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Micing a cab vs. DI in a live setting

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by basss, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    What are the pros and cons of micing your cabinet in a live setting. Is DI'ing better?
  2. Micing a cab will give some natural compression, a good thing in my opinion. It will also give a good sample of "your sound" to give the the front of house PA.

    It does prevent you from really messing with volume, EQ & tone mid gig though,... because every time you make a change the sound man will have to compensate. For example, if I give the sound man a DI out from my amp that is PRE EQ, I can use my amp strickly as a monitor so if I feel that I need to hear my note pitch a little better mid gig, I can just boost some mids without affecting the front of house signal. IMO that is a good thing. Sound men hate when you keep adjusting things and it makes their job harder. Therefore if there is a mic infront of my speaker, I generally never change anything after sound check.

    Hope that helps.
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    i cant think of one advantage mic'ing your cab has over DI'ing on gig. sure, the sound of your cab does make a diff, but usually i see soundmen stick a silly SM57 on the grill. like that's gonna do justice to me low B. :rollno:
  4. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    If I can only have one, I'll almost always take the DI box. The one exceptiong is running Pre-EQ, this is my biggest pet peeve and have on several occasions refused to do so, the few times I have gone Pre-EQ I have regretted it after.

    Of course nothing sounds better than running both a mic and a DI box together, the mic gives you that warm mid-range sound and the DI provides those nice deep lows. Beware however when using both together for phasing issues.
  5. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Unless you have an incredible soundman with great gear (do such situations exist?) I'd go direct with a quality direct box. There are a lot of problems with mics and amps, Signal bleed (may be more of the bass drum in there then you), Feedback, mic sensitivity (a majority of mics are not made to handle the SPL's of a bass cab), not to mention the effect of nasty accoustics on your signal. And might I add, get a good direct out, and most of the ones built in to amps don't cut it!
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Well, one thing that I've come to realize is that since I typically turn my tweeter off on my cab, the DI signal will be noticeably brighter and clickier than the sound coming out of my cab..... "my sound".... So I went ahead and bought a D112 bass mic (works great for my drummer's kick drum in the studio as well). When the sound guy comes on stage to mic up my cab I just say "Hey, try this one." and hand him the D112. They always seem to smile back at me with a look, "A D112, alright!"
  7. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    For me, the problem of "bleed" makes DI seem fairly compelling. If you get different tone from the DI than from your speaker, one idea would be to put a small EQ in line with the DI and adjust it to your tastes.
  8. To me it depends. For a cab like an ampeg 8x10 i will use a mike ( if needed). But when I use my Eden 2x10 XST I go direct. I prefer the sound im my 8x10 since its more aggressive. But I only use that cab for practice and for really big gigs, where I need the "rockstar" vibe. But the Eden works great for me also, for medium to small size gigs where I can set up or tear down really quick. And go hit the bar.
  9. It takes time and finesse to mic a cab properly. Plus, on a riser or cramped stage there's always a chance the mic will shift or get nudged.

    Having a quality DI makes the soundman's job easier, which makes the soundman happy, which is a good thing. It's nice to be able to ask for a mic cable and be done with it. In the past I've had good luck using the Sadowsky and SansAmp to warm up my direct signal.
  10. Micing the cab works great, unless your cab has ports, mid range drivers or a tweeter. If it has any of those 3 things, don't mic it.

    Where do you put the mic? On the floor. You're getting port output. Even if you put it up high, how do you place the mic so you get a decent blend of the mid and/or tweeters, without getting too much of one or the other, or the man drivers?

    On ported cabs, some freqs are mostly port output, some are mostly driver output. Hard to put the mic where it'll get a nice mix of both.

    My preference is to use a relatively full range flat cab, give the soundman a post-eq signal. Flat cab means what I hear on stage is just about what's going out the DI. He can adjust that signal for quirks in the main PA, then theoretically what's coming out my cab is identical to what's coming out of the pa. At least its close. Then any EQ changes I make on stage (slap to fingers and back) I fine tune at my end, he shouldn't have to change anything if I'm not volume crazy.

