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So I am recording a double bass quartet song (all arco) and I have two main issues:

  1. I'm not sure if my microphone is being positioned best and such to pick up the richest sound possible. I have a Yeti Blue microphone which I understand isn't top of the line, but it seems to work well. I do not have a stand so I am limited in propping and taping (due to money issues) and I'm not sure where to put my mic. Currently it is on the ground about a foot away from the bass and it is picking up the notes but it just isn't picking up the overtones very well it seems (in any register).
  2. What do I listen to when I record? There is no "metronome" track so there isn't a logical one to record first. Should I put a metronome in my headphones and recording using that? After the first track, do I listen to the first track while I record the others or just the microphones?

Overall: Where do I position the microphone? And in which fashion should I record the tracks. I am just a high school student trying to do this for someone special in my family who doesn't have very long so I don't have loads of funding nor time. Assume I can play the stuff just fine. Thank you.

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Mic positioning is part skill, part art.. & also part guesswork.

I could tell you that you need the mic approximately 6" above the bow, 2ft in front of the strings & pointing at an ƒ-hole... but that's just because that's where it gave the sound I wanted last time I did it - in a different room with a different mic & a different player on a different bass... for a different piece.

You need to consider what sound you want - do you want to be able to hear the bright attack of the bow, the fingers moving on the strings - maybe the room sounds nice so you want some more of that in the recording, or it doesn't so you want less of it...

I'd start with the mic on a chair, at least so you're at bowing height. Start as close as you can get & run a few tests at different distances until you find the right blend of elements.

If you need more room to move the mic, there have been worse attempts than a broomstick & gaffer/duck tape... all it needs is a little imagination.

BTW, if you use a click track from the recorder - make sure it doesn't spill into the mic. That would be nasty to get rid of later.

And, yes - if you start with a click track to record the first part, then playback for subsequent parts should include both the click and the previously recorded tracks.

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    Also be careful of the phase, move the mics until the sound has a full body. Bass is very sensitive to phase issues. Sometimes i put a quality contact mic somewhere near the bridge or elsewhere if you like, it'll give you some wooden texture to the sound. If you decide to use contact mics be careful of the handling noises. – frcake Jun 16 '17 at 13:53
  • Good points - I was actually avoiding too much detail in my answer, as the OP seems to have limited placement options & high variance. tbh, i've never used contact mics, I tend to go for lav mics - I like my B&K 4060s for things like that, to grab extra fizz/scratch & would go for either a cardioid U87 &/or 4006 ambient, but it would depend on the project. I do like to mess with things ;) – Tetsujin Jun 16 '17 at 13:58
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    Yep, different weapons of choice serving the same purpose :) great answer overall!! – frcake Jun 16 '17 at 14:00
  • Thank you - & yes, those 3 mics are my favourites for almost everything. I've had 4060s on drums; I use 4006s as overheads/ambients for nearly everything, they're just sooo flat, yet somehow imply warm & crisp at the same time. They are also surprisingly good up close. – Tetsujin Jun 16 '17 at 14:05
  • Thank you very much for the details provided here. The piece is "Adagio for Strings" so I'll be looking for a richer sound than I had. Putting it on the chair and significantly closer helped with the tone greatly. Guess I got lucky with phase problems. (Different lower frequencies may still give me phase problems?) – Neo Scott Jun 16 '17 at 15:51
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For best results, try to get the microphone to capture as much signal as possible while keeping in mind clipping is bad and degrades the recording.

I record 30-60 cm (1-2 ft) away from classical instruments (usually above) , and use preamp gain to compensate. Blue mics are mostly USB so you might get only the option to adjust distance for increasing signal-to-noise ratio.

Most digital audio workstations have an option of sending a click track to headphones, but the simplest approach, if planning to use an metronome is to set it another device.

The complicated way is setting up 2 tracks - one of which goes to the output and contains the metronone and another one for recording audio. However, depending on software and audio interface, there can be latency issues.

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