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Going old school: mic on a stick

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by hdiddy, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Alright, so in trying out a mic only solution I'm totally digging this and going to just stick with placing a mic on a small tripod next to the bass. No H-Clamp, no nada on the bass. Weight/size won't be a restriction.

    Currently using an EV Cardinal (cardioid). Tried it out in rehearsal and things went pretty well. What helps is that I have my bass cab on a speaker stand so I think that physically makes it more difficult to get feedback. However, that obviously won't stop bleed from other instruments. Sounded pretty stellar otherwise - I may just keep using it. But wondering what other options there are? Something hypercardioid? Price? Probably up for spending $500-600.

    Oh yeah couple interesting things.
    * My rig is Mic -> EDB-2 channel 2 input -> Focus SA -> Wizzy 10. With the Headway, I had the EQ section bypassed for most of the session and I didn't even notice it.
    * With the cardinal on a mini-boom, I actually had the mic facing the bass f-hole about 10-12" away. Great ballsy bassy sound. I know this is eschewed by most folks but I was digging what I was getting. It's been a while since I played with mics but this sounds better than having it close mic'ed. I'll just have to suffer having to carry the tripod around with me.
    * Also with the mic unattached to the bass, I could move around mid-song and get a more in-your-face sound if I got really close.
    * I'll be keeping the realist on hand as backup.

  2. I did that too for a while. First with an AKG 3000B, and later with a Neumann KM185. I ultimately decided to use an H-clamp, as that was more convenient to me. I am interested, though, why you don't want to use an H-clamp? Could you share with us your reasons for not doing so? Thanks!

  3. Register_To_Disable

  4. I use a DPA 4099 but to me the amp stand is the key to succes.

    I'm using a cheap stagg stand. Because the amp stays close to the floor you don't loose too much low end. I have the amp pointing to my ears which is a great help to get good intonation too.

    Without the stand I had more problems with feedback but now I can play louder dan I need to be in a bigband.

  5. Hi Eric,

    I wasn't talking about amp stands, but mic stands.

  6. Nathan Levine

    Nathan Levine Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Anchorage, AK
    With the tripod I would be worried about not maintaining a consistent level without staying perfectly still.

    I'd consider a Troll. It works great with a H-clamp, but Brandon's rubber band mounting system is simple and elegant.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    It's both an advantage and a disadvantage. I move around too but see the ability of not being consistent as a benefit. My main reason for doing it is to have the ability to control the mic - in the same manner that a singer has mic technique. It's just another angle for self-expression to play with. Without touch a single thing, I can lean in closer to the mic if I want a more bassy/boomy sound. Lean away if I want more a room sound and a less in-your-face tone.

    I do have an H-clamp floating around my house somewhere - I don't know where I put it. I've used it a couple times like Monte a while back but wasn't that enthused by it. Just felt like I lost some bottom. I don't hear any loss mic'ing it on a tripod. As a matter of fact if I put the f-hole on axis. It sounds just like using a pickup in terms of bassiness with the added bonus of all the great stringy sounds and air you can't get with a piezo.

    Even the bandmates appreciated the improved tone. I just wonder if I can do even better with a better mic or will it start being diminishing returns? Troll sounds interestring but I'm concerned that it's an omni as most ribbon mics are. I dont' know enough about mics but wondering if there is a high-quality hypercardioid large diaphram mic that might work really well.
  8. Nathan Levine

    Nathan Levine Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Anchorage, AK

    Aha! But this is what you want. Sorry I missed that on my first reading. I think being able to get a boost is a good idea when you want/need it, but when you don't need the level fluctuating, and it is because of a slight movement or sway? That would be maddening to me. Then again I'm a bit of a mover.
  9. Nathan Levine

    Nathan Levine Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Anchorage, AK
    I bet you could do a lot better with a better mic. The sky is the limit in that department. Have fun!
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    With cardioids and the like, there is the "proximity effect" with which to deal when the distance between the mic and the source is relatively small. I suppose you could use it to your advantage but it's another variable to be considered.
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah DEWRUB, I think that's what's going on when you point the mic right at the f-hole and close mic it. It becomes too much and the tone is weird. Mic it further away and the proximity effect goes away.

    I'm wondering if the DPA4099 might be a good choice - even if I mount it on the bass. I like the idea that it's a shotgun pattern. I'd prefer it on the tripod tho. Is there a larger equivalent?

    Also, any opinions on the Beyerdynamic D70d? Large diaphram bass drum mic, hypercardioid.
  12. LowG


    Dec 8, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    Just FYI, most ribbon mics are figure 8. That pattern is tighter than cardioid, but the "disadvantage" is that it picks up from front and back.

