Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

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Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by beagle » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:34 pm

This is related to the 'Getting your Sound into the PA' topic but I thought it would be more handy for future reference if kept seperate.

Drummers have specialised microphones to reach particular frequencies...
What would be the ideal sort of microphone to use for micing a bass amp?
What mics have you used and how did you find them?

I personally have only ever DI'd my amp but I'd like to try out this option and see the difference.
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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by timi » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:42 am

Remember that while there are "drum mics", they aren't always the best thing to use. You don't have to use a "kick drum mic" on a kick drum, nor do you have to use a 57 on snare.

Very often people will combine some of these mics or even combine them with a DI, but remember when using multiple channels you can sometimes have phase problems.

Are you mainly talking about live use or also considering recording? Either way its nearly 3am and I can't sleep so here goes!

Specific kick drum mics (usually dynamic): AKG D12, AKG D112, Audix D6, Shure Beta52 ect.
These have lots of low end, but they usually scoop the mids and hype the treble. Worst case, your low end will turn to mush with the kick drum, your tone will dissapear due to the lack of mids, and it will be "clicky".

Broadcast dynamic mics: Beyer M88, EV RE20, Sennheiser MD421 ect.
Dynamic mics that have fairly flat response, they often work well. Not cheap though.

Other dynamics: Audix i5, Sennheiser e609, Shure SM57, Shure Beta57 ect
These usually don't quite have the low end of the broadcast mics, so they can come off sounding middy. Many people seem to think they don't have enough lows, but usually you want the bass to sit above the kick in terms of low end so their "lack" of low end can often work in your favour.

Condensers: AKG C414, Neumann U87 ect
Like the broadcast mics they usually have very flat responce, but with a very clear top end. Theres heaps of different condensers that have slightly different characters, some even have a tube in them. You need to be careful how much SPL you put into some condenser mics. Theres also small and large diaphram condenser mics, people very rarely would use the small ones for bass, but therse no reason why they wouldn't sound cool. These are more fragile than dynamics so they usually aren't used live for bass.

Ribbon mics: Royers, Coles, lots of cheap ones available now.
Lots of low end, very smooth top end, not as bright as dynamics or condensers. But, they usually have low output so you need to crank the mic pre, and cheap pres are noisy when you crank them. They are also figure of 8 pattern.
You really can't use ribbon mics live, too fragile. Very cool in the studio though.

Personally, a Shure SM57 or Sennheiser e609 is my choice for live, but I like to experiment with recording. Usually I end up using a Shure SM57, Sennheiser MD421 or a ribbon mic.

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by Dan » Mon May 17, 2010 5:57 pm

For home recording you are generally only going to need a mic for vocals or acoustic guitar. A 58/beta will do a good job for both of those, and only costs about $200. Depends what you are wanting to record and what your budget is?

The Rode NT-1 is a great mic and only costs a few hundred bucks.....another good option.

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by timi » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:32 pm

Dan wrote:The Rode NT-1 is a great mic and only costs a few hundred bucks.....another good option.
Subjectivity and all, but I have to disagree. Curious as to what else you have tried, I don't think the NT1a is a good mic at all, even for the price. Very harsh top end. For the same money a CAD M179 is a similar but "better" sounding mic and is multipattern.

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by nzsimon » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:04 pm

Audio-technica make a dual element mic with a time aligned condensor and a dynamic in the same body

It was designed for kick but it is awesome on Bass and Guitar cabinets downside is it takes 2 channels on the desk a problem if you are close to the limit all ready

They come in 2 different spend levels $590 and $1090 as always better pricing for Forum members
The good old AT2020 is great as well and cheap at $175
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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by Dan » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:28 pm

timi wrote:
Dan wrote:The Rode NT-1 is a great mic and only costs a few hundred bucks.....another good option.
Subjectivity and all, but I have to disagree. Curious as to what else you have tried, I don't think the NT1a is a good mic at all, even for the price. Very harsh top end. For the same money a CAD M179 is a similar but "better" sounding mic and is multipattern.
All subjective for sure, I've had some great results from the NT-1. Obviously it plays second fiddle to the Neumann U87 but realistically, for the price it does a really good job.

The comment was more aimed at sweerra.....as a first mic purchase thats multi-purpose and cheap, its really not a bad option.

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by timi » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:18 am

Let's agree to disagree.

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by Dan » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:04 am

Haha don't worry, we generally do ;)

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by timi » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:33 pm

Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone agreed on stuff like this! I'd rather use an NT1 than DI though 8)

Hey Simon, is it true the AT4047 is based on a u47fet? Any first hand experience with one?

For those unaware, the Neumann u47fet is a "dark" sounding condenser VERY commonly used outside of kick drums, probably suit bass really well too.

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by dannowilso » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:44 pm

Just got a couple of our songs mixed at York Street that we tracked ourselves.
I got paid a complement for my bass recording.
I used an Audix D6 right up on the speaker, an SE2200(cheap as large condenser) about 600mm back from the speaker, a DI/line out from my amp(SWR350x) after the preamp(tube) stage and a DI out of my Sansamp BDDI.

It was good fun setting it up, I could wind in some gritty goodness with my Sansamp without sending it to the amp and I could fatten up the DI/preamp track by winding up the gain on my SWR. Then bring in the D6 for that real focused 100-300Hz sound and the large condenser for the fullness and clarity.

