154: The Anatomy of a Bass Guitar Tone

154: The Anatomy of a Bass Guitar Tone

In this episode, we're going to take a deep dive into the anatomy of a rock bass guitar tone. We'll explore the different components that make up the sound of a bass guitar and how they can be manipulated to achieve the desired tone.


Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!

This episode on bass guitar tone was inspired by a message that we got from our long time listeners in a band called Stepa.

They were fascinated by a particular bass pedal that we're talking about on this episode, too, the Darkglass Microtubes Infinity.

Stepa suggested doing a breakdown of its features and a deep dive into the pedal, while also mentioning alternatives that we all have available in our DAWs.

Because we agree that this pedal is pretty phenomenal, we thought we should do an episode on what it is that makes tools like this so valuable, what we're actually able to manipulate with it and what makes up a great bass tone in the end.

Bass tone mainly consists of:

  • A certain attack & sustain behavior
  • A certain frequency bandwidth and its curve/characteristic
  • Root notes, fundamental frequencies + overtones and harmonic distortion
  • Maybe room information (if recorded with a mic)
  • Maybe effects, like chorus, fuzz etc.

What plugins and pedals can't control/replace:

The Bass Guitar:

Before we dive into the specifics of a rock bass tone, let's first discuss the instrument itself. We quickly talk about the different types of bass guitars available, such as the traditional electric bass and the more modern five-string and six-string basses.

Strings and Picks:

Then we talk about the impact of strings and picks on the tone of a bass guitar. Roundwound, flatwound, etc. sound drastically different and so do different string materials. Different types of picks also affect the attack and tone of the bass.

What plugins and pedals can control/replace:

The Amp:

The amplifier is of course an important components when it comes to shaping the tone of a bass guitar. So we discuss the different types of amplifiers available, including solid-state, tube, and hybrid amps, how they can affect the sound of the bass and how you can recreate those characteristics with pedals/plugins.

The Cabinet:

The cabinet, or speaker, is another important component of the bass guitar tone. We explore the different types of speakers available, such as 10-inch, 12-inch, and 15-inch speakers, as well as different mic options, how they can affect the sound of the bass and, again, how you can recreate those characteristics with pedals/plugins.

Effects, distortion, EQ & compression:

A rock bass tone, especially a modern rock bass tone, is usually pretty far from a raw DI or clean amp. So we talk about how to shape those raw tones into a finished sound that is ready to be recorded, using processing options that are built into pedals, preamps or plugins.

Let's go!


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 154 - Automatic Episode Transcript - Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Malcom: Bring as many basses as you can. Get your hands on. people have nice instruments. You know, if you've got friends that are in bands, borrow their their base if you can for, for the session. And then you have a couple to shoot out in the song and that, that's just gonna give you some options, at least

Benedikt: Hello and welcome to the Self Recording Band podcast. I'm your host, Benedictine. If you are new to the show, welcome. Thank you for hanging with us. Thank you for joining us. If you are already a listener, thank you for coming back. Super stoked to have you again. Now in this episode, today we're gonna talk, um, about base tone. We're gonna take a deep dive into the anatomy of a rock bass guitar tone, and not a rock bass guitar tone, a rock bass, guitar tone . And we'll explore the different components, uh, that actually make up a, uh, Sound of a bass guitar. That was the most confusing way of saying all of this. But I hope you know what this is about. So as always, I'm not alone here. I'm here with my friend and co-host the Malcolm Owen Flood. Hello Malcolm.

Malcom: Hey Betty. How are you doing, buddy?

Benedikt: I'm doing super well. Uh, yeah, I had a great weekend. I had did my annual planning re retreat, which is usually at the end of the year. This time I made it the beginning of the year. I went to a hotel and took like two and a half days to basically map out my whole year. And now I'm stoked. I know exactly what I'm gonna do and uh, what I'm gonna be doing feels good.

Malcom: Fantastic, man. I actually did something similar. I, I spent a lot of time just getting like ideas and ideas and ideas stashed away for the YouTube channel content, and it's nice having that just like organized and kind of pre-thought out so I'm not just scrambling every week.

Benedikt: Yes, absolutely. Uh, yeah, this is huge. Uh, this year actually, I'm gonna do not just a annual thing for now. The past couple of years I did annually, but I figured I should do it like at least half yearly or even quarterly. Maybe in just the shorter thing, maybe just the day away. And then at the end of the year, one longer because it really pays off. It gives me so much clarity and I never really take the time to, to only sit and think and plan for, I don't know, eight or 10 hours at a, at a time. I just do these, you know? Yeah. I just, so in the middle of things all the time that I, I rarely do this and, and so I, I wanna do this more often actually to, just to make sure I stay on track.

Malcom: Told, yeah. It forces you to review what you wrote at the, you know, this initial start of your planning session. But it's also like new ideas come up, so it's nice having them fresh while. In that situation and making more ideas like halfway through the year. I think that's a great idea. Um, what I want to try doing, which I was thinking would be like a valuable strategy for bands and like the modern need to release more than an album every three years. You know, , uh, the kind of like get stuff out more quickly, uh, would be to try and have like quarterly goals as well. Um, just like, all right, q1, what is gonna be the big thing that I'm gonna get done? What's gonna happen in q2? What's q3? What's q4 like four big projects a year. Um, and, and just making sure I stick to that I think is gonna be an effective way because with a full year, if you've got like one big thing that's gonna take the full year, it's really easy to just like lose focus on it. And I'll be, I'll get to that later. I've got a year to do it . So breaking it down into quarters I think is gonna be a good strategy for me.

Benedikt: Yeah, I think so too. Yeah, that's actually a cool idea to do this as a band, uh, too, and especially as a band, things are changing so quickly. You could get, you know, new opportunities could present themselves. You could be invited on a, on a tour or whatever, and then all of a sudden everything changes. And so you have to kind of adjust. And if, if you only have this one goal, like, you know, making a record can be, uh, one year or two year, multiple year project, you know, whatever you wanna do. Uh, and only having that one thing, yeah, I think that's, that's gonna be very hard to, to stick to and to, to stay committed to it and all of that. So I think having quarterly goals and work towards the bigger thing is like, yeah, good thing to do.

Malcom: totally.

Benedikt: And maybe breaking it down into smaller chunks. Yeah, for sure. Dude, you are not only taking wildlife pictures now, you're also starting to look like a person who's taking wildlife pictures. You're start I just have to say that.

Malcom: morphing, but for your eyes.

Benedikt: No, I just have to say that I, I've, I've been noticing the beer growth for a while, but now it gets really obvious, so

Malcom: That's funny. Yeah, this is probably the most facial hair I've ever had in our entire friendship.

Benedikt: yeah, yeah. That's true. That's true.

Malcom: you wanna know why? And it's not wildlife photos. It is just that I lost the charging cable to my trimmer

Benedikt: You

Malcom: Um, and normally, uh, yeah, I'm, I'm dead serious. I lost it on like my last travel film

Benedikt: All right. All right.

