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Blumlein pair for double bass?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Ukiah Bass's Avatar
 

Blumlein pair for double bass?

I'm experimenting with techniques for mic'ing a double bass. Aside from standards such as a large diaphragm condenser 1-2' in front of the bridge, a small diaphragm condenser pointed toward the top of the fingerboard (bridge side) for finger noise, and a blend of both, I'm also getting some good results with a pair of LDCs in front of the bridge in stereo mode.

Still within a sound-treated studio context, are there upsides/downsides to using a Blumlein pair in front of the bass? Some like to use one LDC about 3 feet in front of the bass in omni mode. Would a Blumlein pair be superior? Just curious if anyone can comment before diving in! Thank you.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Bass players usually move around a lot. Maybe something to consider.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Ukiah Bass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Bass players usually move around a lot. Maybe something to consider.
I'm a bassist and know all about that!

Generally, studio tracking is understood to require minimal movement due to mic placement. If the Blumlein pair was 3 feet in front of the bass, minor movement would not matter. Just trying to get ideas on whether a B.P. is worth it from a sonic perspective, esp. compared to an omni config in the same spot.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukiah Bass View Post
I'm a bassist and know all about that!

Generally, studio tracking is understood to require minimal movement due to mic placement. If the Blumlein pair was 3 feet in front of the bass, minor movement would not matter. Just trying to get ideas on whether a B.P. is worth it from a sonic perspective, esp. compared to an omni config in the same spot.
Personally, I'd say no. But I'm sure I'm not hearing things the same way you are.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Another thing to think about is what else is going on in the room. With a small jazz group, for instance, I know I've shot myself in the foot by having stereo drum overheads and having one of the overhead mics hear a lot more trumpet than the other mic.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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no need for a stereo pair on any instrument which isn't physically very large or has a very wide frequency range; i'm no fan of omnis either and much prefer (somewhat) directional mics unless acoustics and balance between musicians are stellar...
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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It would be good for Ukiah Bass to establish a bit more context ie is this to be a solo bass recording, or is this spot miking within a small ensemble or perhaps an orchestral setting...or double bass overdub to an existing bed recording ?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It would be good for Ukiah Bass to establish a bit more context ie is this to be a solo bass recording, or is this spot miking within a small ensemble or perhaps an orchestral setting...or double bass overdub to an existing bed recording ?
This scenario is for solo recording. I have a new double bass and am planning a test sequence of various mics and distances, heights and polar patterns to figure out what works best. I can add a Blumlein pair but each configuration quickly adds complexity to the procedures!
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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This solo recording uses a stereo ribbon mic. Sounds good! I don't have a ribbon mic or a stereo ribbon mic, but I do have a matched pair of Peluso 22 251 LDCs and a matched pair of Telefunken M60 SDCs so plenty of mic placement options! I'm thinking a Blumlein pair of the LDCs might be interesting...

Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
no need for a stereo pair on any instrument which isn't physically very large or has a very wide frequency range; i'm no fan of omnis either and much prefer (somewhat) directional mics unless acoustics and balance between musicians are stellar...
Physically larger than double bass: grand piano, marimba, set of tympani....anything else ? This a solo recording, not a spot miking situation....so why not stereo ? Disagree with your 'in principle' rejection of Omni vs cardioid in this case, the extended LF of a SD Omni mic is very welcome for double bass. Not saying that ribbons can't also be desirable, but to reject Omni out of hand is not helpful.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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I record DB with a MKH 30/30 sum and difference pair, it works well for a woody ,realistic texture
I have also tried with a MKH 20/30 pair and preferred the former for detail and pluck.
I have yet to try a MKH 800/30 combination, Im sure capsule pattern variation will offer even more detail ,weight and tonality
The bass is a fugitive to easy capture imho.
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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KM184 is a great bass mic.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
the extended LF of a SD Omni mic is very welcome for double bass. Not saying that ribbons can't also be desirable, but to reject Omni out of hand is not helpful.
How will an omni have a better bass response for an instrument that only goes down to 41 Hz ?

Just perpetuating the omni-has-better-bass-internet-myth ?

Try the Blumlein pair, but I would test it in MS configuration. Always for solo instruments. Then you have the dry/direct bass sound in the M mic, and you can dial in more or less room sound with the S mic. You can also appreciate (in a good room) how the S mic adds texture to the bass sound.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Physically larger than double bass: grand piano, marimba, set of tympani....anything else ? This a solo recording, not a spot miking situation....so why not stereo ? Disagree with your 'in principle' rejection of Omni vs cardioid in this case, the extended LF of a SD Omni mic is very welcome for double bass. Not saying that ribbons can't also be desirable, but to reject Omni out of hand is not helpful.
in terms of instruments for which i mostly use more than a single mic, add organ, accordeon, bandoneon (or just recently a solo harp) and of course any choir or orchestra.

i don't like stereo pairs as spots as i almost never need or want to portray any movement within the stereo soundfield; also, a pair mostly leads to a too wide recording angle and picks up too much spill for my liking. i don't need more output either (if i do, i adjust the preamp) and rather use a somewhat wider directional pattern of a single mic.

while directional mics have somewhat less bass response, to me this is often a welcomed feature (i use hpf on most sources anyway) but isn't an issue on instruments which go very low either as the effect either gets (more than) compensated by proximity or then i use a filter. it's mostly just for the organ for which i add a blm as a .1 mic, to capture all but the very lowest frequencies (and use a lpf) - could get used in this case too (but by comparison, a 4-string bass doesn't really go that low).