    One mic to try if you can is the Peavey pvm 520i.
    Kjetil Laukholm likes this.
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    The shotgun pattern will lead you right back to the proximity effect but, again, you may be able to tailor it to your tastes. Here's another good discussion that mentions shotgun patterns. Here's yet another.
  14. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    To advantage, like Milt Hinton's sound playing those lush and large band arrangements with Billy Holiday.
  15. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    There are endless options for micing the bass live, but if you're worried about proximity effect the Electro-Voice RE20 might be one to consider. It is cardioid but is designed to minimize proximity effect. It also can sound really good on bass and is quite commonly used both live and in the studio on the DB. It's big and heavy, but since you are putting it on a stand, that wouldn't be an issue.
  16. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    Yeah, I have an old Gil Evans album in which they listed the mics and band placement in the sleeve. Ron Carter on bass and they used a RE20. Sennheiser 421 works real good as well.
  17. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Huy, I just re-read this thread and I think you're good with what you've got going, nice mic, great pre, solid power and speaker.

    We should have serious discussion about mic stands though... ;)
  18. I once experimented with an Oktava MC-012 with omni, cardioid and hypercardioid capsules pointing through the underlengths to the top (rubber band method).

    The best sound was the omni (and very prone to feedback), rather close was the hypercardioid, but the cardioid was a lot less good. OK for recording (but there are better mics for that), but all too much prone to feedback with an amp.

    I think a figure of eight (like almost any ribbon mic) does cancel a lot of neigbour noise at the left and the right side and some (own signal) feedback rejection from a monitor in the front.

    I think the biggest problem putting the mic on a floor stand is either to avoid to bang against the mic when playing or the bleed of other instruments into the mic and more feedback sensitivity if is stands more far away.
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Thanks Jeff. I think you might be right and I just need more time to play with the EQ in live settings. The current setup certainly works. I'd like only to minimize the bleed but like I said in my first point, this might be diminishing returns.

    I thought about the RE20 and have seen it used for live DB before. I dunno. Avoid proximity effect is not neccessarily a priority. Again, I won't be super close-miking - the bass will be at enough distance that I can actually use it to an advantage.

    In looking at Data sheets, the RE20, PR40, Sennheiser 421, they all look good pretty much but the only way to tell is to test.

    I guess the best way to deal with this is the rent it and do some tests. One thing to point out about recordings is yes, I could use an RE20, but they're using it in the studio and probably isolating instruments in some ways. I'm planning for a live performance application.

    I'm still very curious about the Beyer D70d - tighter pattern and it's a large diaphram kick drum mic.
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Hmm... that's some good insight.

    The way I have my setup is that the speaker cab is pole mounted and facing the square of my back (a sort of buffer). I play standing and the mic is angled away from the speaker cab at maybe 45 degrees. The mic sits in the air to the right of the bridge. So the person who is going to bleed most will likely be whoever's on the right if I'm using a cardioid. There's not likely to be an sound source standing in front of me to the left that will bleed in. Just thinking about it makes me consider how I should stand in regard to the rest of the band and where a guitar amp might get placed. Feedback was not an issue in the session last night - not one bit.

    Who knows, maybe the ribbon mic actually is the right call. The D70d also has a figure-8'ish pattern but it's not so symmetric. That might is looking better and better. Just wonder how it sounds.
  21. Hi hdiddy,

    I only tested the mic at home using the amp on the floor (maybe also on a chair both unangled). So not much testing in a real situation. Getting the speaker up and pointing away from the mic (and the mic away from the speaker) should get much better results.

    I then changed to a Audio Technica ATM-35 (the old one) which doesn't sound as good as the Oktava, but is less feedback prone.
    BTW, the Oktava is a bit weak in the bass frequencies when used in a normal far field application, but since I almost always attenuate the bass frequencies when micing the bass in the near field, this might rather help to avoid boominess. (But I still reduce the bass a bit when using the Oktava cloe to the top.)

    Since I only played in a big band last year on a crowded stage directly beneath the drummer, a microphone was not a good option and I had to go back using a pickup.

    I don't own a figure of eight mic, but was thinking of getting either a large diaphragm condenser with a selectable characteristic or a figure of eight ribbon mic.
    (Unfortunately due to finacial issues and not really needing it at the moment this might get delayed by a few years.)

    So, I'm very interested what Brandon did with the Troll and how you placed your amplification, but won't try that myself in the near future (but I keep it in mind...).