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Author Topic: Mic for bass player  (Read 4104 times)

Stephen Gregory

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Mic for bass player
« on: August 10, 2011, 03:29:23 am »

We have a fine bass player in our worship band who also sings harmonies from time to time.  This is great, but he stands right next to the drums on our smallish "stage", so unless his face is glued to the mic (SM58), I am having trouble getting a decent sound out of him without lots of wash from the kit.

Can anybody recommend a mic for this sort of situation?  He has a high voice and sings well, but he would appreciate at least a couple of inches of room to move around the mic (ie being able to look at his hands occasionally!), while I would appreciate less off-axis noise.  Are these two incompatible, or are there work-arounds?  I'd rather not go with headsets, though that is clearly one solution.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 08:52:10 am »

We have a fine bass player in our worship band who also sings harmonies from time to time.  This is great, but he stands right next to the drums on our smallish "stage", so unless his face is glued to the mic (SM58), I am having trouble getting a decent sound out of him without lots of wash from the kit.

Can anybody recommend a mic for this sort of situation?  He has a high voice and sings well, but he would appreciate at least a couple of inches of room to move around the mic (ie being able to look at his hands occasionally!), while I would appreciate less off-axis noise.  Are these two incompatible, or are there work-arounds?  I'd rather not go with headsets, though that is clearly one solution.

If he wants to have the most freedom to move and stay on the mic, then a headset would of course be #1.  If not that, then a tighter patterned mic will reduce the "bleed" somewhat, but the tighter pattern means it is easier to get off-axis.   For some interesting info see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvUfXxalD7Q

Two other things come to mind:

1.  If you have a downward expander available on your console channels, use that or a gate to reduce the wash when he's not singing.

2.  Place a small (plexiglass) shield on a wire music stand tripod base between the loudest part of the kit and his mic.  It is surprising how small a shield it takes to make a significant improvement. 
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Aaron_McQueen

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 01:43:21 pm »

We have a fine bass player in our worship band who also sings harmonies from time to time.  This is great, but he stands right next to the drums on our smallish "stage", so unless his face is glued to the mic (SM58), I am having trouble getting a decent sound out of him without lots of wash from the kit.

Can anybody recommend a mic for this sort of situation?  He has a high voice and sings well, but he would appreciate at least a couple of inches of room to move around the mic (ie being able to look at his hands occasionally!), while I would appreciate less off-axis noise.  Are these two incompatible, or are there work-arounds?  I'd rather not go with headsets, though that is clearly one solution.

Try an Audix OM7.
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 09:52:17 pm »

...[H]e stands right next to the drums on our smallish "stage", so unless his face is glued to the mic (SM58), I am having trouble getting a decent sound out of him without lots of wash from the kit.
If you go for any type of filtering solution (gates, for example), I think the effect will be even more noticeable because the sound will cut in and out as compared to always being there.

You might get some help from a gobo of some sort, but I think that it will be negligible since the drumkit covers a large range of frequencies, potentially at the same time (kick, snare, and crash cymbal simultaneously).   A drum shield could help, if not already in place, as it would be large enough to make a difference.  If that doesn't help enough, your drummer is probably playing too loud.

A microphone with better rejection characteristics (Audix OM7, for one) could help a lot, but if you are noticing the wash while listening to the mains, my guess is the stage levels aren't that loud and a change of mic would only help somewhat.

Bottom line: the loudest sound at the mic wins.  I say move the bass player to a different location.
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Stephen Gregory

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 11:10:10 pm »

Thanks very much for your responses.  That was a very helpful YouTube clip, Dick, and clarified some issues for me.

I can see that going for a mic with better rejection like an OM7 would help with stage noise, but at the same time lose the freedom to move or look away.  On the other end of the scale a KSM105 (if I had $ to burn) would give great freedom to move but plenty of stage noise.

I could stick a Beta58 on him to get less noise than the SM58, but I find that it has quite a small usable zone that drops off quickly as you move away.

I guess I was wondering if there are any sensitive, highly directional mics, a bit like a shotgun mic, that people use on stage.  As far as I could tell, all the ones Dave Rat was testing were either sensitive and wide or insensitive and tight.

I take the point about moving the bass player, but we are really tight for space, so if I shift him, someone else's mic is going to get the drums!

Gating and gobos are both possibilities that I can try out.  I'm thinking I could also shift his foldback next to the drums and point the mic away from both at once, to help a bit. 

Stage levels are not high - half the time the drummer uses split sticks, but even so the cymbals are the issue - I just don't like hash in the vocals if I can avoid it.
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Aaron_McQueen

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2011, 11:27:26 am »

Thanks very much for your responses.  That was a very helpful YouTube clip, Dick, and clarified some issues for me.

I can see that going for a mic with better rejection like an OM7 would help with stage noise, but at the same time lose the freedom to move or look away.  On the other end of the scale a KSM105 (if I had $ to burn) would give great freedom to move but plenty of stage noise.

I could stick a Beta58 on him to get less noise than the SM58, but I find that it has quite a small usable zone that drops off quickly as you move away.

I guess I was wondering if there are any sensitive, highly directional mics, a bit like a shotgun mic, that people use on stage.  As far as I could tell, all the ones Dave Rat was testing were either sensitive and wide or insensitive and tight.

I take the point about moving the bass player, but we are really tight for space, so if I shift him, someone else's mic is going to get the drums!

