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How to record a Double Bass?
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Thierry
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28th November 2007
Old 28th November 2007
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Question How to record a Double Bass?

Hello,...

I try to figure out how to record my double bass (contre bass) acoustic...

I'm not sure yet... i was thinking to take from the Fisherman (bridge mic) to Avalon U5... or take it with any kind of mics....

Can some one help?...

Thank You
Thierry
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One mic by the bottom of the fingerboard and one near the bottom of the body.
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are you recording it on its own or with other instruments at the same time
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try a large diaphragm tube condenser. i always see a U47 as a default mic for double bass. It's usually in a jazz environment though. are you going to be playing jazz, pop, classical music?
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28th November 2007
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aussie_techie: mostly i will record it alone, but sometime with other instruments for a jam session, i will like to do both...

walth: it's more like Ambient/Dub ...

Thank you for the help ...

Why no one was thinking direct (DI) and mic..at the same time?
I will like some name or brand...

Thank you so much

Peace
Thierry
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28th November 2007
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28th November 2007
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plug via the bridge (fisherman pre amp) to ?? amp or straight to avalon?

Sorry there is so many possibility... maybe mic on the amps?
or on the Double bass self..? or both or with avalon U5 and mic on amps and on the front of the double bass?

i got lost here..?
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28th November 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thierry View Post
Why no one was thinking direct (DI) and mic..at the same time?
DIs dont usually give a very good sound for double bass so if recording it on its own there isnt much point in using it, the same goes for any string instrument really. how often are violins DI'd. by all means try it for your self, particularly if your not sure about your mics, you never know what tracks you will end up using. when recording live then using both a DI and a mic is a must as the mic will have to much spill in it so for the most part you have to use the DI and just bring up the mic in a solo.

micing an amp really just gives you the DI sound aswell, at least on the cleaner amps that are usually used with acoustic bass anyway. what amp are you using?

what mics do you have available? all of the choices that come to my mind arnt exactly cheap
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28th November 2007
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Thank you Aussie_techie...
But when i record normal bass i kinda prefer to do it with DI that's why i was thinking to do with Double bass ...to get the low end...

I was thinking to take off from Fishman Full Circle
here is the link (Fishman Transducers, Inc - Product Details)
to an avalon then to comp then ...

but like u said i need to figure out more....
Amp i use Galien-Kruger RB 400 bass amp but i use also SWR 750 bt for bass mostly not DB (Double Bass)

For miking i was thinking RE20 or something like that...??

If you got better mic suggestion let me know...

Thank you again...
Thierry
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28th November 2007
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Hi BVB,

I can't believe someone from my country where i was born ..cool.

the link u give ....is really interesting what is the 2 mics by the way to make sure...? neumann?? or telefunken..or? and??

Thanks all of u to help me ...

Thierry
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28th November 2007
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My suggestion is a Neumann TLM170 through a good clean pre and the Gage "realist" pickup.

I also like Schoeps MK4 on many basses for Pizz.

My personal favourite for a fat sound is the RCA44BX, but you need a good bass, good room and decent isolation to make it work for Jazz.

Given a great instrument in a great room with 100% isolation, the neumann M150 can be stunning.
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I used my Mojave MA-200 and it worked really well. I just used 1 mic though because I was recording multiple people at the same time.
Good Luck,
Cam
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Thanx a lot...everyone...

Now i can start to figure it out myself....and maybe spent more money r lol
Have a nice day...

Peace
Thierry
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I have gotten great results with a ribbon into a tube pre (Cascade Victor into ADL600) about 18" from the middle of the body, and an SM57 or SDC above the fingerboard.

It also depends on if they are plucking or bowing. If bowed, you may need to move the lower mic back some.
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#16
29th November 2007
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I tend to approach miking an upright bass (plucked) like the old timers did. Get down on your hands and knees and LISTEN WITH YOUR EAR.

An upright bass will have different notes that will sound louder than others. It is important to find a miking location where the volume and tone of each individual note is consistent.

