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Mics vs.DI which is better?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Sparker, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Sparker

    Sparker

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    Im looking to get some thoughts on whether to mic my amp vs going direct.

    The sound guy we work with is very knowledgeable and keeps saying that I have too much noise when I run my pedals and go direct. He asked if I could mike my amp and maybe he could clean up the noise. I did not have a mike to use so I pulled out of the pedals and went straight into the amp and out via a DI box to the board.

    Would mic'ing (sp) my amp work here and if so what would be a relatively decent (inexpensive) microphone to use.

    Take care
  2. KeddyLee

    KeddyLee

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    Using a mic on your amp is fine. Shouldn't the soundman supply that? Does your guitar player have to bring his own mic to mic his rig?

    I've heard that an SM57 is fine to use although I don't get mic'd.
  3. stonewall

    stonewall Supporting Member

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  4. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

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    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

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    You are asking the wrong question. (I am a sound guy as well as a bass player.)

    The question is this. Is your sound/tone noisy coming through the speakers out of the front of the amp? I'm wondering how it is possible that a "noisy" sound won't be coming from the speakers just as it does the DI.

    Also, my other question would be WHY are you getting "noise" from your pedals? (I'm not putting you down with this next part, just asking.) Are they crappy pedals or are the tones you are going for just prone to noise? What pedals are we talking about here? I just think it would be better to SOLVE the problem rather than mask it.

    As to the questions posed by others, I would imagine that if the sound guy is the BAND'S sound guy, he is part of the organization and would not provide a mic. Either that or he may be a sound guy who is not fond of micing bass rigs so he doesn't keep one around. The latter would be a bit silly, but I still deal with sound guys who live in 1985 and try to insist that I run direct through a Rapco DI because "all bass rig preamps sound like crap out front". So it wouldn't be out of the question for a sound company to be run by someone who doesn't "get" micing a bass rig.
  6. prater

    prater Supporting Member

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    I know a bass player who is also a sound guy and brings his own mic, with specific instructions for the sound guy. I'm sure it annoys some sound guys but most of the time he gets complimented on his advice after the show.

    Personally I think it depends on your sound and type of music. For rock a mic is the way to go. You wouldn't ask a guitarist to bypass his Dual Rectifier live would you?

    At the very least I would be ok with them taking a post EQ di out of my head. But a DI straight out of the bass gives the player absolutely no control over their own sound out front. Albeit I understand that what sounds good on stage might not sound good in a mix. But at the same time, a sound guy who has never heard/mixed a particular band before doesn't know what that band sounds like, so how can he know what bass tone they like to have? What if his idea if a good bass tone is a scooped tone?

    At least if you give him a post EQ signal he knows what your going for and can help you achieve that out front.

    But I'd prefer to take my instrument the same way he takes the rest of the band, with a mic.
  7. Up the dose

    Up the dose Supporting Member

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  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    Pluses and minuses. I love my stage tone, but don't care: I take the path of least resistance and go with whatever the soundman offers. As for the OP, I agree with what others have said: try to fix the noise problem, then politely ask the soundman to mic you rather than use DI if that's what you prefer.


    The best sound guy I work with used to mic me with a fancy large-diaphragm mic (I forget which model but it's really popular for bass). For the last few gigs he used an SM57... he said he liked it better for bass, even 5 string. Bass still sounded great out front.
  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

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  10. Major Softie

    Major Softie

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    What Two Fingers said.

    Much discussion that you will find on this has to do with tone. In your question, you want to know about controlling noise. If removing the pedals gets rid of the noise, then micing the cab is not the solution, removing the pedals was the solution. Eliminate pedals from the chain one-by-one. See where the noise is coming from. Then, see if you can prevent it by changing the settings on that pedal. You can also try seeing if you can prevent it by changing the order of the chain. If not, either eliminate or replace that pedal, or live with the noise.
  11. Geri O

    Geri O

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    Bassist turned sound guy and bassist/sound guy now..Man, there is a LOT of that around here. I knew it. I just knew it....:oops:))

    Same thing here. Fix the noise, regardless of how you take the signal. In fact, I offer to try and help with issues like that when I run across them. More often than now, I'm asked to try and figure out the noise, which is usually a gain-structure issue (or a pedal gone bad, as I've seen more than once). I've made MANY friends this way.

    Every, every, every situation is different. When I'm mixing, I try to get BOTH a mic and a DI so, if left to interpret the bass sound without any advice or requests from the bassists, I can get what works well, either one or the other, or a lot of times, both. I'm careful to check for polarity and/or time issues between the mic sound and DI sound.

    When I'm playing, I'm lucky enough to usually have a really good sound guy. I just wanna play. What he does with my signal is up to him. Mic it, DI it, doesn't matter. I just DO NOT let them take the line out of my amp. I think it's silly to take the signal after it's already been processed (even with the line out signal being pre EQ, it's still gone through a gain stage). I want as few electronics between my bass and the PA as possible.

    Just saying'...:oops:)
    Geri O
  12. Geri O

    Geri O

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  13. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

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    Great suggestions. I would also just add one things. Perhaps a good cleaning may help the pedal that is making the noise. It might not work, but it's worth a try. Get some good contact cleaner and hit everything you have with it. That can't hurt either.
  14. Major Softie

    Major Softie

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    So, aleach, I have to ask: are you a lawyer, and is your handle an A Fish Called Wanda reference?
  15. aaron1433

    aaron1433 Supporting Member

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    Mics! DIs yield good results but mics under optimal settings yield the best.
  16. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

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    I'm wondering if the guy running sound was hearing noise he thought was related to differences in ground potential. Because the mic isn't wiring a connection b/w mixer and your rig, switching from DI to mic can be an end-run around ground-loop related humming and buzzing that the "engineer" doesn't have time to chase down.

    Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense to think that noise from your rig will go away when using a cab mic.
  17. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    For fx noise you're better off asking about your effects in the fx forum. Maybe.

    The other possible scenario is drive effects can errupt in the FOH tweeters via the DI and all might be well if you mic.

    If your cab is unduly noisy it's the first one.
  18. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

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    the problem with XLR outs on mosts amps is when you use any kind of gain based effects you get a lot of unwanted noise in the signal mainly because the xlr signal supplies the PA with frequencies your bass cab doesn't put out. Which is why a lot of guys who use dirtier tones like cabs that don't have horns and prefer a Mic. For me I use what i would call a "gritty" tone but not really what i consider dirty using my sans amp RBI and I only run an XLR live the majority of the time.

    as for an inexpensive mic. it depends on what tone your after. Some people like 57s or 58s, some people like beta 52s or AKGd112s. I used a CAD KBM412 for a while and it was pretty nice if I was just using a mic signal. for me lately though I always run that XLR on my RBI so to compliment that sound when using both the XLR and a mic I use a cheap regular old shure 58(not the beta, the beta is a hotter mic). that said the 58 alone doesn't have enough low end by itself for my taste I want to say it rolls off around 80hz or so, but it works well with my xlr sound.
  19. hsech

    hsech Your opinion doesn't trump mine. Gold Supporting Member

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    If you do decide to Mic, buy a Shure SM57. They are probably the most universal instrument mics on the planet. There are plenty of more expensive mics if you have the cash. If you want to hold your budget down then the SM57 is a good choice. I have seen them as low as $50 used on EBay.
  20. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

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    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you there. 57's are pretty ubiquitous, but not my first choice on bass.

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