    I hate sending him the pre-EQ signal. Then my tone is totally at his mercy, he'll muddy it up and set it up to his taste. Most soundmen like the thick mud, to thump people in the chest, but have no idea what the midrange should be doing.

    Unless your PA input is setup like a bass amp tone controls, how can they possibly get a good tone, the crucial mids right? What's the point of a botique preamp, if you bypass its great tone and send a naked bass signal to the PA? I might as well not even bother slapping, cause the highs are all dialed out of the PA.

    Yes, I have control issues..... :help:

  11. I use a Rane MLM-42 mixer at my rack to mix my signal from my preamps (SVP-Pro and SVP-BSP). I get the sound I want, send an unbalanced line from the Rane to my poweramp, the balanced line goes from the Rane to the house.
  12. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    The "best" reproduction is to send a pre-EQ signal to the board via DI, where there is a GOOD soundman who knows your sound.

    A poor soundman, and you're at his mercy. Send a POST-EQ signal, and you might be sending him something that sounds totally different from what's being colored by your cab. Mic it, and your not getting your sound, your getting an "aimed" mic's INTERPRETATION of your sound.

    No way is perfect, what works best for you is dictated by the circumstances.
  13. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Aren't mics bad at picking up bass, since bass travels more through the ground and less the through the air?
  14. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I like to give FOH my DI post-EQ (my sound, then he can take that and do what he needs to for his rig) (and I run things pretty flat anyway) but most sound men will also mic the cab - they can blend as they see fit, but mostly it's in case something craps out.
  15. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    I do both. Audix D4 & Radial J48. Sounds great, if I do say so myself....

    Coupla things I'd like to address for information's sake.

    Though not my first choice, a 57 is useful if you're able to rely on the DI for low end. The 57 will peter out around 50Hz, but has a useful and familiar presence peak built in.

    If you have bleed problems when micing a bass amp, you must play quieter than any bass player I've ever met. Same goes for feedback. Close micing eliminates those issues as well as any room acoustics concerns. You are right about some mics not being designed for such high SPL & low freq content. Bass cabs are a great tool for warping small condenser diaphragms.

    There's still plenty o' bass in them thar air particles.
  16. resol

    resol Guest

    Feb 21, 2005
    if you can, u should DI dry (pre EQ), DI wet (post EQ), and MIC you cab as well - you'll get FAT sound out of the PA...

    and thats how pros do it as well...you'll usually see a little mic in front of the cab

    oh yeh - and mic positioning is really important - to get lots of punch, you should put the mic directly in front of the cone...

    phase differences can be an issue...especially if your recording
  17. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    while a good idea,

    IMHO, it might prove to be more a nightmare

    the D112 accentuates the same frequencies as most other bass drum mics, which is inside your drummer's kick. thus, the overlapping frequencies might be a bit wonky, and make for a muddy mix.

    a better mic might as well be a condenser with the pad activated, or the more durable dynamic EV RE20, which are flatter in frequency profile, and yet reach those lower notes.
  18. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Thats a great point Joker, Most people don't think that way but a bass has more frequencie response then a gutiar because of the overtones. to me if you were going to mic you would want a flat (frequency) mic that could handle a lot of SPL's like an AKG 414 or Sienhieser MD 421. But you still are going to need a good sound man with a good board and a good EQ. Something I'm sure you run into all the time. So you can buy a 500 to 1000 mic and a good mic stand and you still may not get a good sound to the board if the soundman dosen't know his stuff. I solved this problem a long time ago, AVALON U5!! If I sound like crap it's not because the board isn't getting the best signal possible every time! And it's been a long time scince I sounded like, Oh well at least my tone ;)
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If I'm using a stage rig, I just run direct out of the head's DI (Eden or Aguilar, but not all built-in DIs are created equal). With no stage rig, Avalon U5, BassBone, or Countryman Type 85, depending on my mood.

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