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For all you guys who mic your amps

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by wvbass, Mar 29, 2009.


  1. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Ok, so it turns out I'm a little hot-headed today.

    My original question was what mic and why.

    I'm sorry for my current state of cranial-rectal inversion. I do appreciate any input, even tips on where I should be looking to find answers.
     
  2. You're going to get a lot of 'use the search function' responses, and it's a good idea to do so.

    For my, My favourite mics to use are a sennheiser MD421 or EV RE20. Normally on-axis with the cone about an inch or two from the grille. Any further away leads to more unwanted bleed when micing live.
     
  3. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Look in the Live Sound subforum too.
     
  4. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    ...
     
  5. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    When it's been done to depth, with a lot of the posters actually detailing WHY they have liked certain mikes they've tried, out of the vast array that actually could be good at it, wht you usually get in further threads is the people who are the most adamant about their choices - or just their limited experiences - but no further understanding of issues or reasons. Hopefully this one will be different ; }
     
  6. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    You guys sure are politely vicious today. I apologize for asking a question after having done some, but not exhaustive, research. I retract my question.

    As you were.
     
  7. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    ^ Good points!

    For someone just starting to mic a bass cab, I think that the most fool-proof solution is the best to start with. To me (and the vast majority of pro engineers I've worked with), that means an RE-20 on a short mic stand positioned on-axis and as close as possible to the grille without touching it. Aim the mic mid-cone, not centered on the dust cap.

    Are there other great options & methods? Of course there are! But, the high spl handling & even response of th old RE-20 really makes it easy to capture what your cab sounds like without having to know any "tricks" for making it work right!

    If you cannot afford an RE-20 (although they are certainly reasonable), SM-57's & d-112's will work, but you need a little more skill at the board.

    Are there more 'magic' mics than the RE-20? Of course! But, again, there is more learning curves involved for the uninitiated. I really think the RE-20 is idiot proof. Which helps since bassists & live sound engineers usually aren't rocket scientists! :bag:
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Dude, with your list of amps, you need convincing that it's a good idea??? ;)

    Anyway, glad you asked...my weapon of choice is the Heil PR 40. I got it because it's nearly dead flat from 20-18K, and because Justin Meldal-Johnsen said it rocked his world when Rick Rubin put one on his B-15N for the upcoming Dixie Chicks album. Heil also makes a wonderful new vocal mic called the PR 35 that's flat from 40-18K. I haven't tried it on bass, but I've sang through it, and unless you desperately need that extra low end from 20-40 hz, I think it would also make a top choice for a bass mic (plus it's $75 less than the PR 40). The EV RE 20 is also an excellent mic and an industry standard, but the PR 40 goes lower and is cheaper.

    I have also had great luck with the Sennheiser 421 and the Beyer M88. And if you're on a budget, I know a lot of soundmen will whine about these mics, but if you can get two lines in the PA, slap a Shure SM-58 or 57 on your cab and use the DI to get the lows that the Shure won't get, and it's also a great sound. They're not dead flat, but they accent the low mid and upper freqs that work well with bass. But you will need a DI if you want lows under 90 hz. Not a big deal...doesn't really matter if they're not coming out of a mic.

    I would stay far away from kick mics like the AKG D112. Great if you're Scoopy McSlapperstein, but flat response it ain't. I'll let a soundman try any mic he wants if I don't have my Heil (not going to fly with it), but I draw the line at kick mics.

    And get one of these Z Bars while you're at it...it's a killer little spacesaver for micing cabs:

    http://www.performanceaudio.com/cgi/product_view.cgi?products_id=5469

    Also, the best way I've found for placement is to put the mic pointed right at the middle of a cone, though if it's too edgy sounding for you, you can either tilt the mic off axis a little and/or pull it away from the center of the cone.

    BTW, wvbass, these guys were actually telling you to do a search because there's a ton of info to be had way more than a single thread can do. They weren't answering you in a "I'm too lazy to answer your question but I like to see my name all over TB so I'll tell you to do a search" manner. There really is great info to be had about micing on here.
     
  9. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    +1000 The D-112 works on the kick, but having one on the bass as well is a sure fire ticket to soulless-pop-country-smiley face thump-whack crappy bass tone that I despise sooooo much!!!! (sorry for the rant...)


    also... "Scoopy McSlapperstein" - best bassist nomenclature ever!!! (I am so stealing your moniker for my own devices!)
     
  10. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I like the "idiot proof" thoughts on the RE20. But from my real-world standpoint, I often end up standing too close to my amp to use a mic with that traditional orientation. I wonder if the Heil might have me in the same situation.

    Although, with one of those Z bars, it might be manageable most of the time.
     
  11. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I've seen the Heil & the specs and reputation are certainly positive! I need to start requesting one myself....


