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How do you mic/amplify a classical bass duo?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Riley Z, May 4, 2019.

  1. Riley Z

    Riley Z

    Nov 27, 2015
    Hey all,

    So I recently started a classics double bass duo, and we just got our first gig that requires more than acoustic sound!

    It’s classical so most of what we do is bowed, what do you all think would be the best way amplify ourselves? Microphones? What kind? Where would you place them? Pickups? (we have orchestral basses and don’t want permanent pickups installed, so they’d have to be removable) Clip-on mics?

    I don’t have a ton of experience with micing basses in a live-sound setting, so any and all input is appreciated!
  2. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    Remic Red or DPA, if you have the dough.

    A pair of large diaphragm condensers will work, too. You’ll need phantom power from the board.
    Ric Vice and Seanto like this.
  3. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Give us some more information. What's the venue? Will there be a sound system provided? Will there be someone setting up and running sound?
    If the answers to questions 2 and 3 are yes, then you don't need to worry about it.
    If you're asking about microphones or pickups, then microphones for classical music. Classical music requires that you capture the sound of the instrument in the room. I disagree with Mr. Booker's recommendation for large-diaphragm condensors. LDs tend to have inherent coloration, more so than small diaphragms. You want a small, accurate, mildly directional microphone placed far enough away from your instrument to capture sound from most of the top plate. Don't try to get fancy with multiple mics for one instrument.
  4. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    Why amplify?
    I would never amplify a duo.
    If you do, go for a gentle lift of volume. The primary sound should still be from your instrument.
    SDC is the standard way to do this. The DPA is not very good for a natural classical sound.

    My preference would be Schoeps MK22. If you need more isolation MK41, but it will be hard to get a natural sound with the 41. For jazz, the 41 is my goto mic, but that polar pattern is not great for classical. A DPA 4011 will also work.

    LDC can be great for jazz, but the off axis polar and frequency response is problematic, particularly for something like a duo.

    Placement would be more like 2-4ft from the instrument, not where you would place it for jazz.
  5. Yes, a slight lift from mike(s) ½ - 1 meter from the instruments would be my suggestion too. If two mikes you can pan them a bit to each side to get separation. But just 10 % or something to each side, or you tear up the sound "picture".
  6. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Since a duo i would likely opt for a single condenser mic on a stand in front of you both, bluegrass style. But alot of variables might change what you opt to do, so details of the gig could easily send you in another direction.
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    For the price that a great condenser for live sound, would cost, (I'm thinking of the Schoepps MK41 CMC 6 combo that's around $1,500.00) a new Remic Red would be less that half the price, and is
    much less evasive to mount and remove from your basses. Since you have no drum kit, keyboard or guitar involved. It should work exceptionally well. IME the DPA probably wouldn't get you the sound
    you're looking for as you're using microphones on two basses. It is two Double Basses correct? or is their a piano accompanist?
    Adam Booker likes this.
  8. Riley Z

    Riley Z

    Nov 27, 2015
    Thanks everyone, that helps a lot!

    More details that might help:
    There is a sound guy for the gig, but we are looking for a more long-term solution so that we can perform in smaller venues that don’t have sound systems (but are still big enough that an acoustic bass duo needs a little boost). It’s really easy for a bass duo to get buried by background sound and forcing by playing too loudly will lead to poor performance. We soon want to get some kind of PA and some equipment that we could set up in various places. Our setup is just two double basses, no piano, and we’re looking to amplify ourselves while picking up the natural resonance of our instruments (aren’t we all, right?).

    Thank you all, I appreciate how helpful this community can be!
  9. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings, Aguilar Amplifiers
    If were you I would hire a sound engineer who would bring their own gear and mix you.
    Co. likes this.
  10. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    There are two basic kinds of gigs you will be playing: Ones where the audience is not talking (concerts), and ones where the audience is talking (everything else). For the former, you will likely not need any boost.
    For the latter, I would recommend a powered line-array system with sub (TurboSound, Bose, Electrovoice, etc.) that you can place behind you so that you do not need a monitor. Two nice microphones (they don't have to be super expensive for live sound) on boom stands, into a little mixer, into the powered line-array system.
    Instead of two mics, you might try one figure-of-eight (bidirectional) microphone placed directly between you.
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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