A good place to start listening is out in front of the bridge. Listen with one ear, above, below, and to the sides of the bridge area. Find a place where it sounds like what you would like the finished product to sound. A louder bass may sound better farther out in front - say, 12" in front of the bridge, a quieter one maybe closer to 4". It all depends on where the sound seems to fully develop.

The f-holes are USUALLY to be avoided. There is a lot of air moving in front of the f-hole that will likely over-modulate the mic capsule. It may sound muddy, undefined, uneven, and distorted. Beware the f-hole (USUALLY).

I do not like miking the fingerboard. Blending two mics will only create phase issues and may cause problems during mixing. And I understand the fingerboard "attack sound" of hearing the fingers plucking the strings that many engineers desire. However, in order to hear this attack the levels need to be brought up close to the levels of other instruments - which may fight for space. The resulting finished sound is like standing in a room full of the musicians and singers, with your ear next to the bass players fingers. It never sounds "real" to me. One mic - around the bridge - will give you TONS of transient punch, thump, attack, and tone of the upright bass - and hopefully sound more "REAL" than using multiple mics.

I love to use a figure-8 pattern, large diaphragm tube condenser, on a bass. Here's why...

1. There's a lot of unwanted "muddiness" resonating from the body of the bass - usually from the f-holes, the lower part of the body, reflections from the floor, etc. Use the off-axis of the figure-8 to reject this muddiness.

For example: Position the mic where the sound is best (let’s just assume that it is 10” in front of the bridge). Point one side of the figure-8 towards the bridge and angle it a few degrees slightly upward to get some string "attack" from the right hand. The other side of the figure-8 will be facing outward and slightly downward.

The off-axis of the figure-8 pattern can now be used to help reject those “nasty”, “muddy” unusable lows emitting from the f-holes, and especially the lower part of the bass body and floor reflections! This can help clean up your mix, greatly alleviate your EQing nightmare!

2. Figure-8 patterns boost proximity effect - fattening the low end frequencies.
A GREAT tool for making the bass sound punchy, full, and just totally awesome in your mix.

I have had great success with the Rode K2 multi-pattern tube mic set to figure-8. (You’ll want to trade out the stock Russian tube to something better, like a NOS Mullard or Siemens).

The above technique usually works great in most cases. However, all basses and players are different. I remember one particular instance where the best place to mic was at the upper-right bout (opposite of the player), facing inwards and aimed to a point underneath the fingerboard. Nowhere near the bridge and totally against “textbook” rules of bass miking! Another time using two pencil condensers in phase, wrapped in foam, and stuffed between the tailpiece and body was the prescription.

It is difficult to “fix” an upright bass after the fact. You need to get it from the source. Take as much time as you need to make it sound like music!

This “longwinded” explanation is all my humblest opinion. Good luck and try some stuff!
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29th November 2007
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So many different ways ,depends on the sound you are looking for here couple of tips from me :

1. one LDC or SDC in front of the bridge or left from the bridge (players point of view )pointing to the right hand fingers of the player . I used :
U87,C414,Tlm103,Tlm 170,Tlm193,any ribbon,km184 ,re 20 or whatever you have ,almost anything will do the job. I prefer U87 tlm 103 km 184 c 414 so the brighter mics

2 two mics SDC or LDC or the combination
One pointing to the F hole and one to the right hand players fingers . Not too low .Keep them both higher than bridge unless you want to blow your woofers on the monitor tutt remember now u have two sources with a lot of bass and proxy eff .U might need some eq here .

3 .Realist pick up plus one SDC or LDC in front of the bridge . Use the eq for bass roll of

4 More FX electric sound you can get with two pick ups and ofcourse the great isolation from the drummer or sax. I used Realist and underwood ( the original one like ron carters one) not the willson or similar . BTW i hate the fishman pick up but i think it can work great with realist in combination it is too bright.

5 SDC in the bridge or string holder or on special stands you can mount on the instrument . The schoeps are making some nice mic holders for the bass but u can easely make one by your self ,use your imagination and dont kill the bridge and the body sound .
I use for this km 184 but you can really use what ever u have . I had great results with Behringer C2 ( 30 euro mic) in the bridge almost similar sounding in this position like the more expencive brothers - i am not joking .

