'feedback-resistant' microphone for upright bass

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bert demeyer, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. bert demeyer

    bert demeyer

    Jul 30, 2018
    Hi, I have problems amplifiing live gigs. I used to play at lower volumes and was very happy with the sound of my set up (DPA 4099-microphone and realist-piezo, headway pre-amp, mark bass amp).
    Nowadays I play in some projects that are much louder than I'm used to. Most of the time I can't use the DPA-condensor-microphone at all, because of the feedback it creates (by picking up drums or monitors, not the bass itself). But I don't like that sound at all.
    Because I also do a lot of slapping, I want to hear some 'tick'-sounds.
    And I need a microphone for bowing, playing high notes or tapping rhythms on the bass-body.
    I love the natural microphone-sound and I would like to try a dynamic microphone, instead of too sensitive condensorsmic's. I asked a sound-engineer, he tought a mic for toms could be a good (and cheap) solution and it's also smaller than SM57 kind of types. I didn't bought them yet. What do you guys think would be a good idea? Thanks
  2. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I believe Ed Friedland (who plays upright for the Mavericks and their current touring bassist) had a recent article in Bass Player mag where he discussed the equipment he was using and the challenges in playing an upright in a rockin' band. I don't recall the specific article.. sorry.
  3. AZGene


    Apr 20, 2017
    Had a similar issue. Ended up making a knock-off of the "BassOnStage Microphone Gooseneck Mount for Upright Bass" (avail. @ Gollihur) and a Shure Sm 48. Works great with no feedback issues for me. You might want to take an SM 57 or SM 58 on a stand and give it a try.
  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I used the Gage Realist for many years and was pretty happy with the results. Very natural sound for pizz and bowing, but not as open as a mic. A buddy of mine went with the Ehrlund pickup and preamp. This is the best option I have heard.

    Prior to the Ehrlund he went through several pickups and mics. The mics sounded superior when he played solo, but IMHO, were horrible when he played with a drummer as they picked up a lot of wash from the drums. Since the string bass is a relatively quiet instrument, the drums can be as loud or perhaps even louder than the bass in the mics.

    The Ehrlund is placement sensitive. My friend spent an afternoon with a friend and a stethoscope to find the best placement for the pickup. Also, the sound is very true to the bass. If the the bass is awesome the Ehrlund is a good choice. If you bass sounds terrible, choose another pickup.

    Ehrlund Acoustic Pickup (EAP) Linear Microphone (for Upright Bass) at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists
    Acoustic | Ehrlund Microphones
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    For feedback I have used parametric EQ to form notch filters or 31 band graphics. Basically increase your amp's gain until the instrument starts to resonate, than back off the gain.

    With a parametric, form a relatively narrow band filter and boost it about 6dB. Then sweep the frequency to identify the problem frequencies. Once you have identified a problem frequency you will narrow the filter even more to form a notch filter. Notch out the first 4 to 5 problem frequencies. Sometimes you may need to make broadband cuts as well. Cut deep with notches and cut just a little when you have to address broadband problems.

    With a 31 band EQ. I start at the low end and boost two bands at a time. If you boost only one band at a time you will miss some of the problem frequencies. When you find a frequency that feeds back, dip the band that is closet to the problem frequency.

    You can check your work by increasing the amps gain to see where the instrument wants to feedback. With practice you can trick a string bass into sounding pretty decent in a pretty loud environment as long as you don't move around too much...moving, can shift the frequency of some of the feedback.

    I don't remember the name of the product, but I do remember reading about a pickup that is built into the fingerboard or neck specifically for slap players.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    SoCal80s likes this.
  6. bert demeyer

    bert demeyer

    Jul 30, 2018
    I found the article, you mentioned. Ed said 'My Chadwick Folding Bass came with a removable internal brace to protect the top from being crushed during travel, and I found that playing with the brace installed effectively removes 90 percent of my acoustic volume and therefore my feedback problem'
    I never heard of fighting feedback this way, but it's interesting for sure. My feedback-issues are more from bleed in the microphone than the bass picking up other vibrations. Thanks for the reply.
    s0c9 likes this.
  7. bert demeyer

    bert demeyer

    Jul 30, 2018
    That is indeed interesting. I never saw mounts like that before. If I don't find a smaller mic, I'll try the sm 48. Thanks for the advice
  8. bert demeyer

    bert demeyer

    Jul 30, 2018
    This looks like a good solution. Also for not picking up the wash from the drums. I read some articles about it, Ehrlund would sound really nice. I just don't wanna buy a new pre-amp, because I already have 4 and only use one. And it's like they don't want to sell the mic without amp. The Ehrlund sounds like a good solution, I'll keep my eyes open for it. Thnx for the advice!
  9. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    Hi Bert, did tou try the double bass side of this forum? This topic is about the most discussed topic on that side of tb. lots and lots of information on mics, mic placement and ehrlunds and the likes.

