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How can I record a pro sound into my D.A.W?

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by tall dave, Mar 28, 2005.


  1. tall dave

    tall dave

    Mar 19, 2005
    I am new to the process of recording an upright bass and in the market for a condenser Mic and if needed a bridge pickup (I have one shure beta 57A). I have a 4 channel mixer and can record two mono tracks into my computer at 24.bit. Any insight on a condenser mic around 200.00 dollars that you have found to be worth it, and a good bridge pickup for around the same price. Also, if there are any techniques that you have found to work well in order to capture the raw sound of the upright bass. Any other comments that you would see to be helpful would be great.
    Thanks Dave,
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I just did an informal recording yesterday and was really happy with the sound that I got through an AKG C3000B. There's one at eBay for $150 with about 10 hrs to go. They retail around $300.
     
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    When recording an acoustic instrument, I have always gotten the best results using a dual source method. Whether it is two mics in different positions or a one mic, one pickup DI method, I have always preferred the ability to get two sources and play around with them post production.

    I have been done many, many recordings with acoustic guitar. The best sound I have ever gotten was with a mic off-axis on a boom about 30 inches from the guitar and a second on a boom crammed as close to the sound hole as you get it without disturbing play. Both were EV RE20s.

    In mix down, the two channels were tweaked back and forth quite a bit at various times.

    I will be going into the studio with DB for the first time ever this summer. I am interested to see if the same approach works with big bass.

    With slab, I have always done the same. One channel plugged preamp DI into the board and another with a miced cab. Although, in this case, often only one or the other ends up getting used. If am tracking with another player, I may can the cab altogether to keep from bleeding onto his track. With BG, it just doesn't seem to matter that much.
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    An experience note on the Big Fiddle here:

    If you play acoustically a lot you'll want to tone-down your attack when you're recording. Play like you're in a room all by yourself, volume-wise. A big, loud, projecty sound doesn't record too well, especially with a close mic. It just sounds nasty.
     
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Ray,

    When you are recording for release, do the engineers use just one mic or a couple of lines as I described above?
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've had countless setups and almost always get trashed by an engineer. I usually like to have a few mics up (NO pickup or the bastards will use the signal) just to have some fallback. Usually one of the mics does the job, in the end. I haven't recorded much arco, but am guessing that you would want much more room sound (further mic) in what you put down on tape.
     
  7. Dave, check out the Octavia MC012. This is a true capacitor mic (as opposed to a back-electret) and is almost a clone of the venerable Neumann KM84. You can use it for almost anything so it's a versatile purchase. They're Russian made and should come in at less than $200 - you might even be able to get the box set which has a choice of three capsules: omni, cardioid and hypercardiod for just a little more money.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I have used two mics, but the last couple of times I was at Peter Karl's joint, he only had one mic set up in the bass booth and got a great sound, right from jump.

    I agree with Raybird - NEVER EVER EVER EVER let them take a direct from the pick up
     
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The setup I've gotten the best results with involves a large diaphragm condenser out in fron of the bridge mixed with a small diaphragm condenser over the fingerboard, usually coming in on a boom over my left shoulder. For $200, you could get a couple of mics to try in this configuration. I've used an SP B1 together with an MXL603s and gotten good results, and you could easily get both of those mics for $200 and still have enough change to go have a cheap dinner.
     
  10. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    I've spent hundreds of hours recording my DB at home and at gigs. Learning to do it well is a big task.

    I'll second the Oktava mics. Huge bang for the buck.

    Adding mics complicates the issue. You may wish to start with one. Adding a mic adds phase relationships that are tricky, and adds expense.

    Lurk around at http://homerecording.com/bbs/ and search the mic forums for best bang for buck mics like Oktava and Studio Projects. You'll need a decent preamp and the room must be ok for recording (a huge subject all its own). Try different rooms, closets, etc.

    Then experiment and try to educate yourself.

    Good luck.
     
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    ...and don't forge to ask Larry how to clean up your recordings once they're in your DAW. :)
     
  12. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Oakland
    Are phase problems as likely to occur in a mix between a pickup and a mic as they are between 2 mics? Is this something that can be fixed in the mix?
     
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm sure there are many who know more about this subject than me, so I won't answer the question with any technical explanation. That said, that last two records I made out at my favorite studio were made using the two-mic method I described above, and I didn't notice any problems. The engineer there spent a lot of time crawling around while I played to find the exact mic placement he wanted, but once in mixdown, it was all about what we thought sounded best.

    The only "technical" thing he did during the entire session was to look up the frequency of my open "D", which is sort of an overpowering note on my bass; once he found that the fundamental of that pitch is 73 Hz, he put it narrow band cuts there and at the octave (146 Hz), and it cleared up the problem nicely.
     
  14. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    To my knowledge, no, but I would suspect there may be cases where it is possible depending on the type of pickup. In practical terms, though, I think not.

    Since you asked, there are plug-ins that claim they can fix phase problems. I don't have one, or know how well they work. I do know that the less you mess around with your recording, the better it will sound. Use the smallest amount possible of any EQ, compression, effects, etc.

    Personal opinion - I don't like the recorded sound of a direct signal from the pickup, even when blended with a mic. Works for Eddie Gomez I guess. I'd mess around with two mics for fun first. A lot of guys (like Chris) seem to like it. I took advice from a prominent engineer in town who stressed using as few mics as possible, but maybe I'll check out adding a mic. :)
     
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In case anybody is wanting to check out the "two mic sound", all of the Java Men stuff on my site was recorded that way. I'll have a couple of new cuts up with that technique on the new bass in a couple of weeks.
     
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Good photo, Ed. Those look like AKG's, butI can't tell the model #.

    Here's a pic that shows the high mic placement from the Java Men session I was talking about.
     
  18. mister_k

    mister_k

    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I know I'm just tagging my 2 cents here, but I recently worked on an album and was dealing with an engineer who really didn;t know what to do with a DB. I eventually got to the point where right before we tracked a song (that was largely improved) I pulled the cord from my pickup while he line checked something else. So he just turned up the mic and on playback the band leader says (to the engineer) "The bass sounds great there, what did you do?"

    Needless to say, the engineer won't be calling me for any sessions, but the bandleader and I have worked many times since then.

    AVOID THE PICKUP!
     
  19. Yes, you may get a phase problem between a pickup and a mic, but because double bass is such a low frequency it's unlikely to cause trouble the way it does with, say, drum overheads and a snare mic. The wavelengths of the fundamental frequencies are so long that the effect of a few inches difference between mics or pickups will be all but inaudible.

    However, if you want to check it out in a DAW, the easiest way is to display the two tracks one above the other then zoom right in to waveform display level. If there is a phase difference you'll see it as a horizontal displacement of one waveform relative to the other. With software like Pro Tools, it's a simple job to nudge the earlier track forward by a few samples until it lines up with the other one. This is in effect phase correction, although it won't work at all frequencies because no microphone or pickup has a linear phase response.
     
  20. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Oakland
    OK. Point taken. Pickup will be removed before I show up. Still, from a noise/bleed perspective with the big band I think I may have to go with a bass mounted mini-mic. OTOH, I may be able to record the melody and solo sections at a separate session.