If all of this is not working for you then just pick up an old Fender jazz bass and play the hell out of it

Dont forget , proxy effect is our worse enemy so fight this by moving the mics away from the instrument .
Use the EQ if you need to . Boost around 800 hz to 1 khz and 2khz til 3 khz if you need to in the mix . Cymbals will kill your overtones , piano and the guitar will cover your range easily so sometimes panning and bass roll of on the other instruments will help bringing up the bass in the mix .

And most important

Play the hell out of that beast
#18
30th November 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bass man View Post

And most important

Play the hell out of that beast

AMEN BROTHER!!!
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30th November 2007
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It looks like you've received lots of good feedback so far, but if you haven't already checked them out, there are several other good bass threads, but most are under the "upright bass" heading/tag.

I'm a bassist myself, and I've tried a lot of the methods metioned. My favorite sound for me is to use an AT4047, placed 6-12 inches in front of the bass, just a tad higher than the bridge. A KSM44 in simlar position works well, too. That works best with full or partial isolation. I've also had good results with a Beyer MC930 pointing at the space halfway between the end of the fingerboard and the top of the bridge, which has been more useful for me in live, all in one room, situations.

I don't really like the sound of a DI myself, but I often have to use one just to get at least a little clean signal on the bass. I rarely use it by itself, but it can help as filler, especially if you have to notch the drums out of the bass mic at certian frequencies when mixing.

Joe Ferla made some really helpful comments about mixing bass on a thread here somewhere. I can't remember the exact name of the thread, but I think it had "nightmare" in the title.
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Never heard much good from pick-ups in the style of fishman and the likes. Can save a rec with lots of spill though.

If you have the luxury of recording the bass in an iso booth, one technique I've seen lead to great result is an omni mic on the floor (preferably wood), around 2-3 ft in front of the instrument. Does not work everytime, but it's a brillant trick when its time turns in.
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I just played an orchestral session with a jazz bass playing right behind us.
A reflexion filter was used at very close proximity in addition to a pickup.
The instrument itself did not produce a lot of sound, despite that is came out sounding great in the cue feed we had.
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And the secret is....

A double bass is recorded with one mic, that is... about one meter away from the bass. The bass notes need some space.

NO CLOSE MICING! One LDC (u47 if you have), about 3 feet away from the instrument. A bit low. It will get the full instrument.

If there is a band in the room, I still use this, put the player behind a panel. Lot's of spill (cymbals), does not matter, you take some high out, no sweat.
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Bruce Swedien

I watched this video once with Bruce Swedien.

He used a u87 about 2 or 3 feet away (which a lot of people have suggested in some form)

But he also took an earthworks QTC-1 and wrapped it in bubble wrap and stuck it in the bridge.... underneath the strings.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluegrassDan View Post
I tend to approach miking an upright bass (plucked) like the old timers did. Get down on your hands and knees and LISTEN WITH YOUR EAR.

An upright bass will have different notes that will sound louder than others. It is important to find a miking location where the volume and tone of each individual note is consistent.

A good place to start listening is out in front of the bridge. Listen with one ear, above, below, and to the sides of the bridge area. Find a place where it sounds like what you would like the finished product to sound. A louder bass may sound better farther out in front - say, 12" in front of the bridge, a quieter one maybe closer to 4". It all depends on where the sound seems to fully develop.

The f-holes are USUALLY to be avoided. There is a lot of air moving in front of the f-hole that will likely over-modulate the mic capsule. It may sound muddy, undefined, uneven, and distorted. Beware the f-hole (USUALLY).

I do not like miking the fingerboard. Blending two mics will only create phase issues and may cause problems during mixing. And I understand the fingerboard "attack sound" of hearing the fingers plucking the strings that many engineers desire. However, in order to hear this attack the levels need to be brought up close to the levels of other instruments - which may fight for space. The resulting finished sound is like standing in a room full of the musicians and singers, with your ear next to the bass players fingers. It never sounds "real" to me. One mic - around the bridge - will give you TONS of transient punch, thump, attack, and tone of the upright bass - and hopefully sound more "REAL" than using multiple mics.

