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Help me NOT screw up the stand up bass recording this time
Old 18th July 2007
  #1
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filthyrich's Avatar
 

Help me NOT screw up the stand up bass recording this time

Tonight I'm re-recording stand up bass for a "thrashabilly" punk/metal type deal.

Last time I did everything wrong.
-I went direct with no mics.
-I compressed/eq'd too much on the way in.
-I had the F-Holes taped up (not me, the bass player..to cut on live feedback).

He's got an 8X10 SWR megagoliath cab with a nice ampeg head and a good power amp.

My mic choices are:
-Apex 205 (m.joly mod)
-(2) Oktava MK319 (M.joly mod)
-Shure 57's, 58's, SD545's
-Studio Projects C1 (older one)
-ATM 63HE
-AKG D112

I'm thinking:
The cab-- the D112 (plus/or maybe 1 of the 319's)

Direct--through his Fishman amp or maybe my sansamp

The Bass-- ribbon between the pickup and the F-hole
--319 up on the stings (12th "fret"??)

NO compression or eq on the way in.

Any other ideas??

Oh yeah: I've got a small fender reverb practice type amp I might be able to get a signal into at the same time and could mic up. Useful?

Thanks much.
Old 18th July 2007
  #2
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filthyrich's Avatar
 

oh yeah. One more thing.

If a corner of my room is treated well with bass trapping; would it be a good or bad idea to point the bass cab into the corner during recording?
I know that bass builds up in corners. Part of my problem last time was getting enough low end out of it. I'm sure last time I recorded; most of it was my poor planning etc. I don't want to create a "cupped mic" effect either. I know I can move stuff around; but I've got a bass player on a time crunch, no assistant and a deadline for these 3 songs that is quickly approaching. Good times. At least it's my band for once.

Thanks again,

poor Rich.
Old 18th July 2007
  #3
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macrae11's Avatar
 

One thing I've had work for for getting a nice smooth low end out of a stand up bass, is to actually place a mic inside the bridge of the stand up bass. You have to wrap foam or bubble wrap around it to stay in place but it can provide a wonderfully natural sound to a double bass. Normally an omni directional condesor works best, but the 205 ribbon should work. Cardiod's usually won't as there is too much proximity effect. However give it a try if you want lots of bass. Then you can mic up the cab and blend it in for the bite you would probably need to sit in a punk mix.

Also very important, make sure you check your phase on your mics. Phase issues can turn into a bass kill real easy.
Old 18th July 2007
  #4
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Jimbo's Avatar
Look in the Remote forum for a thread that is currently discussing this topic.
Old 18th July 2007
  #5


Are you trying to catch this guys live sound, or something different?



-tINY

Old 18th July 2007
  #6
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filthyrich's Avatar
 

hard to say

When you say his live sound..do you mean what we sound like when we play live?

OR, do you mean the acoustic sound of the bass playing without an amp in a room?

I want it to be full, rich, warm and clicky.

I'm not sure of much else.
Old 18th July 2007
  #7


Ok, then.

Don't use his amp at all.

Get the tape off the F-Holes

Wrap up a 57 in some foam so that it'll stay under the tailpiece, pointing at the bridge.

Point the D112 at an F-Hole about a foot away.

Point one of your LDC (whichever gets the click you like) at the upper bouts. Not quite at the fingerboard.

Plug the pick-up into a DI box.


Record everything clean and at a good level. Afterwards, EQ, blend (phase reverse and time align if needed), and compress to taste.






-tINY

Old 19th July 2007
  #8
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filthyrich's Avatar
 

while we're at it

For pre's; I have:
2 Chameleon Labs 7602
5 SCA A-12
3 SCA C84

Any recommendations on that aspect of it?
Old 19th July 2007
  #9
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gurubuzz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post


Ok, then.

Don't use his amp at all.

Get the tape off the F-Holes

Wrap up a 57 in some foam so that it'll stay under the tailpiece, pointing at the bridge.

Point the D112 at an F-Hole about a foot away.

Point one of your LDC (whichever gets the click you like) at the upper bouts. Not quite at the fingerboard.

Plug the pick-up into a DI box.


Record everything clean and at a good level. Afterwards, EQ, blend (phase reverse and time align if needed), and compress to taste.






