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How do you mic toms/snare drums? Dynamic Microphones
Old 12th July 2011
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Yep, that's right. Just keep it at the same height but just pull it back. Aim it at the point of impact on the snare (usually the dirty, worn spot).

Brad
Believe it or not you can even lower it a little, try it so that say half the capsule
is poking over the rim, you'll get even less top head ring. then add a mic for the shell rather than underneath. Pay attention to having both capsules be equidistant from the snare drum. Usually with this technique you can use some nice SDC mics
Old 12th July 2011
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
do not use autogates when tracking a record to mix. manual gating (it was called editing) is king.
no gating is king when recording drums, you lose a hit or have some unnecessary chatter from the gates and you'll will be sorry.
Old 12th July 2011
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
Old threat, but...
I did a lot of testing to find the best sounding position of the snare mic, both with an SM57 and an e906. The snare sounded best in this "parallel" position that Akoppenheffer's photo shows. In fact, I put it a little bit backwards, away from the snare.
I always hated the sound when pointing it at the snare head, no matter at what degree. There was always too much ringing in the signal.

This way, the snare sounds exactly like I want it: Full, fat, no ringing.
BUT: Bleed from the hat and cymbals kills me!

What should I do?
I am afraid that damping might change the snare's sound too much and leave it a little bit boring.

I tried putting a piece of foam on top of the Mike, but that doesn't seem to help much.

The mic is now more or less directly under the hat. I see this is a problem, but putting it between the toms (so that it is actually facing the drummer's belly across the snare) it seems to catch a lot of ring from the toms.
try a different mic like a Beyer 201 or a condenser, and the primacoustic crash guard works well for this. Or look up the doohickey Bruce Swedien made.
Old 15th July 2011
  #34
very good input from you guys, thank you.

the primacoustic crash guard looks pretty interesting. I didn't know that something like this existed. I did sth. similar for testing once, but it didn't help much. Maybe my own design wasn't very good.

I like the idea of having spot mics just support the OHs. I use Oktava Mk012s and can't afford anything much better. I use xy about 3 feet above the the center of the kit. I tried other setups like ORTF and spaced AB, but xy worked best in that particular room and it feels like the safest way to avoid phase issues. However, in xy, the snare is somewhat at the "blind spot" (or better "deaf spot"...) of the OHs, so I kind of need more of the snare spot mic in the mix. As the snare spot mic sounds very thick and nice now, I am not too afraid to use more of it. The musical style is something from the grunge, stoner, prog region, so it's ok (or even desirable) if it does not sound like chart ready hi-fi.

I will try a condenser for the snare spot mic once, I guess. And I never used a beyer 201, so I still have things left to play with..

btw.: Do you always gate/edit snares in the mix?
Old 15th July 2011
  #35
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some of my crazy ideas to try out if you feel like playing, note these have all worked in certain situations but not recommended for all.

414 in figure 8 on the shell so the hihat is in the null point. i liked this on a couple of wood snares but never seemed to work on metal snares.

57 with 451 (or whatever sdc) taped to it, capsules aligned on top, position as needed. great for brush work to really get the detail but can work for other stuff too.

441 on top a few inches away angled a bit, m160 on bottom.

i know this is gs cliche but try an sm7 on top if you can fit it in there or a transformerless 57 if you can't.

just thought i'd throw out some non one 57 ideas
Old 18th July 2011
  #36
Suede, thank you for your thoughts!
Transformerless 57 is the next thing I want to try, however I haven't had the guts to cook one my 57s yet - although I have been good at burning bucks in other fields all the time... (e.g. buy old tape and almost shred the multitracker with sticky shed... lessons have to be learned first hand sometimes...)
BTW, if I open a 57, then just cut the two cables and solder another xlr connector to it - would that work? Or does the 57 need its chassis? Maybe I'll buy one 57 clone cheap, rip out the tranny and use the "cheap" chassis with the original 57 head and capsule.