The Sansamp combined with the DI/preamp out gave me a tone I quite enjoyed so I am thinking of using this setup live.

ANYWAY back to microphones, I like the Audix D6 on bass but I like it even better on Kick Drum.
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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by timi » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:11 pm

Audix D6 and the Sansamp BBDI, two things I strongly dislike by themselves but it's funny what you can do when you mix multiple things together and use the "good" parts of each.

The D6 has some serious low end. I wouldn't want to use it on bass by itself but just for low end I could imagine it working well. I had a D6 for a few years and grew to hate it in the studio, way too scooped and hyped, good for live though. Still have doubts about the BBDI, but I am in the minority here as most people seem to love them.

What mic preamps were you using? When will the recording be ready to listen to? Who was the mix engineer? Would love to check it out!

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by dannowilso » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:16 am

timi wrote:Audix D6 and the Sansamp BBDI, two things I strongly dislike by themselves but it's funny what you can do when you mix multiple things together and use the "good" parts of each.

The D6 has some serious low end. I wouldn't want to use it on bass by itself but just for low end I could imagine it working well. I had a D6 for a few years and grew to hate it in the studio, way too scooped and hyped, good for live though. Still have doubts about the BBDI, but I am in the minority here as most people seem to love them.

What mic preamps were you using? When will the recording be ready to listen to? Who was the mix engineer? Would love to check it out!
Yeah the D6 does have some serious low end and is quite scooped, great for a live rock kickdrum but wouldn't use for a jazz kick etc.
I was having a few doubts about the BDDI too, kind of scoops your tone and empties it out a bit but I think in the big scheme of things this suits a live ROCK tone extremely well and fits in great with everything. Joe Walsh the guitarist in The Luck band complemented me on my great bass tone the other night which I was happy about too (straight DI from Sansamp).

We tracked with a pretty crappy Phonic Helix Firewire mixer, and used the onboard preamps :?
They aren't too bad actually lol.

Hook is mix engineer aye, he is doing some adjustments again for us today and then we will be getting them mastered next week with any luck. Hook produced and engineered our last single 'Oblivion' at York Street also.
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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by john » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:04 pm

timi wrote:Remember that while there are "drum mics", they aren't always the best thing to use. You don't have to use a "kick drum mic" on a kick drum, nor do you have to use a 57 on snare.

Very often people will combine some of these mics or even combine them with a DI, but remember when using multiple channels you can sometimes have phase problems.

Are you mainly talking about live use or also considering recording? Either way its nearly 3am and I can't sleep so here goes!

Specific kick drum mics (usually dynamic): AKG D12, AKG D112, Audix D6, Shure Beta52 ect.
These have lots of low end, but they usually scoop the mids and hype the treble. Worst case, your low end will turn to mush with the kick drum, your tone will dissapear due to the lack of mids, and it will be "clicky".

Broadcast dynamic mics: Beyer M88, EV RE20, Sennheiser MD421 ect.
Dynamic mics that have fairly flat response, they often work well. Not cheap though.

Other dynamics: Audix i5, Sennheiser e609, Shure SM57, Shure Beta57 ect
These usually don't quite have the low end of the broadcast mics, so they can come off sounding middy. Many people seem to think they don't have enough lows, but usually you want the bass to sit above the kick in terms of low end so their "lack" of low end can often work in your favour.

Condensers: AKG C414, Neumann U87 ect
Like the broadcast mics they usually have very flat responce, but with a very clear top end. Theres heaps of different condensers that have slightly different characters, some even have a tube in them. You need to be careful how much SPL you put into some condenser mics. Theres also small and large diaphram condenser mics, people very rarely would use the small ones for bass, but therse no reason why they wouldn't sound cool. These are more fragile than dynamics so they usually aren't used live for bass.

Ribbon mics: Royers, Coles, lots of cheap ones available now.
Lots of low end, very smooth top end, not as bright as dynamics or condensers. But, they usually have low output so you need to crank the mic pre, and cheap pres are noisy when you crank them. They are also figure of 8 pattern.
You really can't use ribbon mics live, too fragile. Very cool in the studio though.

Personally, a Shure SM57 or Sennheiser e609 is my choice for live, but I like to experiment with recording. Usually I end up using a Shure SM57, Sennheiser MD421 or a ribbon mic.
We just did some recording tonight, The engineer put an EV RE20 in front of my speaker. It sounded pretty much how my amp does :D

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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by beagle » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:04 am

john wrote: We just did some recording tonight, The engineer put an EV RE20 in front of my speaker. It sounded pretty much how my amp does :D
That's cool. How did you find the whole 'recording' process? Have you done much before?
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Re: Suitable Mic's for Micing a Bass Amp

Post by john » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:00 am

beagle wrote:
john wrote: We just did some recording tonight, The engineer put an EV RE20 in front of my speaker. It sounded pretty much how my amp does :D
That's cool. How did you find the whole 'recording' process? Have you done much before?
Done a bit before, but not for about 8-10 years now.
This is by far the easiest I have been involved in. Thanks to being able to adjust our own head phone mix separately , we all stood in the same room as the drummer with our amps in other rooms

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