How to Use a Bass Booster

July 30, 2023
David Sunnyside

Bass boost is a feature available on many devices that allows you to increase bass output through microphone and other sound output hardware. This is an invaluable resource for musicians as it provides another means of hearing bass without using speakers or headphones for it. However, be mindful that increasing the bass can often produce unbalanced results across frequencies; overdoing it may cause an unpleasant muddy sound and damage speakers and subwoofers if used at high volumes.

Proximity Effect

Proximity effect occurs when instruments are recorded directly in front of a microphone at lower frequencies. This phenomenon stems from mic diaphragm physics; each resonance within it can be taken advantage of to enhance recording quality. Higher frequency waves tend to have shorter wavelengths and so this phenomenon becomes less pronounced; however many modern microphones feature a 6dB per octave bass roll-off to minimize proximity effects.

Di Injection Box

Employing a Direct Injection (DI) unit is one of the best ways to eliminate bass-boosting proximity effects when recording bass amps either live or studio, by taking an undistorted, colorized recording straight into your mixing desk or audio interface and bypassing any distortion or colorization caused by distortion/colorization in the amplifier, as well as avoid negative side-effects of recording it directly into it.

A DI box is a piece of equipment that connects directly to the input jack of your bass amplifier and produces an output signal which can then be fed directly into a mixer or audio interface for processing and recording. By bypassing distortion from your amp and coloration from its controls, DI boxes allow for consistent and high-quality recordings that give bass tone a solid foundation to build from.

Another option for reducing proximity effects is using a hyper-cardioid microphone such as the Shure SM57. Designed specifically to capture low frequencies more sensitively, such as bass guitar or electric bass amps. A hyper-cardioid mic like this has a unique pickup pattern which effectively rejects room noise that would otherwise occur when using traditional cardioid or omnidirectional mics on bass amps.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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