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Old 4th June 2020
Gear Maniac


Originally Posted by Honkermann View Post
shimoyjk, I also record small jazz(-ish) groups in tiny NYC spaces. It's a very particular set of challenges. I think Steve R has given you truly excellent advice. (But I think maybe some of the other comments come from folks who don't realize how tight space is in NYC, and/or don't have a lot of experience with jazz, and/or don't take into account the crazy challenge of engineering and playing on the same session.)

Some comments about bass recording. From the photo you posted, it looks like the mic is low and off to the right. I prefer to place the mic around the height of the bridge, looking upwards a bit to the fretboard, centered, and maybe further back a bit. I'll explain why: it has to do with the factors of bleed, pickup pattern, proximity, and frequency balance...and the way all these things interact.

Upright basses put off a lot of low frequencies, but it's crucial to get a midrange that speaks well, otherwise it's difficult to track the pitches. The overtones give the ear the pitches, not the fundamental frequencies.

The Line Audio CM-4 is a wide cardiod mic, meaning you got more bleed than if you used a tighter pattern. By placing the mic close, you got (maybe) too much low-end proximity effect. By placing mic low and near the f-hole, you (maybe) missed the definition of the pluck and other finger/fretboard sounds.

My preference for bass miking is a dynamic mic with a hypercardiod pattern, to minimize bleed. The Sennheiser 441 (a great mic) works, but actually I prefer the humbler Beyerdynamic M69.

So, the hypercardiod minimizes bleed. Placing mic back maybe 1 foot from the bridge minimizes proximity effect. Pointing at fingers and fretboard gives you more articulation.

There's also another approach, completely different. I've tried attaching a Line Audio OM-1, an omni condensor, in between the legs of the bridge with rubber bands. With the omni, there's no proximity effect, so it's OK to get really close. In terms of bleed, the closeness partly makes up for the increased bleed from the wider pickup pattern. Steve's "virtual gobo" technique can come in handy here, to counteract the fact the mic is receptive to bleed from all directions. But it can be quite a cool sound, very detailed and articulate. If any of the other musicians are too loud and/or positioned too close to the bass, this technique might cause problems. To be safe, I've been trying both the mounted omni and the hypercardiod on the mic stand, and later choosing which one best suits the session.
Thanks for your thoughts on bass recording.

Actually I tried cm4 exactly you described, it sounded nice but I wasn’t able to hold it tight with rubber band I had at that time. Even though it wasnt om1(omni), it sounded nicer than I did.
Next month student bands come in to record few songs for their final exam, so I’m going to experiment with omni mics that I have this time.

It’s not easy for me to invest a mic since studio is not running commercially. It’s my practice and rehearsal space as well as record some pop stuff using vsts, external synths.. but I feel I growed bit since I started recording a band from last winter.

Also, I realized that Pianist have to play softer when mic inside lid(or close lid) to not make upper register note works(my baby geand is ok, not great. Specially low-mid register sound is not really my cup of tea but I have to live with it till i buy another piano.)

Will post some more playing pretty soon!