-tINY

That's great way to do it

I was going to say Gaffer tape a 57 to the body but under the tail peice sound like a great idea.

if time is a factor-

You might as well have the amp in another room and mic it just for insurance

and also put up your most sensitive mics as a stereo pair... they don't need to match..... get them in phase with the 112 so about 3 foot away

Then you have a full palette of tones to pick and choose from when mixing..

you may only use one...
Old 19th July 2007
  #10
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GuitarRuss's Avatar
 

Don't be surprised if he's grown enamored to a fairly crappy Pickup to amp sound. You might have to mic his amp to mollify him - kind of like guys going into a nice studio and demanding their awesome fishman pu sound be captured. Later you can A/B and see which one he actually likes (don't tell him which is which). Of course for that style of music you should listen to some recordings in the genre which he feels are great - might be totally different from what you think of as good upright recordings but appropriate for the sound they are going for.
Old 19th July 2007
  #11
Gear Head
 

Just have to get this out....

as a Jazz Bassist, I HATE when engineer's ask to stuff a mic under my bridge... I realize it might work well with some instruments, but you're essentially inhibiting the vibration of the top by adding mass to it. I do have a fine instrument and I'm pretty picky.

I use a AT3525 on the low end pointed near the F-Hole, and a C451 at the point where I play. I've tried several other mics on the low end, and keep coming back to that medium diaphragm 3525. I've tried a 4050, 4040, KSM44(kind of like this one), and even a Cascade Fathead II (which was great except that in my space, it picked up too much room). Other engineer's have also used a U87, and a Fet 47 once, as well as KSM44/KM184 combo on my basses.

If you're using a pickup, be careful and make sure that the impedance of the input that you're plugging the pickup into is high enough.
Old 19th July 2007
  #12
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filthyrich's Avatar
 

Strike 2

Failed again last night. I'm getting volumes that are near peaking, but yet it looks like there's nothing there. It looks like a snare drum hit when I look at it...or a kick. The clicks are there...and that's about it.

He's got nylon strings on there. Am I crazy or is this a large part of the problem?

He's got a Primo Violamaster P80 bass. I found them for under $700 new. I should still be able to get a good sound though, right?

I ended up going with the Apex 205 ribbon about 6 inches from the f-hole. I got a lot of "boom" and not much more, but the tone was ok. Should I have had it closer to the bridge and further from the hole?

I went with a 319 up near the neck.

We also used his pickup for a direct signal. We also un-taped the F-hole.

We skipped the mic on the amp.

Ready for strike 3. We also might borrow/rent a better standup or maybe a fretless...or maybe a full electric upright. I dunno. We also might just pay someone else...for my own peace of mind.

I tried eq, compression, stereo widening, cloning tracks, parallell compression, etc etc. As soon as I brought the guitars and drums back up...gone.

Thanks again for any thoughts.
Old 19th July 2007
  #13
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Kris's Avatar
Try to start with one mic on the bass, maybe a foot out from where he plucks for the nice click, and then gradually point it down towards the f holes until you find the right blend of lows. A 47 fet style mic is a good one... maybe try the c1.

Might as well mic the cab as well in an iso booth if you've got it, since it might just fit the style. Maybe just forget about the DI if the bass sounds decent enough in the room. I'd guess that a $700 upright has a pretty ****ty pickup in it..
Old 19th July 2007
  #14
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FossilTooth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xBassist View Post
Just have to get this out....

as a Jazz Bassist, I HATE when engineer's ask to stuff a mic under my bridge... I realize it might work well with some instruments, but you're essentially inhibiting the vibration of the top by adding mass to it. I do have a fine instrument and I'm pretty picky.

That's 'cause those engineers are doing it wrong! When suspended properly, a SDC should NEVER dampen any of the natural resonance of the bass.

I've found that mounting the mic to the bridge using two rubberbands of even tension works exceedingly well. The bridge becomes a shockmount for the mic, which points upwards, under the neck of the instrument. It captures the articulation in a much more natural and phase coherent way that a second mic pointed at the plucking hand. Killer.

I feel like I shouldn't be giving this trick away.... quick, somebody give me a dollar.
Old 19th July 2007
  #15
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Have him play, then stick your head near the body of the bass and move it around. Find where you get the most tone. Put your mic there.

