Good bass mic...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Marvinisbass, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. I may not go with the U5 as I posted and instead mic my cab. Does any one want to make a suggestion on which mic gets the sound in the truest way?
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    There are so many choices, one could spend about 50 years listing them. Can you give us a price range to work with?
  3. No one actually makes a bass cab mic (to my knowledge) so you'll wind up using a kick mic to do double duty. The standards are generally speaking the AKG D112 ($200) & the Shure Beta 52 ($200), but you can also try a Audix D6 ($200), Sennheiser 902 ($200) or even a Blue Kickball ($120). Really any kick mic should work for bass cabs (the frequency response should go down to 20hz). You could also try a Sennheiser MD421 if you want a more versatile solution (used primarily for toms, but also work on guitar cabs, brass instruments, more) but it's frequency response only goes down to 30hz (you'll lose some sub response on a standard tuned bass, and it's not what you are looking for to record a 5 string or detuned 4). Some engineers use other mics as well (really everything you can think of) with varying degrees of success.

    With all that said I still urge you to get the U5. First, mic'ing a bass cab can be quite tricky as bass waves are slow to form so you'll have to play with the distance you place the mic when getting sounds. And, in my experience, it can be very difficult to get a great bass sound with only a mic. Really I would say most engineers use a bass mic as a supplement to the direct sound - there certainly are pros out there who can rock the mic alone, but to me it's not a stand alone solution. The most I rely on a mic for bass tone is maybe 30%, and usually the track would sound absolutely fine without it. Usually a bass player wants their cab mic'd so I do it, we record both a mic and a direct track and listen to both tracks, mix them up and it always surprises them how much more they like the direct sound. You could certainly buy a mic and a less expensive DI to record two tracks but then you have a less expensive DI, wouldn't you?

    The Avalon U5 is a simple, elegant, effective solution. I use it on every session and I have never had a bass player unhappy with their tone - I get lots of compliments about how quick and easy it is to get a great sound. Recording bass with the U5 is the single easiest task I have in recording (generally speaking).
  4. TL5


    Jun 27, 2005
    Here's couple more to throw into the discussion:

    EV RE20 or 27
    Shure SM7B

    Both are large D dynamics and very capable of capturing a great bass tone.
  5. BassTerd

    BassTerd Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    +1 on the RE20

    The D112 and beta 52 in my opinion tend to ad some mud to the sound. Even with a kick drum. The Re20 has a more focused tighter sound.
  6. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    dont most boards run a sub filter of some kind, effectively chopping off the extreme lows (sub 40ish)?? If so, wouldnt the mic's ability to dip down to the 20'sor 30's be moot? i guess unless it's for recording? or you know you arent running a filter at the board.

    i dont have a vested interest... just reading and wondering.
  7. The fundamental note value of a low E on a 4 string electric bass is 41hz. The low B of a 5 string is 31hz. I tune my 5 string down to G# or 27hz. If an engineer was to use a filter to chop frequencies below 40hz you'd loose a bunch of sub off a standard tuned and you'd sure kill the fundamental notes of anything tuned below that. Not too good, lol. Many engineers may employ a filter that *rolls off* low frequencies, rather than chops them off, in order to tame too much low end, but you have to use it carefully...

    More importantly, IMO, if you record more sub than the track requires you can certainly eq it out. But if the mic cannot record the lower frequencies of the bass and cab there's no way get them back since they are not there if you decide you need them.
  8. BassTerd

    BassTerd Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    This is very interesting. When i'm mixing I tend to cut anything below 50-80hz on the bass. It kinda helps stay out of the kick drums space. Then i'll boost around 400hz on bass and cut the same freq on the kick drum. It ads seperation between the 2 so they can have there place. Then again I don't know what the hell i'm doing.
  9. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    No, that's pretty standard procedure. The sub-lows on a bass can be overpowering, and tend to cause problems in mastering, i.e. the bass frequencies suck up levels normally reserved for midrange, and results in a lower apparent volume. The first thing many mastering engineers do is lower the level of everything below 80 Hz in order to raise the overall volume level.
    Also, 90% of the consumer systems out there won't reproduce frequencies that low, anyway. Although fundamentals on a 5 string reach down extremely low, the fundamental is only a small part of the sound of a bass guitar string. Both pipe organs and 810 cabs reproduce lows by ignoring the fundamentals on the lowest notes and emphasizing the harmonics above them, thus giving more apparent volume with less power, and not requiring 21" speakers or 18' long pipes to give a nice bass rumble.

