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Snare secrets
Old 23rd June 2005
  #31
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
My personal SD 'tricks' are (in no particular order)

--Having a bunch of snare drums to choose from including whatever the client brings in

--Tuning, tuning, tuning

--Good SD tone in the OH and Room mics

--Making sure the drummer is playing consistently which sometime requires a mini-lesson

--mic position

--deciding if I need compression or not. I usually decided after the other players are playing. After there is guitar and bass I sometimes think I need compression to tape, and then I add one.
Old 24th June 2005
  #32
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublehelix
Been a SM57 on the top, and a Sennheiser MD441 on the bottom (phase-reversed, of course) man for a long time, but I am not really happy with the 57 sound, and I end up eq'ing the crap out of it to get the "snap" I am looking for.

Personally, I am still looking for that magic snap that doesn't require boatloads of EQ to get...maybe I'm just dreaming...
In the last 6 months or so I have tried a large number of snare mics due to the same sentiment you expressed. Here's what I went through:

SM57
SM57 Unidyne III
Shure 545
SM57 with transformer removed
Beyer M400 Soundstar MkII
Sennheiser e609s
Sennheiser e604
Audix i5
Radio Shack 330-3032 (Sennheiser wannabe)

Of all of these I think I can safely say that the SM57 is pretty much near the bottom IMO. The only two mics I liked less on snare were the Unidyne III and the 545, both of which may be a little stretched due to their age. I think when I do want the 57 sound I will probably reach first for my transformerless SM57 which has a much bigger sound to it with a much less peaky response. I highly recommend trying that mod. It looks like the Sennheiser e604 will probably be my new first choice followed by the Audix i5. The Sennheiser has a punchy fast sound with an even response and good off axis rejection. It's much less splatty than the 57. In addition to those I will probably still reach for the e609s and the Radio Shack mics from time to time. The Radio Shack sounds like a lo-fi version of the e604. It sounds strange by itself but in the mix it works quite well. The low end is really rolled off and the upper mids are cranked.

Hope that helps.

Brad
Old 24th June 2005
  #33
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

I've actually been using the Controlled Sound Remo heads instead of the Ambassador and needing little to no deadening.
Old 24th June 2005
  #34
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~ufo~'s Avatar
I actually always flip the top mic's phase...
then again, I flip the phase of anything miked from the top of the skins...
overheads, toms, even the HH and Ride mics....
absolute phase thing, am I crazy ?

on a drum kit I end up with only the kick, snare bottom and FOK mics

Old 9th February 2007
  #35
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raggedman's Avatar
 

slammin snare

well... start with a good shell...then good heads(i like evans) then get someone who can actually tune the thing...once it sounds awesome in the room then u can begin...I generally use a md 451 on the bottom flipped out of phase...then (after a lengthy conversation with the drummer about accuracy) I'll place an akg c414 on the top with the bottom of the grille even with the rim and the capsule aimed just north of the center of the head...I'll run the 414 to a neve pre/eq ch strip i have in the rack (not sure exactly what model it is but OMG!) then to an 1176 then straight into the tape machine/RADAR.... the neve/414 on top give a ton of impact and perfect top end but when u mix in the 451 on bottom u start to get the crack...the 451 by itself sounds nasty and brittle but the combo sounds like a gunshot

this and the pzm boundary mic underheads are the only areas where I stray from the techniques I learned from Eddie Kramer when I had the honor of assisting him during a session at Full Sail....many artists have commented that I made them sound like Zeppelin
Old 9th February 2007
  #36
Gear Nut
 

