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Author Topic: Recording bass in a stage lip setup  (Read 803 times)

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Offline vantheman

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Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« on: June 26, 2022, 04:51:46 PM »
I have carte blanche to do whatever I want for a series of shows coming up in a couple weeks. The bassist is well known and I’d like to make sure he gets the treatment he deserves. So I’m thinking about how I can create a dummy-proof setup to get really good bass along with the rest of the recording. Would it make any sense at all to set a HP filter on the stage mic pair and do something like put an omni out on the floor somewhere? Between my new MixPre6 and a Tascam DR100 I’ll have up to 6 lines to play around with, so the thought is that I’ll capture the HF directional bass tones on stage and fill in the blanks with the omni and just center it, and probably run a LP filter on it in post. In addition or alternatively I can run the isolated bass line into one of the decks. I haven’t been doing this long enough to have an excellent sense of when a HP filter is truly needed but I have recorded some shows where the bass is too heavy for my own ears and the resulting recording needed HP in post and the recordings don’t sound as good as I feel they should have, I feel like I lost headroom for other frequencies. One example of where I think this happened - https://archive.org/details/dbt2021-08-28
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Line Audio CM4 > Tascam DR100 mkiii

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2022, 03:53:08 PM »
If you can do whatever, I'd suggest putting 2-pairs on stage- Your typically preferred stereo microphone pair and a spaced omni pair.  Record the SBD tracks as well as you indicate you plan to do. Place a mic pair in the audience as well if you like, but the two stage pairs + SBD should be all you really need, especially with a spaced omni pair on-stage.

Set recording levels so that neither on-stage pair overloads, without needing to have HP filters engaged while recording.  That way you'll have what you need to figure out what works best in the mix afterward, without pre-committing yourself to any particular filtering.  The on-stage spaced omni pair will be particularly valuable in proving warm, natural, open sounding bass.. likely with just about the right amount of room and audience reaction.

Getting the bass right in the mix is one of the toughest parts of good post production, as it varies more than everything else from playback system to system.  Sometimes a high-pass filter is the right answer, but usually only to clean things up in certain channels when others are supplying the low frequency content, IME. Otherwise, careful EQ tends to work better by sculpting the low frequency content into proper shape rather than bluntly amputating it.  All the more so if your primary audience for the recording is the performing bass-playing artist!  If you find you need more control of low end dynamics when mixing, dynamic EQ or EQ in combination with multi-band compression can help. 
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Offline vantheman

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2022, 09:56:25 AM »
Thanks again Gut. Is there a definitive guide to on-stage spaced omnis on this site? Looking for info on orientation, etc.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2022, 10:32:37 AM »
Lots of threads, but the general take is 3 feet apart is pretty much always a good starting point, both on stage and from the audience.  If you are running a second pair of mics in the center, it helps to increase the omni spacing to double that, 5 or 6 feet or even more.  If running just the omnis without another pair (or SBD) and positioned close such as on-stage, you can go less wide to be make sure of a solid image distribution across the center. Two feet apart works, 12" is not enough, unless you have something between them acting like a Jecklin disk baffle.

Pointing them is more subtle.  They are omnidirectional up to relatively high frequency, but the become directional in the highest frequencies, so point them toward whatever sources you want to derive the most treble "sheen" or high frequency extension from.  If running just omnis onstage and spaced rather wide, you may want to point them inward towards the drum-kit.  With another pair in the middle, that pair will provide the high frequency extension across the center and the omnis can be pointed elsewhere - directly forward, wide, or even backwards out into the room if the audience is fully engaged and tends to add rather than detract from the performance.  All depends.  If narrow or something else in the middle, angle them outward somewhat.