Malcom: uh, normally I use like a, a traditional razor, but I find that once it gets to a certain length that's like not really realistic to hack away with. So a trimmer usually helps . Um, and then, uh, yeah, I just don't have it. So it was just like, you know what? Screw it. I'm just going to keep growing it for a bit.

Benedikt: Yeah, I mean, I mean, yeah, I Why not

Malcom: why not

Benedikt: Why not? Exactly. No, it looks great actually, dude. So, uh, yeah, if you, if you don't know what I'm talking about, go to and if you're listening on a podcast app, uh, go to YouTube because if you're, in case you're not aware, these episodes are not only on podcast apps, but they are on YouTube too. So if you wanna see what we're just talking about, go to YouTube and, uh, listen to the episode there, or watch the episode there.

Malcom: Absolutely. And one more. You know, Benny, this is, uh, not something we planned to talk about, but I just watched a podcast on Spotify recently. How is that a thing?

Benedikt: video podcast are a thing now on Spotify. Yep. And.

Malcom: had no idea.

Benedikt: Yeah, the, it's constantly, the whole landscape is constantly changing and apparently, from what I've learned, and this might be incorrect, but I did some research and from what I've heard, it's um, the hosting thing that belongs to Spotify. I think it's Anchor. Is that the one that Spotify owns? I think so. Anchor

Malcom: you're right. Yeah.

Benedikt: cor please. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's the one that, um, is owned by Spotify, and I think if you host your podcast there, they automatically enable like video podcasts on Spotify and stuff. And yeah, they have their, their own ecosystem now, apparently also. Um, so in case anybody's. Um, like, you know, if in case somebody's listening who's wanting to, to launch their own podcast, at some point I would look into Anchor. I'm not saying I recommend it because I haven't tried it and I use something different for now, but what, from what I've heard and read, they you have an advantage if you host it there. I think because they are owned by Spotify, and I think Spotify also gives more reach to podcasts who are on anchor. That's what came from my research and I'm thinking about switching hours to there too. I'm not sure about that yet, but might at some point.

Malcom: Interesting, interesting.

Benedikt: Yeah. Anyway, um, let's get into today's episode.

I'd say, all right.

Malcom: Let's.

Benedikt: All right, so this episode was inspired by a message that I got from our audience, from a longtime listeners in a band called, I think it's called Steeper, but it might be Steppa. So please, um, yeah, sorry, I apologize if I butchered that name. It's s t e p A. They've been longtime listeners. They've, we've messaged on, on like a couple of times on Instagram and uh, they sent, um, not really a question, but a message about a certain base pedal, a certain base. Um, you could say it's a preempt, it's an all-in-one effects pedal for base. Uh, we're gonna talk about that specific pedal on the episode two, and they suggested doing a breakdown of, uh, its features and a deep dive into the thing while also mentioning alternatives that we have available in our dos. Um, so I agree that this pedal is pretty phenomenal, but I thought instead of doing the full breakdown of this one thing, we should do an episode on what it is that makes tools like this so valuable, what we're actually able to manipulate with tools like that and what makes up a great base tone. In the end, right? Because, so they were just blown away by this pedal and how flexible it is and what you can do with it and how it finally gave them the tone they wanted. And so I thought, this is actually pretty interesting how like one piece of gear, one small piece of gear like that could have all the options and parameters you need to sort of shape a, a base tone. And so I wanted to just talk about what actually makes up a base tone and what you can and can't do with one pedal or plug in alternatives to.

Malcom: Right, right. Yeah, no, that's a, it's a pretty fascinating topic because base tone is not, uh, an easy thing to just whip up. I feel like it, it takes quite a while to like learn to craft a good base tone. Um, and luckily tools like this, this pedal that you mentioned and that we'll dig into a little bit more, are making that easier cuz it's now you have one box that could potentially provide all of those different parameters that we're gonna be looking to manipulate and create our tone with. Um, so yeah, it's gonna be a fun one to.

Benedikt: Yes, absolutely. So the, um, the pedal that I'm talking about, I just have to say it so that people know what we're talking about, is by a company called Dark Less. Um, this is not an affiliate thing or anything. They don't even know that, that we're mentioning them on the podcast for now. Uh, but their stuff is great. I've been using their pedals and also plug in, um, uh, with that they have with, uh, with, uh, neural DS P I've been using that stuff for a while and I love it. So the Pedal is the Dark Less Micro Tubes Infinity, uh, which is a fairly new one, I think, in their lineup. And, um, it's very, very flexible. It's a distortion pedal, but it has some other things built into it too. You can just look it up and see what it can do. It's very, very flexible. And so, yeah, that's the pedal that they're talking about. They wanted to know basically what it like. Thought on it or our take on it, and also what alternatives are there and how we could recreate those things with other tools as well. So I'd say, let's start by really like quickly saying what base tone actually consists of what it actually is really in like, broad speaking, broadly speaking, what it is that makes base tone. So, uh, I just wrote a couple of bullets here. I'd say it's attack and sustain, like how the, the beginning of the note sounds like the pick attack or the finger at killing the string. Then how the sustained note, uh, notes, how, how those sound, like how lo for how long it sustains and what the, the characteristic is of that. Then I'd say it's a certain frequency, bandwidth, like what is the lowest part and where does it end on the upper end and the curve and characteristic of that frequency, like the shape of that or like the, the tone of that. When it comes to frequency, then it's um, I think the fundamental notes plus the overtones and the harmonic distortion. And the relationship between those. Uh, then it's maybe room information if it's recorded with a mic, if it's just a pedal or um, a plugin, then uh, this might not be part of it, but even then could be, we're talking about that. Uh, and then I think maybe effects like chorus or any other kinds of effects depending on the genre you're working in. So I think these were the, these were the things that, that, uh, came to mind when I thought about it, but maybe there's more. Would you agree with that?

Malcom: Yeah, I totally agree with that. The only additional thing might be, uh, like it's gain kind of profile, like what type of distortion is, is being used on it, if distortion is being used on it. But that kind of cleaned the dirtiness and aggressiveness in, uh, distortion characteristic would maybe be one more.

Benedikt: Yeah. And yeah, I kind of thought of that in like when, like with the whole overtones and harmonic distortion thing. But you're right. That's maybe not, not exactly the same.

Malcom: you're right. You totally covered that

Benedikt: Yeah, . Yeah. Yeah. But I know still what you mean because even the clean tone has over, has like the fundamental plus the overtones and then what you mean is like extra distortion that you add to it and the different ways of doing that basically. So yeah. Yeah. I agree. I agree. Okay, cool. Now let's start Malcolm with quickly saying what pedals or plugins can't control or replace before we dive into what a plugin or pedal like that actually can do. Just to get that out of the way. Because there are certain things that no matter which plugin we use, no matter which pedal we use, no matter which tool, even a flexible thing, like the dark last thing, there's some parts of the base sound that, um, you, you, you know, they just have to be right before you even hit the plugin or the pedal.

So what are those? What can't, what, what can't we control or replace with tools like that?

Malcom: Okay, so first one actually I wanna mention that's not on our outline, uh, to throw a curve ball at you, Benny is the player. The

Benedikt: yeah. Totally. Right.

