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Mic v. DI

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Joe.shaffer, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Mic'd cab

    57 vote(s)
  2. DI

    94 vote(s)
  3. Neither, just use an ungodly amount of watts.

    12 vote(s)
  4. Carrots...

    15 vote(s)
  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, that's about it, except for the pushed thing. Even at my piddly little unpushed volumes, I prefer the sound of a mic on a cab. Something very pleasing about that sound that I can't put my finger on...it's just something in the way the sound has to travel from an acoustic source to an electronic source that gives it a certain texture as opposed to staying all electronic.
  2. Cstof


    Aug 27, 2008
    Antwerp, Belgium
    From my own experience:

    Soundwise, using a microphone is definitely better than direct signals (post, pre, line-outs ). I rely on my choice of cabinet(s) to determine the sound i get. bypassing this stage will result in another sound.

    Miking the cabinet is not that difficult (despite what the live engineer might say). You do need a microphone which suits the sound source. I find the Electrovoice Re 20, Sennheiser Md 421, Akg D112 (or D12 if you have it) good (dynamic) microphones for miking bass cabinets.
    I bring a D112 to gigs.

    It becomes more complex when you rely on various drivers for your sound (for example a 1x15 + a 2x10 w horn). Miking several drivers is a good solution, but not always possible (if you have a bi-amped setup) or necessary (usually miking one 10" is sufficient).

    Mixing a microphone and direct signal can and will result in phase problems which will alter your sound drastically. An unexperienced live-engineer might not notice the problem and give you a bad FOH sound.
  3. +1 Again, for some tone goals, mic'ing is the way to go.

    My 'pushed' comment was in regards to the idea of mic'ing a cab AND using a DI. When you do that snarly, grindy, cranked SVT into a fridge thing, you don't have a lot of deep low end left in the tone (due to the general voicing of that cab, and I assume the impact of those drivers going beyond xmax when really pushed). Hence, just mic'ing that type of rig used for that type of sound can sound a bit thin out front.
  4. You're not supposed to compete with the PA. The PA is supposed to be taking the sound of your band to the audience.

    To my mind, the soundguy's job is to replicate the sound coming off the stage. Not what the soundguy's idea of what he thinks the band *should* sound like. If the soundguy knows his PA and his room...

    What if your soundguy's ideal sound is a 45w Bassman with everything dimed?
  5. As I mentioned above, if you have a sound 'professional' that is clueless, incompetent, or not willing to work with the tone the player wants, then none of this matters... mic, DI, whatever:smug:

    I'm lucky enough to not run into this too often.
  6. Beyer160


    Dec 20, 2008
    A thousand times yes!!! Why is this simple concept so difficult for people to understand? I always ask soundmen- "Would you use a DI on that guy over there with the Les Paul and the Marshall? Then why do you want to use one on me? What's the difference?"
  7. Beyer160


    Dec 20, 2008
    I've been doing PA for many years, and never had that problem. Is it a problem when you mic a guitar amp?

    Any soundman that tells you it's "easier" to use a DI on bass is ignorant, lazy, or both. You can have very valid aesthetic reasons for wanting to DI, but it's not "easier" or "better".
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Face it, Ken...old school is the new modern ;)

    The one thing I can't stand about bass players is how they feel like they have to push their tonal agenda on everyone else. It's OK to say you prefer one over the other, but it's a whole other thing to say that someone else's approach isn't valid. You're not much of an agenda pusher, but I have seen some bigtime agenda pushing in this thread from both sides. It's almost like they're looking for validation, and if they get others to buy into it, that means they're doing something right. I might take a little goof on someone about their preferences, like at the top of this post, but it doesn't affect my life one little bit if someone has a different approach than me, so why should I try to change them? I wish more bassists felt that way. Guitarists usually try to hide their tonal secrets from others...I wish bassists would learn a little something from that ;)

    In the end, we're all doing something right as long as we keep playing to the best of our abilities and people keep asking us to play. Nobody else cares except the person playing anyway.
  9. davio


    Nov 2, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Where was this winner working?

  10. +1 I actually erased that post, because I didn't see the poster's previous post putting the one I responded to in context.

    I agree totally with what he was saying now that I read the other post. Both mic'ing and direct are 'different but equal', depending on the tone goal you have.

    My whole point is that one isn't better than the other, and each approach (or a combination of both) can be wonderful depending on the tone you go for, and how important your amp is to your tone.
  11. davio


    Nov 2, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Personally, I let the sound guy use the DI on my head (pre- or post-), his/her own DI box or his/her own mic depending on how they want to run things. I am able to hear myself onstage as are those who need to hear me. I work with professionals that either work for the venue or are hired by the band I'm playing with at the time so I know I can trust them to get a decent, useable sound that will work best in the FOH. If the sound is bad with the resident sound guy, the band either hires their own person next time or doesn't play that venue again (usually the former).

    I am easy to work with. This is why I get calls before Bob The Bass Player who has his unusable signature tone that he won't compromise for the sake of the mix. This is how I stay booked.

