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Tips & Techniques:Drums - Getting more snap or whack out of the snare

A simple trick when recording drums, especially when they're on a carpet:

Place a piece of hard flooring, a clipboard or other piece of hard material directly below the drum, on the floor. Adds a nice reflection to a overly dead sounding snare.

A variation is to place several large rocks below the snare, to get a more diffused reflection.

Contributors: mw, John Suitcase
Created by John Suitcase, 10th January 2008 at 09:36 PM
Last edited by mw, 27th March 2012 at 03:05 PM
Last comment by Jax on 15th March 2008 at 10:28 PM
2 Comments, 29,491 Views

(2) Comments for: Drums - Getting more snap or whack out of the snare Page Tools Search this Page
Old 16th January 2008
Lives for gear
lynyrd's Avatar

I just gotta try the large rocks, I'll look like a mad genius if it works!
Old 15th March 2008
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Jax's Avatar

More ways to get snap and whack from the snare, starting with one that everybody probably knows:

1) Put a mic on the snare bottom. Generally, the mic placement should be a mirror image of the top snare mic, but pointing up into the snare instead of down. Rotate the snare (if needed) so that the snare wires make a line with the mic capsule. You want to capture the snap of the wires hitting the bottom head.
Many mics work well for this application. I've had good results with an Audix i5 or Shure sm57 in either position.
Lastly, hit the phase button (switch, whatever) at some point in the chain on your bottom mic. It can be on your mic pre, channel strip, or you can use a cable that is wired out of phase.

2) Tape (or rubber band - my preference) your usual snare mic together with a small diaphragm condenser. The SDC should be brighter sounding and faster on transients than your usual snare mic. Having both mic capsules so close together keeps a good phase relationship, while the detail and brightness of the SDC combines well with the usual snare mic. You may need to pad your SDC up -25dB. Watch your levels and make sure the mic itself isn't clipping (unless you like it).
KM84's (or 184's) work well for this.

3) Place wood, glass, brick, marble or some other hard surface behind the kit. If you can angle the material on two sides, make a shallow triangle to reflect the sound out into the room. Even better is if any of the surfaces are craggy like this stucco wall:

4) Buy or make some good diffusors. Also add bass trapping to the corners of your recording room.
Diffusion allows detail such as the crisp attack of a snare to be heard more clearly because it scatters frequencies randomly, as opposed to direct reflections over a smaller frequency spectrum that cause comb filtering. Comb filtering is especially apparent in poorly treated, smaller rooms.
Bass trapping keeps low end waves from emanating from corners (especially) and back into the room. This can effect your overall kit frequency balance, with the snare and kick being probably the most important elements in a drum mix.
**Hope this helps! Let me know if this is bull**** to you, but tell me how. **

Last edited by Jax; 15th March 2008 at 10:31 PM.. Reason: I sweat details.

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