(ever tried a tlm103 on a bass? guess you won't need to compensate lf response although on paper, you might want to do so...)

i prefer using directional mics in general as i almost always do not want to have the room sound 'baked in', not even in the very best places (i do however sometimes set up a spaced omni main pair to give the producer a choice or if there is no other sensible place to put up ambis).

i love using very widely spaced omnis for ambis though and as rear surrounds - for mains however, i much prefer coincident mics: i'm not much of a fan of the slighly blurred image of spaced mic systems; a choir (despending on repertoire and setup) might be an exception.

___

back to this recording: i'd still use a single (somewhat directional) mic - if going fancy, i'd use another mic in the same position to have the option to alternate between sounds. i might add one on the fingerboard and/or use the pickup if there is any - i then certainly would use a room pair (or two), even if the recording area isn't very large: they then can get fed into efx devices but not necessarily get routed to the main bus.

for a minimal mic setup (without ambis), i'd use m/s.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
How will an omni have a better bass response for an instrument that only goes down to 41 Hz ?

Just perpetuating the omni-has-better-bass-internet-myth ?

Try the Blumlein pair, but I would test it in MS configuration. Always for solo instruments. Then you have the dry/direct bass sound in the M mic, and you can dial in more or less room sound with the S mic. You can also appreciate (in a good room) how the S mic adds texture to the bass sound.

I understood M/S is better for larger sound sources -- like a band or symphony -- and usually placed in a large space.

Also, not sure about "wet vs. dry" as a descriptor here. More like widening or narrowing the stereo image. Whilst adding a touch of room ambiance might be one goal, I'm more inclined to mic closer and keep the stereo image narrower to focus on the instrument rather than the room. Even Blumlein recommends his pair be placed closer to the sound source as opposed to farther away. Unless I'm missing something on this recommendation?

Last edited by Ukiah Bass; 1 week ago at 06:39 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
KM184 is a great bass mic.
My Telefunken M60s are like the KM184 but without the baked-in mid bump @6K. They are great for double bass! You look at these small diaphragm condensers and wonder how they do so well so deep!

Last edited by Ukiah Bass; 1 week ago at 06:40 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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standup's Avatar
In an ensemble bass usually resides straight up the middle in the stereo field, so personally I record bass in mono.

If it was a solo bass playing an etude/concerto/classical piece, that’s when I’d consider stereo mics at a distance.

Last time I was in a studio the engineer used two mics on my double bass: a KM84 and a Coles ribbon at about 6-8”. Pointed at the bridge. I was in a small iso room to keep the drums and piano out of the bass sound.

If I was using two mics it would be something like that, to get a mono blend, not a stereo image.

But that’s just my habits and prefs.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by standup View Post
In an ensemble bass usually resides straight up the middle in the stereo field, so personally I record bass in mono.

(...)

But that’s just my habits and prefs.
i'm glad you added the last sentence as i cannot necessarily agree on the first sentence both in terms of placement of the bass within the stereo field and the choice of mic technique as they imo are not related.

what's more relevant though is that the fundsmentals of the bass cannot get much localized in the stereo field anyway - this is another reason why i would use m/s as a minimal mic set so i could still process the lower frequencies in mono without getting phase issues but use some more stereo spread for the hf - m/s processing rules!

i do however not like hearing very wide stereo field from a bass - hence my suggestion to stay mono and just add a bit of stereo ambi.

but then again, these are my habits and preferences...
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
what's more relevant though is that the fundsmentals of the bass cannot get much localized in the stereo field anyway
That is an old misconception, probably the result of flawed research, in smallish ill treated rooms...

I can clearly localize LF, to the threshold of audibility, in my mastering room. With a dual sub setup of course.

This is a paper from 2013, whith the aim to get rid of one sub is OK, because we alledgedly cannot localize bass below 150hz ... :

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...coustic_spaces

Funnily, this is probably one reason why AB omni setups do have something going for them...

No bass localization = marketing hype from companies such as Bose. How else are they going to sell that **** to anybody ? Just throw a sub in a corner somewhere and you’re fine

The same goes for a certain type of (temporal ...) diffuser. Somebody clearly wanted a sellable and expensive product in the 1980s ...
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
That is an old misconception, probably the result of flawed research, in smallish ill treated rooms...

I can clearly localize LF, to the threshold of audibility, in my mastering room. With a dual sub setup of course.

This is a paper from 2013, whith the aim to get rid of one sub is OK, because we alledgedly cannot localize bass below 150hz ... :

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...coustic_spaces

Funnily, this is probably one reason why AB omni setups do have something going for them...

