answer you need about Bass can be found at Talkbass.
     
  5. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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  6. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    Jul 22, 2005
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    #6
    my fender jazz bass (passive) sounds great when i plug it straight in. No pre-amp, just an 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapter :)
     
  7. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #7
    My Passive and active basses sound perfectly fine plugged in the same way.
     
  8. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #8
    Two encouraging stories!

    I remember my Strat sounding quite awful plugged into my PC's soundcard, but always sounded fine in the Mac. Does a lot of it depend on your soundcard?
     
  9. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040

    ZiggyPastorius

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Berklee College of Music
    #9
    My results from plugging the bass straight into the computer have generally been pretty bad, but, not so bad as to drive me away...Though, I will say if you want a great fretless tone, buy a fretted bass of the same type, and take them out yourself. There's some risk involved, and it's pretty time-consuming, but I've never so many pre-made fretlesses, and none of them match the tone of my Custom Fender Fretless Jazz bass that I took the frets out of. And it's Electric Bass, by the way :p No need to shame a good instrument by calling it a guitar ;)
     
  10. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #10
    I like that! I just meant as opposed to double bass, but I'm actually going for a fretless to get away from something more 'guitar'-like. That is, I'm an ECM jazz fan :)

    Does anybody have a Macidol page or something where they have examples of a bass track they've recorded straight to the line-in?
     
  11. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    London/Norwich
    #11
    You'll loose transient information and character in place of digital distortion. When you can get a nice bass pre, you can use that into a bog standard dac and PA so you'll have some nice tones live and backplayed.
     
  12. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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  13. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    London/Norwich
    #13
    A pre with a line out would do a lot for your sound. But ideally for recording you'd get an outboard interface, but as a student I know what budget constrictions are like. Actually most dacs have half decent pre's in them for recording.

    I'd always go for stand alone devices as I tend to prefer going for quality over features as it makes later upgrades easier, however i myself run a cheapish interface/preamp combo.

    If you're looking to get started in recording then get the most expensive interface you can afford, realistically considering it's features. For example if you're not going to be recording anything more than one track at a time, then you probably only want a two input interface. You definitely want 24bit and @ 96khz if you can. Also get a firewire interface if you can stretch to it.

    I wouldn't bother forking out any money for software seeing as really good DAWs are available for free - and no I'm not talking about using illegal DLs, though plenty do - Ardour is a great example of open-source recording software. It's got a steep learning curve, but thats because it's almost as powerful as something like LOGIC, and one day it will probably be more considering the open-source movements ability to develop high quality software very quickly.

    What's your budget?
     
  14. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #14
    Thanks for that. Currently there won't be a budget, but over the next few months, if the bass thing goes well, and my creative impulse returns, I would like to sort out some solution as the one you suggest. What would be the cheapest way I could go about such an external setup? Would I be able to sort something out for under a tonne?*

    I shall download Ardour; at the moment I use Garageband for quick recording ideas, and Ableton Live for more Eno-esque stuff ;)

    *Also, I think my only option would be Firewire, as I only have the ol' USB 1.1.
     
  15. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    London/Norwich
    #15
    Belieive it or not USB 1.1 is actually better than USB 2 because of USB2's increased latency.

    I might be selling my MBOX 2 just after christmas. It comes with Pro Tools LE [though you can use it in any DAW you like] which I find a bit less complex than Ardour, some not half bad pre's, half decent DACs which you can use to provide a signal for your monitors when listening to CDs or mixing [though it's limmited to 48khz], and a headphone amp that I really don't care for - though it does allow you to mix your inputs before they reach the DAW and DAW outputs into the phones which is VERY useful.

    You can DI bass or guitar into it, plug in nice condensers [it has phantom power] or line level sources [Cd player etc]. It's only got a maximum of two simultaneous analogue inputs and another two digital ones via spdif (you can use an external A/D). Though I don't think that'd be such a problem for you as you can lay on track after track in your DAW.
    I'd also be really happy to help you set it up and just run through the basics of recording with you. The reason I'm getting rid of it is because I really need more inputs for what I'm doing these days [recording bands that are not me and at once] though it's been terrific for tracking my songs and making programmers for student radio.
    I'd be willing to sell it at a reasonable price if I knew it was going to a good home, and as Long as you don't live too far from the south east of England I could pop round with it and give it a demo.
    I've PMed you with my email address, even if you're not interested in the interface I'm very happy to answer queries on other soundcards you might be looking at.
     
  16. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #16
    Thanks. Which of the MBOX 2s is it? They seem to vary in price.

    Oh, and I'm in Wales at the moment :eek:

    Also, is it Tiger+ only?
     
  17. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Location:
    London/Norwich
    #17
    It's the normal MBOX 2, i.e. not pro or mini. London is always preferable to me... That sort of thing can be figured out. It sells for about £245 and I'd be looking for £150, which is a bargain as I can guarantee as it's working fully and it's got 'burn in' which means that through repeated use the components in audio gear slowly improve. I'd be sad to see it go because it's really very useful as a portable recorder to me but I'm looking to use something a bit less complex so less tecky people can use it too.
    In terms of OS, pro tools LE doesn't officially working with Leopard, but then again it doesn't officially work in 10.4.11, which I use it in - there are reports of people using it fine in Leopard. The actual interface itself should work without a snag in whatever OS you want it to - I've used it in GNU/Linux/Ubuntu. I reckon with a little bit of luck the PTLE software will work just fine in Leopard. For official support you will have to upgrade to the latest version of the software - about £40, but I don't run the latest version myself (stuff the money hungry buggers).

    If you still want to make sure it's working properly you can drop by on the train (London) and we could have a beer and you could pick it up personally and I could give it a demo. It hasn't got the box but I have all the documents. Be aware I'm at UEA (norwich) term time (from the 15th december till the 15th November) as I'm a student and I'm also a tecky for the radio here - Livewire. I don't know how old you are - no offense but your general noobiness suggests you're quite young - but if you want to bring someone to make sure you don't get ripped off that's all gravy with me. I'm 19 myself so it wasn't long since I got started in this the home recording malarky.
     
  18. wowser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    wowser

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Location:
    Inglaterra, Europa
    #18
    Well, I'm actually 25 and have dabbled in radio myself, but I'm rather new to recording bass (as opposed to guitar) on a Mac.

    I can't really justify paying 150 right now, though I'm sure it's a good piece of kit. I think the Mini may be more my thing, as I don't need many (or really any) fancy features.

    I'm based either in Wales or Lancashire, sadly.

    Do you have any examples of your music, Tarkovsky?
     

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