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How do you mic toms/snare drums? Dynamic Microphones
Old 25th August 2007
  #1
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Akoppenheffer's Avatar
 

How do you mic toms/snare drums?

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.

Old 25th August 2007
  #2
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Improv's Avatar
 

Well, no offense... but that is bad advice followed incorrectly

First of all, the capsule in that picture is perpendicular to the head, not parallel. The 57 is a front-address microphone. That setup might give a... unique sound... but not what you're looking for, I'd bet. Chances are, you mistakenly said parallel and that picture represents the actual setup in question.

I would think that setup would make for a weak rimshot/sidestick sound and also pick up more bleed from the hat and whatever is across the way (floor time, ride). But I've never tried it, so who knows. Have you?

I tend to position my snare mic at about 45 degrees pointed more or less right at the rim about 2 inches away. This gives me plenty of punch and air and gives a nice sidestick sound, too. For brush work, you might want to move or angle more towards the center of the snare. Orientation to the hat depends on the mic and style, but I generally like to be right under it angled away from it for the most rejection.

Toms are the same deal, though I'll generally center the diaphragm over the top part of the skin rather than the rim.
Old 25th August 2007
  #3
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I didn't say the capsule was parallel. I said the capsule was right over the head. The mic was laying parallel with the head. But we know what we all mean. That's why there's a picture! Haha. Thanks for the input.
Old 25th August 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akoppenheffer View Post
I didn't say the capsule was parallel. I said the capsule was right over the head. The mic was laying parallel with the head. But we know what we all mean. That's why there's a picture! Haha. Thanks for the input.
Ah right you are... anyway, the rest of my post stands as my opinion
Old 25th August 2007
  #5
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Haha, it's all good. But from trying both ways, your method tends to work better. I find that parallel method for more attack kind of, it's weird. Combined with a nice bottom snare, it's not too bad. Your method might be a little bit more useful, but they're all differnt sounds for different tastes. thumbsup
Old 25th August 2007
  #6
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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
Old 25th August 2007
  #7
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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
Yessir, I have to try it pulled back. Do you keep it at that same position? Just back a few inches, still just above the rim and flat? Or do you more or less mic the shell?
Old 25th August 2007
  #8
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My way's not the only way? Screw this crap, I'm outta here...

Old 25th August 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Improv View Post
My way's not the only way? Screw this crap, I'm outta here...

No. Your way's not the only way. In fact, my way is the only way.

Seriously now, I usually use the method of keeping the top mic aimed across the head. This along with a bottom mic, of course. I have to start playing around with some different methods, as I'm sure I'll find something better.
Old 25th August 2007
  #10
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I tend to go the 45 degree route...but in paticular a lot of live guys use the method pictured. Sometimes it works for me as well.

I also find you can sometimes het a great sound by micing the drum from the side. Ob the right drum you bet a fuller, wider sound with more snares as well.

I like this metod on Stonsey/Americana band where the snare isn't competing to be heard.
Old 25th August 2007
  #11
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with all these new fangled big ole powerful snare drums the kids love to use today 4 to 6" back micing the shell sounds better.close up at 45 angle sounds like a big ping pong ball hitting the head. trying this method made me fall in love with my 57 again.
Old 25th August 2007
  #12
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Yea pull the mic back and point it accross the drum. Bleed is going to be a pain to work with but the drum your trying to capture will sound bigger and better almost every time. I do the same with toms.
Old 25th August 2007
  #13
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Sounds good, I'll have to try that pulled back. I'm just afreaid of hihat bleed... I play with everything really close together. thumbsup
Old 25th August 2007
  #14
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akoppenheffer View Post
Yessir, I have to try it pulled back. Do you keep it at that same position? Just back a few inches, still just above the rim and flat? Or do you more or less mic the shell?
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
Old 25th August 2007
  #15
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BLueROom's Avatar
 

I think it depends on the drummer and the drum. The way some drummers hit, the 45 degree angle thing works great ...others ..the 4" away, parallel thing works. Another way to try:

about a 15-20 degree angle about 6" way with the mic aimed where the player hits ...the center of the head. I find I get a nice initial "tick" sound and great body.
Old 25th August 2007
  #16
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what ^^^ said. Different drummers = different mic positions.
Old 26th August 2007
  #17
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Different drummers most usually = good or bad drummers.
Old 26th August 2007
  #18
A atm650 pointed 45 degrees between the rim and the middle of the snare about 2-3 inches above. Toms I use CAD M179's on top and bottom. About 3 inches up pointing till I get the attack I want. I point the under tom mic towards the center under the tom about 3-4 inches under and I flip the phase.
Old 26th August 2007
  #19
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Toms miked top and bottom? I've never really heard of this. You do reverse the phase of the bottom? I know you mike the bottom of the snare to get the rattle, but why do you mike the bottom of the toms?