No bass localization = marketing hype from companies such as Bose. How else are they going to sell that **** to anybody ? Just throw a sub in a corner somewhere and you’re fine

The same goes for a certain type of (temporal ...) diffuser. Somebody clearly wanted a sellable and expensive product in the 1980s ...
i have to disagree, no myth!

might depend a bit on field of work:

bssides recording/mixing/mastering mostly classical music, i get to work with all other sorts of genre, mainly jazz/blues/rock - i mix live a lot.

now mixing live clearly does provide its own set of challenges, much different from small room acoustics of diy studios, one of which is to deal with poor acoustics, another one is to deal with less than ideal speaker setups.

however, in those close to 5000 shows i got to mix in the last 35 years (plus countless other occasions, working as a system designer for both variable setups as used in touring and for fixed installations/studios) i could repeatedly hear and measure effects of sending signals to all sorts of stereo, surround and distributed systems: the one thing that is constant though is that one cannot localize lf (much)!

setup design, use of x-overs, speaker design etc. do influence our ability to hear (or not to hear) specific things: one can more easily hear licalize lf when subs go high enough or have poor port design but generally speaking, i stand pretty firm: the lower one goes in the frequency range, the less we can localize a sound source in the stereo or surround field.

as a test, maybe try a very steep lpf once and use less complex signals than those from an orchestra recording: chances are that you cannot hear (much) where sound is originating from...

with billions of people having the same experience, there is pretty strong evidence that the concept is entirely flawed...

ymmv
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukiah Bass View Post
I understood M/S is better for larger sound sources -- like a band or symphony -- and usually placed in a large space.
My practical experience is the opposite, after running figure 8 pairs both ways many times. Especially for a fairly 'mono' instrument, I'd rather have the solid center and width adjustment over a fixed stereo spacing that can't be collapsed without treble losses. But it depends on the effect you prefer, and if recording yourself it's worth trying it both ways.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukiah Bass View Post
My Telefunken M60s are like the KM184 but without the baked-in mid bump @6K.
But that baked in hump is great for double bass. Adds edge and definition to the woofly, woollyness.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Two stereo array's are prepped. The LDCs are in Blumlein pair config. and the SDCs are X/Y coincident pair. The LDCs can be instantly switched to mid-side. I'll also move the LDCs and SDCs to various positions for individual mono takes. It's a new double bass so I'm figuring out what works best for this one.

What's the tracking wisdom on height of these arrays in relation to distance from the bass? I'm starting with what's always worked well in the past: about 15 inches in front of the bridge. For each take one foot further away, should the mics be raised about the same distance?

Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Thought this might be an interesting setup to throw into the mix . . .

Old 1 week ago
  #25
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forgot to mention my latest experience with recording a bass: i (recorded and) mixed ron carter live two months ago, not solo but with a quartet though, and i had a couple of mics on offer.

he (and his tour manager) opted for an md421 in addition to his pickup - clearly not what i have favoured! however, when going from a piezo pickup into a di on a very high impedance setting (without any preamp in between), things can turn out amazingly well!

both broadcast and live mix relied mainly on the di then, around 70% if i remember right; the rest was a bit from the mic and some fake early reflections from a lexicon...
Old 6 days ago
  #26
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Hello,

i do like this instrument. And there's so many thing to consider that you can explore a lot of miking way.

when there's a loud drum or other instrument not balanced. You need to be close.

When you are too close, most of the double bass have a big peak ( frequency resonnance ) on some note that can be ugly. This can give you a lot of editing-mixing work .

I like Figure of eight to play with polarity and reject the side instrument.

To give a sense of space and complete the sound it's always cool to have some kind of room mike to blend the signal.

But for a doublebass solo in a good acoustic, the best result i get was with a spaced pair of omni in front of the bridge, and an ortf couple in the room .

Here a short example of what it sound :
Attached Files

mans list02.mp3 (2.13 MB, 189 views)

Old 6 days ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomadrecording View Post
Hello,

But for a doublebass solo in a good acoustic, the best result i get was with a spaced pair of omni in front of the bridge, and an ortf couple in the room .

Here a short example of what it sound :
How far in front of the bridge do you place your mics? What is the distance separating the mics from each other? And height of the mics? Thank you!
Old 6 days ago
  #28
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the AB omni :
30-40cm between the mike, at 2 to 4 feet from the instrument
at the height of the bridge in front of it

the ortf couple at the head height and more than 12feet from the instrument.
Old 6 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomadrecording View Post
the AB omni :
30-40cm between the mike, at 2 to 4 feet from the instrument
at the height of the bridge in front of it

the ortf couple at the head height and more than 12feet from the instrument.
Do you record the spaced pair of omni's to a stereo track or two mono tracks?

Last edited by Ukiah Bass; 6 days ago at 08:30 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #30
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You have to hard pan L&R omni mike yes . But You can do it with two mono track it give you more control if needed .
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