Gating and gobos are both possibilities that I can try out.  I'm thinking I could also shift his foldback next to the drums and point the mic away from both at once, to help a bit. 

Stage levels are not high - half the time the drummer uses split sticks, but even so the cymbals are the issue - I just don't like hash in the vocals if I can avoid it.

There is no such thing as a magical microphone that only picks up what you want.  The loudest sound to the mic always wins.  Get an OM7 and teach him how to use it.  If he has to be able to move around a lot then you should try a headset mic as suggested by someone else, like the Crown CM-311A.

I've heard on this forum many times, that everything in live audio is a compromise.  The best solution is where you're willing to compromise.  So in this example the compromise may be wearing a headset that looks silly vs being right on top of the mic.
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Brian Ehlers

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011, 01:14:23 pm »

Regardless of which mic you use, make sure you're using its pattern to maximum advantage.  Point its maximum rejection toward the drums.  It won't stop the low frequencies so much, but should significantly cut down on the amount of cymbal bleed.

With an SM58, this means putting the mic alongside your bassist, with the back end (cable) pointing at the kit.  Of course, you still want yout bassist to sing into the mic, so he'll have to stand a little sideways.  Is that a problem?

Taking this further, perhaps a figure-8 mic would be the best solution.  They offer superb rejection in a 360-degree ring "sideways."  The only thing you have to live with is the fact there's a lobe coming off the far side of the mic that's just as sensitive as the lobe facing your vocalist.  Careful monitor position should make that workable.
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Stephen Gregory

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2011, 11:44:06 pm »

With respect Aaron, I am not sure that the loudest sound to the mic always wins.  The whole point of directional mics is that they are not equally sensitive in all directions, so as Brian points out, you can have someone shouting at the side of a figure-8 without disturbing your singing too much.

Having said that, I agree that a compromise is inevitable.  This week I will try him with the SM58 pointing away from the drums and see if I can turn it up enough to give him room to move. If not, I'll see if I can get hold of a figure-8 to try out.  A bit of congregation singing in his channel would not be such a bad thing  :D

My only concern there is that I don't know of any tough figure-8s that are suited to live work, I'm only familiar with fussy ribbon mics for recording.  Anyone got suggestions?
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Lee Douglas

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2011, 09:46:14 am »

Loudest sound into the mic always wins.  Regardless of its point of origin.

Not to be a jerk here, but why is insisting good mic technique such a problem here?  Particularly on a small stage.  There are many mics that have good off axis rejection that will go a long way in helping to clean up your stage wash issues that simply require that you sing into them as opposed to singing somewhere in their vicinity.  Fix your problem at the source.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 11:21:11 pm by Lee Douglas »
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Marty McCann

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 11:32:37 am »

Loudest sound into the mic always wins.  Regardless of its point of origin.

Not to be an jerk here, but why is insisting good mic technique such a problem here?  Particularly on a small stage.  There are many mics that have good off axis rejection that will go a long way in helping to clean up your stage wash issues that simply require that you sing into them as opposed to singing somewhere in their vicinity.  Fix your problem at the source.


+1

Try a Super or Hyper-Cardioid mic.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2011, 11:48:37 am »


+1

Try a Super or Hyper-Cardioid mic.
Just be aware that a super or hyper cardioid pattern will normally have a back lobe that is not present in a cardioid mic and that may factor in if you have floor monitors.
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brenti

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2011, 06:25:49 pm »

Forgive me for not reading everyone's three paragraph post.  Anyway, I would suggest a gate (a good one, too).  If your singer sings directly into the mic, he will most likely be louder (to the mic) than the drums.  People who knock gates probably have cheap units or do not have the gates configured correctly.  A properly configured Compressor/Limiter/Gate will give your sound engineer a huge amount of added control.

Brent
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Brian Ehlers

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2011, 08:48:15 pm »

The gate will do nothing to stop the drum bleed whenever the bass player is singing, and, as was pointed out, the repetitive opening and closing of the gate may make the situation more annoying. 

Besides, if the drums really are the loudest thing picked up by the vocal mic (or even close to it), you will not be able to dial in gate settings that actually work.  You can't "properly configure" a gate if the unwanted signal isn't significantly below the wanted signal.
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2011, 09:08:37 pm »

i had an akg c747 i used for a snare mic and it had a very tight hyper pattern. i went back the the sm57 to capture more of the snare drum sound. the c747 is said to be good for vocals.
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2011, 11:42:08 pm »

People who knock gates probably have cheap units or do not have the gates configured correctly.  A properly configured Compressor/Limiter/Gate will give your sound engineer a huge amount of added control.

Brent
Brent, even if the engineer used a gate with parametric sidechain filters, they would most likely have to set the depth (or whatever their piece of kit calls the amount of attenuation) to such a small amount that it wouldn't be worth using the gate in the first place - otherwise pumping artifacts might be noticeable due to too much attenuation.  Of course, a slower release time might be needed, but could cause subtleties to be lost if the singer doesn't stay on-mic.
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Jordan Wolf
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Brad Weber

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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2011, 06:36:04 am »

Brent, did you note toward the top of the page where it says "Your Displayed Name Muse Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Church and HOW Forums"?  You need to go to "Profile" the "Modify Profile" and the "Account Settings" and change your displayed name to be you real full name.  If you don't do that quickly the Moderators may lock this thread until you comply.
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Re: Mic for bass player
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2011, 06:36:04 am »


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