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DI vs Mic

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by JBproductions, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. JBproductions


    Oct 22, 2014
    I play in a medium size venue playing top 40 style music. We have in-ear monitors and our drummer uses an electronic kit so stage volume is pretty low with the exception of our guitar player that mics his small amp (but at moderate volume) and my amp which is a Hartke KB12 combo amp tilted up at me on my side. I use the direct out on front of my amp straight to the board. Overall front of house volume and stage volume are nice and even and I don't have to compete with acoustic drums to hear my bass amp (which was an issue before) since the drums are now electronic. I like the sound of my amp on stage but when I hear my bass front of house, I'm not too thrilled with the tone! Is it better to mic my amp to get the same sound FOH since the DI is missing "something" even if the sound guy tries to EQ the board. Any suggestions?
  2. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    just mic it and see how you like it. If you find any problems with that, or still dislike the tone, come back here and we'll go down the ever-growing rabbit hole of how to approach a cab simulation for you on your budget. The good news is that there are quite a number of good options now, if you care to go that route.
  3. JBproductions


    Oct 22, 2014
    Thanks jimfist! Is there a good mic specifically for bass amps?
  4. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    There are quite a few, but there's no reason not to pull a trusty old Shure SM57 out of the box and start there. Other mics may be cheaper or more expensive, but in reality will simply impart its own sort of EQ footprint on the sound (low end or upper midrange bump, etc.). My personal favorites have been the EV RE20 and Sennheiser MD421, but there are many very good choices out there across all price points.

    What is the mixing board? Most modern mixers offer plenty of tone shaping beyond what the mic gives you, and you should also experiment with placement of the mic, which generally either enhances low end or vice versa.
  5. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    A lot depends on what your PA has for FOH mains & subs.
    SLO Surfer and dinoadventures like this.
  6. Acoustic356


    Jul 3, 2014
    The answer may lie in the PA system. What is the size of your speakers 10" or 12"? How many watts? Do you have a sub-woofer? What size? How many watts?

    We play at a great venue and when we play, there is a lot of bottom end coming through the woofers. Doesn't sound great to me, but in the mix with the full band in a venue where there are 400 people bouncing around it works...

    Before making massive changes, I would put a field recorder in the house, then listen back to the live show.
    Runlikegregg and SLO Surfer like this.
  7. static0verdrive likes this.
  8. Do you have your bass in the in-ears? Do you like how it sounds there?
  9. AKG P2 is a good cheap full range mic for bass and it has near as flat response as the Heil.
    tekhedd likes this.
  10. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    This type of thread is repeated on TB over and over..
    If your bass sounds OK in your IEM's, let FOH do their job. They seem happy with your DI feed.. so <shrug> ?
    What sounds good to the audience seldom translates well when standing behind the PA. The highs are all gone, it's muddy, lots of delayed reflections. If you worry about it, you'll drive yourself nuts.
    Unless you are getting folks coming up to you telling you the bass sounds like poo in the house, let the FOH folks decide what goes in the FOH mix.. They can hear it better than you..
    jimfist and dinoadventures like this.
  11. Mic SM57 or Ampeg line out.
  12. JBproductions


    Oct 22, 2014
    Thanks all for your input! Basically, our PA is a Behringer X Air XR18 with two 18" speakers and 2 subs. I used to go ampless since we did in-ears but the bass tone through mine sounded like the bass was rolled off and all I hear are the highs which lead to "uninspired" playing! I missed the feel and sound of the bass amp, so I used my Hartke KB12 to hear on my Left ear with that in-ear off, and used my Right in-ear to hear the rest of the band and the electronic drums. It seemed to sound fine to me, but when I heard a recording of someone videotaping from FOH, the sound of my bass was different, especially the slap and pops (sounded thin) and the low end was very bassy or muddy! Remember my sound is coming direct from the direct out of my Hartke amp, not a DI box. Would it just be an EQ issue from the PA? Maybe use a highpass filter on my channel? (or the sound guy doesn't know what he's doing) Or is the direct out from my amp adequate? (which I think is pre EQ with no coloring), or should I go for a good quality DI (or one with a preamp) or again just micing my amp?
  13. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    This right here could be the problem. Even decent cameras usually have crappy mics and cell phones are even worse.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    that's entirely possible, of course, but what say you? do you think he's competent (not specifically about how he may treat your bass in the mix, but rather how he controls the mix of the band in the venue)? in other words: how does the band sound with this FOH?

    it's difficult to 'let go' of the control over tone and give it to someone who hasn't 'walked in your shoes' and who hasn't spent countless hours practicing your instrument/rig to achieve the 'sound' you might prefer. but: if the guy knows what he's doing = accept his judgement and work on 'letting go'. you aren't doing yourself any favors obsessing about 'your tone' while trying to play and entertain an audience. it's a 'mental thing' and you could/should work on not being crippled by the process.

    if the FOH doesn't know his job: the bass tone is the least of your band's problems in that venue. my .02 --- good luck! :thumbsup:
    JBproductions likes this.
  15. I'll try to keep this brief.
    First, I'm super jealous that you get to play in front of an electric kit!
    Second, if you like your amp tone then I wouldn't replace the amp.
    Third, without getting into all of the jargon that I don't know, I have found that it is very hard for a lot of sound guys to separate the drums and the bass. A lot of times that means that they are re eqing and compressing and changing gain structures noticeably after you send them a signal. This happens regardless of how the signal is sent to them.
    Suncat likes this.
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    1) I'm just going to be honest. Any time I have ever heard those brand speakers FOH they have always been muddy. Could it be a coincidence that all of their sound guys sucked? Sure. But probably not.

    2) You need to ask the sound guy what HE needs from your tone. Forget trying to find something that sounds pleasing to your in ears. Monitors are literally just for hearing that you are playing/singing the correct notes and blending purposes. Send the FOH a signal that will translate well in the band mix. ASK what he needs from you. GIVE it to him. Then TRUST him to do what he needs with it.

    3) What kind professional recording mic was used to make the recording you heard? If the answer is "It was just a camcorder or phone cam mic." we are having a useless conversation anyway. No way those record something that loud with that wide of a frequency spectrum accurately. So, your band might not sound amazing, but it doesn't sound like that recording to human ears either.

    You need to borrow a wireless from a friend and go out front during sound check and listen to yourself in a mix. Until you do that we don't have much to talk about. But start by asking the sound guy what he needs from your tone instead of sending your bedroom tone to him and asking him to defy the laws of physics and squeeze that into a band mix.
  17. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    If the band owns the PA, do you have the option of running your normal setup and Eq'ing it during a practice? It's possible the board may just need a tweak or two to get you back in the ball park.

    My old "acoustic" string band all DI'd, so we would occasionally hold a practice with the PA running and give everyone a chance to work out their channels - and to work on overall mix. If you have this option, I'd try it before making any drastic changes.
    JBproductions likes this.
  18. Does your D.I. out have a Pre/Post switch?
    If so maybe trying it both ways and see if one position works better.
  19. Teijo K.

    Teijo K. Commercial User

    Sep 8, 2014
    Jyväskylä, Finland
    Endorsing Artist: CCP
    I'd say that's your problem right there.
    MDBass and SLO Surfer like this.
  20. If you mic, try to use a kick drum mic and don't get too close to your driver(s) - bass frequencies have long wavelengths and don't mic well if the mic is placed too close. e.g. for guitar I have the mic within an inch of the speaker grill, but the odd time I mic a bass cab I'm more like half a foot to a foot away or more (within reason to avoid picking up other unwanted sounds).
    JBproductions likes this.

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