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How to enhance a DI recorded bass track

If your home studio is anything like mine; short on space, close to the kids bedrooms and the only time you get to record is late at night. I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re recording your instruments direct to your interface, rather than plugging in to your trusty rig and mic’ing up the cabinet.

There’s nothing wrong with this approach, in fact with so many great options for virtual amps, cabinets and impulse response files, it’s a perfectly valid approach to recording.

Unfortunately, DI bass tracks do have a tendency to sound thin or boring and can be difficult to sit or even hear in the mix. Unless of course, you take a minute or two to bring them to life, here’s how:

  1. Use EQ to emphasise any good frequencies you can find. Look at and around 100Hz.
  2. Use EQ to cut out any low-mid frequencies that may be detracting from the clarity of the bass. Look at and around 400Hz.
  3. Use a virtual Bass amp plugin on a parallel track to add a touch of distortion.
    You could add this to the track itself but you’ll have more control over how little or how much you dial in if you use a parallel track. Almost any virtual bass amp plugin will do. If you’re looking for a free virtual bass amp, consider Voxengo BoogexTSE Audio BOD (Sansamp clone) or IgniteAmps SHB-1. All of these are Mac or Windows compatible.
  4. Add some saturation or harmonic excitement to the track. This will give the bass some extra warmth or “roundness”. Some free options are Voxengo Shinechilla, Fine Cut Bodies La Petite Excite and Klanghelm IVGI, all of which are also Mac and Windows compatible.

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