In this case I might point them straight ahead, which may be more or less on-axis with the bass amp cabinet.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2022, 12:30:24 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline jcable77

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2022, 12:08:43 PM »
I have carte blanche to do whatever I want for a series of shows coming up in a couple weeks. The bassist is well known and I’d like to make sure he gets the treatment he deserves. So I’m thinking about how I can create a dummy-proof setup to get really good bass along with the rest of the recording. Would it make any sense at all to set a HP filter on the stage mic pair and do something like put an omni out on the floor somewhere? Between my new MixPre6 and a Tascam DR100 I’ll have up to 6 lines to play around with, so the thought is that I’ll capture the HF directional bass tones on stage and fill in the blanks with the omni and just center it, and probably run a LP filter on it in post. In addition or alternatively I can run the isolated bass line into one of the decks. I haven’t been doing this long enough to have an excellent sense of when a HP filter is truly needed but I have recorded some shows where the bass is too heavy for my own ears and the resulting recording needed HP in post and the recordings don’t sound as good as I feel they should have, I feel like I lost headroom for other frequencies. One example of where I think this happened - https://archive.org/details/dbt2021-08-28
You would actually have 8 channels to play with. If you got the board feed on stage, you could run it into 5+6 of the mixpre6 (or just mono 5 or 6), 2 split omni's, 2 center coincident pair. And then run the DR100 out back FOB or what not. I tend to do this set up quite frequently. Its easier to sync the board with the 4 other channels of the mixpre6 and just add a little ambience with the FOB other time clock deck.

Offline vantheman

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2022, 12:16:54 PM »
I've gone off and absorbed a lot of the wonderful information here about spaced omnis. My main takeaway - when using spaced omnis, the more coincident (if not straight up mono) you want your center mic(s) to be. This makes complete sense to me if the sound source is just what's in front of the mics (ie no SBD tracks mixes in). But what if I'm mixing in an isolated vocal line and dropping it dead center in the mix? Does filling the hole with something like that give me more latitude in the wideness of the mics, or are there other reasons why spaced omnis are not ideal with near-coincident pairs like ORTF, DIN, etc?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2022, 10:10:42 PM by vantheman »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2022, 07:01:30 PM »
Mixing in any source that produces a coherent image in/across the center of the playback stage will allow you to space an omni pair wider than your otherwise could without problems.

How much farther you can space the omnis, and how far you might actually want to space them, will depend on a few things.

Simplifying by ignoring other things for now, here are two primary aspects the spacing between omnis effects on playback: 1) image distribution, and 2) ambient pickup feel and sense of space.  We want a lot of spacing for the second - more spacing produces a more open, airy, diffuse, enveloping, "it feels like I'm there" kind of ambient impression.  Audience reaction becomes is less specific, less in your face, specific audience voices tend to be pulled to one side or the other and tend to compete less for attention with the music. 

How much spacing we want for "1)" depends on distance to the source, the width of the ensemble or PA, and the desired playback width of that part of the recording, but is in general less than what we want for "2)".  The correct spacing for this is somewhat more exacting in terms of getting the playback image distribution right.  Too little spacing is going to sound narrow and produce a small ensemble image.  Too much produces the disjointed "hole in the middle" imaging problem.  In some ways the term of "hole in the middle" as a description of the imaging problem produced by a pair of over-widely spaced omnis is a bit of a misnomer.  A more apt description is that sources which were located to the left or right of center get pulled toward the closer playback speaker, while any source(s) that was truly centered remains centered, yet becomes sort of stranded like an island in the middle of the "hole".

If we mix something in with a pair of spaced omnis, we gain some freedom.  In most cases that addition allows us to space the omni pair farther apart, making "2)" better without "1)" suffering for it.  Of course there is a limit to how much wider we can go, and one of those things is the nature of whatever it is you will be mixing in with the omnis.  A monophonic soundboard element like a isolated vox feed, mono SBD mix, or even a single directional center microphone placed between the spaced omni pair will tend to solidly anchor the center and allow for a somewhat greater spacing between omnis than would otherwise be acceptable. However, because that kind of mono source rather tightly occupies the center position without much apparent width to it, the omnis still need to be close enough together to achieve sufficient blend across the entire playback stage.  Mixing in a tight-monophonic source with wide-spaced omnis might not sufficiently fill the gap to either side of center. You sort of end up with three clumps of sound again- only with a stronger center now, probably with enhanced clarity and better overall balance, but not really blending smoothly to achieve a seamless image all the way across.

