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Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by 1887, Feb 16, 2006.
This is a great question, I would think in Nashville you could throw a rock and hit an engineer that could answer it! In my extremely limited experience setting up mics I've found it is cool to use a good stereo mic turned on its side. If you place it at one of the F-holes (have the bassist play and stick your head down there to find a sweet spot, vice versa if you're the bassist) you can get two channels to mix into one another. The top channel will have more articulation, the bottom will have more bass. It's pretty cool if done right. That's for pizz, arco is a completely different animal as far as mic placement, etc.
Studio or live? Live I've had awesome luck the the Audio Technica AT822. Studio-wise there are a lot of good choices and I'm sure that Chris Fitz will chime in, or at least recommend the endless threads that have been created on this exact topic.
In the studio, there are a variety of large diaphragm condensers that will do a nice job. I've had great luck the last couple of sessions with a CAD E 300 (I think that's the right number - it's a huge black and gold number, about the size of a tall can of malt) as the main mic, about 18" in front of the bridge, coupled with a Shure SM 81 up over the fingerboard. The Java Men and Todd Hildreth trio cuts on my site were recorded with this setup.
At home, I use an M-Audio Solaris also about 18" in front of the bridge. This can be heard on the site on "My Foolish Heart", if interested.
Live, I dunno... it's more about the placement and the engineer than the mic IME. Live recording is a tough nut for bass, especially if you're set up right next to the drums.
I just bought a Beyerdynamic M88TG and I am friggin' happy. Live, studio, what have you. This mic is making my life better at the moment.
Do some research - they are a favorite among many for bass drum, bass cabinets, and DB. Hypercardiod dynamic. Well-built German mic. Runs about $250 new.
Other mics I've tried include the Earthworks TC20, Shure Beta98, AKG D112, Oktava MK012, and probably a few others.
They all "work", but the Beyer has the mojo.
Couldn't agree more about the Beyer M88. Those are great mics that are too often overlooked. In fact, Beyer makes some great mics in general.
If you have the luxury of having a really good sounding room to record the bass in and can pull the mic back a bit, some of the classic large-capsule condenser mics such as the Neumann U-47 or U-67 or the M-49 can sound spectacular.
There are also some small-capsule mics that are great such as the older Neumann KM-84 and AKG C-451.
Also don't overlook some other dynamic mics which can do a good job in less than ideal conditions. In the past, I've used the Shure SM-7 and EV RE-20, which are both broadcast standards. These can sound really good and give a very punchy sound especially with the right mic preamp. Even a Shure SM-57 can work in a pinch, especially with a punchy mic pre like a vintage class A Neve or a sweet sounding vintage mic pre like a Telefunken V76.
BTW you should be able to rent any of this stuff easily in Nashville. That would be a good way to find out what works best for you.
I was so torn between the M88 and an RE20 for my next mic. I picked the M88 figuring it had a tighter pattern for reducing bleed. I will get the RE20 eventually, but I've got to start upgrading my pres. I'm gasn' for the True Systems Precision 8. That's a big hunk o' change, though.
Sorry Larry. I shouldn't type when I'm so tired... I was agreeing with you about the M88 and also replying to the original post in this thread. Sometimes I get confused!
As you no doubt already know, the EV RE-20 is not small or inexpensive. I like the way they can give some focus and punch and still pickup the overall sound of the bass when fairly close micing is required. The off-axis frequency response is also quite good on the RE-20, which is important when there's leakage from other instruments.
BTW several years ago I recorded Lynn Seaton and used an old RCA ribbon mic at his suggestion. Sounded great.
Other great old-school dynamics for recording the bass are the EV 666 (anyone have one of those?) and even the EV 635A can sound good for micing close up.
Sorry? No reason to be - I was just agreeing that the RE20 is a great mic as well. Great to have TB'ers into recording.
I had put off all my recording gear purchases until I had saved enough to upgrade my bass. Now that's done so my spare cash is going towards mics at the moment. So many to choose from...
for a while i thought i was the only one using RE20 on bass (i aways seen it being used as a voical brodcast mic). if you are ever interested in classical recording, check out a pair of earthwork QTC1 (or any of the new line of QTCs). on a boom 6 feet up and about 8 feet back in a good sounding room (measurements to be ajusted for room and instrument) gives me the best bass sound one could ever ask for. balence can be achived by changing the distence of the source to the mics as though they were life size sliders.
I've had good luck with the EV RE-20 with a brighter sounding bass. It seems to smooth it out. On a darker sounding bass I've gotten good results with an AKG 3000 large condenser. Stay away from the f-holes. There's a lot of turbulence coming out, much like the port on a speaker cabinet. Ribbon mics can be wonderful, but they are rarer and good ones are expensive. You also need a great mic preamp with ribbons to get a good sound with the extra gain needed. Legend has it that the holy grail of mics for bass is the RCA BX-44. I've been looking on Ebay, but ones in excellent condition cost $$$.
Hey Larry, I'd caution against using an M88 on a kick drum. It's a ribbon mic and the blasts of air from the skin could easily do for a ribbon. The caveat is that you mention the TG version; that may be ruggedised sufficiently to withstand use on a kick drum, but I'd certainly take care with an older M88.
But on bass, absolutely.
The vintage AKG D202 records well too.
The M88 is not a ribbon. It is most definitely a dynamic mic. You may be thinking of some of the other Beyer mics like the M130, M160, M260, etc. Those are ribbons.
My first preference is a vintage Neumann U47, but I also like the U87, Lawson L47MP, AKG 414, and Audio Technica 4033.
Just a quick observation about why this place is the best. Based on all the threads I've read here about DB mic techniques, and using what I already had on hand, I rubber banded an ATM41a to the bridge and used an AT3035 on a stand about 13 inches from the bridge (pointing a little down toward the tailpiece)for recording and...voila...got about as nice a sound as I've ever gotten. I was recording onto my PC w/ Sonar3 Producer Edition through a Mackie1202 mixer. Can't wait to record something worthy of the TB Sampler page....soon I hope.
Hey Larry, you're absolutely right, my mistake. I don't know where I got the idea that the M88 is a ribbon, but I've been carrying it about for years!
I stand by my advice though: don't put an ACTUAL ribbon in a kick drum!
I just finished a recording gig, in which my bass was recorded using my Neumann KM 185 as the only mic. I placed it just as I do in my live gigs; on a stand, just below the bridge, pointing slighly upward. The sound was very, very good! I also used the SPL Gainstation mic preamp and went straight into Protools via a line in, using a blend of the solid state and tube stage, plus some FET compression (also as I do in my live gigs).