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Vintage P-Bass, TI flats, Ampeg tube sound - what's the mic for my bass?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Balkan, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Balkan


    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    I'm starting to do a little session work here and there, and I'm wondering whether I should get my own mic that I bring with me, or just use whatever's at the particular studio. Same deal for live work - my amp gets miked now and again when I play live, but I've never brought my own mic along.

    As per the subject line, I play a P-Bass with TI flats. I currently own an Ampeg B100R but I'm planning to supplement with a real tube amp - probably a B15, B25 or V4. Does this setup cry out for a particular mic? Or should I not even worry about this?

    I guess what got me thinking about this was that I know a lot great bassists have recorded with the B-15, and I assume they've been miked, right? And if I'm trying to bring as much my own tone as possible, it occurred to me that maybe I should have my own mic.

    As you may have gathered, I'm pretty mic ignorant!
  2. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    There are lots of mike choices. Most studios will have plenty of mikes, and each engineer has his own preferences. Trust the studio to have mikes and do the right thing.
  3. koobie


    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    I'd count on a decent studio having at least a couple good dynamic mics to record a bass cab. Examples might include Shure SM7, EV RE20, Beyer M88 and Heil PR20. Hopefully they'll have a quality mic pre to plug the mic into...
  4. lambro


    Jun 1, 2004
    Heil PR-40 would be a good choice for more accurate represntation

    for more warmth, a Tube LDC like a U47
  5. Balkan


    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    The U47 is a crazy expensive vintage mic though, right? It was reading about that mic that got me thinking about maybe getting my own, but I would need something cheaper.
  6. Yeah a U47 is a very good, very very expensive mic, we have a matched pair at the studio I work at, expensive toys hehehehehe.... :D

    there are a lot of good tube LDC that will do a similar job for much less money, whats your budget?

    There are quite a lot of cheap clones around that do most of the job for MUCH less money, there not the real thing but they are very close considering they are a few less thousand pounds!

    AA do a 47 copy, http://www.aamicrophones.com/, as does peluso http://www.pelusomicrophonelab.com/

    I haven't heard it but a lot of engineers say good things about the peluso 47, the guy buys chinese mic's, guts them and replaces the insides with quality components. They are still pricey but very nice.

    but as mentioned before, there are a lot of mics/pre's that will do a great job, which one you use is an important decision but a bit of a different one to 'what amp, what strings etc', your tone will be your tone throughout and no one mic will represent it best, just variations of the same 'core' tone. as such its a decision you have to go with depending on the track, the studio and even the engineer and his recording style.

    for that reason I would normally leave the decision to the engineer but its nice to know what mics you like with your set up. maybe hire a few nice ones or ask the engineer if you can try a few next time you are in the studio (provided you have the spare time!). If the studio's you sometimes work at don't have great mic collections you could buy a cheaper one that you like the sound of so you can be sure you are always going to be happy, but I wouldn't go rushing out to buy a £1k mic as it will more than likely not be the best choice for a session every time!
  7. LowBSix

    LowBSix Commercial User

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    The classic was the EV-RE20...
  8. I would hope the studios you record at have a suitable mic for recording bass, so I wouldn't worry about it for studio sessions.

    If you want to mic the cab live, it would probably be worth it to pick up a mic as most venues I've played only have one good low frequency mic and it's used on the kick. +3 on the RE20 for live use. There are better sounding mics, but I wouldn't want to use an expensive condenser live. You can always get by live with the standard SM57 on your cab, I've gotten some surprisingly good tones out of it despite the fact it doesn't have an amazing low frequency response.
  9. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    I use a similar set up, and when I'm buying the mics, they are RE20 or Sennheiser MD441 for live use. I've heard good things about the Shure SM7B and the Heil PR40 too but I haven't tried them. My recording mic is an A-T 4047 which is a FET large diaphragm condensor.

    A good studio will have a selection of LDCs and ribbon mics; ribbons can be great on a B15, especially a healthy RCA 44 or similar, and I'd take a good tube LDC in a minute. The Neumann U47FET is a good choice for bass cab, if it isn't already being used out in front of the kick drum where it also excels. I hear the Blue Mouse and the Lawson FET mic are also solid choices in that ballpark.

    My most recent bass sound that knocked me out was Ric 4003S5 with TI rounds -Diamond compressor-60s B15N with an Altec alnico magnet speaker and good tubes - 4047-Apogee Duet. I also use a couple of short scale basses with La Bella flats through the same rig or through a Vox AC50/Foundation rig.
  10. Balkan


    Aug 8, 2005
    New York, NY
    Awesome guys - I should mention the producer I'm working with mostly is awesome, and just won a grammy for some work he did as a musician, but he's young I think he's just starting out with his own studio, mostly out of his own apartment, so I don't know if he's flush with super expensive mics yet or not. I also don't know how much he's focused on bass specifically. So I thought if bought something good (maybe the RE20) for live work, and then brought it to the studio, it might be better suited than what he has - or maybe not. As said above, I'm not a mic expert, but I really appreciate the advice!
  11. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    You don't need fancy mikes for bass. Trust me, even a humble SM57 will be fine. Mix that with a DI track and you have all you'll need.

    The producer has worked with plenty of engineers, so he'll know enough. If you start telling him what to do, you'll cause trouble. If he's incompetent, let him demonstrate that and then move on.
  12. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Another vote of confidence for the SM57. It might not have a lot of low end, but it still produces a good, solid sound. Especially live, it doesn't matter if you dont' have a lot of bass in your mic track if you can send a DI. And even then, it cuts on the mud.
  13. gratt


    Oct 13, 2007
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I've never been happy with my sound when just DIing from my amp live, so between my soundguy and I we've figured out a really nice alternative - I plug my bass straight into a DI box and then into my amp, and then mic my rig usually with an SM57. That way I get the actual sound of my bass, and my amp, and then I can keep a relatively low stage volume and trust the monitors (because in this case the 'me' that I'm hearing in the monitor actually sounds like I aim to sound in the studio rather than the clunky DI sound I used to get from the amp)

    Anywho, just thought I'd share. I agree with most of the people here about studio though: unless you have a very specific sound you're aiming for, I'd say just trust the engineer's judgement/toys and go from there.
  14. i have that for my Mesa bass cab ...awesome mic!
  15. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
  16. ive got a cad trion 8000 tube mic i use to record just about everything. especially good on vox, bass, and a great room mic for drums. i need like 6 of these. hehe. that thing has a killer bass response. only cost me $250 new on ebay. i think they list for around 600 or 700. you never know..if the producer asks you YOUR opinion on recording your rig and you already had a mic and pre worked out that you like it could be sweet...and very professional. -joep
  17. not to hijack the thread..but ive really been wanting to try and do some session recording. i just dont know how to go about doing it. do i need to contact local studios with some recordings, or just wait for a friend to mention me to a band looking for a studio bass player? i just want to make sure im being professional about it. -joep
  18. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    DI & SM57
  19. Kipaste


    Jun 27, 2006
    Helsinki, Finland
  20. I've always been a fan of the the Senn MD 421 when it's been used on my bass. Not an SM57 fam.

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