If you're getting too much attack, maybe try micing off-axis...that is, don't have the mic pointing directly at the source? This may or may not help, but it might be worth a shot.

You could also try to put a mic in an opposite corner of a room. There could be bass buildup there without much attack that could be usable...

You could always tell him to "ease up" a little bit...he's probably banging on the strings with a lot of attack of his own...having him play "softer" might help as well.

You can also try compressing the signal with a fast attack and fast release to try to catch the transients, then bump the entire signal up.

If the bass dissapears in the mix, try using a HPF on the other instruments to make some room for the low end to poke thru.

And, yeah, don't tape the F-holes.

Also, if you can, try placing him on top of some wood or a riser if you have it. This could help the tone of the instrument a bit. Also try putting a rug down; That could stop some of the high end, but still let the low end reflect.

Don't be afraid to use some EQ either!
Old 19th July 2007
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FossilTooth View Post
That's 'cause those engineers are doing it wrong! When suspended properly, a SDC should NEVER dampen any of the natural resonance of the bass.

I've found that mounting the mic to the bridge using two rubberbands of even tension works exceedingly well. The bridge becomes a shockmount for the mic, which points upwards, under the neck of the instrument. It captures the articulation in a much more natural and phase coherent way that a second mic pointed at the plucking hand. Killer.

I feel like I shouldn't be giving this trick away.... quick, somebody give me a dollar.
I am curious, and will give this a try, but it does still add mass to the bridge that way. I've always heard that a bridge that warped was just barely too thin... in other words, as little mass as possible is best, as it allows the most energy transfered from the string to the top. Any extra weight is just absorbing energy... I've even found that a bow quiver on my tailpiece affects the sound negatively...

Like I said, I am picky, and your mileage may vary....
Old 19th July 2007
  #17
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Lee Knight's Avatar
 

One mic. An 87 works well. Try your C1?

A foot off the floor and a foot away form the bass pointed up at the bridge. It'll sound like the bass. In a good way. Point higher for more click, but start at the bridge.
Old 19th July 2007
  #18
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FossilTooth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xBassist View Post
I am curious, and will give this a try, but it does still add mass to the bridge that way. I've always heard that a bridge that warped was just barely too thin... in other words, as little mass as possible is best, as it allows the most energy transfered from the string to the top. Any extra weight is just absorbing energy... I've even found that a bow quiver on my tailpiece affects the sound negatively...

Like I said, I am picky, and your mileage may vary....
I agree that adding any significant mass to the tailpiece often has a noticeable effect on the sound of the instrument. It's all supple, free-floating wood down there, unlike the bridge.

The bridge is very firm and doesn't seem to suffer from having a couple rubber-band looped around it, suspending a couple of ounces of metal. The rubberbands act like a shockmount, and the mic is esentially de-coupled from the bridge.

I had to convince myself that it wouldn't mess things up, the first time I was clued into this trick. I A/B'ed the sound of the bass in front of me with and without the rubberbands a couple of times. I really just couldn't hear a difference. Now I would never record an upright bass with out it. Blend that sound to taste with something along the lines of a fet 47 (or maybe even a u87), and you're golden.
Old 19th July 2007
  #19
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filthyrich's Avatar
 

this is all I've got



My drummer had it from way back in the day and said i could use it. It's phantom, has a switch and also can take a AA battery. I forget what it's called. Edit: It's a Shure A-12 I believe. Someone on here a while back told me it was good for hats. I assume it'd be alright for this application. Otherwise, it's an sm57 or 545SD. This one would be much lighter, though. Now that I think about it; I've also got 2 Nady CM88 SDC's I could use inside the bridge.
Old 19th July 2007
  #21
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oh yeah.

It's all my fault. I should be able to get a good solid bass tone comparable to something that is punk (abilly) and played at about 2/3 the speed.
Old 19th July 2007
  #22
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Kris's Avatar
Upright is not the easiest instrument in the world to capture, and with just one mic you can achieve a lot of different tones from it, depending on what the song calls for...mic placement makes a very big difference for this instrument... a great player (and room) makes a big difference too!
Old 19th July 2007
  #23
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Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by filthyrich View Post
Failed again last night. I'm getting volumes that are near peaking, but yet it looks like there's nothing there. It looks like a snare drum hit when I look at it...or a kick. The clicks are there...and that's about it.
Not suprising... tracking with no compression punkabilly upright WILL do that!!!

