Record Bass At Home – 3 Ways To Do It
Bass players can develop super valuable skills outside of, well – just playing bass. One of those skills is being able to record bass at home.
This means being able to make an audio and/or video recording of your bass performance with decent sound quality.
Technology we have available today makes it super simple to do the home recording with excellent audio quality, something just a few decades back musicians could have only dreamt of.
If you’re a beginner on bass, I suggest you learn at least one way to capture bass playing, as it is the number one way to track your progress, plus it’s useful when taking part in online bass courses (for getting feedback on your playing!).
Let’s get started!
#1 Quick Setup: Record Bass At Home With iPhone
This is a setup I recommend to beginners and intermediate players in a situation where you don’t have to capture a high-quality audio recording of your playing.
Situations in which you would go for this setup:
- Shooting a bass video clip for feedback on your playing as part of online course attendance
- Capturing a draft bass line composition idea
- You want to track your progress on bass and make a recording
My suggestion in these situations is to just do a quick, draft recording of your playing on your iPhone.
This would be a video recording using the built-in app on the phone.
I know the sound quality will not be excellent, but you should consider if you need a high-quality recording in this situation.
For example, when students are going through my Bass Guitar 101 course, they need to submit a video of their performance as part of assignments.
For this situation, you just need to shoot a quick video of your playing on your iPhone so that I can check it out and send you feedback.
There is really no need to spend extra time with the setup and production needed to capture higher quality sound.
Microphones in our smartphones are more than enough to capture quick draft ideas like this.
Steps to record a bass video on your iPhone:
Step 1: Phone placement
Make sure to place the phone in a spot where it can capture your bass as well as any backing track you might be playing over.
This is a strategic spot, so don’t place your phone right next to your bass amp, for example.
You also need to work out the best sounding position considering the video angle you need to capture.
When shooting a bass video for instructional feedback, you need to have your full bass and both hands visible in the frame.
Step 2: Start a video recording
Go into the Camera app on the phone, and choose a video recording option.
Start the recording and place your phone in a pre-planned position when ready.
If you have a phone tripod, that will work the best, but if not – you can just prop it up with books or other items on your table.
Step 3: Record your performance
Once you’re happy with the performance, save the video file.
That’s it – you now have a quick and easy recording of your performance that will serve most purposes.
You can easily share this file from your phone with others or upload it to Youtube.
But, if you need to record higher quality audio with a bass solo track, this method will not work.
#2 Higher audio quality: Record Bass At Home With Computer + Audio Interface
This is a method you can use to record your bass with high audio quality.
Gear you’ll need for this:
- Computer (Hardware)
- Audio interface (Hardware)
- DAW (Software)
This will be a purely audio-only recording, and the end result is the isolated high-quality bass track.
A computer that you can use for recording can be a PC or a Mac.
Use the one you have handy, it doesn’t need to be very powerful for this kind of usage, but it needs to have ports that you can plug your audio interface into.
Usually, USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports are needed.
Audio interface (Hardware)
This is the heart of your home bass recording studio.
An audio interface is a hardware device that converts the instrument (or microphone) signal into a digital format so that you can record it on your computer.
You’ll plug your bass into this audio interface using the instrument port on it.
You can also plug your speakers, monitors, and other audio devices you have into the interface.
When recording bass at home, you’ll only need 1 input on the audio interface.
Usually, the audio interface will come with 2 or more input ports built-in, but there are 1 port interface options available.
To keep it within the budget and go for an optimized setup, 1 or 2 input ports audio interface will do just fine for recording bass at home.
Plug your bass into the instrument port on the interface and set the gain level so that you have a strong signal.
Look out for the red clipping indicators on the interface.
If you see them blinking red when playing bass, you need to turn down the gain on the audio interface and/or lower the volume on the bass controls.
So, now you have an audio interface connected to your computer.
You have plugged your bass in and set a decent signal strength level.
At this point, you should have a way to hear your playing through the speakers and/or headphones connected to your audio interface. This option is called: direct monitoring.
Your bass should sound clean, and the signal should be without noticeable noises.