    I wouldn't worry about whether a microphone extends to 80, 50, or 30 Hz. A gentle rolloff (there's no such thing as a sudden cut-off, it would defy the laws of physics, and sound bad, too) can be a good thing, and most of the sound of the bass resides between 200 Hz and 6Khz, anyway. There are tons more things to consider in choosing a mic than lowest usable frequency.

    Having said that, in the price range it's impossible to go wrong with an Electro Voice RE-20 or a Sennheiser MD 421. I personally prefer a Telefunken 251 or anything from Neumann, but then, I work in a studio where I have access to them. At home, I generally go direct, and reamp if I don't like the tone.
  10. I want to say that I generally agree with these comments - Jabberwock is right on in conventional thinking for conventional projects. When I use my Avalon to record bass direct I very often will use a preset with a bass roll off under 40hz and I also do like the Sennheiser MD 421 to mic cabs and use it quite often. But I sometimes release the 40hz roll off and sometimes I reach for a mic that can reproduce lower frequencies - and I generally do this on projects using a 5 string bass or a detuned 4 string. If you look at many (but not all) professionally mastered songs with an extended low range bass in a spectrum analyzer you see the frequency roll off starts at between 30 - 50hz (I used a Mudvayne and a Sevendust CD for my test) not between 50 - 80 as is common on other material. I also agree that excessive low end can eat power need to push other frequencies in the recording, but you'll notice in these types of recordings the overall signal is VERY, VERY compressed which largely takes care of this problem.

    I am no 'super-pro' engineer, I am somewhere between a hobbyist and a professional. I make money recording but not as much as I'd like, lol. But I have done quite a bit of research and I do solid work in my studio - regardless, these are my observations and certainly just my opinions.
  11. I am willing to spend up to 1250 list. I am hoping for versatility and clarity above all else and I love my gohstly new hooding mom gotted me from the store for winter solstice or watever it is-viva la revolution(just got back from cubism).Maybe I should get the tooke too and wear it over my theyes I meen head-What? Yeah when I make some cash I'll get a suppoerting thingy for 50 bucks or whatever? Key? I meen ke-I doe no I can't speak Spanish(castle magic). [do Eno he is so LOW]
  12. I've been diggin' the Audix D6. It's a far cry below the $1200 some price you listed. But, maybe you are in a league way above me as well.
  13. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    d112 all the way
    + a sm 57
    no tube mics for me they f*ck the sound up. I have an excellent sound coming from my speakers so I dont put anything in the signal path that can color the sound
    just a NEVE board into pro tools.
  14. That sounds fine.
  15. Hey, if you want to spend that much cash I'd get it all - the U5 and a mic, or two! If you are into recording you can't have too many options! The U5 will get you for $550 or less and then you can get a Sennheiser MD421 for $350ish and maybe even a D112 to go with it $200ish - that's $1100ish all told!

    No matter what you choose if you work with it you should be able to get some good sounds!
  16. dominip


    Aug 17, 2005
    Here is my Neumann KM 84, packed in a cheap foam-design, directly sent on board (the RS pick up is plugged on AI only for back-up).. The best sound I've ever heard on my bass.

    Attached Files:

  17. yeah people are right...

    I would recommend running a U5 for DI'd signal, and then mic'ing your cab with some mic's. Try renting a selection and choosing your favourite. I have had very good results with:

    Shure SM7 ( NOT 57!)
    AT 4033
    Electrovoice ND408

    I have had bad results with D112's - but obviously its a matter of personal taste.

    Remember to run through nice pre's, compressors and - if need be - convertors too. Your tone is only as good as the signal path it runs through.
  18. 57s have some strange resonant frequencies, so you have to be careful when using them to mic bass cabs. The D112 has a sorta boomy, round sound to it... I would probably only use that for kicks, but there's no harm in experimenting with it. D112 on a bass cab is not unheard of. ;)
  19. That's a great idea - if you can rent mics, or even buy them and return them you can see for yourself what works. If buying, be sure to ask first, some shops have a STRICT no return mic policy, vocal or otherwise.
  20. mattm0805


    Oct 13, 2004
    +1 on all the Shure SM7 recommendations. Its really great!
    Also the Sennheiser 421 Is good too.