Malcom: Totally top of the chain here, um, and makes the, the biggest difference. I would say, like when I used to spend more time going into the studio with bands to produce 'em, if there was one thing that I had to take on the duties of, uh, and, and play for a musician, it was the bass guitar parts. Um, just because , some people don't have good bass tone in their hands and they just can't

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: and it's a thing that people don't really care about, live that much, but in the studio it's like, oh, such a huge difference. Just being able to play with. Good dynamics and I tone through the attack and the, the right hand essentially. But also in the tuning, they're able to hold down, um, in intonation, which is very much in the left hand, how hard you hold a fre on a base does make a pretty big difference on the intonation of that note. Um, so it's, uh, , it's a really hard instrument to be a professional like session level, uh, player at. Um, so, so that would be the, the first thing we, we can't change with a tool. Um, it just comes down to practice and experience is the player.

Benedikt: Oh yeah, absolutely. I totally forgot that on the outline actually. But that's, that's definitely the biggest one. Same as with drums and some of the instruments, like the player is number one. Yeah. Um, now assuming we have a good bass player, Um, or we have the bass player that we happen to have . So, um, then, uh, what is the next part of, of the tone that we can't control or replace or manipulate with, uh, maybe manipulate but not control or replace with, uh, plugins or pedals?

Malcom: Right. Uh, that would be the bass guitar,

Benedikt: Absolutely. Um, I'd say we shouldn't dive too deep into like, characteristics of bass guitars. That's just too much for this episode because we wanna focus on how we can manipulate the bass talent and what we can do with like, tools like that. But we, we have to mention that we, we, it all starts at the source and there's very, there's a big difference in the different types of, um, of bass guitars out there. So there's the classic bass guitars, like a p bass, jazz bass, and all the various like variations of that. Then there is like some bass that basses that have their own category, like, you know, the music man sting rate hat bass or like the Specter or, um,

Malcom: or

Benedikt: Yeah, Warwick, you know, there's these, these, um, sort of, yeah, things that have mo most bases are like a p or J style base, but then there is these specific things also. And they also sound very, they all sound very different. And then there's this modern sort of category of bases, like, you know, there's all kinds of things like the fan frets thing, the ding wall stuff, five string, six string bases. So there's a huge variety in in base tones. And they all sound drastically different. And we just have to mention that at the beginning because you shouldn't assume that, um, if you have two completely different bases and you put them into the same pedal with the same settings, that you're gonna get the same results. This is not gonna happen. It's like very, very different depending on the instrument you're using.

Malcom: just, uh, the quick recommendation. I, I feel like, hmm, should, should we touch on solutions while we go through this, this list? Or, or are we worried just about telling them, um,

Benedikt: Um,

Malcom: to be considering?

Benedikt: no. If you have a good tipper solution, absolutely inre.

Malcom: essentially the, the solution for the bass guitar, if we're going back to the the player, it just comes down to practice and researching what, what studio people are looking for in a bass performance, which is primarily, uh, intonation and, and dynamics. Like a really solid right hand's gonna be the biggest thing to work on there. But, uh, for bass guitar, the solution is just bring as many basses as you can get your hands on , um, you no you, like, of a, of a quality that have a chance. You know, like, don't just go scooping up every broken bass, uh, or like, piece of junk that you can find, but like, borrow, like people have nice instruments, you know, if you've got friends that are in bands, borrow their, their base if you can for, for the session. And then you have a couple to shoot out in the song and that, that's just gonna give you some options at least, um, because they are so different. Like Benny said, a P Bass and a jBASE are very different sounding, so if you've got. One and not the other. And it's wrong for the song. It's kind of crippling.

Benedikt: Yeah, it is. Is there like a, an an all purpose, all round sort of base that you could use for all kinds of things that won't really limit you? Um, or isn't there such a thing? Probably not. Right. Like in.

Malcom: I mean, like, so that sounded really dire how I said it

Benedikt: No, I think you're, I

Malcom: oh no,

Benedikt: you're totally, I think you're totally right. I just, I just think I just, uh, paused real quick there and thought about it because, uh, I, I think you're completely correct, but I also, from my own experience, I know that I could cover a pretty big variety of tones just with my pase. Or maybe if, if you gave me a p and a jBASE, I could do most things. Um, but then a,

Malcom: agree.

Benedikt: yeah, but, but then again, if there's like a modern down tune thing, I would add a five string, and then before you know it, you would have like your four or five bases, like you just said. So I, I'm not quite, I'm not quite sure there, for most rock things that are normal tunings and stuff like that, I would say a pase or a JB bass or the two of them, like would cover most spaces and then,

Malcom: It's not like there's one bass on the planet that's gonna be the right fit, you know? Like it's not like that dire . Yeah. Um, so, so don't worry if you, if you only have one bass and that's what you got, like , it's the chances of it being exactly wrong for the song pretty slim. So don't worry too much. But having two bases that do contrast each other is gonna give you a way better chance of landing closer to the ballpark of like what that song needs. So that's what I'm saying. But yeah, if you were gonna choose one for the rock genre, I would personally choose, uh, a p bass

Benedikt: Yeah, me too. That's why I play one. Yeah. Now the next thing, our favorite topic, the bullet says strings and picks. I was about to say streaks, , um, . Strings. Strings, and, uh, picks. So, as you know, You need fresh strings, um, you need the right type of strings because the impact that strings and picks have on a base, guitar tone is like pretty drastic. And, um, you know, there's different types of strings like round, round, flat wound, et cetera. Then they also on drastically different, then there's different string materials. There is, um, pure steel strings and there is nickel wound. There is like cobalt and all kinds of different things. They sound very different. And then there's different types of picks and different thickness of, of a pick and, uh, that affects the tone. And then different types of picks will also affect the way you play. So if you have a softer pick on a bass, for example, you'll people tend to to dig in harder, which can sound pretty cool. A lot of people think that a harder pick is good for an aggressive loud bass tone, but, and I thought that for the longest time too, but I've actually figured out that, um, if you give bass players who don't hit hard enough, if you give them a softer pick, it forces them to dig in a little harder and play more consistently. That something interesting that I. Discovered. So anyway, um, I just wanted to say that the string choice and pick choice and the fact that you, um, have to, should be using like, um, new strings. Um, that is just something we have to mention because with old dull strings, or if you wanna play modern metal with a distorted, crisp, clear tone and you have old flat wounds and play with your fingers, , that would be the extreme probably, uh, that just won't go well, probably Right. U unless that is your unique style that you have

Malcom: that would be an extreme. But I'm sure someone somewhere is listening to this podcast being like, oops, I'm that person,

Benedikt: Yeah,

Malcom: Um, so I'm glad you said it. Yeah. Uh, that is the, the wrong mix of ingredients to get, uh, that tone. Um, and again, just a reminder that what we're listing here, the player, the bass and the strings and pick combination are the things that we can't change later. Um, , this is the stuff you have to get right in advance. We're gonna be covering stuff that we can control with plug-ins and pedals right after this. So the, uh, very considerate about these three things we just mentioned.