Go on to the next step to learn how to record your bass at home.
The final piece of the puzzle for recording bass at home with good audio quality is the software you’ll use to make a recording.
This software is called DAW, which is short for Digital Audio Workstation
This software can record, edit and play audio recordings or files.
Here are some DAWs that I would recommend starting with:
- Reaper (Paid)
This is my number one choice. It has a free trial so that you can check it out and see if it works for your setup.
Licenses are affordable for home use, and there are versions of the software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems.
This is a very powerful DAW that can do even advanced stuff.
- Audacity (Free)
This audio software is the number one choice for most recording needs on your computer.
The software is free, open-source, and can perform complicated tasks.
I would suggest starting here and then moving on to other paid options if you really need to.
Personally, I find the interface of Reaper slightly more user-friendly, but Audacity can do what is needed to record bass lines at home.
You can download it here.
Make a recording
At this point, you’re ready to make a recording.
Plug your bass into the audio interface.
Start the DAW software of your choice.
Adjust the input levels and arm the recording track.
Hit the record button and play the bass line.
Listen back to the audio recording, and if it sounds good – hit the save button, and you’re done.
You can export the high-quality bass audio recording from the software and use it for further production.
For example, you might want to add the high-quality backing track in the DAW, record your bass over it and then mix the tracks together.
Export this audio where backing track and bass are mixed together and import it into a video editing software where you can perhaps stitch it with a video recording from your iPhone.
That is how those Youtubers make high-quality bass-playing videos. They separately record audio in DAW and video on camera.
Video from a camera will have poor audio quality. Still, you can use the high-quality DAW audio and replace the camera one in the video editing software to get a great-sounding video clip of your playing.
This part covered how to record direct bass signals, going straight to the interface.
The next level would be to record your amp.
#3 Advanced: Dual Setup – DI + Mic’ed Amp for Recording Bass At Home
This setup requires the same gear as in the previous one with some additions:
- Computer (Hardware)
- Audio interface (Hardware)
- DAW (Software)
- Bass Amp
- Optional: Bass DI-Box/Splitter
For this setup, which will give you the best sounding bass recording, you need to record both direct bass signal and sound from your bass amp.
To record a bass amp, you need to place a microphone in front of it.
Connect the microphone to 1 channel of your audio interface.
Connect the bass to channel 2 of your audio interface.
You need to have a DI box that splits the signal.
Connect your bass to the DI-Box. You now have two outputs from the box – one goes to the bass amp, and the other goes straight to the audio interface.
Once you have this all hooked up, start the recording software and arm 2 tracks and select correct inputs from the audio interface.
You end up with these audio tracks:
Track 1: dry bass sound
Track 2: colored bass sound from an amp
This gives you many options for producing your bass sound as you have two different tracks.
Mix them together, and experiment with production options such as adding effects.
When you’re happy with the sound, export the tracks to share a high-quality audio bass recording made at home.
Use this recording for online projects, collaborations, or making videos by importing the audio track into video editing software and syncing it to the performance video.
This is an advanced way to record bass at home, and I don’t recommend it to beginners.
It takes more time to setup and capture these recordings, plus it is more complicated to mix those bass tracks well.
You would do this in case you need to:
- Record home bass tracks for an album or a demo
- Produce high-quality bass performance videos
- Do online sessions work
- Collaborate with other musicians on joint song projects
Keep in mind that getting too hung up with the bass recording process at home can derail you from what’s essential – practicing bass.
If you’re simply recording an assignment for one of my online bass courses, please just make a quick recording with your iPhone.
It will be good enough for me to give you constructive feedback. No need really for pro-level recording for this kind of use.
But then again, I get it if you want to make “produced” bass videos that sound amazing.
In that case, I hope this post has been helpful to give you some pointers on how you can record bass at home with good audio quality.
If you’re a beginner bass player, you should learn at least one way to record your bass playing.
Enrolling in my Bass Road Academy can be an excellent excuse to level up your bass chops and recording skills as you’ll need to submit assignments (video) throughout your study.
Click on the button below to learn more about the Bass Road Core Learning Path and how you can join us and become a member: