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Jazz Trio Micing Suggestions: Especially Upright Bass
Old 1st February 2007
  #31
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ajfarber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris View Post
I was also suprised at how much you 'jazz purists' like that 'finger noise'!

Later I did a bit of listening/studying and sure enough, it's all over the place... sounds cool in the mix though!
I like a bit of finger noise because it helps the bass sound a bit more percussive. I also like to mic the bass in a way that lets the note poke out. I actually roll off about 120Hz especialy when using a ribbon mic (proximity effect). One of my complaints of modern jazz recordings is that there is too much bass and not enough note. Recording the bass w/direct can help the "not enough note" problem, but it makes the bass sound like ASS. Avoid bass direct at all costs.

Gut strings have a tonal colour that is different from steel strings, if you mic the bass close to the player's plucking finger, you can bring out that unique quality.

One of the best examples of that sound is of Wilbur Ware playing on "Monk & Coltrane" on Riverside records (recorded by Jack Higgins at Reeves Sound Studios NYC)
Old 1st February 2007
  #32
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All SDCs on trio?

Thanks for all the productive comments about bass micing so far. I've got several options to consider for my next session. I'm looking forward to trying them out.

I've been thinking about Andy's previous comment to use all SDC mics in a jazz trio recording situation. If given the following options, what would you do?

Let's say you can use up to 6 close mics: 2 on piano, 1 bass, and up to 3 on drums. If you want, you could add a room pair also--so no more than 8 mics total.

1) You can use any SDC mics you want. The only stipulation is that they have to be current production mics that are readily available. Which mics do you use?

2) You can only use 6 (or 8 with room) of the same SDC mic. You can, however, use a model with multiple patterns or interchangeable caps. Which mics do you get? (Again, only current production mics.)

3) Same as #2, but you can't spend more than $500 per mic.

And, finally, how would you place the mics you chose?

Thanks.
Old 1st February 2007
  #33
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sonare's Avatar
This has been said before in similar threads, but you won't do significantly better that DPA4061 using their rubber thing that suspends the mic from the strings just below the bridge.

This gets enough articulation, no f-hole boom, and does not change the sound of the instrument AT ALL.

But it's an omni-- what about cymbal bleed? I built a small 18 inch square baffle that has carpet on one side and carpet on the other that I position with a photography stand-mount (infinitely adjustable) in between the drummer and bass player.

So far no complaints, the sound is 100% consistent regardless of how the bassist moves. and it sound great.

For live it is the best solution I have found.

Rich
Old 1st February 2007
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
This has been said before in similar threads, but you won't do significantly better that DPA4061 using their rubber thing that suspends the mic from the strings just below the bridge.


Rich
Another vote for the DPA4061, it sounds incredible. Couldn't live without it. It does make the Bass a little larger than life though, but I like that.
Old 1st February 2007
  #35
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henryrobinett's Avatar
The only thing that drives me crazy about Andy is his lack of any strong opinion about how to mic a bass.heh
Old 2nd February 2007
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jungle Jazz View Post
Thanks for all the productive comments about bass micing so far. I've got several options to consider for my next session. I'm looking forward to trying them out.

I've been thinking about Andy's previous comment to use all SDC mics in a jazz trio recording situation. If given the following options, what would you do?

Let's say you can use up to 6 close mics: 2 on piano, 1 bass, and up to 3 on drums. If you want, you could add a room pair also--so no more than 8 mics total.

1) You can use any SDC mics you want. The only stipulation is that they have to be current production mics that are readily available. Which mics do you use?

2) You can only use 6 (or 8 with room) of the same SDC mic. You can, however, use a model with multiple patterns or interchangeable caps. Which mics do you get? (Again, only current production mics.)

3) Same as #2, but you can't spend more than $500 per mic.

And, finally, how would you place the mics you chose?

Thanks.
If price is no object, I'd go with 1 mic on the piano. The best tube LDC you can find. Lawson perhaps. A pair of ribbons over the hammers are nice too. I've only tried it with RCA 77s but I'm told that Coles 4038 kick ass. I'm sure it's the same with any good ribbon.

I like 2 mics for the drums. 1 LDC or SDC to pick up the entire set and a 2nd SDC aimed at the snare & hh just to get a little extra "chip".

And of course, 1 mic for the bass. RCA44 or good SDC.

If I had the bread, I'd try the Schoepps 222 tube SDC mics.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #37
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ajfarber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
This has been said before in similar threads, but you won't do significantly better that DPA4061 using their rubber thing that suspends the mic from the strings just below the bridge.

This gets enough articulation, no f-hole boom, and does not change the sound of the instrument AT ALL.

But it's an omni-- what about cymbal bleed? I built a small 18 inch square baffle that has carpet on one side and carpet on the other that I position with a photography stand-mount (infinitely adjustable) in between the drummer and bass player.

So far no complaints, the sound is 100% consistent regardless of how the bassist moves. and it sound great.

For live it is the best solution I have found.