    I don’t think a dynamic mic will solve your problem. A well placed hypercardoid might. If you really need to capture the whole sound of the bass inclusing tapping, string noises, etc a ehrlund might also not be the perfect solution.

    Check out the feedback sticky in the db
    Forum. Lots of alternative solutions over there too
  10. bert demeyer

    bert demeyer

    Jul 30, 2018
    Thanks, this is interesting and better than the notch filter, I'm using. Sometimes it's hard to find the best frequentie because so many rock drummers and guitarist just love to raise there volume, when the soundcheck is done. Grrr. This changes the sound and feedback limits. But finding and cutting the 'feedback-frequenties', it is indeed as important as the type of microphone. I should look more in to that. If I find a affordable parametric EQ, I'll go for it.
  11. bert demeyer

    bert demeyer

    Jul 30, 2018
    Hi Matthijs, Thanks for the advice. I'll check the DB-forum. My DPA 4099 microphone is supercardioid but way to sensitive. It picks up everything whats closer than 3 à 4 meters. I spend hours to find the best spot. That's behind the bridge, pointing as close as possible, at the bridge foot from the G-string. This really sounds good, but small stages and loud fellow musicians or monitors make it impossible to use. Also thanks for the advice on the ehrlund.
  12. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I also have a DPA 4099... for low volume gigs where the band doesn't use stage monitors. Anything louder than that, the mic stays home, I plug into my pickup and call it a day. Even on low volume jazz gigs, it's nearly impossible (without isolation) to use a mic on a bass for anything useful. If you *must* use a mic, use it in conjunction with a pickup. Use the pickup as your main source of signal, and high pass the mic pretty far up to use it for "air," "a little body," and "attack."
  13. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I've been in the same situation volume wise. I experimented with mics a few times, but never found a workable solution. I use an Upton Revolution solo bride wing pickup and it does pick up the slap "tick" as well as percussive body sounds. I don't think any pickup really gives a true arco sound, but it does pretty well. Ultimately, everything is a compromise and most subtlety of tone is lost anyway in high volume live mixes.
  14. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I prefer parametric, but you may be surprised by how effective a 31 band graphic can be...lot's of narrow band filter that are relatively close together. If you know someone who has one, I suggest giving it a try. By tuning out the feedback, the sound of the instrument remains more constant and focused as you turn up. You can also use a bit of compensatory EQ to even out the response of the instrument where the strings want to runaway from interaction with the amp.

    In the mid 90s I used an SWR RedHead which sounded horrible with the bowed string bass. The amp has a slot for a rack mount tuner that I filled with a graphic inserted in the effects loop. The graphic allowed me to smooth out the upper mids and also tune out any feedback problems. So I used the graphic EQ to deal with problems and also as an enhanced tone control.

    Something else I do that can help you achieve higher volume relates to amp placement. If your speaker is on the floor, it is putting a lot of energy into the body of the instrument. I am an advocate of elevating the speaker to at least waste level. In my experience this really helps a lot with string bass.
    SoCal80s likes this.
  15. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011


    Gollihur used to sell the Ehrlund pickup separately and it is still listed for sale separately on the Ehrland site in Europe.

    Per this thread, it seems users get superior results using the Ehrlund preamp.

    Ehrlund pickup with other brand's preamps

    If your in the US, perhaps call Gollihur and discuss why they no longer sell the pickup separately.

    Buying the pickup and preamp in a package gets a decent discount over buying them separately, so best to make the right decision before a purchase is made.

    I attached the manual in case you haven't seen it.

    Attached Files:

  16. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Still can. Just call.

    Truth be told, it really does usually sound better with their preamp in the mix, because it was carefully engineered to provide the exact correct impedance load and frequency response. But I've heard that people have had luck using other higher (5-10 meg) impedance preamps like the Grace Design and similar.
    Hoyt and Wasnex like this.
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    there may not be a choice.

    no matter what the mic itself is, "loudest sound at the mic wins". if other crap onstage is getting into the mic louder than your bass is then you can't use a mic.
    it makes the upright act more like a solidbody bass. that method obviously eliminates mics entirely, it's all about the pickup at that point.
  18. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Add a preamp to your signal chain to put your signal 180 degrees out of phase with the FOH.
    An “invert” button does just that.

    LR bags is one brand that can do it.
  19. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I do like having a polarity switch, but its not a simple matter of your rig or instrument being in or out of phase with FOH.

    Wavelength is determined by the frequency, so the phase angle is dependent on frequency and distance separating the sound sources....basically if the distance is fixed the phase angle varies continuously with frequency.

    The phase response of various system components are factors as well, but I am sure you get the idea.
    john m likes this.
  20. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Agreed- an invert switch is not a magic bullet, but often helps with acoustic instruments.
    Wasnex likes this.
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