Something that works really well for me is to mic the top head twice (once with an i5 and another with a SDC) and bottom snare mic as well, usually a 57. I leave the i5 with standard snare treatment, a little compression, a little sweetening EQ. On the SDC top snare mic I compress the crap out of it and HP/LP so it's just the "thwack" sound (at least a 2ms attack to get some transient to pop through, usually quick release). For the bottom mic i'll move the track 10-20ms later, so that the bottom snare hits just after the top snare. Add some depth to that track with eq (usually get rid of some high mids). Staggering it later than the top head mics effectively lengthens the sustain of the snare hit. Essentially, the super compressed top head SDC is the snare attack exaggerated and the bottom head is the sound of the snares delayed slightly so you can adjust the ms distance between the two to create a composite attack/sustain snare sound, and then blend into the mix alongside the standard snare mic (usually a little lower than the main snare mic in the mix, but wherever it needs to be to add the "beef"). Then maybe a reverb send with a short (.2 second) reverb in a big room to add some boom to the snare. Between all of those things i've never had phasing issues, and have always felt the presence of a massive, bright, full snare while having so much control in post. If something's off I can recreate the tone using all of the mics. Crazy, but works GREAT for me.
Old 9th February 2007
  #37
for me its 2 mics with the approach being as if I'm micing the shell, one mic just pokes over the top of the rim and the other mics the shell closer to the bottom of the drum. Usually the top mic is an AKG 460 and the bottom is an earthworks SR77, but sometimes its a pair of Beyer 201's or any combination, I'm also a little curious
about that AT 450 mic but we'll see. It helps mightly that I've usually has some amazing drummers here, like Lionel Cordew, John O'Reilly, and Tony Beard, and Richard Crooks. Most of these guys use remo ambassadors and if we need it just alittle moongel
usually NOT where the mic is
Old 9th February 2007
  #38
Lives for gear
 

Main thing is to get a good live sound (player/suitable snare/new skins etc). Once I have that I seem to get the best snare sound from my OH's & Room. I typically have them low over the kit and try to get a good balance overall. These mics are what get the full bloom of the snare sound.

Because the sound is primarily from the OH and less so from the room, many times you need a little more under snare sound so I always have a mic underneath (actually I always mic top/bottom snare, but rarely use the top mic outside of processing tricks). If the undersnare mic sounds a little sloppy I'll trigger white noise and blend it in to the signal to tighten it up.
Old 9th February 2007
  #39
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublehelix View Post
Personally, I am still looking for that magic snap that doesn't require boatloads of EQ to get...maybe I'm just dreaming...
Maybe try the 57 or i5 with a Shure SM81 taped onto it?
Old 9th February 2007
  #40
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Ring and overtones give snare its huge and in your face presence in a mix.

Sometimes I'll take a tight mic (E/V ND468 for example) and I'll point it directly towards the head where the hoop and head meet, from maybe a 1/2" out. That's where all the ring lives. I'll compress the crap out of it and blend it in to taste with the rest of the kit.

On a well tuned drum it can add bigness in the mix.

War
Old 9th February 2007
  #41
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Kris's Avatar
Snare secret = KILLER overheads placed equal distance from the center of the snare...

also a room mic with a gate keyed to the snare is cool sometimes for a big snare sound.

replacing the thin snares with the 42 strand (I think that's what it's called) made my acrolite come alive as well...
Old 9th February 2007
  #42
samples of course.. sample the original snaredrum if you dont wanna use external samples.. drumagog it, or manually inser them.. blend to taste.

cheers
Old 9th February 2007
  #43
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macr0w's Avatar
 

For you guys that use a 414 on snare top what positioning do you use? And how do you keep the hi-hat from pumping air into the back or side of it? I have one that I have never tried on snare. I allmost did it last night but after setting it up and thinking about it I took it down because of the hi-hat. My snare sits allmost directly in between my hi-hat and my 1st tom. There is about 6 inches between the hi-hat and tom one. Here is a shot of the setup.
Attached Thumbnails
Snare secrets-studio-inventory-035.jpg  
Old 9th February 2007
  #44
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thesteve's Avatar
I agree about using the larger snare strainers. I have a Transient Designer and it is an amazing tool. I like to track with a good amount of ring to the snare, and it can easily be tamed with the TD4, or it can be accentuated for really larger than life sounds. I also find it very usefull compressing paralell, because you can use disgusting amounts of comp on the snare, but still have the orriginal track audible to keep a dose of reality.
Old 9th February 2007
  #45
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by macr0w View Post
There is about 6 inches between the hi-hat and tom one.
Looks like an almost perfect job for the hypercardioid pattern. Set the mic up with the rear pointed directly between the hi hat and rack tom. Where you position the capsule (in terms of distance and angle) will give you a variety of tonal options, but if a 414 sounded good to me in that particular setup, I'd probably have it set to "hyper."

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 9th February 2007
  #46
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
samples of course.. sample the original snaredrum if you dont wanna use external samples.. drumagog it, or manually inser them.. blend to taste.

cheers
Well there always is this also, I do love Drumagog and find that many times blending a sample of a snare body (sampled without the strainer engaged) can add hugeness while still retaining the crack and sensitive playing of the original track. I can't remember what the sample's name is...will have to look it up later if I think about it.