    The RE-20 is definitely bulky! But, if you are standing that close to your cab - then I assume you are playing a small stage (which begs the question: Do you really need to mic your amp in such small spaces)?
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LOL! Yes, an Irish Jew who plays funk bass!

    RE 20 is idiot-proof. And yeah, if you're right up on your amp, mic stands are a PITA. If I were you, I'd demand a little more room.
     
  13. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Ok. On the topic of mic position, JimmyM says "right in the middle of the cone." Having played many shows with SWR gear, the horns in my cabs are pretty integral to my tone.

    Putting a mic on a guitar amp works better than running the guitar direct. IMHO, that is because running guitar effects (distortion) straight to the PA sounds like poo. Mic-ing the cab provides a bit of a buffer to get rid of these frequencies.

    On my bass rig, the top end gives me a little bit of clarity. Sure, it gets lost among all the guitar noise, but when its just me and the drums, the clarity is there. Running direct preserves that clarity.

    If I put the mic directly on a cone, don't I lose that top end to a large degreee? Horns are pretty directional, IME...
     
  14. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Good question. Sometimes no. Sometimes, the room is big & the stage is small. Last gig I played, the stage was only about 8 feet deep, and I was in front of the keyboard player and her three keyboards. Luckily, my mini-rig tucked right in underneath one of her keyboard stands. The room was huge, though.
     
  15. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Good questions, WV.

    Honestly, the ideal set-up is a DI (often pre-pedals or preamp) coupled with a miced amp cabinet. This gives you the best of both worlds: a solid, basic DI'ed bass tone that makes the engineers job easy + a mic on your cab to reflect your own personal tonal "attitude" or special effects, etc.

    In order for us to steer you right, it would help to know the following:
    a) What general 'style' of music are you playing? (reggae, rock, old-school country, scream-o, euro-pop, whatever...)
    b) What size venues are you playing in?
    c) Are you going through 'pro' pa's or local club gear? Also, is the foh (front of house) engineer really competent or more concerned with the leatherman tool he/she just bought at Tractor Supply? ;)
    d) What is your setup (bass, pedals, amp, preamps, etc)?
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That all depends how hot your tweeter is and how directional the mic is. Most of the time, a mic will pick up the tweeter anyway. But if it's not enough for your tastes, you might want to consider blending the mic with the DI. That's something you're just going to have to try out on your own to see if it works for you. My guess is it will, but I'm not a tweeter guy so I can't say for sure if it will.

    BTW, tweeter horns are made small so they're not as directional. The beaming principle says that the bigger the driver, the more directional the upper freqs become. So a 15" is going to be extremely directional when it hits 2K and above, a 10" less so. A tweeter, naturally, is a small driver, and so it's going to have a much wider dispersion of its frequency range. Plus those freqs are easily amplified with a minimum of power, so my personal opinion is that they will carry into the mic. Again, it's a matter of taste so I can't say it will work for you. If you have time during a soundcheck, see if you and your soundman can do a little experimenting with a mic.
     
  17. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    To answer these, first off, I've not been gigging enough for this discussion to be more than academic, but I'm working on being more active again.

    My current setup of choice is my 4-94(with barts) through my X2 wireless into an LMII and two PS112s. My number two rig is a super redhead with a goliath iii junior. Depending on the gig, I'll bring my pedal board (Sadowsky preamp, Ashdown bassdrive, 105Q, EBS multicomp, EBS BassIQ, Boss OC2).

    The last gig I played was country/classic rock. In the past three years I've also done top 40 dance music, disco, motown-ish stuff, you name it. The pedal board usually make an appearance when I'm trying to be a little more keyboard-ish.

    More often than not, the PA is pro-level gear. The last gig I did, we used EAW cabs, crown power, an older Mackie console, BSS EQs, yamaha effects, etc.

    Most of the places I seem to end up playing these days are decent-sized hotel ballrooms.

    I'm digging the sound I get out of my amp. Not so much love for my FOH sound. A mic seems like it may be a sensible direction to look into, but so could a good DI...
     
  18. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Maybe tweeters aren't really all that directional. I do know that the tweeters in my PS112 cabs are recessed far enough that they tend to disappear (to my ears) when I'm off-angle...
     
  19. Speak for yourself please! :)

    Paul
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Let me clarify a bit. Tweeter frequencies ARE directional, but they have a much wider dispersion angle if they come from tweeters rather than larger drivers. Sorry I didn't make that clear before. I edited the original post.

    Anyway, I'm starting to think that maybe a good DI would be more up your alley, although that SVT rig listed in your profile makes me think you would equally like a mic. If I were you, I'd go to a soundcheck before everyone else and see if you can get the soundman to set up both a DI and a mic and AB them out in the room. Even if all you have is a 58, it'll at least give you an idea if you'll like it or not, and an idea of how well your tweeter will come out.
     

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