Benedikt: Okay, now let's, uh, get to what we actually can control, um, with, with tools. Uh, like the dark last one. And again, the, the pedal that they were mentioning was the dark less infinity. And, uh, if you look it up, it's pretty crazy what you can do with it. And I also can't imagine that it's pretty overwhelming if people get something like that. That's also part of the reason why I wanted to do this episode because if you look at this thing and what it can do, then how do you even start? How do you know what knob to, to turn and what to aim for? And you know, there's, it seems like there's so many different options and ingredients to a base town and, and. And the way it's laid out on the pedal, it's a phenomenal thing and it sounds awesome, but like, where do you even start? And so I wanted to break it down into the different components and, and what, what they all add to the tone. So because this pedal lets you dial in the compression, it lets you adjust the amount of distortion and drive. There is a, a knob for like tone era where it goes from dull to to bright vintage to modern. Basically it lets you blend between clean and processed signal. Uh, there's multi-bank compression built into it where you can compress just the lows. For example, there is an IR loader where you can blend between different virtual cabinets and used, used different cabinets switch, um, between them, like all these things. And it's absolutely phenomenal sounding, inflexible, but it's also pretty overwhelming if you don't know what all these things actually do to your tone. And so let, let's start by the first thing. Um, the first component when it comes to the, the signal chain and that like the first component, um, after the bass guitar, and that would be the amp, right? Um, let's like ex exclude pedals in front of the mp. Let's just start with the amp. So the amplifier is one of the most important, or like, is obviously an important component when it comes to shaping the tone of a bass guitar. And there is like different types of amps. There's like solid state, there's tube, there's hybrid amps, um, and they all affect the sound of the base differently. And you can recreate those different characteristics with a pedal like that or with plugins. But in order to do that, you would have to know what those characteristics typically are and whe why and when you would want them. So I wanted to start by asking you, Malcolm, do you have a preference for certain, certain genres or certain styles? Do you have a preference for certain amps, for certain genres and styles? So is there a type of amp that you like to use in a typical classic rock song or in a modern metal song,

Malcom: Right. Yeah. I mean, like off the top of my head, the, like the classic Ameg S V T for Rock is just so tried and true. Right? Um, that's why you see them on like every festival stage ever, , right. Um, so like, like that comes to mind. Um, you know, you, you commonly do see these dark glass options, uh, in front of like, you know, more metal players, um, these days as well. They've made quite a name for themselves in that realm. So yeah, there, there are certain amps that seem to gravitate to certain genres. I think I do, I do wanna just note that one thing you're going to notice is that all of these can be controlled and replaced with plugins and, and pedals, like we're saying. But that is all through the convenience of a di signal, um, which is interesting in itself because, Sometimes the removing all of these things that we're talking about, like the amplifier for example, and using the di without an amp sound is the sound we're after as well, which is unique to bass, I think. You don't really do that with a guitar where we're like, I just want the sound of a di guitar. But , a bass di on itself is a certain type of tone, um, which is totally interesting too and does get used live, for example. Um, or in studios as well. So just wanted to touch on that as well.

Benedikt: yeah. Agreed. Agreed. So, yeah, if you, if you're working in the dawn and you recreate the sound with plugins, then you need to clean the eye. If you're working with a pl, a pedal like that, then it's obviously part of whatever you record, like you pluck the base directly into the pedal, unless you reuse it for Reem. But let's not confuse people any further. So you, you have a clean base. That comes straight out of your instrument and that goes either into your computer clean and then you do the tone with whatever plugins, or you plug it into a pedal like that, like a, um, a flexible, versatile preempt or all in one base pedal. And then you record the output of that and that is your base tone. Basically, I wanted to make this as actionable as possible, and I wanna give people concrete like parts and, uh, of that make up a bass tone for me when I think about it. So that's why I wanted to call it the anatomy of a bass guitar tone. So when I think about the amplifier, I think about three main categories. So one would be the solid state clean emp, which to me represents a lot of headroom and like a ver the ability to reproduce very clean. Sounds, um, at a high volume without distorting. So if I want to have a loud, a very clean base with, based on, with a lot of subs, with a lot of that requires it to be clean because distortion makes the low end kind of smaller and, you know, adds distortion and stuff. So if you wanna have a really big sounding low end without distortion, you wanna be able to, to have that allowed. Um, then solid. Amp with a lot of headroom and a lot of power is what I would be looking for. And in recording the volume isn't as important, but the, the, the ability to sound like an amp but still keep that big low end that a di has, sort of, that's what solid state amps are to me. Because if you put it through anything that's more distorted, that has more harmonic distortion, um, it has more character and grid, but the low end also gets tighter, smaller. And if I want to that, if I want that really loose, big sounding low end, like, like the one you get from trust, the di, then I would use an SSO or a plugin that keeps that. And that is what I think about when I, when I, what I think of, when I think of, um, Solid state amps. The second category would be the hybrid amp, where this is typically not a thing in, not important in the doll, but in the real world it could be you have a, uh, a tube preem that gives you the grit and characteristic of like tube distortion, but then you have a solid state power amp that enables you to just turn it up really loud without having to deal with like the weight and the maintenance and all of that. That comes with a tube power amp and all of that. So it's a more convenient, modern solution with a tube tone, but a solid state power amp at the end. And then, but this is not really something that has a unique tone to it. I think when it comes to the power amp and it's not really. Relevant to me in the do. Uh, but the third category is again, and that is the tube amp, like the classic impacts. And some of those don't even have a master volume. So it's like the louder you turn it up, the more it also distorts basically. Or even if they have a master volume, you have to turn up the gain, the input gain also to get it loud. And then if you do that, it distorts. That's what the impacts do. You get, you have the master, but you also have the gain and you need to turn up both in a way. And it's never clean once it's loud. So that's the impact tone. It's like it has a grit to it. It's, it's also big, but it's not like that subby loose type of big, but it's like a tighter low end. And it, and, and what I love it this for is anything rock basically. And it's like even with modern metal tones, I often blend the impact type of tone because I, um, the part of it that I like is the lower mid-range, the growl, there's a certain quality. That, that those amps have, I'm not looking for the very top end, that there's not, not the clarity that I want for metal. They don't have the, the really aggressive kind of distortion that I want. I'm not looking for the very low end too, because that I will get that from the cleaned eye basically, or from some other source. But what I look for with an impact tone is everything in between that it's the actual mid-range, it's the growl, it's the grit, it's the certain, a certain character, uh, that is between the lows and the highs. I'm, I'm getting those with different tools basically. That's what I'm saying. So,

Malcom: it's totally denser there because of that harmonic distortion with the, like, needing to have the, the gain turned up a little bit more, right? It just, the tubes distort and create a denser mid-range, which is like growly and, and thick . Um, but it, I think it's funny because like as we went through those going from, you know, clean to dirtier, uh, it almost, I think if you're not familiar with trying to make a base tone fit in a, in a recording, it sounds like it's getting worse. You know, it's like, oh, big open, large, clean, low end. And then we talked about smaller and more distorted sounding like, it sounds like we've made things worse, but in order of my priority, I'd probably start on that AMPA side as my first choice most of the time and work back towards a cleaner tone . So, uh, I think hope that gives somebody some perspective.

