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Mic for live sound

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by dave251, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. dave251

    dave251 Wendler Instruments

    Feb 5, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    For the first time last night, my "pure" acoustic string band used the "single mic" technique...actually, a LD condenser for everyone but the bassist. He was using a SM57....we were wondering if there is a more effective mic for the bass....

    I'm sure the bass was carrying through the condenser, but the Shure was more prevalent....easily the best sound we've had, much better "tone" than the Fishman equipped bridge that's on the bass.

    Suggestions for a dedicated string bass mic will be looked at closely.


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    An AKG D112 works great as a fairly low cost mic. Normally used for kick drums, it handles the low end very well and is extremely feedback resistant.
  3. At Merlefest, a couple of the pros used Shure SM 58's. They would wrap the mike in foam rubber and place it in the arch of the bridge, running the mike cable behind the tailpiece. Seemed to work just fine. The advantages seemed to be that you get true authentic tone of your bass, you still have the ability to move the bass on stage since you don't have to stay within the proximity of a mike stand, and there was no noise when the bass was moved. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to.
  4. ackeim


    Nov 10, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    I have also played bass in string bands with this technique. I have seen people wrap the sm58 and i have also seen people shove a 57 in their f hole. (painful) i use a pickup, it is non invasive and i can move all around and up to the mic to sing lead.
  5. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I talked with Martin Wind after the "Orntette" performance at ISB, who was using the half-bodied Gage travel bass along with the other bassist using the same instrument. Only, Martin was using a small cylindrical shaped mic with his setup wrapped, as you said, in foam rubber under the bridge. He had much more of a natural sound on his side as opposed to the other one. Martin told me when travelling, he uses the mic in conjunction with whatever pickup is on a bass that is rented to him and blends that combination into the AI head he takes with him into the speaker is provided. I'm still trying to recall what the mic's maker was. It looked like a German brand dynamic. It was a very warm sound with nice definition and growl. The spirocores probably helped.

  6. Yes and No... The SM-57 has a frequency-response down to 40Hz (unlike the SM-58), and an open "E" note on a bass is 41.5Hz, so that mic is picking up the entire range of the bass.

    However, ANY dynamic mic isn't going to reproduce quite as accurately as a condenser mic.

    The condenser reproduces every nuance, while the dynamics (SM-57, SM-58) really don't.

    Most of the time, at larger Bluegrass Events, the soundman will want to stick an SM-57 or SM-58 under my tailpiece, wrapped in a piece of foam.

    OR, they will want me to plug in to D.I box on the snake with my pickup/preamp.

    Either way sounds pretty good, but in my OWN setup, I use two large-diaphraghm condenser mics. We play mostly Bluegrass. (www.traditionmusic.com)

    I have a CAD-Equitek E-200 as the main mic, at shoulder-level, and a Studio Projects B1 as an instrument mic for the guitar only, at waist level. I should probably be using a small-diaphraghm mic for the guitar, but if the CAD should suddenly die, the Studio Projects could take it's place. <groan>

    If I'm not careful, my carved Bulgarian bass comes through the waist-level mic WAY too strong and dominates the mix, but I try to exercise care to keep it away from that mic.

    The shoulder-level mic only picks up general sound from the stage, and the F-holes are well under it, so that's how I control the power of the bass. The closer I get to the shoulder-level mic, the less my bass comes through it, ironically. <grin>

  7. If he has a Fishman BP-100 pickup, which features two elements that clip onto the top of the bridge, between the strings, then NO WONDER!!!

    That's the original Piezo pickup, and it was pretty hot stuff when it came out in the early Seventies. It still sounds just as good as it ever did. Problem is that it still sounds exactly the same as it did 30 years ago, and technology has improved greatly since then.

    A bass mute fits onto the top of the bridge, between the strings... does that sound familiar???

    Many people remove the BP-100 elements from the bridge while they are playing pure acoustic, since it adds mass to the bridge between the strings, very similar to a mute.

    ONE of it's problems is that the bridge needs to be tapered to match the way the elements clip on. Another one if it's problems is that the little spring-clips which hold the elements against the wood get fatigued over time (EVEN if they aren't repeatedly removed/installed).

    Another thing is that the BP-100 is a little picky about the preamp that it's used with. I heard one used with a Sansamp D.I. once, and my impression was that "NOTHING sounds better than a Fishman... literally".

    The sound man wound up putting a Rode S.D. condenser mic on the bass, because the pickup sounded so bad, and there was nothing he could do to improve it.
  8. Below you can see my live setup: a Neumann KM-185 mic on a stand. Just visible is the Glockenklang Acoustic Art Mk. 1 cab on a Quiklok cabinet stand. This setup (which also consists of an SPL Gainstation mic preamp and a Lab.gruppen power amp), delivers, without major problems, the best sound I have ever had, i.e. very close to my acoustic sound, only louder.



    Attached Files:

  9. I agree with Vincent re. the KM-185. For convenience I put the mic into a foam block which is then wedged behind the tailpiece, but the disadvantage with that is the mic is pointing almost directly up the fingerboard, and tends to pick up any grunts, curses or comments by the player. Having the mic on a stand is less convenient, but is better from the sound isolation point of view.

    I recently bought an Audio-Techica ATM35 for another project, and thought it might be interesting to try it on the double-bass. It worked very well - great isolation, good feedback rejection, and was very easy to set up. I clipped the mic to the adjuster wheel on the G side of the bridge.

    - Wil

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