Unheard of?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Pacman, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I see a lot of pickup / mic combinations here where the pickup usually is responsible for the 'string' aspect of the sound, and the mic for the 'body' component of the sound. Anyone do it the other way around?

    At a rehearsal today, the piano player and I were breaking down my sound, trying to isolate some issues we were having. Turns out, when he's standing where I'm standing (at the bass) he hears plently of the attack of my notes - the pop of the fingerboard, etc... however, when he's closer to the amp, he just hears the fundamental. I'm using a realist on my carved Christopher, and it's very dark. I'm wondering if a small mic near the end of my fingerboard would help amplify that part of the sound. I could blend the two with a Raven Labs unit. Worth the try? Any mics anyone would suggest? Am I nuts?

    For what it's worth, the bass by itself sounds fantastic so this would strictly be an amplification issue - and mostly for big band settings.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Hey Pac,
    I´ve always found amplification as a PITA. I really respect all the hi-fi guys here who know so much of it...anyhow, here´s my 2 c.
    If your pianist stays where you stay ( at the bass as You say ) he of course hears pretty much the same attack as You do. What the bass projects is completely another thing and the sound is different than what you ( or anyone else standing right at the bass ) hear.
    The Realist is dark sounding itself, and due to the nature of it´s position it can´t pick up very much of the fingerboard attack.
    The problem is that the fingerboard attack is fundamentally a PART of the sound Your bass projects. If You could stand, like 20 feet off your bass and have someone play it unamplified, the sound Your ears pick up is a MIX of the fundamentals which the body of the bass projects, AND the finger attack, plus some other noises I don´t even know of. The fact that different waves go through the air in different speeds and come to your ears from different directions does not make it any easier...
    Now, if You only have the fundamentals coming out from the Realist through Your amp, that sound separated from the sound the bass itself projects appears to be muddy, especially in noisy big band setting. The bass itself can sound as nice as always when you listen to it standing right at it, but the more noisy the band goes, the less that nice mixture You hear yourself is audible for the rest of the gang and most of the audience. At worst, it leads to the situation where everything that is left of your sound is that low boom from your amp. If you don´t have anything mounted on your bass which would pick up your attack, the attack can´t be reproduced as a part of the sound that comes out of your amp.
    Which amp do you use? If you have some EQ in your amp, You might try fiddling around with that.
    The more noisy setting, the more the sound needs boosting of higher frequencies. Sometimes it helps,
    if the fundamentals are all right, sometimes it leads to horrible sound.
    What you are suggesting is that the Realist would be responsible of producing the fundamentals, and the suggested mic would pick the fingerboad and string attack. That´s a reversed approach to the way how it is usually done....but might work as well.
    The thing is that You would have to cut the low frequencies off the mic signal, ´cause your Realist already takes care of them, right?
    My regular band setting is Bass, guitar and drums + five horn players. We play unamplified, except combos for guitar and bass. The balance is guite nice when I use my amp just for monitoring myself and the drummer, and let my bass take care of the projecting. Lately we did a studio session and recorded some stuff, and the bass sound in the recording is a 90%-10% mixture of microphone signal from a mic pointed towards f-hole and a Barcus-Berry pickup in my bridge. I was very happy with the mix, that´s about how I´d like to sound live as well.

  3. Case4bass


    Mar 13, 2003
    Bucks. UK
    Taking different setups and personal preferences as read. Have you tried (or heard) the peizo pickup from Accusound here in the 'sunny' UK. It sticks around the bottom of the bridge and therefore picks up the string sound through the top of the bridge and body sound through the bottom of the bridge. I use this setup through a pre-amp into a Trace Elliot TAB100 and it sounds great. Good clarity. I have a Boosey and Hawkes, ply bass with a spruce top, fitted with Spirocores. (It can also be fitted in tandem with a small mic if required.)
  4. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    A number of us use an Underwood
    pickup with the Realist. The Ravenlabs
    makes it really easy. The two pickups
    seem to have a complementary sound
    on some basses. I think a wilson with
    the Realist would be a killer combo.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Back before my Realist crapped out, I tried pairing it with the Trinity mic. It was an improvement, but mostly what it helped was to get more "body" on the G string....the overall sound was still pretty muddy. Once I replaced the Realist with the "Double Bass Max", I was officially in business.