Rich
I have to try that. It sounds like a great solution. I assume any good sdc with omni cap will do the trick, right?
Old 2nd February 2007
  #38
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sonare's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
I have to try that. It sounds like a great solution. I assume any good sdc with omni cap will do the trick, right?
Wrong. I compared several omnis (DPA4006, Schoeps CMC62H) that were suspended with gaff in the same manner as the rubber bands (but without the resonance of the rubber bands) and the clear winner was the DPA4061, both to me and the bass player.

Rich
Old 2nd February 2007
  #39
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Remoteness's Avatar
The DPA 4061 system DOES seem like an awesome solution.
I really got to try them out one of these days.
Old 2nd February 2007
  #40
Gear Nut
Tried a TLM 103 on Acc. Bass

I recorded a trio (pno, bass, drums) a few months ago for a live concert and decided to try my TLM 103 on the bass. The bass player was standing to the drummers right separated by about 3-4 feet. I put the mic just above the f hole aimed slightly at the finger board. It worked really well. The TLM 103 gets criticized for being bright but in this case it seamed to help give the bass some definition. Sure there was leakage but as a whole the balance worked well. The TLM 103 suprised me at how well it worked in that situation.
In my experience every time I put a mic right over the f hole I get an abundance of low end boom so I try to get a little bit above it. If leakage is a big problem another mic that can work well and has great rejection is a Sure SM81. It can sound surprisingly good on bass. I'm recording the same group in a couple of weeks and I going to try a 4047 on the bass.

Ken Kugler
Old 2nd February 2007
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
I have used the figure-8 ribbon mics in studio situations only. These were no baffle no headphones dates. The bleed into the back lobe of the bass mic was not a problem. [...] I like the figure 8 because the pattern is tight on both sides. If the bass player sets up next to the drums, the mic tends to reject the drums because they're off-axis.
This is a very important technique. If you look at some of the photos from Rudy's place, you'll see an RCA77 on the floor, angled up 45 degrees towards the body of the instrument. The bass player would be flanked by the drums on one side and the piano on the other. The deep nulls on either side of the figure 8 ribbon give you as much rejection of the drums and piano as you can get. The angled presentation gives you some rejection of direct reflections off the floor and ceiling. If you roll off the highs pretty steeply, you can record even a loud ensemble. You can get a deep low end that way. You can use an LDC (eg, AKG414) in figure 8 setting if you don't have a good ribbon. I would recommend an additional mic for insurance, and I prefer a B&K 4011 wrapped in a small towel, and tucked down in the tailpiece at least a foot beneath the bridge, though other mics would do well there. I recorded Omer Avital's last record this way.

Luke
Old 2nd February 2007
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jungle Jazz View Post
Let's say you can use up to 6 close mics: 2 on piano, 1 bass, and up to 3 on drums. If you want, you could add a room pair also--so no more than 8 mics total.

1) You can use any SDC mics you want. The only stipulation is that they have to be current production mics that are readily available. Which mics do you use?

2) You can only use 6 (or 8 with room) of the same SDC mic. You can, however, use a model with multiple patterns or interchangeable caps. Which mics do you get? (Again, only current production mics.)

3) Same as #2, but you can't spend more than $500 per mic.

And, finally, how would you place the mics you chose?

Thanks.
1) KM140 or 184 taped to the soundboard of the piano, somewhere near the middle. KM-120 or Schoeps MK8 near the stick with null towards drums. Assuming it's a (baby) grand. - KM140 bass bridge rubberband. - OH, BD, SN each a MK4, SN maybe KM184 instead. - Spaced pair of MK21 for the room.

2) All Schoeps MK4. If I may change the caps, MK21 room, MK8 stick.

3) this is the most difficult part. Probably Oktava 012 then, which I'm gonna try out in March.
Old 3rd February 2007
  #43
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Yeah, #3 is a tough call, especially on a budget. There's a bunch of low cost mics in that price range, especially those being made in Asia, but I'm not sure how many of them would work well in a strictly acoustic jazz capacity. Lots of them seem to have a high end hype that I'm trying to avoid. I've come up with the following list of mics that might work, some of which have multiple patterns or capusles, but many in that price range have fixed cardioid patterns.

Under $500 street price:
Peluso: CEMC6 (multiple caps are available)
Shure: KSM141 (cardiod & omni)/137 (cardioid)/SM81 (cardioid)
Beyer: MC930 (cardioid)
Rode: NT5 (cardioid) or NT55 (card & omni)
KEL Audio: P-1 (cardioid)
something from MBHO?--don't know much about them
Audio Technica: 4051/4053 (cardioid & hyper)
AKG: C451(cardioid)
CharterOaks: M900 (multiple caps)
Josephson: C42 (cardioid)

$500-1000:
Gefell M300
Neumann KM184
probably some others I'm not aware of
Old 3rd February 2007
  #44
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2) You can only use 6 (or 8 with room) of the same SDC mic. You can, however, use a model with multiple patterns or interchangeable caps. Which mics do you get? (Again, only current production mics.

