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Advice on micing the cabs

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Yellow, May 13, 2006.

  1. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    Hi everyone, I am a cab maker, and want to get some accurate samples of the cabs. I talked with my buddy ata studio here in town, he wasn't to sure how to approach micing the cabs for best results, I guess usually bass is DIed in. I have a couple of unique cabs that I want to make sure the charachter comes through really clear. (it has a blend of speakers top 2 10's are alum. dustcaps, bottom 2 are large paper ones, kind of a blend of Ampeg and Jazz Chorus)

    What mic's do you recommend? I think he has AKG's, EV, sure.

    Positions etc.?

    Any suggestions on micing 410?:help:

    My Site:yellowcabamplification
  2. Alright, I can't suggest what microphones to use, but I think the general rule of thumb is when in doubt, use a Shure 57.

    You're going to want to point the mic at just one speaker, but wether or not you point it at the cone is up to you, but generally to get a "truer" sound on bass, I would point is at the edge of the cone, maybe at a slight angle.

    Also, don't shove the mic right to the grill. Since bass waveforms are large, they take more time to develop than waveforms from guitar. Anywhere from 6" to a 12" seems reasonable.

    But hey, you could just take everything I said and through it out the window. Could just take a day or two and experiment with mic placements and see what you and your buddy think sounds best for the cab.
  3. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Eek. I'd think the only real way to get the "character" of the cab is to get a condensor mic, put it a few feet in front of the cab, and record like that.

    The 57 is a good idea, but it's got the same high/mid bump that the SM58 has. You'll want something flat that won't color the tone of your cabs at all. Maybe even a reference mic bypassing as much of the recording preamp as possible into the recorder?

    Yours is a unique situation, because usually when we record bass or we mic cabs live, we're not necessarily looking to accuarately reproduce the sound of the cab. We're simply looking for a "great" bass tone, and it doesn't really matter if it duplicates the character of the cab, just as long as it sounds good in the end.

    I really think you should be looking at a stereo reference mic. That should give you a flat representation of your cab. Then, I imagine you'll want to use the same head with the same settings to demonstrate the differences between your cabs. You might even haul in a couple of other brands of cab for reference purposes... I dunno. That's all the advice I have. For what it's worth, I take a DI out of the amp head and bypass the cab altogether. :)
  4. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    Yes, it is true I need as neutral and flat as possible. The idea I have is to record some samples of different styles of playing on that cab to show variety of tone possible and give an idea of responce.
    Should both sets of speakers be miced since they are different in tone.
    To be more clear it is a 4x10 like I said before top two have aluminum dust caps, bottom two have large paper ones, top has more detailed high end and some chime to it, bottom is nice and round warm tone.

    I also built in beam blockers into the baffle to diffuse the high freq. and help the phase a bit. So I actually cannto put a mic perpendicular to the center of the cone anyway.

    All your suggestions are totally appreciated, I am not a recording guy, but I want to come in with some understanding and idea of what might help.:help:

    My Site: http://www.yellowcabamplification.com
  5. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    The issue really is that if you mic all of your speakers, or even the two types separately, you're no longer dealing with one sound but rather 2 or 4 sounds that you can mix and blend to the nth degree.

    The only way I know of to mic the speakers independently of each other is to close mic. And close miking almost defeats the sound of the CAB and emphasizes the sound of the SPEAKERS.

    Do your cabs have a feature where the user can select which speakers are "on"? If not, it really doesn't matter what the two types sound like on their own. You'll want to emphasize the "real" sound.

    Again, I say stereo reference mic. Stereo because it can give the ear a bit of an idea of what the cab sounds like in space.

    You'll also want to consider how isolated you want the cab to be. You could take it outside and hang it from some wires, or you could put it on top of a heavy metal box and shove it in the corner of a gymnasium. I promise your cab will sound drastically different... lol...

    Good luck. You face a much more difficult challenge than most of us when we record.
  6. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    Thanks, I will look into a stereo mic, I am going to record first week of June, I will let you know how I make out, or post a S.O.S. during:D
  7. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    Are figure 8 mics and reference mics the same thing? my buddy tells me ribbon mics are good too.

    What are your thoughts? :confused:
  8. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    My thought is that ribbon mics are rarely used for bass guitar amps...
    and an SM-57 is a terrible idea (no bottom at all)

    Most common mics used by professional engineers for bass include: Sennheiser MD-421, Neumann U-47fet, Sennheiser e609, AT-25, ElectroVoice RE-20, Shure SM-7, AKG D-112

    not that I PERSONALLY would suggest all of those, but those are the most common.

    I personally like the SM-7 or RE20... they're big and full and take level with no trouble.

    in a one speaker cab, I'd suggest getting in quite close to the cone.. but in your multi-speaker cab where the overall sound of the cab isn;t created by any one driver, you'll need to place the mic back a few feet to pick up the entire sound.
    I wouldn't get into multiple mics for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that you enter the world where the recording becomes more the determining part of the sound than your cab.

    of course, as you back the mic away, the room becomes important... so you'll want to be somewhere where the room sounds good, and preferably where the nearest walls are FAR from the cab.
    you don't want a long bass wave (a 50Hz half wave is 22.5 feet long) rolling back into the mic and cancelling.

    finally, use GOOD quality everything from the mic to the preamp to the recorder.

    one day (or even just a few hours) in a REALLY good studio might be worth the money if you really want to show off the cab accurately.

    hope this helps.
  9. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    Thanks for the input,

    The studio I am gioing into has smallish but very well controlled room.

