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recording technique

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by rossM, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. rossM


    Jun 27, 2005
    sydney australia
    Thanks to all who responded to my last enquiry - I shall try a few suggestions (feedback elimination) and report on results. Having read a few comments on the whole array of combinations available I am not going to try new amps etc for live work just yet -

    But reading the postings here I am interested in responses to some queries I have as to recording technique. I do record mine and other peoples material reasonablely regularly . I usually do a mix of pickup and mic'ed source . I have tried various options - AKG414, Sennheiser 441 , Octava Large diaphragm Condenser, and lately -Studio projects Tube Large diaphragm Condenser . The last combo seems to get a good warmth to counteract the ( in my opinion - needed -) solidity of the pickup . I am interested to hear what others may have tried- and whether use of the pickup is to be abandoned . I am also interested to hear to what extent reverb is is used on DB in recording - I have not used it much - but I seem to be hearing it more & more on recorded DB .

    I am wondering whether we are making a rod for our own back here because no- one actually listens to live DB in the same way as a microphone (ie 20- 20k 2'' from the body with reverb &compression) . It 's not surprising the sound live does not sound like that latest recording. But then if you are doing this (recording& playing live ) - you have to sound - hopefully- as good as the next player . SO what do you think ?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd say just use your ears and use whatever you think sounds best and you will be fine. Mic, pickup, combination of the two...whatever works to get your sound happening is fine. People use all manner of methods to record it.

    I've heard reverb used on DB before, mostly in rockabilly, though. Lee Rocker sounds like he's got a fair amount on his bass. Again, if you like it, use it. If not, don't.

    Yes, people listening to your bass live won't be a couple inches away from your bass to hear it. But you have to record it somehow, so you have to make concessions. Just make sure you get a good sound. One thing I like to do (for all instruments, not just bass) is to listen to other musicians' recordings and try to match their tone. It's all trial and error. If you don't like the sound, move the mic or change it out. Eventually you'll find the sweet spot.
  3. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I'm thinking that you and others who do recording and studio work often are aware of this already, but I have had really good success by placing one mic pretty close to my right hand. I call it a "fingerboard" mic.

    To my ears, it greatly helps define the "pluck" of each note. Call it articulation, front end transients, "boing" [ Thank you Ed Friedland!], whatever ...

    This mic placement by itself however won't give you a real full sound. It's a very sweet and natural sounding enhancement though if you can combine it with a mic in a more traditional placement and/or a pickup.

    Also, it may have been the nature of the pickup and amp I use for a direct signal, but the low end going into the board is usually overpowering. Using a high pass filter to taper off those subsonics really opens up the sound of the bass, and the whole group actually.
  4. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    My $.02,

    Live performances are fleeting, recordings are permanent. I would always strive for the most natural, pleasing sound on tape. Good live sound will always be a moving target because each room will mess with your sound in a different way.

    I always choose not to record the pick up. Do you like the sound of the pickup or are you trying to get more isolation by recording it?
  5. rossM


    Jun 27, 2005
    sydney australia
    re - recording the pick- up

    There are a no. of reasons why the pickup usually gets recorded . Sometimes its the engineer's choice not mine ( I did a recording which was recorded by the Australian National broadcaster - their studio had no expenses spared - they recorded both pickup & put a top end Neumann on the bass - I thought Gee this going to be great- in the final mix the engineer only used the pick up sound - not my choice !- I thought the mic'ed sound really lifted the colour of the instrument . The engineer & producer maintained the the whole mix was better without the bass having additional colour , they seemed to want a less complex tone in the bass. It was trad jazz - so perhaps that is right call )

    Usually , if I'm doing it with my own gear I use both - yes for isolation , but also because it can give a solid, defined core to the bass sound, it is reliable , and can be up & running immediately - although I would not choose to go just with the pick up alone . That can sound too lacking in colour and character . Using just a mic - I have had more hit & miss results- sometimes the sound is good but sometimes too lacking in clarity for the whole recording - you can get plenty of bass but not enough of the actual note you are playing- so I have adopted the policy of always recording both.

    I have also done a session where the speaker box also was recorded & mixed into the final sound though I do'nt know what was done to each sound for the mix. This was the engineer's choice .

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