Got this question from a reader:
Do I need bass traps if I record bass directly?
Well. The problem lies in the question, not the answer young padawan.
The bass traps have nothing to do with the recording but rather the monitoring and the mixing.
Let me explain.
Bass Traps Are Acoustic Treatment
You put bass traps in your studio to treat your room better. Especially when you have a home studio that only consists of a control room that doubles as a recording space. You put up bass traps in your studio in order to control the bass response in your room and to get an even frequency response when you’re mixing.
It’s all done to get a better sense of what’s actually coming out of the monitors. You don’t want unwanted standing waves and nodes coloring what you’re hearing from the monitors.
You want what you’re mixing to translate to another sound system. Having bass traps (and other acoustic treatment) will help you get better translation.
Recording DI Bass
So recording the bass is not really the issue.
All that bass will go straight from the DI into your DAW. The problem lies in the monitoring and mixing the bass after the recording. So if you don’t have a treated room that controls the bass frequencies flying around your room it’s hard to make accurate mixing decisions.
If your mixing position is directly at the crest of 200 Hz standing wave, for instance, then you’re automatically going to think your bass has too much 200 Hz.
And then you cut too much 200 Hz and your bass will sound thin and weak when you show it to your friends.
And then you’ll be sad and your friends won’t like you anymore.
It has to do with monitoring the signal, not necessarily recording it.
Technically it’s more important during the mixing stage but I would assume that you’re monitoring the signal when you’re recording the bass. The same thing happens then.
You’ll have a skewed perspective of what kind of sound your bass is actually giving you.
For a simple but very scientific way to get accurate monitoring as well as a quick guide to bass-trapping, check out the acoustic section of Recording & Mixing Strategies.
Image by: AleBonvini