I love to use a figure-8 pattern, large diaphragm tube condenser, on a bass. Here's why...

1. There's a lot of unwanted "muddiness" resonating from the body of the bass - usually from the f-holes, the lower part of the body, reflections from the floor, etc. Use the off-axis of the figure-8 to reject this muddiness.

For example: Position the mic where the sound is best (let’s just assume that it is 10” in front of the bridge). Point one side of the figure-8 towards the bridge and angle it a few degrees slightly upward to get some string "attack" from the right hand. The other side of the figure-8 will be facing outward and slightly downward.

The off-axis of the figure-8 pattern can now be used to help reject those “nasty”, “muddy” unusable lows emitting from the f-holes, and especially the lower part of the bass body and floor reflections! This can help clean up your mix, greatly alleviate your EQing nightmare!

2. Figure-8 patterns boost proximity effect - fattening the low end frequencies.
A GREAT tool for making the bass sound punchy, full, and just totally awesome in your mix.

I have had great success with the Rode K2 multi-pattern tube mic set to figure-8. (You’ll want to trade out the stock Russian tube to something better, like a NOS Mullard or Siemens).

The above technique usually works great in most cases. However, all basses and players are different. I remember one particular instance where the best place to mic was at the upper-right bout (opposite of the player), facing inwards and aimed to a point underneath the fingerboard. Nowhere near the bridge and totally against “textbook” rules of bass miking! Another time using two pencil condensers in phase, wrapped in foam, and stuffed between the tailpiece and body was the prescription.

It is difficult to “fix” an upright bass after the fact. You need to get it from the source. Take as much time as you need to make it sound like music!

This “longwinded” explanation is all my humblest opinion. Good luck and try some stuff!


Great idea!
#26
23rd December 2009
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Bump. Just thinking through some ideas for an upcoming session.
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23rd December 2009
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Here's what I do. btw, I'm a veteran upright bassist, and I like the way this sounds...

for studio setting, I take my Schoeps CMT 34 (basically MK4) and point it at the mid-neck of the bass (down at a slight angle) about 2 feet back. That's it. Sounds really good!

I don't point it at the bottom of the bass or the F-holes... it gets too tubby. If I point it away from the main meat of the sound, I think I get really nice results with just one card sdc.

I don't need too much EQ, just nudge the bottom 40hz area a bit.
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23rd December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jungle Jazz View Post
It looks like you've received lots of good feedback so far, but if you haven't already checked them out, there are several other good bass threads, but most are under the "upright bass" heading/tag.

I'm a bassist myself, and I've tried a lot of the methods metioned. My favorite sound for me is to use an AT4047, placed 6-12 inches in front of the bass, just a tad higher than the bridge. A KSM44 in simlar position works well, too. That works best with full or partial isolation. I've also had good results with a Beyer MC930 pointing at the space halfway between the end of the fingerboard and the top of the bridge, which has been more useful for me in live, all in one room, situations.

I don't really like the sound of a DI myself, but I often have to use one just to get at least a little clean signal on the bass. I rarely use it by itself, but it can help as filler, especially if you have to notch the drums out of the bass mic at certian frequencies when mixing.

Joe Ferla made some really helpful comments about mixing bass on a thread here somewhere. I can't remember the exact name of the thread, but I think it had "nightmare" in the title.
I use your system myself. I have found an AT 4047 to work great on upright bass and placed exactly where you suggest. I don't like the sound using two mics.

When the bass has a pickup, I run it through an LR Baggs Para DI as an additional track. I agree that running most bass pickups through a standard DI sounds terrible. The Para DI can be used to dial in a very nice bass sound.

My wife plays both an upright acoustic and an Eminence cut down upright with a Realist pickup and that pickup through the Para DI sounds great.
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#29
23rd December 2009
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FWIW, the best ochestral bass sound I have gotten has been from a cmc5/mk2h omni.
Also provided the best isolation I have gotten in an orchestra.
#30
23rd December 2009
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this is how i like it on my own bass. it really depends on how the bass sounds.
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