I have also read a couple of times, that Steve Albini uses a 57 taped to a condenser for snare. Maybe I'll try that one day. Will that work with a cheap condenser as well? I have some spare audio technica MB 4k. I really hate them for OH, but maybe they can serve for this purpose.
For now, I am happy that I only need one track for the snare. I removed the bottom mic (441) as well, since I didn't really need it. It never really seemed to add anything useful to the sound.
Old 18th July 2011
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
For now, I am happy that I only need one track for the snare. I removed the bottom mic (441) as well, since I didn't really need it. It never really seemed to add anything useful to the sound.
Czybulski, you don't want to totally write-off the bottom mic though .. Sometimes it's presence is the perfect answer for accentuating subtle accents and brush work, particularly if the drummer is wildly dynamic. It's also good for isolating crisp, bright, papery or cracking qualities from the snare, or even the Kick and whole Kit for that matter. Follow your ears on this one ..

I rarely buss/insert the bottom mic through any compression, unless it's close to the floor .. A Kit Bottom mic .. It's often the only mic sent to a room/reverb. It's usually just blended in underneath the rest of the Kit picture ..

Some good snare bottom mics : KM84, SM57, M201, M160, Royer, sometimes even an LDC or a Kick Mic .. YMMV. A good thread, this one ...

Cheers RAy
Old 18th July 2011
  #38
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i use 2 KSM32's and 2 sm57's at different positions (always different depending on the snare) and record 18 or so hits on the snare by itself at different velocitys. Break them down into seperate sample files and punch them into drumagog for sound replacement later on. Can also do this for toms but I'm usually pretty happy with the sound I get live (as long as they are new skins and tuned correctly). and yeah toms i just point the mic at the center of the top head as a starting point. after some tests, might move them a little. Oh and with the snare i point at the center of the skin at a 45 degree angle (again as a startign point) with a bottom mic underneath doing the same, if the live snare sounds great might not bother using sound replacement
Old 18th July 2011
  #39
Ray, thanks for the advice. I was tempted to keep it simple, but you've got a point there. I will include the bottom mic again for safety.
I heard the MD441 is good for that use, would you agree on this?
I'd rather hesitate investing in another bottom mic that I might not even need for my mix... or do I miss "the point" when I use the 441 instead of something else?

I never tried drum replacement and I guess I will want to experiment with the old school approach a little more. However, is the drum replacement tool in Logic 9 any good?
Old 18th July 2011
  #40
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suedesound's Avatar
 

just helped out on a few sessions with an old friend that has some good credits under his belt and his go to for snare is a unidyne 56 (old 57 essentially) on top and 441 on bottom. i like the 441 on top by itself a lot of times honestly. i have lots of love for 441 on amps and vox as well.

not saying you have to buy one (or 2) but the m160 is another one of those favorite mics for me, snare bottom, when i actually mic hihat it's great there, one of my favorite gtr amp mics, if you have 2 they can be cool for oh's as well. used it on violin one time after trying out a couple of sdc's and it was perfect.

not saying i'm against it but i don't use sample replacement so can't help you there.
Old 19th July 2011
  #41
ooow, m160 is at around 600$...but very tempting...
I guess I'll stick to the 441 instead. I actually have 2 and don't use them often enough to justify their existence in my mic locker...
First I'll have to learn how to really make use of a bottom mic anyway.
Old 19th July 2011
  #42
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ears2thesky's Avatar
For snare I use mostly SM57s and i5s for live work and my trusty EV RE100 for recording sessions where I supply the mics (obviously not Ocean Way or Abbey Road). On toms A/T 23s and 25s are fantastic. My home studio-recorded stuff features MCA SP-1s (with internal screens removed and capacitors replaced) on toms. I've been wanting to get some CAD 179s for toms, but the SP-1s do such a good job that replacing them remains a lower-priority purchase. The positioning remains however, more or less the same: kind of a blend of the OP's picture and the 45 degree technique. I'll have the tip of the mic about an inch or two away from the rim (depending on the drummer's technique). I aim down slightly at the center area of the head where the stick strikes (and put the null point towards the hi-hat on snare).
I used to do the rim overhang thang in the 90s, but I get much more usable results with the placement described. Tom placement is similar (with more angle and overhang for for more ring and flatter/farther for more attack).
I used to always mic the snare bottom, but don't do it so much with the RE100 or live. If the drummer plays with brushes or lots of ghost-note stuff, I'll be more likely to throw one down there (usually an SM57 or Audix OM-2).
Old 19th July 2011
  #43
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First I listen to the song live.

