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Snare drum condenser micing
Old 2nd August 2005
  #1
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SLy_drums's Avatar
 

Snare drum condenser micing

The other day I tried the following :

I usually mic my Noble and Cooley snare drum, with 2 SM57 (top, bottom) and I get a very mediumish sound, easy to EQ and to make the snare more brilliant sounding. I tried to put a Shure SM81 in parallel to the top SM57 and the result was surprising : the snare cut through the saturated guitar wall.
With the SM57s only, it was difficult to make the snare crack, even with an important amount of compression. With that condenser added (and gated), the snare is more brilliant.
I sometimes find the SM81 lacking of high end, maybe if I'd try the same micing with another mic (maybe C414), the result could be better ?
I also heard a condenser on the snare is quite dangerous, you need to be bring much attention to its placement, not to get too much hihats or bass drum in it.

What do you guys think of that ?? Do you mic the snare with condenser sometimes ?
I heard that technique was largely used in accoustic contexts (jazz ?) with large diaphragm condensers. thumbsup
Old 2nd August 2005
  #2
Condensers on snares sound great. It's just that they get whacked 99.999% of the time, so anything worth putting on there usually isn't worth getting hit. You'll also need a pad for some condensers, between the mic output and the input of the preamp so as not to overload the input of the preamp. KM84's are great snare mics, but I own three and no stick is getting near those. That gives me an idea, I've got an old beat to crap 414 TLII that's been collecting dust, I should try...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #3
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Yeah I heard KM84s are great for that (and for a lots of other things too heh ).
So are there a lots of engineers using the "3 mics technique" on the snare drum ?

I tried with only the condenser, and it sucks, i only get the attack.
I guess it depends on the snare sound you want to get.

More opinions ?
Old 2nd August 2005
  #4
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The first ingredient for a nice crisp snare sound in my opinion is a brand new ambassador well tuned. Also, new snares on the bottom can help a lot. After that, with a well placed SM57 and a good preamp, you should have somthing to work with. Then with some quality eq I can dial in all the brightness or snap I need. One thing to look for with an SM57 on snare: the 600-1000Hz range can be really overpowering. Try cutting some there and adding a little ad 3-6K. That should give you some snap and needed brightness.

However, if adding a condenser is working, then it's working!

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 2nd August 2005
  #5
Nut
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There is absolutely no reason why a snare mic should get hit... unless your dealing with crap musicians. Same goes for tom mics. I've neve ad it happen to me, but i have never really feared it either...

I'm glad i have not yet experienced the wraith of **** drummers !
Old 2nd August 2005
  #6
Joesphson e22s is super cool - I want about 10 of them!



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https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...727#post303727
Old 2nd August 2005
  #7
Gear Head
 

i've always been a good mic/bad mic snare top kinda guy .. favourite combo is 57 with an original 451B taped to it, easier than trying to get two stands in and the alignment close enough. Also 451B or KM84 on the bottom. Went through a phase of using 57's on the bottom but grew out of it as it just sounds too dull and lifeless.

I have recently returned to condensers on the bottom. The bottom snare sound I pulled in my last tracking session really blew me away sounds absolutely fantastic and is very much an important part of the sound. The only way this seems to work is definitely new heads and really good tuning.

Cheers,
Marcus
Old 2nd August 2005
  #8
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Here's an idea... I've gotten great results aiming the 57 down at the head right next to the rim. That's right! A 90 degree angle. You would think that you'd lose attack, but there's plenty of it there. What this does is allow you to do more drastic eq and compression effects which is what you're going to need to cut through that wall of guitars. Room mics help with the snare too. But not everybody has the luxury of the room or the gear to do it right. As far as the bottom, 441, 451, SM81... They're all good. I don't think that's where you are going to get your crack, though. Although it will certainly give you some presence. I always take a bottom snare mic in. It only ever makes it to the final mix about 10% of the time.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #9
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Messiah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nut
There is absolutely no reason why a snare mic should get hit... unless your dealing with crap musicians. Same goes for tom mics. I've neve ad it happen to me, but i have never really feared it either...
Ok then, lend me your mics next time I record a drummer...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #10
Gear Addict
 
peeceebee's Avatar
 

A km56 is KILLER on a snare- and since it's side-address, it's easier to place it out of the "line of fire"-
Old 2nd August 2005
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

it's funny... some people are moving to using 3 mics for their whole kit.... others 3 mics for one drum
Old 2nd August 2005
  #12
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Messiah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLy_drums
With the SM57s only, it was difficult to make the snare crack, even with an important amount of compression.
It still amazes me that people equate snare crack to compression... is it me!?

Anyway, I find myself quite often with a 451 on the shell and a dynamic on the top (varies depeding on snare/sound wanted, etc).

I also like to gaffer tape a 57 and 451(pad in) together so that the capsules line up exactly and use them on the snare top. Blend to taste. I've had some really good results with this.
Actually, an AKG D19 and 451 used in this way is a great combo. The D19 feels like it has a LOT slower reaction to transients than a 57, whereas the 451 is pretty quick, so you can get a pretty good handle on the crack/attack of the snare with these.