Benedikt: Yes, absolutely. And most of the time I combine these elements. So the par, like when we talk about the, um, again about the, the components that make up a base tone, I use the best of all of these options and combine them to get my desired sound. So, uh, by the way, if you want. A deep dive or like a video explanation of all of that. I have a free, um, it, it, it wasn't free at the beginning. It was a bonus workshop that we put out with mixes unpacked where I did, um, yeah, a long video workshop on how I create rock or heavy bass tones inside the door. And, uh, couple of weeks ago I made that available for free for people on my email list. So if you didn't get that, just DM me or email me. And I, I'm gonna give you the link because I don't think it's publicly available anywhere, but people in, in on, in our community guided. So if you want that, just, uh, contact me and you'll get that, uh, based on workshop. And what I do in there is I actually combine, and that's something I do a lot. I actually combine a clean the eye that I use where I isolate the. Like the very lows, the fundamental root notes basically. And I keep them clean and compressed them to make them consistent. So that's one part of my base tone that I want in most cases, and this is not distorted most of the time, this is clean and big, but very compressed and, and limited to, to make it really rock solid and and consistent in the low end. I want all the notes to be the same basically. And I don't want one note to jump out and another one to be too quiet. I want that solid foundation. Uh, Dynamically. Yeah, exactly. Then the second part of it is a little above that. That's the, the lower mid-range character that I described when I talked about the impacts. That's the stuff that I like about those where with the more modern the tone is the, I, I use like less of that and I, I make it more scooped. The more vintage or characterful I want it, the more, the more of that I use. It can sound boxy real quick. So there's a balance, but there is something cool that I like about the, the lower mid range in the bass guitar, and I probably use more of that than most modern metal mixers do. I don't like the completely scooped sound most of the time. That's just part of the aesthetic that I like. So there's, this is, this would be the, I'd say 200, 2 800 or so range. Um, herz range, the lower mid-range where that I really like in most cases. Then, . And then everything above that is would be pick, attack, clarity, presence. The more, more modern type of distortion. If we talk about a distorted based tone, uh, this is really what, what like adds teeth to the guitar tone. Also, this is what makes it cut through the mix. This is where you get the, the pick attack and the definition from. Um, and so in this workshop, what I do is I combine the clean the eye with the lows, the fundamentals with an impact that provides the mids with a modern distort. From, I think, I think it was a neural d p plug in the perx, or it might have been the dark glass, uh, might be the perx, or it might have been even the, the dark glass, uh, micro tubes plugin. Um, I can't remember, but some, some sort of modern distortion that I used for the, the. The actual distortion at the, the top end of it. Um, and then I think I blended a fourth one just to try, just to see and, and, and, uh, what it does. And I think I blended a orange guitar amp also and tried that. I'm not sure if that was in that video, but at least the three, there was the three. And sometimes I used to like, uh, I used to use, I like to use an orange guitar amp as well, and, and see what that does. So I have these different types of flavors. I have the, the Amex style, lower mid-range growl. I have the modern metal distortion that is usually something like a dark glass. And then I have the Guitar Amp used as a bass amp, which is a different type of nasty distortion. And then I have the clean low end that I get from the di and I use all of these, filter them very carefully, make sure I don't run into phase issues, because that is absolutely a thing. And, and you have to be very careful with that. Uh, then I combine all of these and the blend is my base tone that I have in the

Malcom: Awesome. Yeah, I, I think we kind of do things similar. You maybe go a little more split than, than I tend to, but like fundamentally, we're chasing the same goal of like rocks all at low end and a gritty top end

Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Now one thing that we haven't talked about for now, we talked about the, the amp characteristics. Now the different distortion characteristics, sort of, but what about the cap? Is that even important? Um, do you even, like, do you even care about that? Do you have one, one on, on a, like an amp, a on the plugin or not? Or like,

Malcom: like an IR or, um, so that is, yeah, a great question. And again, this is only changeable, uh, if you've got a di but you can of course use Speaker IRS to, to make it sound more like an amp, um, recorded in a room. It's actually something, if I'm honest, that I don't do very often with bass guitars. Um, I'm usually just manipulating the DI and not using a speaker impulse, but it is absolutely something I have done, um, and can totally be great. So totally worth trying if, if it's just gonna get you what you

Benedikt: Yeah,

Malcom: you, Ben? Is this something you do often or, uh, or no.

Benedikt: Yeah. Um, I like. Actually, I like to mic up amps. I don't, I mean, I don't do it as often now that I'm just mixing, but when I used to produce a lot, I almost always micd up the amp two just for, to get a unique tone. Um, because if as soon as sound travels through air and you capture it with a mic and all of that, you have a more unique thing and not just something that in theory, everyone could have in their dial. Always. I always go for unique tones as much as I can when I produce, so I, I, it's kind of fun to mic. Base caps, but I don't think it's necessary. When I'm, if I'm really honest, it's fun, but I, I don't absolutely, I I don't need it. And in the door, when I mix, now, when I re-amp things, when I use something like, let's say the, the dark glass plugin, um, is it neural, by the way? Neural D s p I think it is, right? The dark glass and plus neuro. Yeah, that one, that one's pretty great too. And part of what I think is great about it is actually their speaker simulation that's built into it. I think that sounds really great. So I just, uh, leave that on. I often use the default setting, to be honest, just because it's, it works on a lot of sources. Sometimes I exchange the mic or change the position, but usually I just go for the default thing because it works for me. So yeah, I sometimes use speaker simulations, but when I'm not using that plugin that comes with a speaker simulation built into it, , I oftentimes pretty much do what you described. I just capture the output of a, like a, a pedal or a preempt or, uh, I throw on a, some sort of plugin to get the sound I want, but then I don't necessarily follow that with an ir and I just, I might just filter out some of the very low lows or the highs and create my own sort of cap by just filtering. Sometimes I use an ir. So yeah, basically, like you described it, I don't think it's as crucial to me, at least as with a, with a guitar. Um, yeah,

Malcom: that's what I was gonna say is like, uh, it's, it's almost unspeakable with a guitar to not have a, a speaker or cabinet. Cause it sounds so unlike, uh, a guitar tone without a speaker. Um, of course it has been done and it can be cool. So break rules if you need to, but with bass it's like, take it or leave it. It's so interesting that way. I think.

