Who's using mics for live performance?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by MikeBarber, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. I'm leaning towards using a mic rather than a puckup on my DB. Idealy, I would get the ATM35... but that is not within my budget.

    I am looking for a decent mic that is within the $100 (USD) range. But I don't know what to go for exactly. I've read recommendations as far as recording goes, but I am looking more for live applications.

    Such mics I have looked at include the MXL 990, the Nady CM90. But I am really just clueless. Since I don't have the option to try them out first in a live atmoshpere (with a band and room noise, etc) to see what they are like, I am reliant on the experience of my peers.

    Thus, I am asking "who's using mics for live performance? what do you use? what should I look for? what should I avoid?"

    Chris Fitzgerlad mentioned somewhere that the large diaphram condensers (like the MXL 990) are more for recording and that they feedback easily in a live situation (is that a fair paraphrasing Chris?). So would a pencil condenser (like the Nady CM90) be more of what I am looking for?

    Ah, so many questions... :help:
  2. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I disagree with Chris on the large diaphragm mics feeding back too easily in live situations. Several people do it; mostly depends on which mic.

    My .02 is that you won't find a mic in your price range that will be worth using live. I've used an SM57 in a pinch once, but it leaves a lot to be desired. If you go up to $200, your options will be better.

    I use (and so does Brent Nussey who is around here) the AKG C3000. It is no longer made (the C3000b is different) but can be found on Ebay for ~ $200. I use it with the hypercardiod pattern.

    Another great mic for live use is the AKG D112, a mic that looks like a big egg. The pattern isn't as tight is the C3000, but it can handle extremely loud situations without feeding back.

  3. What is the variable from mic to mic? Sensitivity? SPL? Can it be quantified in a spec?

    That's a little depressing. :meh:

    AKG D112... looking that up on MusiciansFriend.com, they have it listed as a kick drum mic?!
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Yep, that is what it mostly is used for.

    Also used a lot on bass though, because it can handle high SPL's and low bass frequencies.

  5. Ah, ok... so what I want to consider is a mic with a high SPL rating (what would constitute a "high" SPL rating though?) and a low frequency response, would that be correct?
  6. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    IMHO, specs are worthless, at least for me. The best thing is to try them. Another good thing is to find what others use. Christian McBride used the EV Re20. There are 3 of us here who use the AKG C3000 or its updated version the C4000b. There are a lot of opinions on this board if you doa search on what people use.

    Just don't believe marketing people. Very rarely will you find a mic specified for double bass. I only use specs to make sure the mic can handle low end well enough. Someone who knew more about the physics of sound and mics could probably give you a more definite answer.

  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    While you can use a studio mic for live performance, I believe that purpose-made bass mics do a heck of a lot better. I used an AKG C4000B and also a AT 4047/SV for live performance for a while. The sound was great but definitely had limits before feedback and bleed were problematic. The AMT I am using now allows me to get a heck of a lot more volume.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yes and no. Yes, because most LD condensers have polar patterns designed to capture a wider range of sound than what live situations usually allow. If you were to use an LD condenser for live performance, you'd be best off with one that can be set for "Hyper" or "Super" cardiod pattern - this design is built for off-axis rejection, meaning that it offers a tighter pickup pattern. Monte likes them and I believe him, but personally I wouldn't mess with it. I've seen McBride play live twice. Once, when there was a good house system that he could run his mic through, I actually heard him play as well. The other time, there wasn't, so I only saw him whenever the drums were playing. He looked great, but...

    The AKG is a kick drum mic. It's also a dynamic mic, so that it requires no phantom power to run it. I've seen guys mount these right on the bridges of their basses with mixed results. It's not as clear as any of the other mics mentioned here, but it can be workable for some. I'd have to agree with DORIAN GRAY that the AMT offers more volume than any other mic I've tried live because it is designed for the bass, has a very tight polar pattern, and is EQ'ed specifically to exclude ride cymbal frequencies (it cuts off dead at 2Kh, and if I'm not mistaken, it starts rolling off even before that). Of course, it's also about $600.

