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Mic with cab or going direct in?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by edgaroviz, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. edgaroviz


    Aug 8, 2011
    Will there be a change in sound quality between the two?
    I'm thinking that a mic will get the cab tone, but afraid the the sound won't be clear like going direct in.
  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Yes. I ( and a lot of other guys) would rather mic the cab, but there are a lot of guys who like to go direct too. Use the search feature, there are many threads here about this exact thing.
  3. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    As a guy who's done a lot of recording, and used to be a constant sound tech, (now i just do sound for my church) i MUCH prefer having a bass plugged in for recording, and mic'd into the PA, or on his own cab for live gigs.

    the reason i prefer direct plug for recording? quality. properly direct plugged instrument will have significantly recording quality than an average mic'd cab, especially if the acoustics are anything but ideal. That is your biggest hurdle. the acoustics.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I would say to try it out for yourself if you can. I like both options. I use a DI more often, but I like using a mic as often as possible. Both can give a nice and clear tone.
  5. spigmu


    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Depends very much on the amp/speaker/mic. Decades ago I was not prone to micing bass (as an engineer/producer, not a player) until the studio I worked out of had some excellent engineers book in some projects and it completely opened my eyes to how an amped bass can sound great, even without DI in the mix. But it does require all those ducks being in a row, so to speak. Some amps sound great but don't record great, and some basses record direct great but don't record great with an amp, so there are a lot of variables.

    Agree with bassgod0dmw, and Jake and Floyd too. These days I nearly always go direct but if the circumstance allows I may humor myself by seeing if a mic is two steps forward or back. Last year I played on something and he engineer pulled out a little 10" speaker that looked like heck. I was kind of annoyed (and it didn't sound overwhelming during the tracking) but he knew what he was doing and it sounded great when I heard the mix. Go figure : )

    What I DO like about micing is using that track to get whatever edge I want from the amp and letting the DI hold down the clarity and bottom in the blend. I'm not a fan of edging up a DI bass with an amp simulator, but that's just me. Lots of options to try! : )
  6. I typically do both, plus one. I go direct from bass, also direct from effects, and a mic on cab. Its easy to set it up and i find i really like blending the dry direct signal with the others as well. Now I use more effects than many bass players, in certain situations, but it really depends on the song were doing. Outside of our main object i typically use no effects anyway, so it would be direct from bass, DI from Amp, and mic on cab.
  7. Playing a P-bass, I generally just go direct because I don't usually have a specific amp or effects setup that I need to be in the PA, and a P-bass pretty much always sounds 'right' in the mix. I trust the sound engineer to get my tone in a place that makes the band sound good on the whole, that's their job.

    Having said that, if I used a heavy effects setup or an overdriven tube sound then a mic would make sense. And I have actually preferred a mic'd amp in some situations in the studio as well, depending on what tone you are trying to achieve.
  8. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    I do both (Well, in is more difficult than that).

    I normally have 4 tracks run.
    -Bass to direct box
    -Direct out to board and to pedal board
    -XLR from the Peterson Strobostomp
    -Line out of Peterson into my head and use the out after preamp
    -and a mic (or two) on the cabs.

    We mix and match to get the best tone.
  9. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    At shows I prefer being mic'ed verses di even when sound guys use the "oh you use pedals on bass? Well you are going to sound better if you di" excuse. Which isnt the case I sound better when the sound I dialed in is running into the pa. The di signal just doesnt sound the same to me. But when recording I like going direct in. That way my channel isnt going to have bleed from the vocals/guitar/or drums in it.
  10. edgaroviz


    Aug 8, 2011
    I'm looking into recording to record myself, stuff like cover, videos and tracks.
    Thing is I want to keep the amp sound in the recording and often use pedals, so I don't know which way to go.

    Mic might fart out noises, because my apartment rattles even if the gain is at 3-4, so it might get the rattle sound of the windows and
    other stuff here, plus the sound echos back when it's very low.

    Direct in sounds nice in a most videos I head on Youtube and I have a line out in my amp, so I might get the sound of the amp, but not with the speaker.

    What do you guys think I should do?
    I used Direct in a few times at my friends place, trough his studio monitors, so I got some idea how I might sound... Micing the cab really interests me, but I'm afraid the sound won't be as good and get all the detail.
  11. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    This is entirely dependant on the venue, for me. Big area with decent acoustics? mic'd all day. small area, good acoustics? DI. in fact, small areas period, DI. why? because the musicians can't hear what they sound like out in the crowd, and almost all musicians are TERRIBLE when it comes to gauging their own volume and the mix.

    that's part of the problem i have at my church, where i run sound, and don't play... our bass player brought his own combo cabs, and he runs right off those. one only powered, the other an actual powered cab with a small mixer on it. practice is ok, but everything else? fugeddaboutit!

    see the above. what way you run is dependent upon acoustics, and how your cab sounds in different places. some amp/cab combos sound great in a small space, but terrible in a large space. you have to find out where your own rig works best, and plan accordingly.
  12. edgaroviz


    Aug 8, 2011
    Then DI it is, I know my friend uses a TC Electronics DI, costed him about 400$, that's kinda high, is there something cheaper that does not fall from the TC in sound quality?

    I have a direct out port on my amp, so I guess I'll need one on the DI, and which cable should I use for the direct in-out ports?
  13. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    again, entirely dependent on personal preference. personally, as a tech, i just grab the out port on an amp, and plug a cable into my snake, then i fiddle with it until both he and i are happy with it.

    is it pretty? no. does it work very well for the tiny area i'm in? yep.
  14. Do both and blend!
  15. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    This also works. best sound i ever got as a tech was blended. but, again, space and acoustics are an issue. acoustics less for bass than for a regular sixer, but still need to be paid attention to. said blended sound? auditorium/basketball court thingy with almost 400 people.
  16. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    For recording at home in the sort of environment you describe, you're likely to get more acceptable results going straight in rather than micing your cab (although you could try both, or a blend). The DI could be from your amp or from another suitable source. You could always try some cab impulse modelling software or similar afterwards to get closer to the sound of your rig. The important thing is to start by getting down a decent quality track with no garbage, and that probably means DI in the situation you describe.
  17. edgaroviz


    Aug 8, 2011
    I'm going with DI, but it's kinda of expensive, my friend bought his TC Electronics unit for 400$, is there something cheaper that doesn't fall in sound quality?
    Is the TC Electronics recording equipment worth the cash, or over priced?
  18. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    DI doesn't have to be expensive, man. if your amp has a line out, just get a direct cable that steps down from the 1/4" to 1/8" headphone jack, and you're set.

    at least, set as long as you've got a decent sound card.
  19. edgaroviz


    Aug 8, 2011
    I have a MacBook Pro, does it have a good sound card, and how's the Direct Out cable that downsizes to 1/8" called?

    Edit: The only cable I found is from monster, the price is... 120$! I can buy a sound card with that money.
  20. Jake Saint

    Jake Saint

    Dec 31, 2011
    Mine Hill, NJ
    go to Florida Music Co Music Technology Store and get yourself a USB soundcard. great quality, with good prices. and Macbook Pro's typically have good soundcard. the 15" version having a better on than the 13" however, IIRC.

    *edit* and really? that's the only cable you've found? i've used this exact cable before, and loved it.

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