Benedikt: Totally. The one thing I like though about base caps is that they have this natural low frequency roll off where it, as soon as you apply, Cap or if you mi as soon as you micro a real cab, it doesn't go down as low anymore. Like there's this natural limit to like, of what a, a cap can reproduce, so it automatically gets a little tighter. If you combine the classic like SVT sound plus an eight by 10 cabinet, you have a pretty tight, very defined, very consistent low end. Almost automatically. There's not a lot going on below. 50 or so, but from 50 to 150, it's super consistent. It's very thick and um, you know, that has a characteristic to it that I really like that it automatically has when you use a cab like that. Um, but in it, but it has to be a good cab like that. For example, what I don't like is a lot of the cheaper four by tens that have like, that are poured, they have a weird low end response. They are not consistent. They have a, uh, a resonance and then it drops off really steep. And so I don't really like those base caps a lot. What I do like is the, the eight by 10, because it's quick, it's big and it can reproduce low end, but it's like also consistent in the low end because it's not poured. So I do like those, um, I like fif like 15 inch speakers just because of how massive they can sound. They are slow, but like big and, and, and have a, a massive kind of type of low end. But I typically don't like the, the four by tens or even smaller speakers that some bands just have because of budget reasons I don't. See a reason to mic up those a lot of the time because they seem like a compromise to me. Like eight by 10 is the way to go for me, so

Malcom: Eight by 10 is totally the way to go . Um, but I get it like, as if I was, uh, to join a band today as a bass player, I wouldn't go buy one. I'd be like, I'm just gonna bring my camper and not have a bass cab at all on stage. So like, modern and, and as we've talked about today, it's not really necessary for recording to have a cab to get good results. Um, so , I get it. I get why people don't want to have one, but, uh, they do sound awesome.

Benedikt: Totally, which brings us back to plugins and pedals. The cool thing about all of this, if you record at home and you don't, you're not worrying about like how to get these things into your car and onto a stage. You can just have an eight by 10 by choosing an IR of one and plug-ins like pedals, like that dark glass pedal or plug-ins, um, or IR loaders let you just quickly load up an eight by 10 and let you compare it with, with a sound without a cab, and you can then like pick whatever you, whatever you prefer. Uh, so that's the beauty of, of modern recording technologies. You don't have to have the eight by 10 to get the eight by 10 sound. There's good IRSs out there, so.

Malcom: exactly. It's made it all possible so much more conveniently and uh, and affordably as well.

Benedikt: Yeah. Now when to choose, which, just real quick. So with a, if, if I were to use a pedal like this, this infinity pedal or a plugin with an IR loader, I would, and by the way, this pedal lets you choose different IRS lets you load IRSs too. So I would, in most cases, I just would go, I would start with the A by 10, just because I know what it sounds like and I like it. But just a quick overview. So the smaller the speakers are, the quicker the cab react. So it this means you have a more precise attack, um, more defined transients because the smaller speakers move quicker. Um, you still have the low end because of the amount of speakers, because that's exactly the same. All that matters is like the total speakers surface. So two 15 inch speakers can be, can produce the same low end, like as, as a one, um, as one eight by 10, so of speaker. But the two 15 inch speakers are gonna move slower than the 10, uh, inch speakers. So the, the low end. The capability of reproducing low end is kind of the same, but the, the, the eight by 10 is gonna move faster and the 15 inch is gonna move slower. And, uh, this is a different sound. So depending on what you want, you can, you can pick and choose, like if, if you want a very suby, loose kind of reggae, whatever sound like that, then maybe bigger drivers, more subs is what you want. If you want quick transients and a precise attack and a very consistent, tight sort of response, then the smaller speakers would be your choice, I think. Yeah. And, and those pedals or plugins let you choose and, and even blend between those options. So you can just experiment with that. But now at least you have a starting point or you can, you know, which direction to go or what to start with, and then you can compare the different.

Malcom: there. There's no one size fits all here, but just like those rules of thumb that you just listed out are probably good starting points to try at least.

Benedikt: Okay. Enough of the cabinet. Now, I would say as we, like, I think it, it's become clear now that a modern, especially a modern rock based tone is pretty far from a clean raw di in most cases, or even a, a clean amp sound. So there is some distortion, some drive, some manipulation that's kind of necessary to get that tone. So how do we shape, let's say we, we picked the amplifier that we want the characteristic, or we blended multiple amplifiers. We've picked, uh, the IR or cab, or we've found our blend between those as well. Now how do we further shape those things? What do we do in terms of EQ, compression and distortion or other effects to get a, a rock based guitar sound or a metal bass, guitar sound, or an indie sound or whatever? Like what do you typically do? What do you reach?

Malcom: Yeah, so it, it of course depends on the, the tone we're chasing in our head. But if I had to go with things that are very common for me to do, um, which is probably gonna, yeah, I think, I think that just, just makes sense. It's stuff I'm doing regularly is. Probably stuff that other people are gonna need as well. Um, we're looking at, like you said earlier, maybe splitting our base tone, which we can do with a lot of cool pedals, um, or, or, uh, plugins these days and, and creating some kind of distortion. Uh, for me that's, you know, upper mid-range. Um, and, and less so on my, my lows or uh, like another modern effect that really can only happen in pedals or plug-ins. Uh, it would be like stuff like Corine or stereo width, um, which is so in influential on our guitar tone cuz we can then get our, like upper mid-range out to the sides of our mix and blending with our, you know, pan guitars. Um, so yeah, there's splitting distortion, width. Uh, and, and then finally I think attack would be the other one, which, I mean, take the, the distortion , I is usually playing a large role in that attack.

Uh, but, but you can also do that with like eq, um, and just, or transient designers as well.

Benedikt: Yeah, and, and just compression attack and release settings

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. Compression's just, uh, a must.

Benedikt: yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think it all goes back to those basic components that we outlined in the beginning. If we cue the base, we still think of it in terms of where's the root node, the fundamental, the subs. Um, then where is the, the mid-range character and is it a lower boxy kind of mid-range? Is it a clear upper mid-range? Then there is the top end, which is in terms of base, it's still mid-range, I think, because it doesn't go that high up, but the pick attack, the clarity and all of that. So we, we still think about these parts of the frequency spectrum and we cue it to create a great balance between all of those. Then, uh, we think about the, the amount of drive and distortion, as you said, which can be created through a blend of different tones. And if you only have one tone, it can be, or one pedal like that. It can be the amount that you dial in, like the, the amount you turn up, the drive knob basically, and the type of drive you use, uh, which can go from subtle overdrive and slightly saturated, almost clean. Um, all the way to fuzzy, completely destroyed depending on the genre and the, uh, and, and the, uh, your aesthetic. Then the compression. The dynamics. So the compression does two things. It limits the dynamics, so it makes it more consistent, but it also shapes the attack and sustain meaning if you have a long attack time, you have a lot of, um, the, the transients come through. So you can make a pretty cliquey sound with a lot of attack. Or if you shorten the attack time, you can eliminate those attacks that make it more even sounding, uh, you can shape the, the sound of the sustain to make it longer or shorter or, um, more aggressive, pumping or more consistent. I think regardless of the tools we're using, we always think about these things. We think in terms of attack and sustain, in terms of. The amount of distortion and the type of distortion, and we think of the different parts of the frequency spectrum. That's, uh, at least that's what what I do when I, when I think about those things. And then the specific effects like chorus and widening that you said, which is something I rarely do, but sometimes I do. Yeah. And then with compression also, you can. There's a combination of the two of the frequency part and the compression part because a pedal like that lets you, and also of course, plugins in the doll let you compress just a part of the signal too, where you can say, I wanna keep the natural dynamics of my fingers or my pick. I wanna keep that in the sound and I don't want to make that too consistent, but I want a consistent low end of it. So what you can do is you can leave the upper part of it pretty uncompressed or more dynamic, but you can, can compress the shit out of the fundamentals and you can use like a multi-bank compressor to just compress the lowest dock, for example. And the pedal, like the, the dark glass one has that built into the pedal. And if you don't have that, you can use just the multi-bank compressor in your door or something like fat filter Saturn that lets you saturate different parts of the spectrum differently and compress differently. And so the, the possibilities are, are endless there, but what matters is that you know, why you reach for something and what you want to do with it. And. Those are the things we just talked about. There's so many ways of, of, of achieving this, but the goal is what matters. And, and then you just pick your way of, of getting there. I think.

