Looking for help recording bass using focusrite


As it seems that there are people here used to record using audio interface directly with success, I really have to ask advices about the issue I’m facing while trying to do the same.

I’m using a focusrite 8i6 for a year and a half, and I’ve never been able to be satisfied of the sound when I’m recording. I’ve just been able to hide this using plugins and effect but not always.

Here is an example of a DI recording using my PJ Affinity with the P pickup at 100%, J pickup at 0% and tone at 100%. I’m playing few notes in alternante downstrokes and upstrokes with a pick on the E string. This is not a masterpiece, It’s just something simple so the issue could be emphasized (so please be kind :grinning: ): WeTransfer - Send Large Files & Share Photos Online - Up to 2GB Free (more audible using headphones).

I think that the sound is really bad, terrible. There are some kind of buzzes, strings noises.

The bass just returned from a shop where an expert just made a setup (new strings, neck adjustement, electronic cleaning …). But the sound was not better before, maybe worst, and it’s still bad to me.

I configured the input level of the audio interface correctly, it’s not clipping.

I know that the direct sound can be a bit tough/harsh/dry this way, and that I’m supposed to use amp, cab, and pedals plugins, but I’d like to have a clean sound before doing anything else, and it seems bad to me.

So, does this look a “normal” DI sound to you ?

If not, is it a lack of technique ? (To me I’m properly muting the others strings, and pushing correctly on the fret), is it the sound of the bass itself ?

Thanks a lot !

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First of all what are you trying to do?

Are you recording bass to a song? What is your channels look like?
Is it a mix minus bass or everything stems out in separate channels?

I don’t really do serious recording at home, usually someone else do that part for me, but my set up is direct box to the 4i4 then to the computer. I get the sound I want before mix. I’m very happy with the final sound of this setup.

Actually, I do the vocal this way as well. I have my mic to Mic tube preamp then to effect then 414. There’s nothing wrong with recording this way for me. I hear what I like and I record them. Sometimes I do the “digital” route but that’s not fun for me and it kills the mood. :joy:

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What speakers you are listening through might be struggling to reproduce the sound. An open E on the neck pickup - that is the lowest sound you are going to get out of the bass.

If you want to hear a bass track that has a lot of extra noise, the isolated bass from Soundgarden’s “Burden in my Hand”:

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Hi @Al1885

I’m trying to record my bass in a new FL Studio project without any other audio existing. It’s in a dedicated audio channel. My bass is directly plugged into the first input of the audio interface.

The focusrite inputs are configured on “INST”, already checked the buffer sire etc …

By Direct box do you mean that you use something between the bass and the audio interface ? If yes, what kind of device ?

The fact is, @howard seems to be able to have a really clean sound directly from bass to audio interface (see here : Plugin advice - bass and guitar - #11 by howard), and I’m really curious to know what the setup is. it’s less metallic, sounds like a real bass sound before the plugins addition.

Hi @brian2

The speakers are monitoring presonus e5, and the headphone is MDR-7506 they are both pretty decent.

That’s very interesting thanks. So maybe the sound I got is not that terrible, but just “normal” and need mixing.

Here is another exemple with a different setup : WeTransfer - Send Large Files & Share Photos Online - Up to 2GB Free

I plugged my bass with a jack cable in my amp, all the settings in the middle (except the gain at the quarter), and connected a XLR cable to the line out of my rumble 40 directy to the input 1 of the audio interface.

It’s a bit better but not enough to justify the use of the amp in the chain to me.

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Yeah I’d avoid the amp, no need for it for recording. Plugging the bass directly in to the audio interface is the best plan.

I recorded the line you referenced with a TRBX604, my main bass at the time. One thing that is a little unfair to your dry recording vs mine here is you are comparing the sound of a mid-level, pro giggable bass with really excellent dual humbuckers to a Squier Affinity with presumably stock Squier/Fender pickups. Stock Fender pickups are usually pretty uninspiring compared with aftermarket options. This could simply be the pickup quality, and it’s just what the dry sound of the bass is. How does it sound through the amp+cab to your ear?

The good news is you can probably fix this with EQ in the FL Studio. I would try EQing the high end down a bit and boosting the low mids a little. You might be surprised :slight_smile:

The dirty little secret is that no bass collector wants to admit is… the sound of the original bass doesn’t really matter that much any more. With some EQ and amp/cab sims in FL Studio I bet you can make that sound great.

Another option you can try is to replace the pickups in the Squier. Lots of great options to try depending on the sound you want.


Thank you for your answer and the tips, I’ll have a look at EQ.

Well, I never really liked the sound through the amp+cab either … (with of without headphones). It’s one of the reason I’m not using my amp a lot (same bad sound with more wiring ahah, so I’m mostly working unplugged …)

I know that the bass quality count a lot. It’s another serious reason that progressively make me think of changing my gear (cf another topic ahah), but I wanted to check before if there wasn’t any major issue in the way I’m trying to do this.

Thanks !

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I didn’t see any issues with the actual recording! Level seemed fine, etc.

Also, if you like your Squier, there’s no need to trade it out if you don’t want to. Being a Fender archetype, there’s tons of aftermarket parts for it. If you didn’t want to get a new bass you could try something smaller like a simple pickup upgrade.

Or just play with EQ in the DAW.

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It’s got value to me as It was a gift that introduced me into making music. But I never really liked how it sounds, but as a beginner I imputed that to my lack of knowledge/practice.

So I’m not gonna get rid of it at all, just as you said and someone else also on another topic, I’ll probably try to use it as a learning platform for modification and settings, and as a second bass, and probably get another one. :slight_smile:

Good plan! It’s in a great spot for that, lots of options.

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@howard I’m sorry to ask because this is a bit off the topic here, but you seems to be really into Yamaha basses.

I think It would be a mistake to avoid them from my future choice (along with Sire, Squier VC, Fender MIM …) just because I can’t get into their look especially TRBX (no offence, it seems awesome gear, it your a matter of preferences).

Did you ever tried the BB series ?

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If you don’t like the look of the Yamahas, just look elsewhere. Ibanez could be a solid choice (at least for me, Yamaha and Ibanez seem to be competing with their offerings quite closely, and both are solid choices, for the most part).

If you have learned to play a little and you know what you are looking for, the best action would be to try different basses in a shop, that way you are more likely to find what you are looking for, without going from one bass to the other.

I personally like the TRBX look, my first bass was the 304, bought it because it was the second choice for everyone in Josh’s beginner bass shootout, and of all the basses, I liked its looks the most (in Candy Apple red, most bestest color) :smiley:


Thanks for the feedback !

Actually I like the BB series look ! Maybe more than the Sire. :slight_smile:

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Yes! In fact my main bass now is a BB734A. It’s the second one I have owned, it’s a fantastic instrument.


Great thanks ! It’s a bigger budget than planned but I’ll consider it. Also not sure I really need the active features. BB434 seems great too.

They are, excellent basses.

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I have a bb434 I really like.


Thanks ! It’s funny how Yamaha is so appreciated and seems to be prefered by people compared to fender in the same price range and is less popular.

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I love BBs

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Yes, I use this JDI. It’s quite an essential gear for a gig, it’s to ensure your bass sounds like your bass.

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