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Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by rickwolff, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ -- Endorsing Artist-- ---3M Dual Lock--- Supporting Member

    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

    T. S. Eliot

    Sorry: Long rant warning.

    Since I started playing a little over 2 years ago after a 25 year detour to the 'real world' I have been searching (like most of us) for THE SOUND.

    Without going through the whole history of Basses, Strings, Amps, Pickups, Mics etc. etc. etc. I MAY have finally come to at least a temporary 'Cease Fire' in my quest.

    My salvation may have come from the fact that I like to record my gigs - currently with my little Zoom H4N 4 track recorder. I have been trying to get That Sound on my gigs that I hear in good recordings. I guess I finally accepted that 'live sound' can only hope to approximate really good 'studio sound'. So now, I do both at the same time.

    What that means is that my 'live sound' is my Shen Gemunder 7/8 thru a Lifeline, sometimes thru my Headway EDB-2, and sometimes straight into my GB Shuttle 3.0 8T, and sometimes with a Fender Neo 112 underneath that. By cranking up the high-mids on the Shuttle I got the best sound I've had yet on a duo gig with grand piano last Friday night.

    AT THE SAME TIME I have made a little mic attachment that connects to my basses tailpiece and holds a pencil condensor mic right in front of and just above my bridge. I'm sure I couldn't amplify that, at least not to any volume without feedback, but I feed that directly into the mic input on my Zoom recorder.

    Bottom line: I get a good, very acceptable amplified sound but I get the True Sound of MY BASS onto the recording. And this is with a mic that cost my about $20 as a Stupid Deal of the Day from MF. I don't even want to let myself think about expensive mics. I'm sure the quality of my playing is more than adequately represented by a cheap mic.

    Anyway, here is the recorded sound I am getting and it makes me happy. What else matters?

    Attached Files:

  2. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Very nice playing and sound. Great feel too, which is what really matters.
  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
  4. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ -- Endorsing Artist-- ---3M Dual Lock--- Supporting Member

    thanks Rob and Ric. Ric, keep in mind that the only 'rig' heard on the recording is my bass straight to mic to recorder. There is no amp in this mix. That's probably why I like it.
  5. cacophonic


    Mar 18, 2008
    San Francisco
    That does sound good, Rick. Your playing definitely merits a much more expensive mic, but hey, if 20 bucks can get you the sound that you want, then eureka hallelujah amen. Hope you bought a couple more for contingencies.

    Questions, if you don't mind: Are you going to keep the make and model of this little mic a dark secret (or did I miss those details)? Can you post a photo of your proprietary mic holder, and maybe an audio clip of an un-amplified take using the mic and your Zoom? [EDIT: oops, I see your later comment that the clip you posted is an un-amplified take]

    The Eliot quote that usually applies in these matters is, "Between the idea/And the reality/.../Falls the shadow." It's good to read a success story--thanks for posting.

  6. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ -- Endorsing Artist-- ---3M Dual Lock--- Supporting Member

    Hi Bob,

    Here is the 'mic holder' I use: On-Stage Stands MSA-9508 Posi-Lok Side Mount Boom Arm | Musician's Friend

    I glued a rubber washer to the outside of the clamp to rest against the tailpiece. Then I run the bolt thru one of the string ball-end holes and basically clamp the tailpiece between the head of the bolt and the clamp. I can post a picture later.

    The mics are these: CAD CM217 Condenser Mic - Buy Two and Save | Musician's Friend

    I bought a short, folding mic stand on ebay which I use to set the other mic inside the grand piano (that's the piano you heard on the recording I posted.

    I also have been playing with an inexpensive Ribbon mic: MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone | Musician's Friend

    the ribbon mic comes with a shock mount. I took the center (clamp) portion out of the shock mount 'frame' and used the elastic to mount it under my bridge. For low volume gigs it gives me a very nice sound. I run it through my Headway EDB-2 to get the necessary gain and it takes quite a bit of EQ, but it sounds nice. A cheap way to experiment with ribbons. My avatar shows this mic on my bass.
  7. cacophonic


    Mar 18, 2008
    San Francisco
    Thanks for the links. That CM217 looks like a nice, compact, lightweight mic and what a sweet price. Your adaptation of the boom arm is a clever solution--seems likely to stay in place, and while some would question the added mass and the torque applied to the tailpiece it doesn't sound as if your bass suffers at all.

  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Huh. That CM217 has a 200Hz high pass filter and a built-in 10 dB attenuator.
  9. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ -- Endorsing Artist-- ---3M Dual Lock--- Supporting Member

    Hi Jake,

    I never said it was a GOOD microphone. lol

    Actually, though, the high pass filter and attenuator are both selectable and on mine they are both turned off. For a really cheap mic the frequency response looks pretty decent to my untrained eye.

    Proof is in the pudding, as they say. I am quite happy with the recorded sound (for my amateur, personal purposes) and hope to avoid getting gas for anything really nice like a Schoeps (my wife really would kill me then!)

    Ac CM217.
  10. cacophonic


    Mar 18, 2008
    San Francisco
    Yes. Very useful for some applications.
  11. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Yup - I was just noticing.
  12. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I like your sound. Being as big a gear weenie as the next guy this is probably a little hypocritical but most of how good it is sounds to me like it's in your hands and head more than anything else.
    Jake deVilliers likes this.
  13. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ -- Endorsing Artist-- ---3M Dual Lock--- Supporting Member

    Thanks Jeff,

    My T.S. Eliot quote was meant (of course) to imply that after all the electronic gizmos we try, we realize we are most at home with the pure acoustic sound and tone. Maybe the best way for me to look at it is to just keep the technology from 'getting in the way'. I'm happy at this point to have found a bass and strings that give me pretty much the 'sound I hear in my head'. If I can get most of that out to the audience it is a real success.

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