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Remic D5400

Double Bass Microphones By Chris Korff
Published August 2015

Remic D5400

Double basses are notoriously difficult to amplify live. Have Danish mic makers Remic cracked it?

Remic were not a company I’d heard of until last year, when they sent us news about their new range of string–instrument microphones. The series includes mics for violin and cello, along with the subjects of this review: the D5400 double–bass microphone, and an ‘LB’ version, the D5400LB, which is intended for larger–scale live shows where feedback is likely to be an issue.

These microphones are essentially small–diaphragm capacitor capsules housed in dense foam, which you wedge between the top of your double bass and the underside of the fingerboard. From one side of the foam wedge comes the XLR cable, which has a cotton lining, apparently to reduce noise when the cable rubs against the instrument.

Remic’s description of the way the mics work is a little ambiguous, but they are based around omnidirectional capsules that, because of their close proximity to the fairly large surface that is a bass’s soundboard, operate a little like pressure–zone mics. The studio model is designated as an omni mic, but the LB version is described, oddly, as having an hemispherical pickup pattern in the nearfield, and an omni response in the ambient field.

In both cases, the capsules are electret (pre–polarised) types, and require 48V phantom power to operate. The normal and LB versions look identical, and have equal sensitivities (5mV/Pa), but are distinguished by different frequency responses — the latter’s extending from 10Hz to 22kHz, and the studio version ranging from 6Hz to 23kHz (no tolerances are given).

Great claims are made in Remic’s literature about the LB version’s resistance to spill and feedback, and it seems that some kind of acoustic labyrinth is behind this, giving the mic more of a subcardioid pattern, the less sensitive side of which aims away from the front of the instrument (where a stage monitor is likely to be).

Fitting the microphones is remarkably easy: you just wedge them under the fingerboard, running the trailing wire up the instrument (this again being wedged against the instrument, between the body and the underside of the fingerboard, via a circular piece of foam). This is a much simpler arrangement than any double–bass pickup I’ve used — my usual piezo pickup required me to drill a small hole in the bridge and glue the pickup in place, and while the contact mics I’ve also used don’t require any kind of instrument modification, they do require careful placement, with different positions sometimes yielding a radically different tonality. The way the Remic mics are fitted does no harm to the instrument whatsoever, and also makes their placement perfectly repeatable, which saves time fitting them and also means you’ll get a consistent sound from gig to gig.

On Test

I tried both microphones in my studio at first, and compared them with both my piezo pickup and an Ehrlund EAP contact microphone — the former being significantly more affordable than either Remic model, and the latter weighing in at about two thirds the price of the D5400s. The D5400LB was first up, and it sounded instantly better than the piezo pickup — as you’d expect from a premium mic, of course. Rather than the ‘spiky’, transient–heavy sound of the pickup, the D5400LB gave a much more natural presentation; there was more weight and bloom, and also a much more detailed sense of the sound emanating from the fingerboard.

The contrast between the D5400LB and the Ehrlund was rather less stark, however: the Ehrlund does a fine job on double bass, and with the right positioning (somewhere around six inches below and to the right of the bridge — a position I favour for live shows as it negates feedback quite effectively) I was able to get quite close to the sound of the 5400LB. The Ehrlund was still a little less refined, however, with not quite as much fingerboard nuance as the Remic, or as much of the latter’s warm bass bloom. The Remic’s cotton–lined cable also proved very effective at reducing cable–born vibrations (something of an Achille’s Heel of the Ehrlund), and the tight fit of the foam inspired much more confidence than the Ehrlund’s Blu–Tak fit.

Switching over to the D5400 was an absolute pleasure. Though the LB mic sounded very good, it was slightly boxy compared with the normal version, which seemed to ‘open up’ at both ends of the spectrum. The sound seemed subtly scooped, with the low–end emphasis residing much lower than it did on the LB version. Here, the presentation was much more akin to what you’d hear standing a short distance in front of the bass, whereas the LB mic sounded slightly closer to the sound that I, as the player, hear (more mid–heavy, and with less ‘boom’). Straight away, the D5400 sounded like an excellent recording, and I’d be more than happy to use it in a mix with minimal, if any, EQ.

Having fallen for the non–LB model, I decided to use it at a bluegrass gig in a small pub. It performed admirably, and even though I was stood in possibly the worst position — between a drum kit and a side–fill — I was able to achieve ample level before feedback, and even hear myself over the sound of the kit without too much trouble.

At some gigs, when the on–stage volume is too high and feedback prevents me from getting more level in the monitors, I often find myself leaning over the bass to try and hear my intonation over the sound of the band. As well as being frustrating, this also makes me look a bit like Quasimodo, but this gig, by contrast, was a pleasure. Being able to hear yourself on stage without thrashing the instrument means you can play with much more nuance and, for that reason, using the D5400 was one of the most comfortable double–bass gigs I’ve played.

If playing double bass was a major source of income for me, I’d have no difficulty at all justifying the cost of one of these mics. They sound excellent, are easy to fit, won’t damage or devalue any instrument, and will perform identically from session to session and show to show. As an only occasional gigging double–bassist, though, it’s something of an extravagance — although one that I’ll covet until the day I can afford one!


The DPA 4099B sits in a similar price range to these Remic models and is also based around an electret capsule, and as such is probably the closest comparison. Cheaper options abound, including the (still quite pricey) Ehrlund EAP, and slightly more affordable pickups from the likes of Fishman, Schertler and David Gage, though I think this is one of those areas where you really do get what you pay for.


  • Gorgeous, natural sound.
  • Easily and repeatably fitted, and requiring no instrument modifications.
  • Surprisingly resistant to feedback.


  • Only the price!


If you can justify the cost, you’ll struggle to do better than one of these mics. If it’s pure tone you’re after, the D5400 will deliver, but if you tend to play on loud stages, then the LB version might be more appropriate.


£599 each, including VAT.

Remic Microphones +45 265 0763


Remic Microphones +45 21 65 07 63