War
Old 9th February 2007
  #47
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Proper placement and phase response is the topmost priority in capturing 'punch' at the tracking stage. Mic wise, lately I've been using 609s top and bottom with an additional sdc on top. Usually with a little eq on the way in. No compression. Sounds great during this tracking phase. Very punchy and even (somewhat) 'natural'. A good sounding snare drum, recorded. Lovely.

But come mix time (especially when dealing with the super-hyped, bigger-than-reality, over stacked type production), a 'very natural' snare drum sound is often completely inappropriate for the mix. So at that point, I'm forced to open up the old 'bag o' tricks' and employ whatever technique it takes to get there.

These may include:
A snare mult crushed and blended back in.
A keyed/gated, delayed, bandwidth limited bottom mic for 'rattle'.
A distorted mult (often delayed, too).
A TD'd 'stick attack' mult.
A distorted band width limited, low end heightened 'punch' mult.
On and on.

Any of these may also be eq'd, comp'd, keyed and gated, or just 'Strip Silenced', as I certainly don't want ANY spill (whatsoever) into these hyper-processed mults. Delay compensation is absolutely mandatory, as well. A couple of samples off here and there and you can forget any hopes of 'punch'.

Samples are always a last resort for me, but some folks just cut right to the chase. I do anything I can to avoid them, but if you just can't make it work with out them...

Whatever it takes.
Old 9th February 2007
  #48
Gear Head
 
Opie Taylor's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~ufo~ View Post
Geeeeeeeeeeezzzz how many times more will I have to repeat this ? ? ?

Rule 1: always put new strings on it a day or so before the session.

Happy bashing
Hmm.. Am I the only one who thinks this is bogus?

Anyways, my experince on snares in rock music (rock is all i do).
I've had trouble with getting ring out of a star classic maple snare. I don't care how you tune it, some snare drums ring like piss if a hard hitter is behind the kit. I found the evans perferated batter head to take out the ring. Rim shots sound excellant.

I do like the yamaha mushashi (guess spelling). It is a nice rock snare and they are cheap.

I also perfer the audix I5 over the trad. 57. Just less work.

The cool thing about rock music is that you can get away with any texture on the kick and snare. I was listening to a Melvins track where they put a warble tremelo effect on the kick.

I personally like adding some light reverb on the snare.

Depending on how the kits sounds throught the overheads determines for me to either close mic the batter head or the side port hole. If i like the attack of the snare on the OH's then I will close mic the port hole.
Old 9th February 2007
  #49
Gear Maniac
 
Bassace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy Neve Slut View Post
Player

Snare

Neve/API/Wunder

57/ akg 414/ KM84

Mult off so i can have an eq/comp if needs be.

EQ or comp to taste

put feet up...

Wiggy

could you explain where you put your feet up?
Old 9th February 2007
  #50
Gear Maniac
 
Bassace's Avatar
 

great pic macr0w

i would be worried about bleed from the phones into the floor tom mic tho
Old 9th February 2007
  #51
Gear Maniac
 
madcowvt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by C/G View Post
I have never been a fan of the zero ring thingys. I found I got a way better snare sound the day I started using moon gels. They don't seem to choke the sound of the snare like the zero rings. I just use the gels on my snare, not on toms.
I agree and have learned from the past that its better to have a bit of ring or overtone then having it too dead. You can always gate some out but can't add it back in if you need it!
Old 9th February 2007
  #52
Lives for gear
The Audio Technica ATM450 is a very nice snare mic. It's different from most traditional snare mics like the SM57. It's very open and clean sounding......if that's what you're after. Sometimes I find that appropriate. More than often though I prefer the Heil PR-20 on the snare. It's a little grittier and nastier but not quite as boxy as a SM57. That's more the sound I prefer on most rock music. Pair this with the ATM450 under the snare and it's perfect. I've found that the overheads catch alot of the natural way a snare sounds to me. It lets the drum breath more and doesn't sound so generic. The close mics help bring out the snare in the mix. If the snare sounds good in the overheads it's gonna end up sounding good. Good tuning and good head selection is critical. You can make any snare sound terrible and almost any snare sound very nice. Find the range the snare sounds best and use it for that sound. I have alot of snares ranging from bell brass to maple and they're all good for certain things. Another thing to keep in mind is how the snare sounds recorded as opposed to how it sounds in the room. Often times a snare may not sound as good in the room but sound better recorded or vice versa. Record it and listen back. If needs to be higher, tune it higher... if it rings too much, get some tape. Tape works nice because you can control how much muffling you apply. The O-rings can work if you want absolutely no ring but if you want something in between you're f*cked. Muffling snares can be essential to some songs and autrocious on other songs. Imagine the Beatles with Tools snare....or vice versa. That would sound like ass.
Old 9th February 2007
  #53
Quote:
Well there always is this also, I do love Drumagog and find that many times blending a sample of a snare body (sampled without the strainer engaged) can add hugeness while still retaining the crack and sensitive playing of the original track. I can't remember what the sample's name is...will have to look it up later if I think about it.
all modern rockdrums are triggered or programmed.. at least blended.