Malcom: absolutely. Yeah. And it's fascinating because like all of the things mentioned in this, like effects and plugin like section of this podcast are influenced or can be influenced by all of the stuff we talked about earlier. Like the amp and the cabinet are gonna play, uh, a role on all of those things. The base, the strings, the player are also gonna play a role on all of those elements. So it kind of like works backwards. But this is also where we can do, um, I mean other than the stuff at the beginning of the episode that we talked about where we, we like, we can't change it with plugins. This plugin section affects section is where we can replace the amp and the cabinet just with plugins. It's pretty amazing.

Benedikt: Totally. Totally. And let's, I think to make this, to sort of sum it all up and make it less confusing for people, let's compare two scenarios. So one scenario would be, um, someone has a pedal like that darkness one. And by the way, there are others out there too. There's the sand amp, there is the rec version of a sand amp. There is different pedals by class and other manufacturers, but they just mentioned this specific one and I picked it for the episode two because it can do all of those things. It's really crazy flexible. So it's a good example. But there are alternatives too, and we're not sponsored by them in any way. Um, but let's say one

Malcom: I would like to be

Benedikt: I would like to be too. I would like to be too. Definitely. Uh, so yeah, if you're listening to this, uh, send us a pedal . No, but like,

Malcom: two, one to Canada, one to

Benedikt: uh, exactly. Two pedals. Sorry, two pedals for exactly. Uh, so if you happen to have this micro tubes infinity pedal, for example, what you could do with that now is you plug in your base and then you choose. I think you, you start by choosing the tone era is what they call it. You, you start by like, do I want a more dull vintage sound? Do I want a more crisp, high-fi sort of modern sound? I would, I would start there. Personally, I would just find a position. I would keep everything at like 12 o'clock and then I would search for a good spot on the tone era up until I find something that I like. Then I would dial in the amount of distortion, the amount of drive that I. With a drive knob, then I would probably set the, while I, I am doing this, I would have the blend all the way to the right, uh, to really hear what the pedal is doing. And if I find something that I like, but it's just a little too much, I might dial back the blend a little bit. But usually I'm a hundred percent wet on those things. So at least to figure out the sound. And then I would, I would probably play with the compression knob and just hear what it does and how much it actually changes the dynamics. And I would find a setting that works for me there. And uh, then I would have to dive into the plugin that comes with it, I think, or like the software that comes with it to control the, you know, multi-band thing that they have built into it. I would have to have a look at this, but this would be the last thing I would probably do. I would just start with the pedal and then I would look into all the additional features. But I would do it in that order. I would start. Choosing the character, the type of tone, then I would dial in the amount of distortion, then I would dial in the compression, and then I would look into whatever other options I have in the software when it comes to EQ and all of that now. So that's what I would do with, with a plugin like that. And, and of course, choose the ir, turn the IR on and off, and do all of those things. Now, scenario number two, you don't have a flexible all in one box like this. What would you do to do all of this, to be able to do all of this with just like say stock plug-ins or let's say plug-ins in general in your door without a pedal like that, what would you do?

Malcom: Yeah, you're, you're, you're gonna have everything you need actually , um, which is awesome. Like any doll's gonna have a way to get this done. But like, for, for me, first thing I'm reaching for is like a multi-band harmonic thing. Like Saturn probably like a tone shaper. Um, and now that's kind of like cheating. That one's not gonna be included in your doll. So hopefully there's something like it, but that is like, Plugin equivalent of the pedal you just mentioned, , where I can split it, I can distort things separately. I can control the dynamics, I can control the transients all from one thing. Um, but if we need to split that up, we can do that. You know, we can grab, uh, a compressor plugin just by itself, set that up. We can then grab any kind of distortion plugin. There's probably some amp sims you could do. You could duplicate the track and throw it on one and, and just EQ out the lows on that so that we're just, you know, distorting our, our high end and blending that end. Um, uh, we could compress those two channels separately. Like we can recreate these parallel processes by just creating a parallel train in our doll, which is really fascinating.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. So you, again, you, you were talk, we were talk, uh, we're talking about very. In one plugin still like Perx, like the neural DSP and dark glass plugin. Um, but that doesn't have a multi-band option really. But then there's Saturn, which is like multi-band everything, saturation, EQ and compression basically in one thing. So there's these solutions, but let's say someone like, those were my go-tos too. Those would be my go-tos too. Or the manual splitting where you just duplicate the track and then you, you filter it so that you have only the low end on one track, only the top end on the other track, and then you distort one and compress the other. So that would be an option. What would you do with, in terms of individual like normal plug-ins that all do just one thing. Like is there a way to recreate that just in case someone has stock plugins? Would you go for like a multi-bank compressor plus some sort of distortion plus standard EQ plus a compressor or, and maybe an IR loader or what? What would you do? Is that sort of a

Malcom: you, you, you could do exactly like that. I mean, I do less parallel processing than you on base. Like I don't really worry about splitting, like I, I just drop my low end all the time.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, you can, yeah. That's good. You mentioned that you can do that for sure.

Malcom: Totally. Yeah. Um, I mean there's like, there's pros and cons to both, of course. Um, but yeah, you could just like write on it. It's just all about getting the, the tone in in your head. And when I'm building a base tone from a clean di signal that's been sent to me, it's as if the person's sitting. Beside me playing and we're building a tone, you know, it's just like, all right, this is the pier base capture. It's a di of course it is. And what would do I wish was happening? Um, so for me that's usually like, distortion is kind of first, like that's the amp tone in my head. It's like, okay, we've plugged them into an amp now cause I've got a distortion plugin open and this dial in that like fundamental tone. And then I can work on the dynamics from there. Um, and I can carve things out with EQ from there as well. Um, I tend to use distortion to kind of shape the EQ more than grabbing an EQ first. Um, unless something's fundamentally just terribly wrong about the di capture. Uh, like, like if it was like the deadest strings in the world, I'd probably try and revive some high end, um, before an amp in that case. But generally I'm like, I'm going to start with. Uh, like the amp sound. Now, just to clarify, just because I'm starting with that plugin doesn't mean that's the first plugin in the chain. It might start that way, but there's probably like, I'm, I'm gonna throw that amp kind of sound on with some kind of distortion plugin, and then my EQ is probably gonna actually get opened up earlier in the chain than that amp Sim. It's just that I'm like, my mind is starting working on that, and then we can throw plugins earlier in the chain as needed.

