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Multi Mic a Bass Cab

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by citizenchris099, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. I was taught how to record a bass from an old school engineer who showed me first how to multi mic a cab and how to combine that w/a di signal to get a good rounded bass tone on my recordings. Multiple mics include a "dark" mic (ex: Beyer 380, EV RE20 etc..) and a brighter mic (ex: Audio-Technica Pro 37R, AKG 451, Altec 165/175 etc..).
    Though he was literally the only guy I've ever seen multi mic a bass cab. It is common practice for recording six string guitar but from my experience not for bass...or is it? I certainly don't see it discussed much unless I'm just missing something.
  2. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    It's possible to use multiple mics on a cab:


    Mics from above.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  3. Nice!
  4. saabfender


    Jan 10, 2018
    No. Common practice is to record DI. Easier, faster, cheaper and you don’t need a large, treated room.

    All you folks who want to record your awesome cab with a microphone(s) are welcome to it. As a guy with decent mixing skills, a DI’d track is easier to work with than something miked. Your old-timer is probably used to doing things his way from the wax cylinder days.
    DavC, FugaziBomb and ELynx like this.
  5. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The same rules that apply to multiple mics on all other single sources also apply to bass guitar, but are perhaps exacerbated due to the low frequency content and increased potential for phase problems. The old adage goes: "One mic, one source. Two mics, two problems." That can be applied to mixing DIs and mics as well. You're always going to create phase discrepancies. Do the benefits of multiple sources outweigh the negatives of the associated phase problems? In every single case the answer is "it depends."
    derrico1, Gabbs, mindwell and 4 others like this.
  6. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    I try to keep the capsules roughly the same distance from the cab driver if I'm comparing the tracking capability of multiple mics.

    Note the stereo spacing on the pair of Telefunken M60 small diaphragm condensers.

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  7. Use of the 3:1 ratio rule and careful EQ'ing has seemed to eliminate most if not all phase issues for me. Which is to say I haven't run into any phase problems myself. Though I do understand how it could be an issue for sure. Generally I agree with the following notions
    a) DI is easier and for the most part gives most what they need
    b) when miking one mic is easier to be sure
    that said I do enjoy the results I get from putting the modicum of effort into combining DI w/multiple mics on my cab.
  8. Indeed sir.
    saabfender likes this.
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It really isn't. The only time I've seen an engineer use a multi-mic setup for bass was in a studio rig rundown video of a nu-metal band where they had they had one mic on the speaker, another on the horn of a two way cab. The bass player had a signature sound that was verrrrry scooped.

    Speaking of which...5 mics on one sound-making part of a two way cab, zero on the horn. I'd say it was silly, but for all I know they could have the horn bypassed. I probably would.

    For clean bass it's more trouble than it's worth to combine two signals. Or at least most engineers seem to think it is. If you're wanting distorted bass there's definitely an argument for going DI + mic if you have a good sounding tube amp. Combining clean DI with distorted speaker sound is the classic way of being able to fine tune a rock bass tone.
  10. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Sure, why not, it's only music. I've done it when rigs have been bi-amped. I've even done the stereo thing on a bass cab because good ol' Bruce Swedien used to swear the road to pure audio bliss was achieved by recording *everything* in stereo. And I've done mono mics on cabinets and single DI's and all combinations. At the end of the day generally the listener still wonders which instrument is the bass guitar.
  11. unfortunately I know this is probably true. or they are listening on such crap earbud/speakers that they can't hear the bass etc... That said I'm a hobbyist looking to have fun and take pride in my music / recordings. Someday I might have something worth sharing here on TB :D
  12. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    The photo distorts actual positioning. For this cab, the mic array was about 8 or 10 inches in front of the cab and placed between the horn and driver (slightly biased downward). That was the best multidriver position I found for this 2-way. I've done similar experiments with 3-ways. A lot of the result will depend on the quality of the recording environment, especially as you move further away from the cab. The room needs to be acoustically treated to make this effort worthwhile. Otherwise just use a DI.
  13. saabfender


    Jan 10, 2018
    I was taught every time I made a poor mix, a kitten would killed. No?
  14. I had 4 microphones on my Ampeg 410 for our last album. The mix ended up mainly being the DIs (sans amp rbi, Darkglass b7k ultra, Avalon 737) I cant even remember what the 4th mic was but I do remember I had a 421, 58, and a 52 on it. The 421 ended up being the highest mic in the mix. If the engineer knows what they are doing they can make it work but it can be a bit tricky to avoid phase issues
  15. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    LOL, well the OP isn't talking mix if I understood correctly, more about tracking. Mix is a different ball of yarn. Just remember if the mix gets good press the musicians are geniuses, if it doesn't then the engineer is to blame.
    BadExample and saabfender like this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Wrong, it's sent to a farm upstate where....it's tortured. A yarn ball is hung really close to it, but always just out of reach.
    BadExample and saabfender like this.
  17. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    As far as I know I only had my cab "multi miced" once. An engineer used a two-capsule mic (with one dynamic diaphragm and one condenser in a single enclosure). I don't remember the make/model, but I think the mic was primarily intended for kick drum, to capture both bottom and beater click.

    Whatever works for the engineer works for me, but usually the DI is over 75% of the sound.
  18. I say try using as many mics as you want, see what happens.
    That is how I learned recording techniques, by trying it with my setup, see how it sounds both soloed and in the context of the mix.
    If you use 10 mics, and it sounds awesome, then use it!

    Use your ears, not what you read on the internet.
    Nickweissmusic likes this.
  19. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
  20. SactoBass

    SactoBass I like all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    I recall an interview with Chris Squire in which he said that when he records, he (and his recording engineer) usually found their preferred sound by using a DI and a miked speaker simultaneously.

    But I do not recall any mention of multiple mics for the speaker.

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