Upright Bass Recording
Daniel and I recorded upright bass using 2 microphones.
1. Neumann TLM 49 Large Diaphragm Condenser
2. Neumann KM184 Small Diaphragm Condenser
Based on our research from Recording Magazine and No Treble, we started off by putting a Neumann TLM49 a few inches from the bridge. This got a decent amount of low end but mainly a lot of the higher ‘plucking’ tones when the bassist played with his fingers, and a lot of ‘sizzle’ from the bow when he bowed the strings.
The article from No Treble suggested to use two mics to get a variety of tones that you can mix and blend later. This is why we decided to use the Neumann KM184 on the F-hole.
We noticed this got a different sound of the body of the bass, and I found these tones to be a little bit more ‘natural’. The TLM49 picked up a lot of higher frequencies that you wouldn’t hear from the bass from a distance, like in a concert hall or room, specifically when the bassist was bowing.
We liked the overall tone of the TLM49 mixed with the KM184, so we kept the 49 at the bridge and blended it in to the recordings.
The last file on the Soundcloud is of the TLM49 solo’d.
We tried multiple configurations with the KM184 to achieve a variety of tones.
First, we had the KM184 up towards the top of the sound hole. This sounded very boomy to me. Even after applying a low cut around 70 Hz, there was still a lack of note definition and ‘snap.’
As we moved the KM184 around the F-hole, we got very different tones from the bass just from moving it a matter of inches.
We decided to move the KM184 down towards the middle of the sound hole, but kept it the same distance away from the bass. This sound had a little more high end tone definition.
We wanted to back the mic off the bass to get less low end, because I had to apply the low cut at 70 Hz for every take. Due to the proximity effect, the further the mic was, the less low end we picked up.
On the final take, we moved the KM184 about 5 inches back from the bass, and angled it towards the bottom of the sound hole.
The final take is my favorite configuration, as the mic picked up a decent blend of low end and airy slap tone. It sounded the best bowed, in my opinion.
Studios, Tool. “Resources.” – Upright Bass Miking : Recording Magazine –, www.recordingmag.com/resources/resourceDetail/204.html.
Audio-Technica. “2 Easy Tips for Recording Upright Bass.” Where It’s A-T, 29 Nov. 2016, blog.audio-technica.com/2-easy-tips-recording-upright-bass/.
Donovan Stokes | Bio Monday, May 9th, 2011. “Recording the Upright Bass.” No Treble, www.notreble.com/buzz/2011/05/09/recording-the-upright-bass/.