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Mics, placement, blending, roundback vs flatback, etc.

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Adrian Cho, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Two interesting mic thoughts from me. Firstly I am going back to the AMT. Many of you know that I had one for many years and loved it but then sold it because I found I didn't really need it anymore for regular gigs. For concert situations I would use a stand-mounted mic (often an Audix D-4). Although it's still early days I'm now figuring that with the move to the Wizzy 10 (from the Epi UL-110) that I may now want to go back to using a mic (blended with the Full Circle) to have a sound on gigs that I am happy with. Additionally I found that the stand-mounted mic was a bit limiting in concert situations. For various reasons, I prefer having a mic that I can move around with.

    The other thought is a revelation for me about mic placement. I had not been using a mic much with my Shen 7/8 Willow flatback because I was getting such a damn good sound with the Full Circle and the Epi UL-110. I've always found in the past (on another basses) that the sound near the f hole is boomy. I discovered recently in testing mics with the Wizzy 10 and also yesterday in the recording studio that on my Shen at least, it's actually a great place to put the mic. I believe a large part of this is attributable to the flatback design. I got my Shen (replacing a beautiful Italian roundback) because I wanted something with a more focused sound. The roundback especially under the bow, had a huge sonorous sound that would fill an area. The Shen on the other hand especially with pizz, just shoots the sound right out like a cannon. In the studio yesterday, the recording engineer put his hand near the f hole and said the amount of air coming out of it was unbelievable. I definitely can't put the mic too close to the f hole but about six inches away, I can get an incredible strong signally and it's not muddy at all. Of course that's on this bass.

    End of random brain dump.
  2. In the studio, my favorite engineer always places the Neumann U67 6-12" from the ff hole and always gets a wonderful sound. However, in a live situation where I mix my AMT mic with a FC pickup and go into an AI Coda, the mic always seems to sound best when placed near the end of the fingerboard and on the center seam as you once recommended. This is true for me regardless of whether I'm using my roundback or the flatback.
  3. Responding you comments, I can say I'm really happy with my AMT and blend it with a Realist and play a flatback. I find placing it over the f-hole gives a strong full sound when I use the AI Coda R series II (the series III is much more powerful and the AMT created an extreme boominess in my experience -- I traded that in for a Clarus and got a Wizzy 112 to go with it, but the AMT with that setup still has to be placed about 1" to the side of the f-hole).

    But here's a question I'd be grateful for your thoughts on: Adrian, Bob, apart from the AMT, what kind of mic will reproduce/transmit the sound of the bass best for live amplification? Apart from the expense, aren't the Neumann U67-type mic too heavy to mount on the bass? Is the KM 185 a better choice? I guess if am willing to shell out, the condenser or carotinioid (?) unidirectioinal (?) is what I would want.... any help here?
  4. I really can't comment on other mics since I have not tried any of the other mics that have been mentioned in other related posts. I wanted something more or less permanently mounted and the tailpiece mounted AMT with removable cord gives me what I was looking for. I have not experieced the boominess you mentioned with my AI Coda Series III amp with the AMT mic positioned near the end of the fingerboard. When I first got my AMT mic I tried positioning it near the ff holes at various heights and I never could get it to work without boominess on anything but whisper quiet jobs.

    Yes, because of it's size and weight, the Neumann U67 would be totally impractical for mounting on a bass even if you can afford one. Vintage studio mics like the U67 are somewhat fragile too.
  5. Not only are they fragile but they don't have very good off-axis rejection. You'd be amplifing every sound around you along with the bass. They also cost about $10,000 if you can find one. One of the big selling points of the AMT is it has very good off axis rejection. You can crank it up pretty high without amplifying the drums and the piano and the sax...along with your bass.
  6. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Adrian, Bob – Where at exactly? Center of the f-hole in line with the bridge? Or maybe north or south of there?
    Bill, this was similar to my initial mic encounters with a Golden Trinity. Up near the very top of the treble side f-hole, but moved in about 1” toward the center line of the bass.

    I feel that I get the best results now at the end of the FB like Adrian and Bob suggested a long time ago. (Thanks guys.) Halfway between the bridge and the FB sounds good too on my bass. But in certain situations I think I would be willing to sacrifice a little of that nice natural sound for more output b4 feedback. So based on this thread I am going to try the f-hole again, w/ the Beyer and the H-clamp this time or maybe the AMT too.

    [ Edit - My bass is a Czech carved flatback. My Dad's family is Czech too. Pierogies anyone? :) ]
  7. It kind of depends on how much finger noise I want to come through the mix. With the Neumann U67, the mic is usually a couple of inches away from the top of the bridge. If I want more finger noise, the mic may be centered on the bridge. If I want less, it gets moved over in front of one of the ff holes. I'm not sure that the exact position in relation to the ff hole is super critical. I have a tendency to move my bass a little side to side while I play, but I haven't heard any noticeable change in the recorded sound because of that. On the other hand, the ear of the engineer is at least as important as the mic he uses to record your bass. It is not at all unusual for this engineer to come in and reset the bass mic position less than an inch one way or the other after doing the sound check or after a take.

    This works great in a recording studio, but even being surrounded by 5' high sound absorbing panels does not totally stop the bass from being picked up by the other mics in the studio and doesn't keep the piano and any other instruments from being picked up by the bass mic. Fortunately, bleed through can be controlled in a studio. However, if the drums were in the same room...
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