6x Royer SF1 for sure. Just did a jazz trio with 4 (2 piano + 2 drum overhead), and whished I had another one for the bass, instead of the MKH80 in fig8,

BTW the bass was next to a cymbal, and the figure of eight was the best option - by far. But the bleed in the SF1s is so much more natural.
Old 5th February 2007
  #45
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I must preface this with a note, that for jazz recordings, I am a fan of roomy sounding recordings. When it sounds all seperated and tight, I think it sounds terrible. Look at the pics of the old 50's and early 60's jazz recordings of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Jon Coltrane that sound incredible, and it's all large diaphragm tube condensers (mainly Neumann U47's and M49's) mixed in with RCA ribbons. I like the sound of bleed when I can get away with it (jazz, brass bands, classical, blues). That said, you have to make sure that you place the musicians in a manner where you can place the mics and have them be in phase. Really check your phase. I do everything with a tape measure to ensure that and then listen as well.

Anyway, with that in mind, I've done a lot of tests with mics in many circumstances on upright, and I usually always go back to the best LDC that I have, placed on the bass somewhere. I usually listen around for the best spot. I remember one time a friend of mine and I had something like six mics up, ribbons and this and that. We were trying different spots, different combinations, and after a friggin' hour, what did we decide upon??? One mic- the C-12 alone. It sounded great. I've used a BLUE Kiwi and really liked it, also a U47 and M49. If I use the right combinations of mics placed correctly, the bleed is never an issue. In general, omni patterns, ribbon mics (figure 8), and dynamics mixed together have the least amount of phase issues. A cardioid LDC mixed in there somewhere won't mess things up if done correctly. If you have a lot of cardioid condensers in there, watch out for phase issues since they are so sensitive.
Old 5th February 2007
  #46
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I've got to agree with you Tillmann. Out of what I've tried so far, I still prefer the sound of a good LDC on bass, either positioned above the brdige to capture both body and finger articulation or positioned even with the bridge, paired with an SDC higher up to get the articulation sound.

I just got my hands on an AT4047 that I tried on the bass. I really like this mic. It has good low end girth, but it has upper mid range presence that gives the notes a clear definition. It didn't seem as boomy as many other LDCs either. I bet the AT4047 could have a lot of applications in a jazz context. I can see it working well on tenor sax, on a drum kit, and, of course, on vocals. I'm curious to try it on piano. I wish I had half a dozen of these mics to put on everything just to get a sense of its capabilities.

I must admit that I'm favorably impressed with Audio Technica mics so far. I'd like to get a pair of 4051s next and see how they work on piano or as overheads.
Old 8th February 2007
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillmann View Post
I must preface this with a note, that for jazz recordings, I am a fan of roomy sounding recordings. When it sounds all seperated and tight, I think it sounds terrible. Look at the pics of the old 50's and early 60's jazz recordings of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Jon Coltrane that sound incredible, and it's all large diaphragm tube condensers (mainly Neumann U47's and M49's).
FYI: Rudy Van Gelder (from 1959-1970-ish) used mainly SDC tube condensers. Schoeps 221 mostly. Visit the photo gallery at:http://www.ctijazz.com This would include all the Blue Note, Prestige & Impulse. Some Verve stuff too.

The Miles & Mingus stuff on Columbia was, as you said, LDC mics. M49, U47 etc...
Columbia 30th street.

I'm not sure what they were using at Reeves (the studio for Riverside records)

Murcury records used to list the gear on the back of the albums. They recorded at Fine sound and sometimes Nola.
Old 8th February 2007
  #48
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Three mics come to mind,
DPA 4023 (similar to 4011, but smaller body) suspended in the DPA mount that goes between the strings.

if you need a lot less isolation:

Schoeps mk4
neumann tlm 170

and for a huge mingus/brown sound
RCA 44

As for mounting mics on the bridge,
it can dampen the vibration of the bass somewhat (some jazz players actually like that)
I for one feel it invariably changes the sound of the instrument for the worse in terms of resonance and partials.

I you put tape on my instrument you would instantly get a 5 digit bill.
Old 6th June 2014
  #49
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spectrasound's Avatar
DPA hands down!

Loving the DPA 4099 super cardioid mic. for live acoustic bass. Tried everything else. This is it….so far! Great mounting system too.
Old 6th June 2014
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
Murcury records used to list the gear on the back of the albums. They recorded at Fine sound and sometimes Nola.
Nola has always been my favorite studio to record in. I've played on and led a bunch of sessions there and even produced there a few times. It's very sad to me they've had to close, but "Nola Recording" is still happening- they're working out of Avatar now.
Old 6th June 2014
  #51
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I have had good luck with a bass Shertler contact mic. They are pricy so maybe you can borrow one to try before buying. A small live room can work well for some acoustic instruments but bass isn't one of them. The Shertler pretty much eliminates room resonance and that is why I use it in that type of venue.
Old 6th June 2014
  #52
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The DPA mics are amazing for upright. I especially love the omni, the most natural sound of the lot IMO. Only issue is sometimes excessive spill (which can be solved with baffling which I've always got away with). The good news is the spill sounds spot-on as it's an omni.

The directional DPAs are also superb although not as natural across the low-end.

For bowing, I tend to put up an M160 pointing at (usually) the left f-hole (player's perspective) about 1-1.5ft away. Works a treat with that hedge-trimmer sound jazz strings tend to make when bowed.
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