    Hope this helps.
  9. Well, I'm afraid if have to disagree here. I believe it is all about how you use a mic live - and what the rest of your gear consists of. Purpuse-made bass mics are a bit more convenient when it comes to user-friendliness (is that a word?), but, in the end, (and in my experience, of course, YMMV, etc.) the results obtained by a good-quality mic, used in the right manner and with the right gear, are (sometimes far) superior to many of those bass-specific devices.

  10. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas

    If used with the right stuff, I can get a stupid amount of volume before feedback with my AKG C3000. Granted, I haven't tried an AMT in something like 2-3 years, and they probably have gotten better.

  11. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    I've been using mic only for about a year now. For live performances I think the Golden Trinity is pretty good for the price. The guys in the band play a bit different when I use a mic only, and pay more attention to dynamics, to the point that even if it's goign to be a loud gig, I still prefer the mic only set up, becasue that helps keep the band more focused.
  12. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    There are so many variables that it is very hard to make relative judgements. For example, my current bass is a lot louder than my previous bass and consequently the signal/noise (where noise is anything but the sound of the bass) input to the mic is a lot higher. It depends a lot also on the room, the proximity of other instruments, etc. As with any kind of mic, you tradeoff one thing for another.
  13. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    You can hit the bay and get a couple LD mics. The condensor mikes will sound "better".

    The d112 is the p bass of mics. You'll be down in the mix where you "belong".

    I used a Audio Technica 4047 to record a bit a long time ago. Even if it isn't the sound you want for your bass it's a great mic to have.
  14. JKoehler


    Jan 31, 2008
    Snoqualmie, Wa.
    I got my Audix D-6 on Ebay for $98, and use it whenever I need to go through the PA.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I use a Sennheisser MD 409 U and that goes through the PA not an amp. I've never been happy with the sound of the mic through an amp, but I've never tried using a mic preamp or anything.
    For what it's worth, Neal Miner prefers using an SM 58...
  16. martinc

    martinc In Memoriam

    Ahem: There is an Audix D-2 for sale in the classifieds for 60 bucks including shipping ;).

    I have used it on my Eberle ply and it does a great job. You can place it touching the top (with a windscreen) and it provides a pretty good job of reproducing the bass. Never had a feedback problem.
    I now have a D-4 (more than 100 bucks though).... which has a lower frequency range but I really can't say it blows away the D-2.
    Either mic will do the job. So would a Shure Beta 57 or 58 if you want to spend a few extra $.
    Apologies for the shameless shill but it was hard to resist.:D
  17. neddyrow

    neddyrow www.simmerinstew.com Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    I use a sm 58 wrapped in foam and stuffed in my tailpiece and am pretty happy with it. It never feeds back and picks up more of the notes than the slapping when I play bluegrass. I've been using it over the AKG D112 which I used to use and still like but I've been singing more and using the 58, I don't have to pay as much attention to keeping my f-holes near the D112 which I would have mounted on a short stand.
  18. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    For live performance, either the AMTSP25B or the DPA 4099B are very good choices. Unfortunately, there over your $100.00 price point. Since the DPA came out I've seen quite a few AMT's going for less than $400.00

    With that as your criteria, I would think a Shure SM58 would be the way to go, their dependable, and I've seen several bassists use one including Drew Gress.

    Since all basses are different, personally, I'd want to demo anything before I laid down the cash for it. Try asking friends to at least borrow one for a trial run.

    Well, I've always have a pickup as a backup. Just my opinion though. It's saved my backside more times than
    I care to mention. I only send the mic FOH.

    I've really only heard one mic that I really liked for live and that was the Schoeps CMC6 but talk about expensive. Larry Grenadier uses it and it sounds exquisite.
  19. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I've had the same experience with the mic/amp thing. I either use a SM58 shoved through the afterlengths or an Audix D2 on an h-clamp pointed at the g-side ffhole.
  20. I was at a bluegrass festival a couple weeks ago and was visiting with the sound guy about one of the bassist's setup on her borrowed bass: Shure SM58 which was shoved thru the after length, right in the middle with no padding, to the PA.

    It sounded pretty darn good.