Recording Secrets For The Small Studio - Additional Resources

Acoustic Upright Bass

The following audio examples were recorded with session bass player Markus Braun in a spacious, wooded-floored performance space with a generous (and pleasant-sounding) room reverb. The microphones used were Avantone CK1 small-diaphragm condensers and Superlux R102 ribbons, preamplified via an Audient ASP008 multi-channel microphone preamp and recorded digitally without any signal processing. A Radial Pro 48 DI box was also fed from the instrument’s bridge pickup system and recorded alongside the microphone recordings, so you can experiment with how it combines in practice.

Multimic Setup 1

This microphone setup used five Avantone CK1 microphones (with their cardioid capsules) and three Superlux R102 ribbon microphones (with figure-eight pickup by nature) to record the vertical dispersion of an acoustic bass, for both plucked and bowed performance techniques. A DI signal was also captured simultaneously.

  • Vertical Dispersion At Different Angles/Distances: For the first set of audio examples, the vertical array of eight mics (five condensers and three ribbons) were set up around 25cm away from the front of the instrument, directly on-axis to its centre line (ie. the tailpiece, bridge, and fingerboard), as shown in the picture. Then, with the bass spike remaining in the same position, the instrument was rotated about 30 degrees off-axis to the array in both directions to generate a further two sets of audio files. Finally, the on-axis instrument position was repeated, but at a distance of around 50cm, generating the fourth set of files.
Acoustic bass multimic setup 1
Photo courtesy of Daniel Plappert. (Click image for a higher-resolution version.)
MicDistance/AngleMic TypePosition
25cm50cm
Mics On-axis30° To Player's Left30° To Player's RightMics On-axis
PluckedBowedPluckedBowedPluckedBowedPluckedBowed
AWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenserPointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway up the instrument's neck
BWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenserPointing towards the fingerboard at the level of the neck/body joint
CWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenserPointing towards the fingerboard, at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
DWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenserPointing directly at the bridge
EWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenserPointing towards the tailpiece at a level midway between the bridge and the floor
FWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowFigure-eight ribbon microphonePointing towards the fingerboard at the level of the neck/body joint
GWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowFigure-eight ribbon microphonePointing slightly downwards at the bridge
HWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowFigure-eight ribbon microphonePointing towards the tailpiece at a level midway between the bridge and the floor
(DI)WAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrow(Active DI box)DI signal from instrument's bridge pickup system

Multimic Setup 2

This microphone setup used three Avantone CK1 microphones (with their cardioid capsules) and three Superlux R102 ribbon microphones (with figure-eight pickup by nature) to record the horizontal dispersion of an acoustic bass, for both plucked and bowed performance techniques. In addition, a further two CK1s were set up in lower and higher positions to relate the audio examples better to those in Multimic Setup 1. Again, a DI signal was also captured simultaneously.

  • Horizontal & Vertical Dispersion: For this set of audio examples, the condenser microphones were set up in a cross-shaped formation, with all mics pointing inwards towards the instrument from a distance of around 60cm. The three ribbon microphones were set up alongside each of the horizontal trio of condensers. Mics B, D, E, and G were all directly on-axis to the instrument’s centre line (ie. the tailpiece, bridge, and fingerboard); Mics A and F were around 40 degrees off-axis to the player’s left; and Mics C and H were around 40 degrees off-axis to the player’s right.
Acoustic bass multimic setup 2
Photo courtesy of Daniel Plappert. (Click image for a higher-resolution version.)
MicPluckedBowedMic TypeDistanceAngle
AWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenser60cm40 degrees to the player's left, pointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
BWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenser60cmOn axis to the instrument, pointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
CWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenser60cm40 degrees to the player's right, pointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
DWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenser60cmOn axis to the instrument, pointing a little downwards towards the neck/body joint
EWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowSmall-diaphragm cardioid condenser60cmOn axis to the instrument, pointing towards the tailpiece at a level midway between the bridge and the floor
FWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowFigure-eight ribbon microphone60cm40 degrees to the player's left, pointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
GWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowFigure-eight ribbon microphone60cmOn axis to the instrument, pointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
HWAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrowFigure-eight ribbon microphone60cm40 degrees to the player's right, pointing towards the fingerboard at a level midway between the bridge and the neck/body joint
(DI)WAV/MP3 play_arrowWAV/MP3 play_arrow(Active DI box)DI signal from instrument's bridge pickup system