How the Strymon Iridium can be Awesome for Bass Guitar

Mar 16 2022
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I recently got my first bass, a JMJ Mustang Bass. I needed to find a decent sound for recording bass without breaking the bank. I was trying to make the most out of the gear that I already had, and I think the result is not too shabby.

I didn't find many resources on using the Iridium on bass. But when researching for production tricks to get good bass sounds, I often stumbled over people recording bass through guitar amps ...

When I first plugged in my bass into the Iridium, I was a bit disappointed. No setting had the OOOMPH I was looking for. It's not that the stock cabinets are completely unusable for bass, but for my taste they shelf off too much low end for most applications.

I knew I enjoyed those OwnHammer IRs that came with the Iridium for guitar. So I just got their awesome bass cab pack called AMPG Bass (IRs from 4x10 and 2x10 SVT cabs).

Those 30 dollars got me the best bang for buck in a long time in terms of music gear acquisitions.

After loading some on the Iridium and A/B testing for an hour, I was super stoked on that sound!

The cab pack has a lot of options to choose from – lots of different mic and speaker combinations. I went for the "stock" Ampeg® speakers. These are the ones loaded onto my Iridium now for the round amp:

  • a: OH 410 AMPG SVT-10 FAT MIX EQ
  • b: OH 210 AMPG SVT-10 FAT MIX EQ
  • c: OH 210 AMPG SVT-10 CUT MIX EQ

MIX means there are a few microphones mixed together for the "best" sound (I just assume the fine people from OwnHammer do a better job of mixing mics than I would). FAT has more of the lower bass frequencies, CUT is, well... cut. EQ means there was some EQ applied to make the bass sit better in a mix. Again, I assume that's done by people who know much more than me.

It's like choosing plain vanilla ice cream, but it's really luxurious and creamy.

I think the round setting (Fender® inspired preamp section) works best on bass. It just gives some subtle saturation. I don't know a lot about bass amps. However, I feel this gets close to recorded bass tones that I know are saturated Ampeg® SVTs (Carlos D from Interpol and Michael Shuman from Queens of the Stone Age are currently big inspirations for me).

Also, the middle control on the round setting is a great tool for dialing in your bass tone. Turn it up for a mid-focused sound to stand out in the mix. Turn it down to scoop out the mids and make space for guitars in a busy mix.

This makes the Iridium an ultra versatile allrounder for my recording setup. I have my favorite guitar tone on the chime (Vox® inspired) setting, and my SVT inspired bass tone on the round amp setting.

This makes for a more streamlined setup, which is good if you need to record a bit more frequently like I do for producing demos.

I know there are great plugins out there to get killer bass tones. But I'm really happy that I can just get a great bass sound by turning some knobs, and commit to that sound rather than fiddling around endlessly in the DAW.

Signal Chain

  • JMJ Mustang Bass (tone 100% up, Fender flatwound strings)
  • Iridium
  • GarageBand
  • GarageBand drummer is Gavin (Indie Rock, Brooklyn kit) juiced up with the FreeAMP plugin from Klevgrand
  • Mild compression and limiter on backing track and bass to glue them together

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