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Bock IFET or Royer 121 for upright bass?
Old 10th December 2013
  #1
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Bock IFET or Royer 121 for upright bass?

Anyone have opinions on which one of these would be better for recording upright bass? It's been a while since there was much discussion here at GS on upright microphones and there are many new, good mics on the market. While I'd love to hear about any direct IFET vs. 121 comparisons, I'd also like to hear about any of your experiences recording upright bass with other $1 - 2K mics. I'm recording mostly Americana/folk type acoustic music with about 75% pizzicato and 25% arco. Thanks!
Old 10th December 2013
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeeter View Post
Anyone have opinions on which one of these would be better for recording upright bass? It's been a while since there was much discussion here at GS on upright microphones and there are many new, good mics on the market. While I'd love to hear about any direct IFET vs. 121 comparisons, I'd also like to hear about any of your experiences recording upright bass with other $1 - 2K mics. I'm recording mostly Americana/folk type acoustic music with about 75% pizzicato and 25% arco. Thanks!

I love a 121 on bass, it's really smooth. Don't rule out nice dynamic mics if your pre Amps are good. 421, m88, re20 are all lovely.
Old 10th December 2013
  #3
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Thanks macleod. I've used the re20 and I'm lucky to have a variety of very good preamps. I like the re20 for bluegrass and other tunes that need the "thump" but it just doesn't seem to work well with the bow. I've never used a ribbon and I'm not in a position to get one for a test trial so I appreciate your input on the Royer - smooth is what I'm looking for.
Old 10th December 2013
  #4
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You're not going to get the snap out of a 121, and it's a little too directional to get a bigger picture of the instrument. U47 is my favorite upright mic, so I would gladly go with the iFet, given these two choices.
Old 10th December 2013
  #5
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I agree about the U47 - it's the best ever for upright, hands down. As a bassist, I've been fortunate to have recorded through many great U47's over the years but never had a chance to use the Neumann 47 iFET. As an old Neumann or one of the better U47 clones are out of the realm of my small home studio, I'm curious about how the new version of the Bock IFET (not the older Soundelux version) compares to the old 47's. Thanks for the tip on the directionality of the 121 jjblair. My normal setup is a SDC off the fingerboard (or wrapped in foam in the bridge) and an LDC 18" to 8 feet from the bridge, depending upon how much of the room I need. Sounds like the 121 might not work well for the distance mic. Do you think the 121 would work for close miking the upright when recording in a live group setting?
Old 10th December 2013
  #6
I usually use a u87 on acoustic bass. If I had to choose between the two, like JJ, I'd go with the Bock. Am sure you could make the 121 work but it just wouldn't be my first choice.
Old 10th December 2013
  #7
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Thanks Trev, looks like Bock may be slowly winning the race.
Old 11th December 2013
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It depends on what else is going on in the room. I prefer rca44 or coles 4038 on bass, or if not available re15 or senn 421. I did recently do a record with a fet47 on the upright and it was fine but way too much spill for my taste. In iso it is a great option. I've never used the royer.
Old 11th December 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeeter View Post
I agree about the U47 - it's the best ever for upright, hands down. As a bassist, I've been fortunate to have recorded through many great U47's over the years but never had a chance to use the Neumann 47 iFET. As an old Neumann or one of the better U47 clones are out of the realm of my small home studio, I'm curious about how the new version of the Bock IFET (not the older Soundelux version) compares to the old 47's. Thanks for the tip on the directionality of the 121 jjblair. My normal setup is a SDC off the fingerboard (or wrapped in foam in the bridge) and an LDC 18" to 8 feet from the bridge, depending upon how much of the room I need. Sounds like the 121 might not work well for the distance mic. Do you think the 121 would work for close miking the upright when recording in a live group setting?
One of the great things about ribbons is their off axis rejection. But they just don't do transients like a condenser. If you want decent lows, plenty of low mids, with the transients smoothed out, and off axis rejection, the R121 is your mic.

If you want a good picture of the overall instrument, plenty of lows and highs that are even better than a fet47, plus good transient response, get the iFet.

It's a taste thing. I could make a 121 work, but my taste would require the iFet.
Old 11th December 2013
  #10
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Thanks guys, this is great info for me. The mic will be used much more in isolation than in group settings and capturing the true character of the instrument is the objective as upright basses seem to differ in tone from instrument to instrument more than any other stringed instrument I've encountered. Plus, pull out the bow for an arco passage and you get a completely different character to capture. Geez, talk about transients.

Thanks again for your input, it looks like the Bock is still ahead and perhaps pulling away.
Old 11th December 2013
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeeter View Post
Anyone have opinions on which one of these would be better for recording upright bass? It's been a while since there was much discussion here at GS on upright microphones and there are many new, good mics on the market. While I'd love to hear about any direct IFET vs. 121 comparisons, I'd also like to hear about any of your experiences recording upright bass with other $1 - 2K mics. I'm recording mostly Americana/folk type acoustic music with about 75% pizzicato and 25% arco. Thanks!
they are both good mics. so im afraid there is no point in asking other people for advice - it will be up to taste sonically. you should really try them both in your studio and see what you like better. or maybe try ribbons vs condensers in general. they do sound very different.
you'll need a very decent pre to get a good signal from a ribbon though. and your room needs proper treatment, since they record in fig8. a condenser will be a little easier to handle. plus it will deliver a more "polished" sound out of the box - if thats what you are after. ribbons also tend to need a good eq for a little high boost.
Old 11th December 2013
  #12
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Thanks salomonander. I've used (and/or played through) condensers extensively but have zero experience with ribbons, hence the curiosity. I'm sure they are very different sonically on an upright and I wish I could audition one but that's very difficult from where I live. The preamps I have that I would try with the ribbon are a Grace M201, Great River ME-1NV and an Avalon AD 2022. I've had decent success using these and a UA 2-610 with condensers and dynamics on upright and I can get an appropriate tone for the acoustic Americana/folk/country stuff I'm working on. I'm just to the point now where I'd like to take it a step further. It's easy to capture the thump and thud of a bluegrasser slappin' a 51' Kay laminate bass. Capturing the subtle nuances in the harmonics of a bowed 200 year old carved Italian masterpiece is what I'm trying for now.
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