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i see a lot of mics being used for kick drums and bass interchangably. i have an Audix d6 kick drum mic, can i use this to recrod bass guitar as well?

if not, what are some good bass mics?

I'm planning on recording a blend of DI and mic'd. thanks!


Davedog Sun, 03/30/2008 - 10:46

There's a lot of factors that will determine whether or not you will get a great sound from micing a bass cabinet. In my opinion, its the hardest thing to capture and retain the depth clarity and size you want out of a bass guitar.

The D6 is a very good mic....especially for the kick drum and if you're going for that low whoomp and the click at the same time. The mic is scooped for this purpose and as a result is the easiest mic to place for kick drum.

It requires a lot of EQ to get the clarity in the mids for bass.

But then I'm oldskool on bass sounds. I'm not a fan of the sub-bass sounds without that roundness and clarity of old that you hear so much of these days.

Its the detuning to Eflat and below that causes this....

So what you want from the mic in a bass setting will determine what mic you would choose to mic the cabinet. Also the room in this case is going to be a huge factor in the results.

As far as a DI, Radial, Countryman, Avalon, all make very good DI's and it depends on yer budget which one you choose.

I use a dedicated bass preamp for direct work and even though I have several bass amp combinations to choose from, I only use them when I want that particualr sound. I have cabinets with 10's, 12's ,15's and even an 18 cabinet as well as tube heads, solidstate and combinations of the two's.

Use the search function to discover more info on this subject.

Cucco Sun, 03/30/2008 - 14:44

The answer is in Dave's response -
Yes you can. Will it be ideal? Probably not as it's kind of a scooped sound and will not really lend itself to a tuneful bass signal.

I actually like large diaphragm condensers on bass cab - especially those similar to a u87 sound. The Bluebird has become a recent fav of mine for sounds like this - a bit bright on the top end, a lot of proximity effect...

In general, capturing a good bass sound with a mic can be tricky. If at first you don't succeed, quit and use a DI. ;-)

Davedog Sun, 03/30/2008 - 16:41

Like I said....If you need a more detailed set of information in order to decide something that you could just as easily try out for yourself, use the search function. Theres a lot of opinions and information surrounding this topic.

I thought I made it clear that the D6 isnt the do-all-be-all for bass guitar............

And yeah....I dont usually use a mic on bass unless its for a particular track that needs that particular sound.

Wasnt that clear?

If you want the goto mic of choice for bass guitar cabinets, its going to take a couple of pages to list them all and even more to explain why.

There just isnt one answer that fits all questions.

Since you insist however...this is what I use. I like the ATM25 on a 10" speaker. I like the U87 with the pad engaged and some compression on it on a 15" speaker. I like an SM57 always on any kind of speaker. The AKG D20 is a GREAT bass speaker mic. Good luck finding one.

The Sennheiser MD409 will give you a great representation of a bass sound.

A ribbon mic always works as long as the volume is fairly low and you're not micing a port on the cabinet.

An 1176 comp makes a great sounding bass.

I've recorded a whole bunch of other basses using a bunch of other methods.

Anymore of a list will become 'consulting' and this gets expensive.

Use the search engine or try it out yourself.

bent Sun, 03/30/2008 - 20:47

unfortunately, i really didn't get answer any of my questions.
can anyone recommend a good bass mic?

Since my esteemed fellow users on this site appear to have somehow neglected to answer your question, being that they only mentioned the lowly SM57, the paltry D6, the unforgiving M88, not to mention the silly old Bluebird as well as the unforgivable D20, might I offer you this:

The classic RCA 4AA!

On Ekkharts' there's one available for $8500...

Truly unique, truly antique - your bass will sound like no other!


tifftunes Mon, 03/31/2008 - 01:05

Best mic that will also be best or near best at MANY other applications is the Shure KSM44. You'd have to spend HUGE money to beat this mic!

For less money, the EV RE27 and RE20 are great for bass drum, bass guitar, and vocals.

The lowly choice would have to be the EV N/D 868. It has nearly the same freq graph as the RE20, but for much less money. It would work for kick and bass cabs, not so good on vocals (ask me how I know).

Believe it or not, the ubiquitous SM57 and 58 will both work on a bass cab! The specs claim 40 hz at the low end. It won't do justice to the sub freqs, but will cover decent bass sounds for just about every other application.

Best thing to do is "run what ya brung." Using what you have to get it done is far more important than waiting 'til you have the "correct" tool, since opinions of what is correct varies widely. Like assholes and elbows, everyone has an opinion. The best opinion of the sound you get is your own. Use what you have, get a sound you can live with and record away!!! It is the song that rules, not the hardware!

MadMax Mon, 03/31/2008 - 04:36

What I use is a combination and will probably continue with the "run whatcha' brung" philosophy...

I ALWAYS track with a DI. In smaller rooms, I'll use either a Rode NT2, or a D112, or a AT4033.

In big rooms, I run a DI and a 421 or a 414.

I just picked up a pair of A-Designs REDDI's and a pair of Peluso P47's (U47). If I don''t use the 47's elsewhere, I might try one on the bass.

A Peluso 251 might be a good choice as might a 44BX or a 77.

I've used RE20's and have had mixed results...

Accurate bass capture is dependent upon SO many variables... the instrument, cabinet, room, player and genre' of music.

On the same album, I've used a different setup for each song. Why? Because you do what the song calls for. If you're getting too much low end and not enough high end for a particular song... no amount of EQ is going to fix it... CHANGE the setup...

When tracking live stuff, you obviously don't have that luxury, so you often have to spend some extra time trying to get the best compromise.

But in general, I can only recommend that you snag a DI signal and a mic'd cabinet, if you are persistent on capturing a cabinet. The reason I say that... about 75% of the time (or more) I use little or no bass mic in the final mix.

anonymous Mon, 03/31/2008 - 23:25

Quick side thought/question:

Would it be a good idea to record the kick drum and the bass with different 'low-end tailored' mics? The reason I'd think this is because two different mics would bring two different tones, which may help them to settle into different spots in the mix naturally without much EQ. I'm basically going on the concept that two different mics have two different frequency response curves, so it may accentuate different parts of the two instruments.

Am I way off base or is this somewhat realistic? :)

Davedog Tue, 04/01/2008 - 09:47

Its always a good idea to plan the tailoring of your sonic pallette before pushing the little red button.

Tracking is all about capturing a performance to the best of the engineers and the equipments abilities.

Mixing should be about enhancing and displaying the best parts of that capture.

Using a different mic, mic pre,EQ settings, compressors, and all sundry of gear for similar frequency instruments, goes a long way to making the mixing job an easier one.

NOT to say this always works........However, the better your gear the more apt it is to do exactly what you have suggested.

Codemonkey Tue, 04/01/2008 - 17:12

With 3 PG58s, 2 BrandX Xm5s and 2 AT D310s's, and with 2 different mixers (one small old box) as pres, I can see that I have many configurations. If I track everything on Channel 3 the mix should be easy though...Ch3 died on me at a rehearsal.
Could mix silence with silence and call the track "Noise".
Of course the computer noise would still be there.

Equipment is far less important than skill though. Can't say I have an abundance of either.
My ears vary from day to day and I honestly prefer the sound from my mobile/cellphone's headphone amp going through my HD280s, to the same HD280s and same songs being played via the headphone jack on my PC speakers.
Something tells me I ought to get an amp for cans...

With us, lead guitars, rhythm guitars and bass guitars...and the piano and violin, are recorded using cheapass speaker cables used in lieu of balanced lines and DIs. Either way it's direct.


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