    Nobody playing in Joe Shmo Local Band is going to develop a signature sound that anybody will give a crap about (ala Chris Squire, Geddy Lee or Entwhistle) until they kick things up to at least Joe Shmo Regional or National Band in which case they would probably either be working with their own sound guy regularly or with professionals who can work with the sound they want.

    To the OP's question: I couldn't care less which way my bass goes in.

    I apologize if I'm stepping on any toes as that's not my intent. I'm just expressing my disinterest in the topic. If something else works for you, that's cool as long as you make it work.



  12. I'll also give a +1 to this. I'll do whatever the sound person wants myself. If I'm using a head with a nice DI, I typically ask if he/she would be OK with a pre EQ send. Most of the time they are (as soon as they hear you say 'pre EQ' they usually sense that you are 'with them', know what you are doing, and not trying to pull a fast one). On the rare occasions where they say no, I'm glad to use any DI they give me.

    I've never had this happen, but if a sound person says he/she would rather mic my cab, I'd say fine:smug:
  13. davio


    Nov 2, 2006
    Boston, MA
    That's right man, carrots...it's all about the vitamin A.
  14. I think the most in depth conversation I've had with any soundman about my sound has been:

    "Where's your DI?"

    "Back here. Need a flashlight?"

    "Naw. Got one right here."

    "That's a cool flashlight. Where'd you get it?"

    "Farm and Fleet- they had these things over by the big flashlights, only cost about $5 and it lasts forever."

    "Cool. I've been using this little LED light..."

    "Hey, that's pretty cool."

  15. davio


    Nov 2, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Nicely. Thanks for the laugh. :p
  16. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Just wondering, do people who mic their amps also practice through their amps? Do people who only use a DI pre-eq practice through their amps?

    I am asking because I am wondering if there is any sort of correlation going on here. For example, I practice through a small mixer and generally with headphones. The amp is only used at gigs and the odd practice. So the sound I am used to is the sound of my bass uncoloured by an amp/cabs.

    Could this be affecting my, and others,
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There might be a correlation. Not with me so much...I used to practice out of amps because I had no other choice. Nowadays I usually don't plug into anything when I practice, but I still use an amp on gigs.
  18. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I don't see what THAT has to do with what I was saying, which essentially was: that if you want your bass to sound out front through the PA, like it does on stage through your rig, that usually the EQ used to achieve that is very different than what you might have used at your rig. - and thus POST-EQ DI is often a hurdle in the way of achieving that.

    And not only are most bass cabs and heads voiced a lot differently, but the sonics of a stage mix acoustically, compared to out in the venue, are another set of variables too.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I generally will go with just a DI. Its just easier, although I am fine either way. It is the engineers job to get a sound out front, and if I can make that easier for him/her I will. I do like to use my own DI though since MOST of the time the DI's at the venue aren't going to be the greatest.
  20. What I'm saying is there is no way for a sound guy to know what sound you want. You can attempt to explain it, and if the sound guy is patient, he'll pretend to hear you out and do whatever he was going to do anyway. Unless he's YOUR soundguy and you're paying him, he's going to do what is easiest for him to do. As has been mentioned in the thread- the sound guy does not care about what you want for your sound-
    - they only care that it sounds like a bass.

    Tell me with all honesty, how often you, as a sound guy, actually sat down and discussed the nuances of the tone the bass player has wanted. Tell me honestly, how often you, as a bass player, have sat down and were able to effectively communicate to a sound guy what you were after as far as your tone was concerned and have the sound guy actually act upon what your wishes were.

    If you're running the DI before the amp or before the pre- you're getting the signal of your bass alone. The amp is completely out of the equation. So if you chose your amp- you spent thousands of dollars on it, years assembling the right components in your tone search- you've done that for a monitor. That's incomprehensible to me. The bass that you've carefully selected for it's complex sonic overtones... That lush, tubey sound people here lust after... That big open sound of your 15s don't matter- that airy, organic sound of your bass doesn't matter. That line signal is going through the compressor and it's getting squashed down so that the soundguy can work with.

    Why is it a guitar player gets his cab mic'ed and you get to allow the nuances of the amp go through the mains? Is the guitar tone more complex? Less complex? Is there more of a difference in the tone of a Twin Reverb and a MV 50w JMP through a half stack than there is an SVT through an 8x10 and a GK through a 2x15? IMO, it's just as easy for a guitar sound to turn to mush as it is a bass sound to turn to mush. Seriously, how would that fly if a soundguy told a guitar player that he was going to DI his signal and bypass the amp because he can get a better guitar tone than the guitar player ever will, because he knows the PA and he knows the room...

    I'm not saying I make myself a pain in the ass for any soundguy, and I'll usually just DI anyway and accept defeat. But for anyone that has a rig that they've selected for any other reasons than portability and sheer awesomeness- it doesn't matter- it's getting bypassed anyway. So whether you're using an SVT or a TNT- you're getting the same sound.

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