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 Wiz » Mon May 13, 2013 8:55 am

Not sure what you mean, but all I did was bounce out of logic....




It did it!

Not me :)
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 13, 2013 10:21 am

Wow, nearly every snare example is gated?
I'm not a fan of gating snares.
I rarely play a snare drum wide open with no ring reduction (small piece of tape or tissue).
I tend towards the polite, controlled snare sound, but these days have to force myself to keep more ring as more ring tends to work better with contemporary music and modern production aesthetics.

Horses for courses i guess, but you can't replace a great performance. So I always try to capture the best performance with the drum as raw as possible, then apply processing afterwards. This means you never scrap a great performance because you overcooked the EQ or compression by mistake at the tracking stage.
EQ'ing and compression has the same effect in post production, so I don't see a big advantage in committing to processing at the initial performance recording stage, unless the sound inhibits the achievement of the performance.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 13, 2013 10:33 am

Just listened.
It's all subjective of course.
I preferred your first audio and the last (1 & 8).
I would probably go with your first, but just apply a little damping to back off the ringing resonance. As a drummer, that's way more effective than gating, as gating tends to unintelligently cut out part of my performance (any quiet notes).
Your eq'ing seems to duck the high end?
I'm not a seasoned recording engineer, but I guess I've worked with some. For me the less intervention the better.
Get the drum sounding right, choose the right mic and place it in the right position.
I can certainly understand heavy use of eq and compression in the final mixing stage, as the drums are polished to fit the rest of the music, and to sound as hi-fi and punchy as possible. But I'm personally not in favour of gating and compressing at the initial capture stage of the drum sound.
I have some raw black beauty recorded 'my' way. Not sure how i would upload or host it.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Mon May 13, 2013 10:50 am

ChrisW wrote:Just listened.
It's all subjective of course.
I preferred your first audio and the last (1 & 8).
I would probably go with your first, but just apply a little damping to back off the ringing resonance. As a drummer, that's way more effective than gating, as gating tends to unintelligently cut out part of my performance (any quiet notes).
Your eq'ing seems to duck the high end?
I'm not a seasoned recording engineer, but I guess I've worked with some. For me the less intervention the better.
Get the drum sounding right, choose the right mic and place it in the right position.
I can certainly understand heavy use of eq and compression in the final mixing stage, as the drums are polished to fit the rest of the music, and to sound as hi-fi and punchy as possible. But I'm personally against gating and compressing at the initial capture stage of the drum sound.
I have some raw black beauty recorded 'my' way. Not sure how i would upload or host it.



I would normally dampen the ring out as well, was just leaving it in there for the example and to show, that you dont have to deaden the drum .. there are other ways.

re the EQ

to me once you put in the overheads, it would get what you are missing I think.

I understand, not doing anything and doing it all later, and its always really been the way (due to equipment limitations) that I have worked in the past.

I just , nowadays, want to get as close to a finsihed sound with everything, as I lay it down.

Its more about "committing" in my own mind, to my own song and my own performance. But I am in a different world playing on my own stuff with no time or financial limitations on me.

re your black beauty sounds.

Would love to hear it... you can email it to me if you like (forumsATdodo.com.au) or put it up by you send it and email me the link and I will host it and put links in this thread.

Did you happen to record the drum without snares on ..I would love to hear that... so I can hear the tuning of the drum.

My post was sparked by the premaps have an impact comment in the thread earlier.

To me, it all makes big differences, mic, pre, eq, comp, of course the big two, tuning and playing and those two are what I struggle with.

Oh regards my mic postion, its where it is, cause when micing the snare I hold it in my left hand, I hit the snare and the hi hat, whilst recording the snare and talking out loud about the mic position.

eg, 12 oclock, 1 inch up, facing centre hit snare few times, hit hi hat few times... repeat for a bunch of different positions.

Then I listen back and work out where I got the best hi hat rejection and snare sound, its always a compromise for me. But thats where I end up with my hats where they are....when I play...

Make sense?
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 13, 2013 12:21 pm

Why the gating?
(I'll send you some audio too btw)
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Mon May 13, 2013 12:27 pm

ChrisW wrote:Why the gating?
(I'll send you some audio too btw)



I really only put the gate on it, because of the ring... and figuring compression would make it worse..this was part of something I am mucking about with, cause I cant really do anything playing wise at the moment. I was running through different preamps, comps etc mucking about trying to make the best of what I can do atm.

