Snare drum mic

Let's talk about kits and mics, new and old. What are you using? What do you want? What's the difference?

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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed May 30, 2018 1:35 pm

Been having fun with EV N/D 308 and 408 mics on snare lately. I'm always changing snare and tom mics. I guess I'll never be 100% happy, but I like the EV N/D mics this week. The new ones are good too.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby berkfinger » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:31 am

I agree on the mic pre statements. I worked out a while ago that all my ideas about the best this or that had a lot to do with the consoles and pres I own.

201 often nicer than 57, but there is a magic to how my Electrodyne console talks to a 57.... very slow, no detail and distorted, but awesome somehow.

I’d rather a RadioShack mic and the Electrodyne than a Neumann and shitty pre!

I swapped out 57s for sm7s on gtr amps a while back and it’s sitting in the mix quicker and better... Royer can be cool but often a little tubby and boxy for my taste. M88s are pretty nice...
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:52 pm

berkfinger wrote:I agree on the mic pre statements. I worked out a while ago that all my ideas about the best this or that had a lot to do with the consoles and pres I own.

201 often nicer than 57, but there is a magic to how my Electrodyne console talks to a 57.... very slow, no detail and distorted, but awesome somehow.

I’d rather a RadioShack mic and the Electrodyne than a Neumann and shitty pre!

I swapped out 57s for sm7s on gtr amps a while back and it’s sitting in the mix quicker and better... Royer can be cool but often a little tubby and boxy for my taste. M88s are pretty nice...



I have been using the Rode NTR on guitar cabs, since I got it.. maybe nearly 2 years ago?

before that SM57, Audix i5 MD421 etc etc

with the Rode.. plonk it down about a foot out, right at the cone.. done.

cheers

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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby berkfinger » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:09 pm

Older USA sm57 or 201 (if you want it a bit more open) into Electrodyne console (pushed hard if you want crunch) into Quad Eight Compressor tickling a few Dbs to hold it in the sweet spot of Studer A820. At mixdown I like a trick stolen from Nick Launay - don’t compress the snare mic, but mult it to another console channel, gate it, knock all :p the top end off and distort it with a sansamp or Decapitator. That blended in to taste gives me all the rms energy I need, with the distortion controls you can really shape the snare note and it keeps openness, dynamics and clarity via the unprocessed snare channel.

I find the Shure mics just love USA 70s transistor pres... one of the best snare recordings I ever heard was an RCA BK5A though...
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby stosostu » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:28 pm

Excuse my ignorance, Simon, but I am old school, in fact probably ancient school, and what I try to capture is the actual sound of all the instruments I record, including snare drums, so I am confused by all the gizmo's and distortion you seem to need to use. Does the end result sound anything like a snare drum. Please don't take this as a flame, I am truly interested on why and what the final result is that you are achieving.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby berkfinger » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:46 pm

Totally get what you are saying! But I guess my job is to help artists achieve their vision.

I don’t manipulate peoples sounds without asking them if they want or like the result...

Some days the gig is capturing an accurate depiction of an acoustic situation and

some days it involves a lot of processing.

That technique I described has been helpful in achieving a consistent, powerful snare tone for

rock and pop stuff, that competes with electronic drums sonically while

retaining the live feel of a real drummer. Lots of people throw a snare sample in,

but I find blending the gated, dark distorted snare send in parallel (often very subtly) gives me a solid tone with

the diction and dynamic of the drum still (relatively) in place...

People have been distorting things in popular music for around 70 years now...

And the guitarist is allowed a fuzz pedal, why can’t the drummer have one?
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby stosostu » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:09 am

Thanks for the reply, Simon, and the detailed explanation. I guess whatever achieves the desired outcome is the way to go. B-)
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Chris H » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:57 pm

iv'e been using distortion similar to simon on snare and bass for years. Not on every recording but when the technique fits. For in the box mixing I find Logics basic distortion is very handy for variety of parameters you can adjust.

Distortion.jpg


I normally set the drive parameter fairly low, then adjust the tone to suit, great for adding top end for bass.
Then by lowering the output it acts as a brick wall limiter. I will normally set this up on a buss and add to the original dry recording. As a rule of thumb i try the less is more approach because of the power and ease at your disposal using digital.
Its interesting Simon that you mention liking an old SM57. My favorite dynamic mic for snare is an old SM56.
My favorite snare mic is using the SM56 in combo with AKG 451 EB's as overhead. The snare in the overhead is the main snare mic with the SM 56 added. When using this technique i rarely add the distorted sidechain on the sm56.
This song was recorded to 1/2" 8 track using the 56 with 451 overhead mic set up:
https://soundcloud.com/hallamsound/hard ... ter-martin
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby chrisp » Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:42 am

Had an interesting experience last weekend, engineering a 7 member band small arena (1000 people) gig. For the drums I used the venerable AKGD12 on the kick, SDCs as L and R OH (3031s I think they were) and a 12 Gauge Red condenser UNDER the snare. R OH pointed at the snare top, L OH essentially at the floor tom.