Then I choose and tune the drums. Anything from moon gel to fat wallets to nothing goes on at this point.

Then I listen live again and walk around the room. If the song calls for a room mic, I put one where I hear the best sound for the song. If the song wants a booming bass drum, my room mic is an LDC placed at the point of most impressive booming. If the song wants snare decay, I place a SDC where I find the best snare trails. If it wants something else, I do something else.

Then I listen to playback of a few measures of room mic recording.

Then I place overheads and listen to playback again (full band, few measures).

Then I decide what other mics are even needed and place them one at a time. As I place each mic, I keep all previous mics open. I place the close mics as the drums are being struck and I wear isolation headphones to monitor. I flip polarity as needed. There is no common mic that usually ends up on any particular drum in any particular position. I do whatever I need to approach the sound in my head.

Then I listen to playback (full band, few measures).

Then I tweak.

Then I listen. I try to set the gain so the drums are hitting about -18 give or take what is needed to set thier relative balance. If a mic wants to be pushed to the red for a sound, I do that before the ADC.

Then I roll.
Old 19th July 2011
  #44
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akoppenheffer View Post
How do you mic your toms/snare? Do you have different techniques or methods for each drum? I was told a theory that if you put the mic like a '57 parallel with the head and put the capsule righ tover the rim the cardioid pattern kind of covers the drum. Maybe this a crazy concept, but it kind of makes sense. Here's a picture for reference.

I position kind of similar, jut outside the rim of the drum with a slight angle, almost like it's pointing to where the bottom head and shell meet across from the mic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
Old threat, but...
I did a lot of testing to find the best sounding position of the snare mic, both with an SM57 and an e906. The snare sounded best in this "parallel" position that Akoppenheffer's photo shows. In fact, I put it a little bit backwards, away from the snare.
I always hated the sound when pointing it at the snare head, no matter at what degree. There was always too much ringing in the signal.

This way, the snare sounds exactly like I want it: Full, fat, no ringing.
BUT: Bleed from the hat and cymbals kills me!

What should I do?
I am afraid that damping might change the snare's sound too much and leave it a little bit boring.

I tried putting a piece of foam on top of the Mike, but that doesn't seem to help much.

The mic is now more or less directly under the hat. I see this is a problem, but putting it between the toms (so that it is actually facing the drummer's belly across the snare) it seems to catch a lot of ring from the toms.
Try a hypercardiod mic, they often have better rejection. The null isn't at the back of the mic, I don't know the degree, but if you look at a pattern diagram you'll understand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
to me the spot snare mic has no other use than supporting the Ohs. normally the only thing i look out for is punch. i never heared a spot snare mic that sounded good on its own. its only there to support your OHs. so the OP pic looks really wrong to me. you will get way too much spill.... you should use spot mics for punch. nothing else. the entire kit should be pictured pretty much perfectly from the overhead mics. the sound of the snare is in the overheads ...not the snare mic! try a pair of u67s or 4038s. they will capture the WHOLE kit in an amazing way. lacking some punch maybe...but thats where the spot mics come in. but one should never ever get the snare sound from the snare mic. thats very wrong in my book.
With all due respect, yours is but one method.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
very good input from you guys, thank you.

the primacoustic crash guard looks pretty interesting. I didn't know that something like this existed. I did sth. similar for testing once, but it didn't help much. Maybe my own design wasn't very good.

I like the idea of having spot mics just support the OHs. I use Oktava Mk012s and can't afford anything much better. I use xy about 3 feet above the the center of the kit. I tried other setups like ORTF and spaced AB, but xy worked best in that particular room and it feels like the safest way to avoid phase issues. However, in xy, the snare is somewhat at the "blind spot" (or better "deaf spot"...) of the OHs, so I kind of need more of the snare spot mic in the mix. As the snare spot mic sounds very thick and nice now, I am not too afraid to use more of it. The musical style is something from the grunge, stoner, prog region, so it's ok (or even desirable) if it does not sound like chart ready hi-fi.

