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Hello everyone, I want some advices recording bowed double bass. I am a professional solo doublebassist and an amateur recorder and I want to record some solo double bass with my music. Right now I don't have too much money to invest in a decent microphone like Neumannn but Im looking for a 300 dlls mic which can help me have a decent recording sound of my instrument.
I don't play pizzicato often, I mostly play with my bow, here's a link of my playing: [youtube:efd1cfc203]…]
I made that recording myself using an AKG 1000 but Im not happy with the results. I think that can show what kind of sound I need to record...

I wonder if it will be better to have a SDC or a LDC... I don't care about the guitar because he has he's own mics and sounds pretty decent...

Any advices about brands or models will be very welcome!
Thank you![/youtube]


moonbaby Tue, 08/25/2009 - 10:19

Well, I can't hear your video here at work, but I will offer this:
No, the C1000 is a toy, and probably sounded thin, harsh and scratchy.
Two relatively low-priced mics I'd recommend (based on upright jazz bass and bowed cello mic'ing experiences) would be the ADK Hamburg (LDC) and a Heil PR40 (a LD DYNAMIC), both priced at around $300-350.00
The Heil is a bit "rounder" , the ADK a bit brighter, both have a good deep low end.

Boswell Wed, 08/26/2009 - 07:16

Last year I had the opportunity to work with a double bassist trying out microphones for recording. She was interested in mics in a similar price range to you (perhaps a little more), but needed it to work well for both pizz and arco and in a variety of acoustic spaces. Suitability for stage use was also a consideration, but would have been a bonus and not the main objective.

We tried several mono condenser and dynamic mics, and also a Rode NT4 stereo. Without giving a blow-by-blow account of the pros and cons of all the ones we tried, the best performers were the EV RE20, Beyer M88 (both dynamics) and Rode NT2-A (condenser). The NT4 stereo was good as well, but gave a very different sound as it needed to be positioned further away than the others, but was worth considering for solo recordings when the bass was centre field. I tried a couple of ribbons, but they were too dark and boomy for the particular (7/8) instrument.

The thing that really stood out was that between the best sounding mics, the greatest difference was not between the mics (although it was obvious which was a condenser and which a dynamic), but where the mic was placed relative to the instrument. The different mics had different "best" positions and distances, giving the lie to any rule that might say "this is where you place a mic for a double bass".

I didn't have to hand at the time either the PR40 or the Hamburg that Moonbaby mentioned, but I can imagine either of them would certainly be worth considering.

moonbaby Wed, 08/26/2009 - 08:33

Bos' suggestions of the E-V RE-20 and the Beyer M88 are more consistent with professional applications for bass instruments. I KNOW that the RE-20 is because I have one, but at a street price of around $400, I kept that one out of the picture, ditto for the Beyer M99, which I also have and love on basses.
Because of the placement issues that Bos brought up, you might well consider the RE-20 at the top of the list because of its lack of proximity effect. If you are a savvy e-Bay shopper, you can find a good used one that's more in your price range. Plus, the damned things are next to impossible to kill...

Cucco Wed, 08/26/2009 - 15:22

Expand the budget by just a wee bit...

Grab a spare piece of Auralex foam and set it on the floor in front of the bass. Better option - roll it up in a wash cloth and place gently under the tail.

Another option at a slightly higher price is the DPA 4061. It's a great mic and is designed for bowed stringed instruments.

Just some other options to the already great suggestions.


BobRogers Wed, 08/26/2009 - 16:28

Cucco wrote: ...Better option - roll it up in a wash cloth and place gently under the tail...

That's an interesting suggestion for arco. A lot of people use that for pizz. to get a lot of string/fretboard sound (often in combination with a second mic), but I've never heard it suggested for a bowed bass.

I assume you have tried out an SM57 and are looking for something better. All of the suggestions above are probably better, but if money is a concern you owe it to yourself to try a 57 and see if it will get you by until you can afford the mic you really want. (After which you will still own a 57 - always a good thing.)

Cucco Wed, 08/26/2009 - 16:33

The earthworks are very good at this application even for bowed bass. The Schoeps and similar get too much other noise, but I've found the Earthworks to do very well at representing the sound of the instrument this way.

If it still sounds too close, you can always place it on the floor as earlier suggested or you can put it on a stand a little bit back from the instrument (not too far though given its pattern).