The drummer was really sceptical about this - he wanted the snare mic on top - until I pulled him off the stage into the audience area and got another band member to play the drums. He was enthralled by the mix with the OH getting the snare top and the under-snare adding a sizzle he didn't usually get. He got me to write down all my mics, mic placements and EQ settings 'cause he wants everyone to do it this way now.

Recording drums is different to live drums, for sure, and I wouldn't do it this way in a studio, but it's really interesting to overthrow conventional wisdom at times, because if everyone mics a snare the same way then every snare on every recording / gig will start to sound the same.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Paul Maybury » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:16 am

Hi Chrisp, I have done what you are talking about in recordings, it's kind of a blend of Bruce Botnick and Glynn Johns techniques. When I have done it has been Sony C38's for everything but the kick.
Parallel distortion/comp/ gate on snare can work wonders for a lifeless recording, or where only a top snare mic has been recorded, and all it's giving you is honk and hi hats.
I guess it's a similar idea to adding samples, but you are creating what's missing by processing the existing audio and adding that back in. Subs on a kick, white noise on a snare, growl and grab on a bass etc.
It works and it's fun to do, especially when you start automating this stuff.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Paul Maybury » Tue May 28, 2019 5:20 pm

Found another mic I like on snare.
3U Audio Warbler 127 Hypercardiod.
A sort of KM84 thing.
Very nice. Cheap enough to not care if it gets hit. Lot's of detail, not too hard sounding. Great pattern control. Very sensitive to position, and tuning. Every overtone comes through so tuning is absolutely critical. With the pad engaged, close micing of loud sources is no problem.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby wez » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:06 pm

Used an SM7 on snare for the first time last week on a session... wasn't my choice but worked well. Less character and 'ring' than a 57, but gave us the smooth/flat 70s vibe we were after.

FWIW I quite like the 441 as an alternative, especially on thinner sounding snares.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby gregwalker » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:31 am

Gotta say this snare miking business is so much related to the type of music in question and pulling the sound that fits the song. I'd like to further widen (muddy) this discussion by broaching the subject of mechanical treatments of the snare.
I'm back on the SM57 bandwagon just for now while I'm working on folk/rock music with a lot of space in it. Right now I've got a deep snare tuned low with the dampener ring on plus a beanie covering about a quarter of the snare surface. This through a BAE Neve 1073 clone is giving me the results I need for the current project. It's ridiculously dampened and sounds huge coming back off tape.
Anyone else tried the beanie approach? I've used dampener rings, gaff, taped tea bags, wallets, those sticky blobs drummers sometimes carry, I've even chucked fabric over the whole kit a few times. These 'treatments' plus careful tuning have such a massive impact on the texture and tone of a snare. Pushing a preamp like the BAE close to overload adds A LOT of attitude and girth to the resulting sound too, as does getting the level to tape nice and high without distorion.
I'm curious to know what else people use to get the right amount of damping.....
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby mylesgm » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:36 pm

Dampening-wise I use all sorts of things, wallets, teatowels (folded or draped, where the stick hits or not), gel things, gaffa in a variety of shapes and places, I've even used socks wrapped around the drumsticks. Mostly though I like a tight snare with a heavy wallet with a condenser (DPA4099, Earthworks, AKG451eb), seems to give lots of detail and lots of thump.
But as with everything dependent on player and playing style, genre etc. if all that is really good then what we do is easy and if it isn't then what we do is really difficult.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Text_Edifice » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:35 pm

I have a money clip with a slip for cards as a wallet. It works great as a snare dampener because you can vary the weight by taking out cards or adding more cash.

Gefell M70 taped to an sm57 is my current go to - the Gefell often pushed just (or sometimes quite a way) into preamp crust.

Obviously approach varies with drum / style but if I don't have time to think, this will get something usable most of the time.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:06 am

I use a t-shirt ... I cut out the collar and about 2 inches of material.... so if you imagine the collar as being a circle, I use about a 1/4 of it... the circular shape lays on the skin, and the extra material over the rim.

I clip it to the rim with a stationery clip, and can easily add more or less dampening quickly and easily.

Has been the best system I have seen/come up with

Cheers

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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby mylesgm » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:24 am

Super clever!
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Text_Edifice » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:10 pm

Great trick.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby wez » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:14 am

I always feel super uncomfortable when I see a drummer put their wallet on the snare, in flagrant disregard of the Tom Waits rule. Ignoring Tom Waits is just asking for bad juju.
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