    Here is the room: Room pictures

    You may not see it from pictures but all walls are angled differently and you can see different diffusion materials on the walls.

    I know he has some EKG's and EV and Shure's and a small Neuman but I dont know much about it at all.
  10. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    tell him to mic the room for acoustic piano and/or a small string section... that room you linked to looks pretty live to me, but if it's diffused / dead enough it should work out.
  11. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    This makes the most sense to me, if the accoustics are neutral enough.

    Speakers don't sound the same listening normally as they do with your ear shoved against one of the drivers.

    Especially if your cabs have a tweater or more than one driver size or a port. You need to be far enough from the speaker to hear all the sound sources with a natural balance (but without incorporating too much of the room sound ... not easy!)
  12. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    that's AKG... and EKG measures cardiac output...

    not to seem a snob, but that Digi 001 is a pretty crappy A-D, by the way.

    I still would recommend a better studio with better mic pres and recorder... although I know nothing about the room.
  13. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    I am listening...

    I will ask what mics and modelas are available and if we have any other options other then D001 I will post tonight with complete info.

    P.S. I am in a small town here although there are a couple of options, I know the studio well and the guy who runs it is really good to me and accomodating, I wont be able to afford all the tinkering that goes on besides actual recording in other places, so I have to make it the best I(We) can under the circumstances,
    The room is really good. May be gear can be better, we will look into getting the right mics and whatever we can to get the good sound in our situation.

    Like I said I will post again with exact list of mics, and maybe describe the set up a bit.
    So, if you guys can help us do it with the gear available, it would be awesome.
  14. 2leod


    May 23, 2006
    Hi William,

    I need to start by saying I'm a big fan of your work! I appreciate your perspective over on GS.
    We are going to do the recording at my place. You are probably right, Yellow would be better off making the files in a larger room, but I'm not sure that any mp3 is going to be enough for a make or break decision - I would want to hear actual air myself in a critical evaluation.
    What I'm aiming for is a close approximation of what we're hearing in the room, not a close micing of the speakers. I'm probably going to use an RE20 in M/S with a 414 for the sides, Earthworks pre's through the Distressors for harmonic content and to mimic what our ears are doing, and going in through the HEDD converters. No doubt I'll need to throw up a couple of gobos, and there will be a little bit of room mic for air. I do understand the limitations of the room, so we'll see. If we are happy, I'll post them up here as well. If you are interested in the aiffs or wavs, I can make them available for download too.
  15. Coop Soup

    Coop Soup

    Aug 24, 2005
    I've always liked the way a D-112 sounds.
  16. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    The D-112 isn't very neutral. It's lows and upper midrange (where the 'slap' of the kick drum occurs) are boosted quite a bit. If you are going for close micing, I'd definitely try an EV RE20 over the D112. They are fairly neutral and they cover lowend very well. Large-diaphram condensors would probably do a better job of capturing the overall sound in the room, though.
  17. Ronan


    Jun 5, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Unfortunately there is not really a good answer to the original post. There are so many variables to recording a bass cab that its not realistic to give an acurate ref of the cabinet. One option would be to use some kind of reference mic 6 feet away from the cab, but there is a good chance that this will not produce an sound that you would want to show off.

    Micing a bass cab in the studio is almost never a matter of hunting for a true sound of the amp, but a good sound that flatters the music (and provides a compliment to the DI sound). Its very common to close mic bass amps in the studio but keep in mind that moving a mic a few inches closer or further from the cone will radically change the percieved low end response (its called proximity effect).

    Some common mics for bass cabs are Shure Beta42, AKG D12 or D112, Sennheiser 421, EV RE20.

    BiDirectional and Figure8 are not synonomous.

    Ribbon mics are an interesting choice but if you use an older one do not put it close to the cab. A loud bass could easily destroy an older ribbon mic.

    When micing a speaker you will generally get a brighter edgier sound close to the center and a mellower smoother sound with less top near the edge of the speaker.
  18. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    I hear you, Ronan,we have spent a bit of time working with guitar cabs, I see the challenge, we can get great guitar sounds, but the objective is to try to capture some of the room with the cab in it, same would be for the bass.
    Anyway it seems that like you say:
    But it will give visitors idea of what the general responce is, plus being mp3 the sound is going to be a bit less then desired anyway. But will see. Still work to do. We will get going on the bass this week.
  19. Yellow


    Apr 20, 2006
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    Tryed some stuff the other night, 2Leod tryed mid field setup with a EV in the center and AKG for left/right about two feet away from the cab, got some good stuff I think, we gonna clean it up and maybe post a couple of pieces.
  20. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

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