I also did it for kick and my toms... so when I am well again, i can get back into recording...

I still have the project

I can run off another version with no gate, if you wanted. Would be different, cause the compressor settings wouldnt be exactly the same.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Well that's why I'm saying it's better to control the ring on the drum (with a little tape or tissue) than have to gate the drum. Gating raises a compromise between killing some of the sustain, and possibly losing some of the performance (quiet ghost notes).
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Mon May 13, 2013 3:24 pm

Chris kindly sent me some recordings which are great, and he is cool with me posting the link here.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/131 ... Snares.zip

When you download it and unzip you will find 5 audio files.


The ones with BB in the name are Black Beauty, the Crav is Chris's Craviotto snare.

The filenames have the snare mic in them.

Heres the description from chris

rough mixed channels with no processing are: main snare mic, under snare mic (414), overheads, plus an RCA ribbon in front of the kit. For the Craviotto recording we used Coles 4038 overheads, which had a little top eq added. The BB had km84 overheads (I think), no eq.
The Craviotto has 57 for top mic, the next file is 'condenser' (km84 I think). Neve VR88 mic/pres.
The BB has 57, then 414, then D19. Neve 1064 mic/pres.



Its a really nice kit sound, as as Chris points out, no EQ no comp and great snare (and kit) sound.

I am gonna go have another crack (pun intended) at my black beauty.

thanks Chris
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby HA_DA_JA » Mon May 13, 2013 3:37 pm

Thanks for posting those Snare files.
Awesome stuff!!
They were a great example of a kit set up to perform with little eq or compression.
One day I might get to that level of ability to choose drums, find the correct heads to suit, tune them correctly, then place mics appropriately so that they sound right from the start.
When ever I hear a drummer play and it sounds "Record Ready", I know I have met someone who knows his/her "craft".
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 13, 2013 4:50 pm

Thanks.
Just for the record I muted most of the mics for the sake of this snare test. You are hearing a D12 and u47fet on the kick, but we also had an NS10 sub, an RE20 on the pedal side of the drum, and another RCA ribbon further away pointed at the kick. All muted for these audio files. No room mics are mixed in either. The D12 and 47 are just faders shoved up for context
I really wanted to show how much the snare mic choice effected the snare sound, which is subtle IMO.
The D19 sounds a little brighter, the km84 a little warmer and softer, the 57 has the most attitude - which i personally like, although it might be just a sound I'm used to hearing.
Snare batter head is either Remo Ambassador or Evans PC Rev Dot.
Snare mics are usually off the top rim, a couple of centimetres above for the 57, and up to two or three inches back for D19 and 414.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 13, 2013 4:59 pm

The overtones and ring usually sound terrible at the kit, but I try to stay calm and have a listen (off disc) in the control room. The drum almost always sounds much better in there. I also have to remember (as Chris T mentioned earlier) a lot of the drum will disappear once you add bass, guitars and keyboards. So I try and leave the drum a bit more live and ringey than my personal taste dictates.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby The Tasmanian » Tue May 14, 2013 11:14 am

That's a good point about the ring.
The producer needs to pre determine the amount of compression artifacts that will arise down the track in a mix sit.
If there is little compression on drums then there is less to worry about.
But if there is a lot, then the ring will rise up.

Part of the reason that tea towels work and can sound so good is reducing the ring, and then using compression to bring it back up.
so much forward careful thought (and experience) is needed.

I'm with CW - I don't compress drum mics in tracking (I used to )
sometimes I'll compress a kick drum - and usually a distant room mic.
Almost never a snare.

Compression at the recording stage just kills the dynamics, alters the ring to strike ratio - and leaves one with no-where to move once the damage is done.

(sound replacer has become the backstop/excuse for the inexperienced engineer)

Just like a great bass player - the better the player, the less need for compression.
And a great drummer - PLAYS with less ring, they know in their sleep how to consistently hit the sweet spots on a snare.

IMO drums are the most complex and rewarding part of recording.
The rest is easy.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Tue May 14, 2013 11:25 am

The Tasmanian wrote:That's a good point about the ring.
The producer needs to pre determine the amount of compression artifacts that will arise down the track in a mix sit.
If there is little compression on drums then there is less to worry about.
But if there is a lot, then the ring will rise up.

Part of the reason that tea towels work and can sound so good is reducing the ring, and then using compression to bring it back up.
so much forward careful thought (and experience) is needed.