Benedikt: I agree. Yeah, totally. I would do the, the same, it's the same thing that I would do. I would, it's pretty similar to what I described, what I would do with, uh, with a pedal like that, where I would start with the tone, error, or knob. That's what you would do by choosing the type of distortion and amount of distortion that determines the characteristic of it. Is it vintage? Is it modern? Is it crazy distorted, or just a subtle overdrive? And then when you get that characteristic right, then you don't need to eq and compress as much anyways. And, and, and, uh, yeah, I, I totally agree. I totally agree. So yeah, that's what I would do too. And so to sum it up, I would, in that scenario, I would see if I can. If I have any sort of plugin that can do it all, like Saturn, like perx, like the Nud P dark glass plugin, something like that. Although that is also something I wouldn't necessarily use for, um, like a, a cleaner classic tone that's more a specific modern sound. The dark less thing, which is great, but like not, maybe not the right tool for everything. Um, But yeah, I would go, I would look into one of those and if I don't have any of these, I would do what you said. I would pick some type of distortion. It can also be a Guitar amp, sim or some something that distorts and that has the character that I want. You can get creative there. Um, I would pick some sort of character. Of overdrive, harmonics, or like full on distortion, then I would, if necessary, filter and EQ that to taste, I would compress it to taste. The more distortion I use, the less compression I need. I would probably find a way to compress the low separately to keep it like completely consistent. So I would use some kind of multi-bank compression most of the time, or just heavy limiting that does the job in one band. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes you don't need the multi-band if you, if you just, you know, completely, um, like smash it and then, um, yeah, and then maybe try an ir, maybe not. So yeah, that would be my approach probably. And as you can see, it can be very different from using an EMP in a cab. Like, I don't even, I almost forgot to think about a cab now when I, as I went through this chain in my head, because it's like a totally different approach when you do it in the doll, which is crazy to think of because with guitars you would never do it that way. But with, but with

Malcom: Yeah. Base is so unique that way. It is, it is fascinating. Um, but in another way, it's totally similar. Like the way that we're thinking about building the sound and getting about it is just like as if we plugged our base into the amp, the first thing you're gonna do is start messing with the knobs on the amp, right?

Benedikt: Yeah, yeah,

Malcom: it's, it's similar in that way, but there's a cabinet involved. Um, now before people just go and distort the living heck outta your

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: Uh, because both of us were like, first thing I'd do is grab a distortion plugin.

Benedikt: Yeah, totally right.

Malcom: the distortion might be no distortion

Benedikt: Yeah,

Malcom: So that might just be like, okay, the di already has the distortion profile. I'm looking for it, like it's a clean sound. That's what I want. So no distortion plugin needed. Um, so moving onto compression or whatever is, is needed next, you know, so just keep that in mind.

Benedikt: Yeah, you're totally, you're totally right. Glad you brought that up. Like there's probably's some people listening to this now where if, if you've made it to the end of this episode at all, uh, where they're like, like, why are we constantly talking about like distorting the bass

Malcom: Or, or I bet I just caught somebody with Saturn in their checkout. , they're about to buy it.

Benedikt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I to

Malcom: it so many times.

Benedikt: totally. Um, yeah, you're right. So first of all, not every base needs to be distorted. You're right, fir. Second, when we talk about distortion, as you said Malcolm, it can be so subtle that it's actually not really distort. It is technically distortion, but you could say it's like subtle overdrive or saturation or harmonics, you know, but still sound clean. So distortion doesn't mean full on distortion

Malcom: Or like, you know, drive an LA two a hard enough. It's got distortion, right? Like, so distortion can come from other things. It can come from like tape processing, it can come from pure compressor. Uh, analog EQs can introduce distortion.

Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. But, but then again, if you are wondering now what, why Baytown needs to be distorted at all or why, why you should maybe like, play around with that and experiment with that. We have a whole episode and I'm just looking for it. It's, it's called Baytown is more than just low end. It was episode 12 of the podcast. So, I don't know, I don't know. Maybe it's like, uh, maybe it would make me cringe listening back to this now at this point, like episode 12. I don't know how good we were at podcasting back then, but the content is still

Malcom: the content is still good. I remember people liking that episode. Um, so hopefully it holds up

Benedikt: yeah, yeah,

Malcom: episodes later, 40 episodes later,

Benedikt: exactly. So, so yeah, if you're wondering about base distortion, just go to, uh, episode 12 where we talk about why Bay tone is more than just low end.

Malcom: Yep. And if

Benedikt: And you

Malcom: we need to update that episode, let us know.

Benedikt: Exactly, exactly. And then, uh, you get an idea of of why mid-range and, and harmonics and distortion and top end on base is important for us. Um, okay. So yeah, I think that was a long, interesting and also very confusing episode,

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. , I agree. Um, yeah, I, I do think that, uh, the ideal listener of this podcast learns kind of through osmosis so that even when they don't necessarily understand what we're talking about, they're absorbing it. And it kind of, the pieces fall into place maybe at a later date. So I still, I'm hopeful that everybody was paying attention on listening. Even if it did get over their heads. At some points, it's still gonna be helpful at, you know, you're gonna find yourself in a situation where you're like, ah, I know what to do.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, totally, totally. And as always, uh, reach out to us and ask us questions if any of that was confusing or if you tried something it didn't work, or whatever. Again, shout out to Steppa or Steppa, I'm still not sure how to pronounce it. Please, uh, tell me, and sorry if I butchered it, shout out to you guys for, uh, the idea for this podcast. And, um, if you got any value out of this episode, uh, please share this podcast with your friends. Like screenshot the episode on, on your phone, like the, the player or the app you're using. Whatever, make a screenshot, post it to socials. Tag us at Malcolm Own Flat at Benedictine on Instagram. We love to see this. Uh, we absolutely love to, uh, share and respond to this too. And, uh, yeah. Just, just reach out, share it, show it to other people, help us reach more people like you and help more people like you. And please also always check out the descriptions of all of these podcasts. So, uh, we have show notes for every single episode. And if you're watching on YouTube, there's a description below. If you're on, on your podcast app while you're making the screenshot to share it, just also click on that description real quick and look at those links there, because there is more additional stuff. There's free downloads, there is like a link to our community. All those things. Um, on every single episode. Please make sure to check that out too.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. If something came up in this episode that you're not familiar with, chances are there's a link to it in this description.

Benedikt: yes. And actually a lot of the things we talk about, like these pedals or plugins, um, make a lot more sense when you're actually able to look at at them. So in this case, when, when I talk about this specific pedal or about a certain plugin or Saturn or something like that, when you can actually look at the thing, it makes so much more sense

Malcom: Yeah, I, I've had the webpage open this whole episode so that I can glance at its parameters, so . Yep, totally. That

Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. All right. We really appreciate you. Thank you for, uh, listening. Thank you for watching. If you're on YouTube, and we'll talk to you next

Malcom: Yeah. Thank you so much. See you next time.

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