Miking and EQing a double upright bass on live stage

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Dick Rees Dick Rees 6 years ago.

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  • #47306
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Hi guys
    Anyone much experience in miking and EQing a double bass on stage with other musicians and wedge monitors to optimise GBF.
    I am doing sound for a concert at church on Saturday using our QU-24. From L to R on stage there is:
    Double Bass, Dobro & vocals, Violin, Trombone, Clarinet and Sax. Using SM57 mics on stands for all instruments.
    We had two practices and for the first one i got a decent sound setup and saved the scene. But on second practice last Sunday some ould dreaded feedback gremlins appeared and eventually found it coming from the double bass,especially when he moved slightly and the SM57 was pointing directly or close to the f hole. So he tried to position himself steady so as mic was pointing to the left of the f soundhole (though im afraid this could be difficult to achieve on the night as he gets carried away). I also moved the dobro players monitor so it was pointing more away from the bass player. Difficult to achieve good monitor placement on a not too big stage with 6 musicians close enough together…
    Re EQing, the bass player himself asked me to cut out some lows and highs but boost the mids (i.e. a frown shaped looking PEQ) for best sounding bass but i found that i had to cut some mids around the 400-600 hz range by a good few db and leave the lows flat (but engage the HPF to around 200 hz) and the highs flat (i.e. a smile shaped looking PEQ) to prevent feedback.
    Any comments,thoughts or suggestions??
    Barry

    #47307
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    As an upright bass player of long standing (insert tired musician joke here), my default rig was a 58 wrapped in a towel and wedged beneath the tailpiece, ball end toward the bridge. Nice warm, fat sound and ZERO reflections. And it’s impossible to get “off mic”. Especially good for when the player has to lean in and sing backing harmonies on a shared vox mic.

    #47308
    Profile photo of robbocurry
    robbocurry
    Participant

    Saw this on eBay.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rare-classic-New-UK-C-Tape-C-Ducer-Capacitance-Transducer-mic-8-PreAmp-warr-/181714144497?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item2a4f01ccf1

    Owned one of these in the 80’s and got great results with it on the kick drum.
    Was recommended for double bass too so not a one trick pony 😉
    IIRC it was pretty immune to feedback and was a great job at the time.
    There’s probably some 21st Century version out there now….
    EDIT: Something like this:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Barcus-Berry-Upright-Bass-Pickup-B3150-No-Drilling-New-/391118510552?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5b107ad9d8

    #47309
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    An SM57 or 58 is not capable of capturing the sounds of an upright acoustic bass, not to me anyway 😉 your mileage WILL vary.

    This is the only bass instrument in the group, and you have eliminated all the nice low end sound of that instrument by using the a 200 Hz HPF.

    Pointing a mic at the F hole is going to give you the sound that is inside the bass. We don’t want what it sounds like inside, same for an acoustic guitar pointing the mic at the hole (not good) you want to do your best to capture the whole instrument,…point a cardioid condensor mic towards the bridge and don’t run it so hot in the monitors, that is my suggestion.

    #47310
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Dick, we ended up swapping the 57 for a 58 for double bass and it ‘seemed’ to have less feedback. Interesting about wedgin it in with a towel…any photos of that?
    Dan, we only have 57’s and 58’s at church. Yes i know u shouldn’t point it directly into soundhole,the bass player himself positioned mic to point at what he calls the ‘sweet spot’, just about 2″ to left of soundhole. I’ve read elsewhere the 57 should be positioned & aimed below the bridge and pointing up towards bridge (i might try that on Saturday). I also saw on web a 57 suspended with elastic bands under the strings just above the bridge….interesting!!
    It was quite boomy which is why i took out below 200 hz with HPF,i know in theory you shouldn’t do that but hey i was just experimenting with the PEQ to maximise the gain before feedback and i ended up with HPF at 200hz and scooping out some mids in order to achieve this and get a half decent sound without feedback. Sacrificing some sound quality too reduce feedback. I know there’s probably a better EQ setup if i had the optimum mic and placement. ….which is why i started this thread,to see what sort of setups worked for other QU users. I read the double bass is one of the hardest instruments to mic and EQ right.

    #47311
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    An SM57 or 58 is not capable of capturing the sounds of an upright acoustic bass, not to me anyway your mileage WILL vary.

    What is your experience with this subject? Sounds more like studio than live to me. But there’s no lack of LF response in either the 57 or the 58 so I don’t see a problem for non-classical live ensemble work. Here’s the plot on the 58. Oops, look at the bass boost of the proximity effect, not just the on-axis line.

    I’ve also had good luck with an AT Pro35 clip-on gooseneck in a pinch.

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    #47314
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Sorry Dan just to add, it’s easy saying don’t run it hot in the monitors. Sure if we could get away with that we’d be laughing, but unfortunately musicians are half human at times and their egos makes them all ask for ‘a bit more of me’ in the monitor….see my thread a few days ago about this very subject!!!

    #47317
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    I never used monitors and still prefer to work without them. And I never, ever put bass through a regular wedge. They just don’t have the oomph. I have a bass amp in the trailer if needed…much better than a wedge.

    #47326
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    More me actually means less of everyone else…

    I’d be looking for something to clip or hang under the strings under the bridge if I could. Else a 57 up close and personal – short stand, get it under the bridge, maybe put a dummy one near the bass players chosen spot 😉

    #47329
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    I like the dummy SM57 Bob, but wouldn’t that be akin to lying and we can’t do that at church….:-) 🙂
    It’s funny you should say that but on our old analogue GL2000 desk we had a number of faders that did nothing and another sound guy showed me his trick that if someone came up and said the sound was too loud (or too quiet) he would turn down this dummy fader and the person would go away happily thinking the volume went down….dishonest maybe..but it works !!

    #47331
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    Not lying – just giving yourself options 🙂 At least if you have enough channels…

    People rarely know what volume actually is – and as a sound guy you answer to the WL/pastor, not random congregation comments…

    #47332
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    “…….he would turn down this dummy fader and the person would go away happily thinking the volume went down…..”

    Work with musicians and their monitor mixes too 😉 Usually referred to as DFA, which could mean “Doesn’t Function, Actually” 🙂

    #47333
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    I was just kidding Bob 🙂
    But now you just touched on a very touchy subject (which would warrant a thread on it’s own…..or maybe not !!). I don’t consider myself as a sound guy anwering to the worship leader (WL). I only answer to the pastor. Both the WL and the sound leader (SL) answer to the pastor (P) as the sound guy is responsible for the quality of the sound from FOH which the WL has no say over. The WL does have a say over the sound from wedges or in-ears but only insofar as it doesn’t effect FOH mix (refer to my previous thread on this stand-off I had 2 weeks ago over this issue).
    I know I opened a can of works here as different churches have different hierarchy structures and in some churches there is a worship pastor (WP)in which case he may be in charge over the worship + sound. What is your setup in your church ?

    #47336
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    You’re right – the WL isn’t who I meant, I meant a worship deacon or some such, although it might be the same person of course.

    We (300 odd members) have a couple of pastors (Primary people we answer to) and a WOrship deacon and Tech leader who we answer to.

    #47339
    Profile photo of mamerica
    mamerica
    Participant

    I have mic’ed literally hundreds of upright basses and Dick is right. We used the mic in the towel for years with good results. For the past five or six years we have used the Audio-Technica PRO 35 Cardioid Condenser Clip-on Instrument Microphone. It is clipped onto the Bass in the f-hole and pointed at the body. It works great.

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