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miking a Fender Bassman cabinet Dynamic Microphones
Old 14th May 2018
  #1
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miking a Fender Bassman cabinet

A question about miking a vintage 4 x 12 Fender Bassman cabinet ( I believe it's called a pyramid cab....guess why)

Typically it's used with a removable frame with somewhat-protective grille cloth (pic 3) , which sits just inside the outer edge (you can see the black velcro tags in the first pic), but for recording I'd prefer to remove this to avoid rattles.

I'm wondering if the pyramidal shape serves to focus the 4 bass wavefronts centrally, and whether a mic would be best placed somewhere along that central axis line, where all wavefronts would 'converge', as if it were a lens ? If so, at what sort of mic distance ?

Or would you just mic a single driver, as per a conventional 2 x 10 guitar amp cabinet ?

Recommended mic(s) for this job ?
Attached Thumbnails
miking a Fender Bassman cabinet-bassman-cab-1.jpg   miking a Fender Bassman cabinet-bassman-cab-2.jpg   miking a Fender Bassman cabinet-bassman-cab-3.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 14th May 2018 at 12:36 PM..
Old 15th May 2018
  #2
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wow!

for use with guitar, i'd take an sm57 and a md421 on top and bottom speakers (or swap one for a ribbon mic) - or a single u67 is almost always great!

single mic such as md421, re20, m88 if used with bass - or a u47fet wouldn't hurt either...
Old 16th May 2018
  #3
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jnorman's Avatar
Yep, mic a single cone with a 421.
Old 16th May 2018
  #4
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jnorman's Avatar
It’s called a pyramid cab because it took 10000 slaves 20 years to build it.
Old 16th May 2018
  #5
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tourtelot's Avatar
Wow, the mounting of those speakers looks like somebody's "good idea." Never seen that. Anyone with for-sure knowledge of the whys and where-fors?

Live or studio? Bass or guitar or?

I would guess that I would have to listen to hear what the actual sound was and go from there but for bass, the Sennheiser 421 or the EV RE20 seem like a good start.

For guitar, I might have to go with an SM57 on one cone (and maybe a good LDC a bit farther out.)

Hope you have a bit of time to listen before the gig.

D.
Old 16th May 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Wow, the mounting of those speakers looks like somebody's "good idea." Never seen that. Anyone with for-sure knowledge of the whys and where-fors?

Live or studio? Bass or guitar or?

I would guess that I would have to listen to hear what the actual sound was and go from there but for bass, the Sennheiser 421 or the EV RE20 seem like a good start.

For guitar, I might have to go with an SM57 on one cone (and maybe a good LDC a bit farther out.)

Hope you have a bit of time to listen before the gig.

D.
Definitely a legitimate Fender 'product'....not someone's hobbyist afterthought rebuild. However since the idea didn't persist beyond the late 60's, I guess it didn't excite imaginations, and it's a beast to lift ! It'll be for a studio session, with Fender Jazz Bass guitar.

I had the misfortune to be required to rewire the cabinet, and can report that each driver is partially enclosed in its own quadrant box...or rather partial baffles, as there are plenty of air spaces between them. There's certainly no attempt at horn loading or any masterwork of carpentry involved back there out of sight !

My idea about the 'central axial line outwards from the centre' was that there might be some additive effect to be gained from the contribution of 4 drivers all "beaming in" to a point...but I'm guessing there will be both additive and subtractive phasing at various points along that line...so it will be very much a case of trial and error.

Thank you for your suggestions...there should be enough time for experimenting before recording
Old 16th May 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
It’s called a pyramid cab because it took 10000 slaves 20 years to build it.
.....and a goodly proportion of those numbers to haul it up the stairs to the gig !
Old 16th May 2018
  #8
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i remember reading an interview with tom dowd where he mentioned putting mics (ev?) between the 4 speakers, although on different stacks (marshall?) when recording cream live.

for use with bass you might try to put one speaker out of phase: could get you a somewhat different pattern of the whole cabinet and might be 'interesting' with a fig8 in the right spot (or just a huge mess and a very bad idea...)
Old 16th May 2018
  #9
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Fender Bassmen were v pop for Gtr in the 60s before the advent of big PA
An insensitive Ribbon like a STC 4033a would be a good central plant with some air around it
Modern Ampegs sound good and don't weigh like the Titanic thanks to class D
Old 16th May 2018
  #10
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Yes a little web searching turns up that the cabinet itself was regarded as a poor enclosure... which soon became rattle-y and was prone to falling apart...which tallies with the glued and stapled assembly given to it !

The amp head was built from about '68 onwards, and the cabinet seems to have only lived from 1972-77, before being discontinued.

Also not much loved for a middle heavy sound from the 30 watt speakers originally installed...so more likely a better candidate as a guitar rather than a bass amp ? However the video below implies that the odd speaker array would serve to disperse the mids moreso than a typical flat infinite baffle...again, more useful for electric guitar perhaps than bass

The Bassman 100 head, as Roger mentions, seems to have a lot of flexibility built into the lead channel, as this video shows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4B2sul6w-Y

Anyway...a historical oddity, but at least you know a little more about it now, if you should strike one at a future gig or recording session.

I'd guess now that miking an individual speaker might be the best approach, as many of you have suggested here already
Old 16th May 2018
  #11
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emrr's Avatar
I've had good success at the point the middle two focus together with bass. I have a Sunn 6 x 10" cabinet that's similar, two vertical stacks that angle in toward each other, and there's also something additive in the very bottom at that focal point.
Old 16th May 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
I've had good success at the point the middle two focus together with bass. I have a Sunn 6 x 10" cabinet that's similar, two vertical stacks that angle in toward each other, and there's also something additive in the very bottom at that focal point.
Good to know...I'll try that...thanks Doug !
Old 16th May 2018
  #13
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tourtelot's Avatar
A little OT but I used to tour with a club band who had a bass player who had an Ampeg SVT rig. Eight 10" speakers in the cabinet and that cabinet in a large-assed road case.

My buddy and I did it all; mixed FOH, set up band gear and drove the truck, Oh those were the days.

Anyway, whenever he and I would encounter a set of stairs, that goddam SVT cabinet would make one of those trips, the one down the stairs, by being set at the top and kicked over to slide down the stairs.

Gotta say, it made it through the whole tour in more-or-less working order.

D.
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