I hope that is not a stupid question. I'm Just a little intrigued.
Old 26th August 2007
  #20
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Akoppenheffer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Companda View Post
Toms miked top and bottom? I've never really heard of this. You do reverse the phase of the bottom? I know you mike the bottom of the snare to get the rattle, but why do you mike the bottom of the toms?

I hope that is not a stupid question. I'm Just a little intrigued.
Not a dumb question, some people are into it, some are not. I find that miking the bottom of floor toms works the best, that's where a lot of the "tone" is going to be. The batter head, or the top head, gets a whole lot of attack and some tone. You would want to flip the polarity on the bottom mic, it's just like snare top and bottom. I like that method. I've seen people just mic the bottom of the toms to get the tone, and let the over heads capture the attack... Works sometimes, other times the traditional way of miking the top of the drum works better. But it's definitely something to try!
Old 26th August 2007
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Improv View Post
First of all, the capsule in that picture is perpendicular to the head, not parallel. The 57 is a front-address microphone.
That depends on how you view the head. If you think of the head as pointing up, then yes it's perpendicular. Heads, IMO, are flat and I'd call the setup pictured above parallel.

Back to the point at hand: I've tried mic'ing "parallel" to the drum and have not been hugely satisfied with the sound. Above the rim angled to the center of the drum with a second on bottom with its polarity inverted is what I usually do. Sometimes mic'ing off the side works as well.
Old 4th July 2011
  #22
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.
Old 4th July 2011
  #23
Sample replace it. Yes, everyone does it. Yes the pros too...

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Old 4th July 2011
  #24
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I usually gate the snare and I adjust the release to make it work with the song, mixed with the overhead I can get a good balance of attack and ringing.
Old 5th July 2011
  #25
matskull, thanks for the hint. So you position the mike in the "classical" way, facing the head to avoid hi-hat bleed and then kill the ringing with the gate? I'll have to try that.

George, I know sample replacing is the thing everyone does, but that's already enough reason to not do it. It's time saving and convenient, plus almost nobody notices the difference, I can see that, but it's just wouldn't feel like fun for me.

Thanks guys.
Old 5th July 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
matskull, thanks for the hint. So you position the mike in the "classical" way, facing the head to avoid hi-hat bleed and then kill the ringing with the gate? I'll have to try that.

George, I know sample replacing is the thing everyone does, but that's already enough reason to not do it. It's time saving and convenient, plus almost nobody notices the difference, I can see that, but it's just wouldn't feel like fun for me.

Thanks guys.
Well I don't know how traditional my placement is but I usually like the mic to be not too close from the snare otherwise it gets too boomy. I try to position it to get the best attack and tone as possible.
Then I gate it to remove some hi-hat bleed and some ringing if there's too much. Compression tends to exagerate the ringing, in that case I gate the snare.
Old 8th July 2011
  #27
mkay, I will have to get into gating a little more I guess... sounds very useful what you're saying!

I tried the "wallet-taped-to-head" trick, with the mike fairly close to the head at 45°. The sound is nice and fat, just the way I wanted it to be! I'll have to try to control the remaining bleed with some gating now.

The only problem with the wallet was that it disturbed the drummer sometimes. We'll try a smaller wallet next time. With more money in it.
Old 12th July 2011
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski View Post
mkay, I will have to get into gating a little more I guess... sounds very useful what you're saying!

I tried the "wallet-taped-to-head" trick, with the mike fairly close to the head at 45°. The sound is nice and fat, just the way I wanted it to be! I'll have to try to control the remaining bleed with some gating now.

The only problem with the wallet was that it disturbed the drummer sometimes. We'll try a smaller wallet next time. With more money in it.
do not use autogates when tracking a record to mix. manual gating (it was called editing) is king.
Old 12th July 2011
  #29
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The advice you got, which is demonstrated with the pic with 57, is not bad advice. It is just situation dependent.

To make that situation ‘real good’ or at least ‘better’, you have to move it an inch and then listen, then move an inch in another direction and listen, angle it a bit and listen etc etc. And whatever position you find sounds the best, is nothing that you can remember to apply to the next snare, thinking it will sound just as good in that situation. It don’t work that easy.

Micing yields different sounds depending on snaredrum, tuning, angles, distances, room, how the drummer plays the drum etc etc etc. I know a guy who’ll tell you that it sounds different depending on how much caffeine you’ve had. :P

The snare on the pic has got a damper ring on it. I’ll advice against using those when recording, since they tend to rattle and buzz against the head and rim into the mic. Remember, the mic listens from an inch above the head. If you wanna know what it sounds like at that position, put your ear there and have the drummer play soft.
Old 12th July 2011
  #30
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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.
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