PreSonus Blog

Great Bass Sound—In 15 Seconds!


Compression and bass go together like ham and eggs, red beans and rice, or peanut butter and jelly (or gin and tonic, if you prefer something a little stronger). A lot of engineers plug in a compressor within milliseconds of turning up the bass track’s fader. Some “pro tips” on the web even recommend inserting lots of compressors in series. Hey, if one is good, then four must be better—right? Well, I’m not convinced.

Lately with electric bass (synth bass, too) I’ve been tossing compressors aside, and using Limiter2 when I want to get a solid sound down fast. And I mean fast—that 15 seconds is actually a bit misleading. I’ve clocked myself at under 12 seconds from drag-and-drop to pressing play, including editing the Limiter2 settings.

Check out the audio example. The drums are using my Bigness of Huge Drum Sound FX Chain. The first four measures are the bass sound as recorded, using the Limiter2. The next four measures are the same, but with the Limiter2 bypassed. Note that when the limiter is in play, the bass isn’t overwhelmed by the drums.


Fig. 1 shows the Limiter2 settings.


Figure 1: Settings for bass with the Limiter2.

That’s all there is to it. (But if you’re a 5-string bass fan, I do recommend changing the Release time to 300.0 ms.)

Granted, this isn’t necessarily a “one-size-fits-all” tip. You might want to add some EQ, some AutoFilter funk in parallel, or whatever. But this punchy, full sound will hold its own in the rhythm section, and get you through the tracking session. What’s more, if the bass player has a good touch and properly adjusted pickups, it maybe even take you to the final mix.

  • Jeff Clark

    I did it again LOL! I made a preset for this and its on my creator page in Sphere.

  • Craig Anderton

    I was very fortunate to do sessions with the New York group Stuff, which was composed of studio cats like Cornell Dupree and Richard Tee. Amazing players!!! Gordon Edwards played bass, and his touch was unbelievable. I was quite young at the time, and it was an education. Whenever I play bass, I think of how he played it.

  • Jeff Clark

    What’s more, if the bass player has a good touch and properly adjusted pickups, it maybe even take you to the final mix.

    You are so right about this. When people have asked for help about recording bass my first question is “Do you like what you hear when you play it alone through your studio monitors?” If not, then make sure the bass is set up properly with strings, truss rod, action, etc. You may even have to adjust your technique.

  • Always glad to help. Limiter2 gets called on more and more these days, I also use it a lot of drums and to catch vocal or narration transients.

  • Terry Miller

    This tip could not have come along at a better time. Used it as a perfect solution today to a problem I was having with the bass. Thanks for the timely advice Craig, and for ALL of your helpful Studio One tips!