I'm with CW - I don't compress drum mics in tracking (I used to )
sometimes I'll compress a kick drum - and usually a distant room mic.
Almost never a snare.

Compression at the recording stage just kills the dynamics, alters the ring to strike ratio - and leaves one with no-where to move once the damage is done.

(sound replacer has become the backstop/excuse for the inexperienced engineer)

Just like a great bass player - the better the player, the less need for compression.
And a great drummer - PLAYS with less ring, they know in their sleep how to consistently hit the sweet spots on a snare.

IMO drums are the most complex and rewarding part of recording.
The rest is easy.



but.. but...
you recorded probably THE most compressed drum set in history..


it was under water... 8)

now THATS compression


:D
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Tue May 14, 2013 11:31 am

[quote=
Just like a great bass player - the better the player, the less need for compression.
And a great drummer - PLAYS with less ring, they know in their sleep how to consistently hit the sweet spots on a snare.

IMO drums are the most complex and rewarding part of recording.
The rest is easy.[/quote]

I agree here.


But, I just dont get to work with that level.

Once, ONCE, I got to record this awesome singer, she was signed to Warners at the time (USA) and was working with Hugh Pagham and Stings band, doing demos. She cut some vocals at my home studio.

I was dumbfounded, I tell you as I sat there listening to her sing, as I had heard a zillion others do before in my studio, I couldnt believe what I was hearing, and seeing on the meters. I actually welled up. It was a beautiful experience, and I realised how "easy" it was to get a great vocal recording,

All the mixing, tuning and editing and comping I had to do for other, i did none of for her. She came in, did it , it was beautiful and she left. Done. Dusted.

unfortunately that experience was practically a once off (we did about 6 sessions together) but, I will always remember it.

As payment for one session, she sang on one of my songs. I have never worked with anyone, who could interpret what I want. She listened to me sing it once, making notes on the lyric sheet I gave her as I went through the song... nodded and said " I know what you want" and then I hit record, and damn if she didnt nail it first pass.

as I said, a once off.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Drumstruck » Tue May 14, 2013 11:47 am

The Tasmanian wrote:And a great drummer - PLAYS with less ring, they know in their sleep how to consistently hit the sweet spots on a snare.



A great drummer might, but MANY great drummers play with lots of ring. :ympeace:
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 14, 2013 11:56 am

Drumstruck wrote:
A great drummer might, but MANY great drummers play with lots of ring. :ympeace:



Not as much as is perceived.
I've been years on drum forums. The collective mantra is wide open drums. I'm routinely chastised for putting a small pillow in my bass drum, and a little tape on my snare.
99% of drum forum members are amateurs.
There are plenty of pics on the web of studio drummers working their job. The vast majority are employing some damping, somewhere. Either a bit of tape on the snare. Even some tape on toms. Something in the kick. A hole in the bass drum's front head (another crime according to the online drummer community).
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 14, 2013 12:00 pm

The Tasmanian wrote:IMO drums are the most complex and rewarding part of recording.



Interesting.
I've worked with this guy since 1987. His background goes way before me, training with Geoff Emerick/George Martin and recording some of the most revered drummers of the 70's and 80's. Last week he turned to me and said "I don't think I've ever perfected drum recording. I'm always learning, and probably will always learn something at every session".
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 14, 2013 12:05 pm

The Tasmanian wrote:Compression at the recording stage just kills the dynamics, alters the ring to strike ratio - and leaves one with no-where to move once the damage is done.


The primary goal of compression is to fix issues with dynamics right?
I see that as my job as the drummer.
One of the main skills I concentrated on gaining when I first started recording was even dynamics. I don't play my bass drum harder after a fill. I don't have the odd snare hit jump out.
If the performance is even, you can use compression as an effect. To smash the ambience mics, or to give the drums a contemporary punch.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Paul Maybury » Tue May 14, 2013 12:25 pm

I prefer not to compress snare mics when recording. Oh's, sometimes, depending on the project. Toms, again, as per Oh's. This is for aesthetic reasons, not dynamic leveling. Kik, very rarely, just to even out the dynamics if needed. I have only compressed a snare once while recording, and that was because the drummer had no control over their dynamics. In this case compression was the only answer as all subsequent overdubs would have suffered due to the erratic energy and audibility of the snare.
Spill into snare mics is a big factor when later processing is applied. That's why 57's don't work for me. By the time I have eqed that mic to actually sound good on the snare, the hat's have become nasty. The EV Re mics work for me because the off axis response is even, and they are already quite bright. They also seen less dependent on the pre amp , perhaps because of the high quality transformer EV used.
I am with Chris T though, pushing a nice pre amp a little can give your close mics extra bounce. My Chiltons and Optros are great for this, although I don't like my JLM BA's on close drum mics. Those little input transformers just soak up too much attack for my taste. The JLM's are better for OH's, rooms and vocals.
Cheers,
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Drumstruck » Tue May 14, 2013 12:28 pm

ChrisW wrote:
Drumstruck wrote:
A great drummer might, but MANY great drummers play with lots of ring.