I will try a condenser for the snare spot mic once, I guess. And I never used a beyer 201, so I still have things left to play with..

btw.: Do you always gate/edit snares in the mix?
MC012 sound great as overheads. I use them a ton. If your trying to keep the snare in the OH, and centered, think of a diagonal line that runs through the snare head and BD shell as you center for your OH placement. It puts SD and BD in the middle of the stereo image. I've been on this for years and it works great.
Old 19th July 2011
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
If it wants something else, I do something else.
That is something I also sometimes consider....

Thanks for all the great input! I've been lurking around on GS for quite some time, but this is the first time I really get into some sort of converstion here. Thanks, guys!



Re polar patterns:
The SM 57 is a cardiod mic and if I get it right, it's deaf point should be exactly behind it:



On toms I use 421s and so far I am totally happy with it. As the snare is my biggest problem child at the moment, I sort of concentrate on it more than on other things. (E.g. I don't mic hihat, it's mostly too loud anyway).

I record with an Sunn Mixer (SPL 2216, mid 80s), and I like to push the snare into the red a little bit. Tracked to tape, it gives me a very full and fat tone.
OHs go through a DAV BG No.2 (the four channel model of the BG No.1), through the mixer onto tape. I want to try OHs without the Sunn in between, just to see if a cleaner signal chain gives me more of the sound that I am looking for. Problem is, I need some sort of console between the DAV and the tape machine, to adjust to the -10 dbu line level of the Tascam MSR16. Apart from the Sunn, I have a Mackie VLZ pro to do that job. I assume it's cleaner than the Sunn, but well, I still have to try that.

@drumsound: I am familiar with the concept of diagonal line between snare and bd as the centre of the kit. Well, guess where I got it from..

Last edited by Czybulski; 19th July 2011 at 12:17 PM.. Reason: correct citation
Old 19th July 2011
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
That is something I also sometimes consider....

Thanks for all the great input! I've been lurking around on GS for quite some time, but this is the first time I really get into some sort of converstion here. Thanks, guys!



Re polar patterns:
The SM 57 is a cardiod mic and if I get it right, it's deaf point should be exactly behind it:



On toms I use 421s and so far I am totally happy with it. As the snare is my biggest problem child at the moment, I sort of concentrate on it more than on other things. (E.g. I don't mic hihat, it's mostly too loud anyway).

I record with an Sunn Mixer (SPL 2216, mid 80s), and I like to push the snare into the red a little bit. Tracked to tape, it gives me a very full and fat tone.
OHs go through a DAV BG No.2 (the four channel model of the BG No.1), through the mixer onto tape. I want to try OHs without the Sunn in between, just to see if a cleaner signal chain gives me more of the sound that I am looking for. Problem is, I need some sort of console between the DAV and the tape machine, to adjust to the -10 dbu line level of the Tascam MSR16. Apart from the Sunn, I have a Mackie VLZ pro to do that job. I assume it's cleaner than the Sunn, but well, I still have to try that.

@drumsound: I am familiar with the concept of diagonal line between snare and bd as the centre of the kit. Well, guess where I got it from..
Have you tried the 421 on snare? I really like it there, it's too bad cause I only have one right now and happen to like on toms too.
Old 19th July 2011
  #47
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Actually the way shown in the picture sounds much better than pointing the mic at an angle down at the snare head! The sound you get improves even more if you pull the mic back about 3-6" from the rim of the drum. Then you actually record what sounds like a whole drum, and not just a top head. Try it!

Brad
That is the way I have always tracked a snare Brad, works perfect. I hate a snare sound when the mic is pointed toward the middle of the snare at a 45 degree.
Old 19th July 2011
  #48
@allabaouttone, how do you handle hat spill? I feel I'm having the whole kit on my snare spot mic in that position - even though the snare played alone sounds perfect at this angle.

@jordan: I guess I did. I remember I really tried to avoid the 57 beacuse I wanted to find something better and yet more special. I have 441s, 421s and an e906. The 57 remained there. I guess I had my reasons.
I have about 5 421s and use them on almost everything (git cab, bass cab, toms, also bd one time...). Mine are quite old, and I once got a good deal on three of them that somebody spray-painted in black. The black paint is peeling off and they look like ****, but who cares? Buy more of those, they won't be out there forever!
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