Kinda like tracking banjo or dobro... HUGE attack and then the note is gone pretty instantly.

Quote:
He's got nylon strings on there. Am I crazy or is this a large part of the problem?
Not really. Some of it could be his technique... a lot of it could be your end too... the recording/documentation end.


Quote:
I ended up going with the Apex 205 ribbon about 6 inches from the f-hole. I got a lot of "boom" and not much more, but the tone was ok. Should I have had it closer to the bridge and further from the hole?

I went with a 319 up near the neck.

We also used his pickup for a direct signal. We also un-taped the F-hole.

We skipped the mic on the amp.
Most likely bad moves all around...

I almost never hang two mics on upright bass... too many phase issues most of the time. Having a mic about 1-2 feet from the F-hole is a hip idea...almost never a ribbon though. Usually it's a large diaphragm condensor of some kind...

Tossing a mic on the amp & committing that tone most likely (depending on what the amp sounds like!) would've helped the bass to NOT get eaten alive by the drums & guitars. In a jazz context that's probably not the right move... taking the amp, but in rock?

I probably would've taken that little practice amp too, split a signal to it... set it for some kinda 'distorto' or otherwise driven tone and blended a bit of that in with the other signals... maybe a lot of it. Depending...

It IS a punkabilly band right?!?

Gotta dirty it up. Get 'yer mojo goin.


Quote:
I tried eq, compression, stereo widening, cloning tracks, parallell compression, etc etc. As soon as I brought the guitars and drums back up...gone.

Thanks again for any thoughts.
Those kindsa' tricks work pretty well as enhancements if the tone is solid to begin with... otherwise IMO it's kinda like putting frosting on a **** cake.

Can 'ya post a clip?
Old 19th July 2007
  #24


A couple more things to look at:

Room placement - depending on your room, moving the bass around con change the low end in the recording significantly.

The Peg - often, you will get a lot of low frequency transmitted to the floor through the peg. If you have a drum riser, try putting him up there and see if you get low end from the floor of the thing.

EQ - and lots of it. A 12dB boost at 40Hz and a 9db Cut at 180Hz shouldn't scare you.



-tINY

Old 19th July 2007
  #25
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FossilTooth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by filthyrich View Post


My drummer had it from way back in the day and said i could use it. It's phantom, has a switch and also can take a AA battery. I forget what it's called. Edit: It's a Shure A-12 I believe. Someone on here a while back told me it was good for hats. I assume it'd be alright for this application. Otherwise, it's an sm57 or 545SD. This one would be much lighter, though. Now that I think about it; I've also got 2 Nady CM88 SDC's I could use inside the bridge.
Go for it. KM-84's and the little oktavas work great, because of their size. I've also used a 451, although larger, heavier and more awkward. The trick was taught to me with a km-84, so it always sounds "right" to my ears with one, but having different gear should never stop anyone.

Remember, this mic is meant to be blended with another mic pointed at the body. The SDC, angled straight up in this way will not capture any of the 'boom' or low end of the instrument. What it DOES, is pick up the "air" and articulation in a very natural way, without any exaggerated clickiness. Your can blend between the two depending on how much you want the bass to 'cut through' or 'sit back' in the mix.

Having that boring main mic is essential. Depending on taste, folks tend to go for either the bridge, or the f-hole. I tend to aim a little closer to the f-hole, as I'm using one mic for beef, and one for clarity.

If you don't have a suitable LDC (I've used fet 47, 4047, 87, 4050 with good results) I suppose you could use a beta 52, D112, Re-20, SM-7 etc., From that list, I've only used the beta 52 on upright, but I've liked it... albeit a little less than a LDC.
Old 21st July 2007
  #26
Gear Head
 

Stick a dynamic like a 421, re20, not a 57, 6" out from the bridge pointed slightly towards the fingerboard and you'll have a sound that you can work with-guaranteed. There are other places to mic an upright depending on the bass. The F-holes are a low end hot spot, and can make a muddy, un-usable sound.
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