Not as much as is perceived.
I've been years on drum forums. The collective mantra is wide open drums. I'm routinely chastised for putting a small pillow in my bass drum, and a little tape on my snare.
99% of drum forum members are amateurs.
......A hole in the bass drum's front head (another crime according to the online drummer community).


Your research indicates that the vast majority of this sample set likes drums with lots of ring. :-bd
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 14, 2013 12:34 pm

Not sure what you mean, but I believe in controlled ring and I don't believe in wide open drums for most recording.
The god of wide open is John Bonham, but he was effectively an equal ingredient of a three piece band, with only bass and guitar to compete for audio space.
In today's arrangements, big resonant drums often compete badly with bass and the low end of keyboards, creating a sonic mess.
My opinion anyway.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Drumstruck » Tue May 14, 2013 1:17 pm

ChrisW wrote:.....In today's arrangements, big resonant drums often compete badly with bass and the low end of keyboards, creating a sonic mess.
My opinion anyway.


Yes, those damned bass and keyboard dudes - they really get in the way. We could drop them back in the mix a bit so they don't clutter the drums..... that's my sort of balance (%)
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby jeffcripps » Wed May 15, 2013 12:16 pm

Mate the best go is to use a SM57, if you use a condenser, like some folk are saying, you get way too much hi-hat spill on the snare track, esp if the drummer is a hard hitter.

You can get away with a condenser on a jazz or rootsy recording kinda style, but for Rock or Pop too much hi-hat in the centre persective ain't a good thing.

ALSO, try using a piece of cloth covering a pop guard between the snare Mic and the hats, that'lll cut down the spill into the snare Mic..

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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby rick » Wed May 15, 2013 4:51 pm

Anybody got any real world experience with the Josephson e 22 ..
I think I want 8 or none ..

I cant tell I have never used them .. seems like something I shouldnt try ?
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed May 15, 2013 5:17 pm

Yes - Josephson's they sound great on snare, guitar amps, toms, even acoustic guitar.
I don't agree with Jeff's 57 summation - every mic deals with spill/rejection differently.
And every snare sounds different/every player hits differently..bla bla
I wish it was that simple though.
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby rick » Wed May 15, 2013 5:34 pm

When I eventually open the big tracking room ( did you notice the when in that sentence .. ha )

it will be a shure 57 free zone ..
just cause .. I can

I figure if somebody says .. I dont get it .. he is providing F@#$ing everything you could ever want but refuses to
have shure 57s .. ?
what gives ?

well then I can have a conversation about what gives ..

'But rick ..shure 57s work ... ?"

"yes well... So do condoms ! "
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby ChrisW » Wed May 15, 2013 6:24 pm

I don't own a 57. I went into our drum tracking with an open mind. But the 57 tracks sound the nicest to me. Could very possibly be just the sound I'm used to after many years.
I prefer a km84 for less full on backbeats, centre head playing rather than rimshots. That's a sound I'm enjoying more and more.
I've always wanted an e22s... or two. Never got around to acquiring one.. or two. I probably never will, unless people dump drum machines and vst's and start hiring drummers for studio work again. :-c
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby rick » Wed May 15, 2013 6:54 pm

I dont have an open mind about shure 57s .. its close shut like a rabbit trap

not so sure I have an open mind about anything really :)
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Wiz » Wed May 15, 2013 7:07 pm

rick wrote:I dont have an open mind about shure 57s .. its close shut like a rabbit trap

not so sure I have an open mind about anything really :)



Assuming a similar price point , or there abouts, do you have another dynamic mic that you would use... Could you elaborate why you don't like the 57? Or is it that you just have better perhaps more esoteric mics for that role?
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Re: Snare drum mic

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed May 15, 2013 8:16 pm

These guys have the answer....
Have done since the late '50's, Variable D!
http://www.coutant.org/re15/re15fact.pdf
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