www.stevenslatedrums.com

I love them.

cheers
Old 9th February 2007
  #54
Here for the gear
 
martinresi's Avatar
 

I've never been happy with 57 on top and recently had an extra input track so i miked the snare with both the 57 on top and a shure sm81 pointing at the middle of the shell about 4" back, parallel to the floor. great crack, ring and body! I was going for a vintage sound however, not close miked. i have a ludwig supraphonic but still did not like the 57. I did use a good portion of the snare from the overheads though (ksm32s). I would imagine any SDC would work, i only chose the 81 cause it's the only SDC i have. Some tracks i left a touch of the 57, but most sounded best with only the 81. this is by far the best snare sound i've gotten.
Old 9th February 2007
  #55
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
all modern rockdrums are triggered or programmed.. at least blended.

www.stevenslatedrums.com

I love them.

cheers
The Steven slate drums are really cool indeed!!!

Old 10th February 2007
  #56
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
all modern rockdrums are triggered or programmed.. at least blended.

www.stevenslatedrums.com

I love them.

cheers
No disrespect to Steve, or drumagog which I have used twice, but gee I hope not. I find it lame
Old 10th February 2007
  #57
Lives for gear
 

To be perfectly honest, most big label modern rock productions for the past 20 years have been augmented or straight up replaced with samples. Sometimes its a real hit from the session that was done without leakage, other times mixers have contacted guys like me to make custom stuff for them which I've done a lot in the past. As a mixer myself, 80% of the time I'm augmenting with samples. The label guys want the big drums, its something they can easily identify.

Is it possible to record drums that sound killer and don't need samples? Yes absolutely. But having a perfectly smacked solo'd hit to add in is always a plus and can help the snare become punchier and more consistent. I don't consider it a bad thing or a lame thing, its part of production. Is it lame that we add reverb to vocals? The vocalist was most likely in a dry vocal room, not a rich sounding platey room..

But hitting the thread subject, hear are some snare secrets, maybe not so secret:

Use a good drum that sounds good with your own two ears in a nice room

Have a drummer who can actually hit the damn thing like a man

Use a nice mic like an Audix i5 to pick up the top head sound and don't point it at the rim, but rather point it somewhat across the snare..

Use a bottom mic to capture some of the snare snap, even a tiny bit of this mixed in can add some crispness

Don't be a pussy with eq

Compress with slow attack fast release to enhance the transient

Use some overhead micing to make it more 3D

If you want to stay au natural but still have a more consistent sound, have the drummer do some solo hits at the beginning of the session and use one of his hits as a sample to mix in.

Or you can buy my collection and get laid every night by bikini models. At least thats what some of the customers have told me is happening..
Old 10th February 2007
  #58
Lives for gear
 

I use 57's a lot...but also 414's in hypercardioid, and the GT44 is a great snare mic.

SSL E channel as a mult: listen back compressor, regular compressor, loads of bottom, loads of top, loads of 3k stuff, then close it down at the extremes with the filters...pokes through any guitar wall.

J
Old 10th February 2007
  #59
Gear Maniac
 
madcowvt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang View Post
Or you can buy my collection and get laid every night by bikini models. At least thats what some of the customers have told me is happening..

LOL
Old 10th February 2007
  #60
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AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
No disrespect to Steve, or drumagog which I have used twice, but gee I hope not. I find it lame
Welcome to the asylum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang View Post
Or you can buy my collection and get laid every night by bikini models. At least thats what some of the customers have told me is happening..
So shameless...but until my mixes sound half as good as yours, shine on you crazy diamond! (The samples sound great, by the way! But let's face it, the Control|24 is what gets you laid.)
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