This is the 12th installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on Guitars & Bass in a Live Setting – if you missed Part 1 of his blog on bass, you can read it here.
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A view that never gets old.
Now I am going to go one step further with DI boxes. I know this is an Audio-Technica blog, but there is one DI box out in the real world that is very common and it seems like all the bass players have one. The SansAmp. No joke, this thing is a legend. Why? Because it sounds soooooo good. Not only is it a DI box, but it has tone controls on it, so it is like an amp in a little box. Honestly, if I had to just use this, and sometimes I just go with that, I can get everything I am looking for. When I was working with Battlecross, I had Don, the bass player, get one, and he fell in love with it. Between his bass playing, his bass, and a li’l education on how to set it, every time I mix them, I just use the SansAmp and don’t even mess with anything else. IT’S THAT GOOD! They are very inexpensive and I would suggest getting one, you will thank me later.
Next option – a direct out from the bass amp. Depending upon the amp (and settings), this might give you exactly what you’re looking for. Just like the SansAmp, you can find everything you need right from here. Just keep in mind and be careful, some heads have a dedicated level out, some are controlled from the master volume, some have pre- and post-switches and, the biggest heads-up of all, make sure you mute the channel on the console when the band is done. When the power gets shut off from the amp, this can make a REALLY loud noise in the PA and can cause damage. Same goes for you monitor guys.
The final option – putting a mic on the cabinet. Depending on the bass player’s setup, they may have a few pedals, such as distortion or other effects. Now that combination of effects, or just how they have everything dialed in, might give you the proper representation right out of the amp, and the amp might not have a direct out on it… so sometimes the best way to get the bass sound is to put a mic on it. I like to use the ATM250 – it’s a simple and cheap mic that gives you great sound, with nice coverage in the lows. It should, since this is a kick drum mic. I have experimented with the AE2500 on the cabinets as well, so it is another option for you. I tend to use it more in the studio when recording bass. So you studio folks should give that a go.
Check back next Wednesday to read Steve’s next blog installment on miking bass!