Mixing in something that provides more width across the center will help that contribution to feather into and blend smoothly with what the wider omnis are providing. That addition will allow you to space the omnis farther apart than you would want to when mixing in something monophonic in the center, and significantly more than you might risk when using an omni pair on its own.

A stereo SBD or stereo microphone pair in the center instead of a single microphone helps achieve a good image distribution that fills the entire sound stage, while the wider omni spacing the incorporation of that stereo center allows for provides a more natural open sense of space, ambience, audience reaction, and bass quality.   

The addition of a coincident microphone pair in the middle, much like the addition of stereo SBD, produces mostly phase-coherent level-difference stereo with a strong monophonic center component, yet one with some degree of center image width.  This is exactly what a spaced omni pair tends to need, and is in a way the opposite of what the spaced omni pair provides.  It makes for a highly coherent center image portion that blends smoothly into the more open, ambient, wide omni bed.

A near-spaced center pair can do that too.  But a near-spaced pair is designed to achieve a reasonable balance of all this in isolation.  If you add spaced omnis, the near-spaced pair ideally needs to be narrower to compensate.  If you add a center microphone or coincident pair the near-spaced pair needs to be wider.  A-B and coincident are sort of opposite ends of the spectrum already, and combine in a complementary way, naturally compensating for the shortfalls of the other.  Ideally, the combination of the two will include some modification of the setup of each (the omnis get wider, the coincident pair narrower) than either would use by itself in isolation.  Yet somehow those altercations seem less of an excursion from normalcy than altering standard, well-known near-spaced configurations by doubling the spacing for use in combination with a coincident center pair, or halving it for use in combination with a pair wide omnis.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Top Hat

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2022, 08:25:31 PM »
I have carte blanche to do whatever I want for a series of shows coming up in a couple weeks. The bassist is well known and I’d like to make sure he gets the treatment he deserves. So I’m thinking about how I can create a dummy-proof setup to get really good bass along with the rest of the recording. Would it make any sense at all to set a HP filter on the stage mic pair and do something like put an omni out on the floor somewhere? Between my new MixPre6 and a Tascam DR100 I’ll have up to 6 lines to play around with, so the thought is that I’ll capture the HF directional bass tones on stage and fill in the blanks with the omni and just center it, and probably run a LP filter on it in post. In addition or alternatively I can run the isolated bass line into one of the decks. I haven’t been doing this long enough to have an excellent sense of when a HP filter is truly needed but I have recorded some shows where the bass is too heavy for my own ears and the resulting recording needed HP in post and the recordings don’t sound as good as I feel they should have, I feel like I lost headroom for other frequencies. One example of where I think this happened - https://archive.org/details/dbt2021-08-28
Run direct no mics...So essentially a seperate snake to your recorder on stage and pipe the vocals from FOH. Too many mics can produce a bunch of phasing issues and it's quite redundant if you ask me. To enhance the direct methods use a set of cards or omnis center stage lip.

Offline Top Hat

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Re: Recording bass in a stage lip setup
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2022, 08:28:49 PM »
I have carte blanche to do whatever I want for a series of shows coming up in a couple weeks. The bassist is well known and I’d like to make sure he gets the treatment he deserves. So I’m thinking about how I can create a dummy-proof setup to get really good bass along with the rest of the recording. Would it make any sense at all to set a HP filter on the stage mic pair and do something like put an omni out on the floor somewhere? Between my new MixPre6 and a Tascam DR100 I’ll have up to 6 lines to play around with, so the thought is that I’ll capture the HF directional bass tones on stage and fill in the blanks with the omni and just center it, and probably run a LP filter on it in post. In addition or alternatively I can run the isolated bass line into one of the decks. I haven’t been doing this long enough to have an excellent sense of when a HP filter is truly needed but I have recorded some shows where the bass is too heavy for my own ears and the resulting recording needed HP in post and the recordings don’t sound as good as I feel they should have, I feel like I lost headroom for other frequencies. One example of where I think this happened - https://archive.org/details/dbt2021-08-28

Here is an example of this method

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