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Which mic to use on a bass cab?


NickT

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I have heard competing theories..."an SM57 will sound great"..."naaaaaah, you wanna be using a bass drum mic".

 

If you were to buy ONE microphone to put in front of a bass cab for recording and very occasional live use...

 

What would you buy?

 

PS: Please don't suggest anything that is going to cost the Earth...£150 or less if possible.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use an SM-57 to mic a Bass cabinet! You need to pick up a mic that has better low frequency response.

 

Here is my "desert island bass cabinet mic"

 

DRUM ROLL..........

 

Audix D-6 <--- Also excellent on Bass Drum, Floor Tom, Djembe.

 

Approximately $200 US Dollars.

 

Good luck!

 

- Tom

Bee, why you sting me? - Jack Kerouac
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An SM-57 can work, if you combine it with a DI signal. My personal favorite is an AKG D-112 on my 15" cab. RE-20's are widely used, and you could also try a good LD cardioid condenser. I've used a Rode NT1 on a 2x12" with great results after taming the highend with EQ.
-Matt M
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If you can get a hold a of a old Reslo Sound ribbon mic like the Beatles used stick that in front of the speaker. Those mics have UN FREAKIN BELIEVEABLE lo end response, I have personally witnessed a oscilloscope response test where the test mic got down to 22 Hz before crapping out. B strings love it. In another life I used to do a lot of hi fi AM ham radio and guys were always testing mikes and audio processors in order to get the highest quality sound. That Reslo really has bass in spades. Check Ebay and do a search for Reslo sound. It looks like a small trapezoid.
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Hi Everyone, In addition to playing bass I also run sound for some groups around town. If I had to use only one mic for a bass cab it would be a Sennheiser 421. I have always been able to get a good sound from this mic both live and in the studio. Great for bass drum too.It is well built and can take some abuse. It may be a little more expensive than what you're looking for, but it will be money well spent. :thu:

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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The 57 has a frequency response that goes down to 40 hz. Since I play a 4 string this is low enough for me. I like the fact that every engineer known to man knows how to EQ an 57. I also like the fact it is pretty good at rejecting sound from the side. It is easy to set up and hard to break. It only costs about $80 brand new. I actually like the way my Eden cab sounds using the 57 better than the AKG 112 or the Sennheoser 421. I have not had an opportunity to try the Audix products though.
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an sm-57 won't do it. pumpcat is entirely right, the AKG D112. i've never found a real studio that uses 57s for micking bass cabs. mics like the D112 are designed specifically for handling bass signals.
Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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I have used an SM57 once, in conjunction with a DI. Sounded great.

 

Will a bass drum mic have the necessary frequency response at the top end? If not am I then in the realms of close micing with a bass drum mic and back a 57 off by a foot or two to get some ambient?

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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It seems to me that if I were to buy one mic to mic bass in the studio, it's be a D112 simply because I'd assume that one would also have other mics (presumably SM57's)that could also be used.

Get a D112, a SM57, and a Rode NT1 and you will have a mic that can cover almost every possible single-source recording situation an engineer can face. I've done whole albums with only these three mics and it always sounded great. Those 3 mics together will cost you ($200 + $80 + $200) under $500 US. Get them on ebay and you could knock an easy $100 off that total.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Well ... it kind of depends on what you want from the miked signal.

 

I can see using a 57 if what you want is air and some mid-grit to add to a clean DI channel - particularly if you're miking one 10" driver. And I seem to remember an engineer doing this on a session I played - mic off-center and cab raised up a bit off the ground. As far as this usage goes, pretty much any decent dynamic or small-diaphragm condensor (of which there are jillions of affordable options) would probably be fine.

 

I have also been in studios where a D112 was used all by itself (miking a 15 cab), and this sounded good too ... although it takes a bit more engineering artistry (as with any attempt to capture live sounds with mics) to get a good bottom end without overbearing woofs/boom.

 

I'd suggest that whatever you do, run one channel direct, through a decent DI - even if you end up not using that track later.

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a 57 halfway to the edge combined with an off axis large diaphram condenser sounds sweet on a bass amp. If you print them to different tracks, you can push and pull to your delight at mix time, and the way the 57 sounds, you don't need that infernal DI.

 

Side question: does any bassist actually like the sound of a DI?

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What is the best inexpensive mic for recording bass?

Seems like, if you can spare 2 tracks for bass recording, DI is a nice idea, just to be able to blend the two... worked so far in my limited recording experience...

All I have are 4 SM-58's for recording... should I invest in an SM-57 or three?

"Tea & Cake, or Death!"
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Originally posted by DC_Jim:

Side question: does any bassist actually like the sound of a DI?

Sure. Not all DIs. But with the right DI, the right engineer, the right EQ, the right compression ... I've gotten great sounds without miking.
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Originally posted by DC_Jim:

Side question: does any bassist actually like the sound of a DI?

I don't generally like the sound of DI by itself, but when I record I almost always use a mix of DI and mic'ed amp.
-Matt M
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for live sound sometimes i use an Audix D-2 and and Audix D-4. i find the D-6 and that mic that looks like a football to color the sound too much. All low end and low mids and no highs and high mids. the D-2 has a freq response of 44hz to 18khz and the D-4 is something like 38hz to 2khz i think. they make a perfect pair, live and recording. but you can't ever really go wrong going direct.
I didn't come here to play. I came here to make babies.
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most of the time, the last time i was in the studio, i preferred to use an amp, but for a couple songs, i did use an avalon 737. it was very clean and tight, but lacked the body i was getting from a fender bassman through a 215. for one track, the precision was preferred.

 

i've enjoyed other, less precise DIs, too.

 

robb.

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Originally posted by JD:

The 57 has a frequency response that goes down to 40 hz. Since I play a 4 string this is low enough for me. I like the fact that every engineer known to man knows how to EQ an 57. I also like the fact it is pretty good at rejecting sound from the side. It is easy to set up and hard to break. It only costs about $80 brand new. I actually like the way my Eden cab sounds using the 57 better than the AKG 112 or the Sennheoser 421. I have not had an opportunity to try the Audix products though.

Hi - While it's true that the SM-57 has a stated frequency response of 40 to 15,000 Hz, you have to look at the TYPICAL FREQUENCY RESPONSE curve to see the actual truth. At 40 Hz, there is a -10db decrease in signal. Not exactly ruler flat, eh? Even at 100 Hz, an SM-57 looses -5db. Here is a link to the spec sheet on the shure.com website:

Shure SM-57 Spec Sheet

 

The original question was in regards to Which mic to use on a Bass Cabinet. Specifically, if we could choose only one mic, what would it be...

 

I stand by my original statement that an SM-57 used as the sole mic for a Bass Cabinet will sound heinous (unless you play a piccolo Bass).

 

But hey, if a 57 works for you, then by all means use it.

 

Also, since the topic of this thread has expanded to Bass DI's, I will throw in my two cents here as well...

 

Check out the Universal Audio M610 (one channel) or the 2-610 (two-channel) Mic Pre/DI.

 

This is an absolutely amazing Mic Pre and DI. Granted it's a bit pricey ($999 & $1899 respectively), however the money is well spent. Also, you may want to check out the UA 6176, which combines the M610 with the classic UA 1176 Compressor! I haven't tried this particular unit, but based on the sound of our 2-610 and the reputation of the 1176, I'm sure it rocks (especially on Bass!).

 

Good luck..

 

- Tom

Bee, why you sting me? - Jack Kerouac
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