Mics for recording upright bass

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Bobby King, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'd like to get people's opinions about their favorite mics for recording upright bass. All price ranges of mics included.


  2. mpoppitt


    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    The best sounding mic I've used is a Sennheiser 421, but you can get a good sound with just about any large diaphragm condenser.
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I picked up a Rode NTV large diaphram condenser with an included tube preamp. I love the way this mic records my bass. Fat and warm.
  4. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    I am digging an Earthworks TC20 I picked up a week or two ago. It's omni, so it's not picky about placement. Anywhere in front of the bass gets a great sound as long as the room sounds good.

    My next mic purchase will probably be an RE20. I don't have any really good dynamics yet.
  5. I think it's as much where you put the mic. I recently recorded at home useing my MXL 990(low $) through an ART tube mic preamp(more low $) but while experimenting found it sounded best sitting in the boomstand facing the lower, front right side of the body(my right while playing). I also ran a line from my Wilson pickup through my 924 preamp into the board but we didn't use any of that signal when mixing down, just didn't have to. We got such a great sound from the mic alone. Also, it helps if you record in a lively room(one with hardwood floors and glass windows).
    PS. Just make sure you trim your dogs toe nails before you press record.
  6. In my budget, I don't know, but for me, the best recordings of my bass sound where done using an AKG C414. It had a way of capturing the attack that I lacked with the Neuman U-87. I can't remember what preamps the engineer was using though...
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm enjoying the M-Audio Solaris for bass these days. Variable pattern, a rolloff if you want it, and the price is right (about $300).
  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I've had pretty good luck with an AKG C3000...and believe it or not, a $69 Marshall MXL603S small diaphragm condenser. For some reason, that little mic just sounds good on everything.

    Thanks Harvey!
  9. mpoppitt


    Mar 28, 2005
    Austin Texas
    Those MXL's are great bargains, and sound great. I've been using a 990 on my bass, and it sounds pretty darn good.
  10. The AKG D112 - the egg-shaped mic you often see used on kick drums - works pretty well for bass. Quite cheap too.
  11. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    My favorites that I own in order of preference:

    1) Neumann M-147 (tube)
    2) Lawson L47FET
    3) AKG 414b/ULS
    4) Audio Technica 4033
    5) R0DE NT-1000

    My favorites that I don't own (yet):

    1) Lawson L47MP (tube)
    2) Neumann U-47
    3) Neumann U-87

  12. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i read an article where a bass player said he used an old ribbon mic and it was the best mic he has heard.

    do you guys mount the mic on your bass somewhere or right out in front of it?

    seen a video of malachi favors and he had a mic in between the feet of his bridge in a towel or foam or something.
  13. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Studio Projects C1 - $199.00
  14. mister_k


    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles
    +1 for the AKG 414.
    preferably in figure 8 mode with the bass facing a corner or a nice open wall, and the mic a little closer to the wall than the bass. (3 feet from the bass 1 foot from the wall last time I used this setup.)

    I also like the Rode NT2 if you can find one.

  15. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I start by positioning the mic about 4-6 inches back from the bass, with the capsule of the mic about an inch above the bridge. Then if the sound is too bright I bring the mic down a bit earthward. If it's too dark bring it skyward.

  16. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006

    This mike sounds fantastic on my bass.

    BTW, I A/B'd it with a Rode NT-1000, and it was basically the same.....except the Studio Projects was alot cheaper.
  17. The Coles 4038 ribbon mic is a good 'un, possibly what what he was referring to. It's the one that was used practically exclusively in BBC radio studios in the 50s and 60s.

    It's still available new, though at a price! It is nice to record with, but too delicate for stage use, plus it has a really extended bottom end that will send a PA off into uncontrollable rumble...
  18. B. Johnson

    B. Johnson

    Apr 28, 2005
    I use the audio technique 822, good stereo mic. I am a classical guy though. Not a large diaphram but still pretty good sounding.
  19. I like your mic choice (and the RE-20 as well), but with that mic positioning it sounds to me like you'd be at a pretty high risk of comb filtering / phase cancellation.
  20. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Two that I have been really impressed with are the Audio Technica AT4050 and Neuman TLM 103.

    [edit: I have only used these in the studio.]