From time to time (usually on snares with a lot of lo mids) I have used an AKG D230 to good effect, which is an omni dynamic and pretty cheap to pick up.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #13
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I often use a new C451B there - it's not vintage so if it gets hit and messed up I don't mind as much. I find I can work with the sound off that really easily, and usually I don't need snare bottom mic if I do that. I like the placement that absrec mentioned, but I do that with the C451B. Placed just right, you can get a surprising amount of hi-hat rejection. Another couple of mics that I find useful on snare is the Altec M11 'Coke Bottle', and anything with the AKG CK61 capsule - I use it on a DIY'ed Altec M30-like tube body.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #14
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Beezoboy's Avatar
 

On the latest recordings I have been doing, we have had a 414ULS on the snare and it sounded great. But of course there was a Shure 545 on the bottom head. We used that combination of mics for a huge acoustic guitar sound too, but this is a snare thread, so I won't comment further on that setup.

We had it in hypercardoid and looking right at the center of the head with the bottom of the capsule at rim height. -10db pad was a must though. All in all, it captured just what the snare sounds like.

I am thinking about using small diaphram condesors next time. For me though a hypercardoid mic is a must. It really helps to take the hi-hats out of the snare mic.

Beez
Old 2nd August 2005
  #15
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opentune's Avatar
 

Well, instead of SM57 you might check the (beloved) Sennheiser MD 441.

In case you never used one, you´ll surely be surprised by it´s
"condenser-ish" sound. Plus it looks great. heh

I also had good results with the (cheap) RODE NT3. You just have
to deal with very hot output...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #16
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max cooper's Avatar
 

I was just about to say that I've used my Rode NT1A along with an SM57 on a snare. And yeah, I've always equated compression with emphasising the ring of the snare more than the crack. Depends on how you do it, of course. Anyway, it's the only thing I've been able to use the NT1A for other than talkback.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #17
Lately I've had alot of luck using an AKG 460 as the top mic w a beyer 201 for the side of the shell. I put both mics as if I was micing the shell, so with the top mic rather than it point down it goes across the head. I get plenty of attack and not much head ring. I use some daking 52270's as pres and I don't really have to eq it at all.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #18
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I honestly can't remember the last time I recorded a drummer who actually hit the snare drum mic, but apparently it happens a lot with some people. I've had tom mics hit VERY rarely (it's usually the floor tom mic) and on one occasion I had a drummer actually hit one of the overheads during a break in a song.

I love condenser mics on snare drum most of the time. My current favorites are the Shure KSM 141, the KM84 (not the 184), KM86, SM98, AT 4050 or Sony C-38B.

The KSM 141 gives a really nice, natural representation of the sound of a drum with a great crack and plenty of body and for some reason, it never seems to benefit from the addition of a bottom snare mic, which I usually like. It's always my first choice for my 7x14 Noble & Cooley snare. The KM84 has a softer sound that works well to sit a drum into a track and sounds great with a beefier (usually dynamic) mic on the bottom. On its own, it can get you close to "that Pink Floyd sound" with the right drum. The KM86 sounds great a bit farther off the drum and pointed right down on the head. It's my first choice (if a studio has one) for ringy rock metal snare drums. The SM-98 is similar, if not a little harder-sounding. To me, it works really well on smaller or high-pitched snare drums. The 4050 is also very natural-sounding when the drummer isn't playing very loud. It's my first choice for brush playing. It also sounds great for aggressive playing, but both it and the C-38B have a tendency to overload when used on really loud players. The C-38B is great for maintaining fatness and a nice, thick tone, especially in deader-sounding rooms.

I've also had really great experiences with U87s, 414s, AT 4051s, AKG 451s. I have a friend who gets really cool snare sounds with the MXL 603s and these weird little Sony gooseneck lavs.

Fear not the right condenser on a snare drum.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 2nd August 2005
  #19
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

i like a SDC on top and a LDC on the snare side. gets the attack on the SDC and the meat on the LDC...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #20
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pigpen's Avatar
 

I have been using either a Beta 57 or the Audix i5 for more crack when needed...I have recently quit micing the bottom as I found myself using it less and less...may go back though, who knows.

But seriously give the Audix a shot, it is not better or worse...just a different sound. Sometimes better, sometimes not
Old 2nd August 2005
  #21
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

The AT Pro37R can make a great snare mic, and not much over $100.

War
Old 2nd August 2005
  #22
Gear Guru
 

somebody should make a thing to protect drum mics

it could screw into the mic stand and have a steel bar or two running over the mic- something strong enough to stop a drum stick but thin enough to not mess with the acoustical energy near the mic.

heck you could set up a second boom parallel to the mic. hmmm

personally, as a drummer I have only hit a mic twice in my life- in both cases it was an overhead and since it was at the top of my reach, the contact was pretty gentle.

Now as an engineer, I have dropped mics, knocked over stands, backed the mics into walls and lifted them up into the whirling blades of a ceiling fan.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #23
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB
The first ingredient for a nice crisp snare sound in my opinion is a brand new ambassador well tuned. Also, new snares on the bottom can help a lot.
Greetings,
Dirk

Old 3rd August 2005
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
scotty-o's Avatar
 

I LOVE a 414 on snare. Problem is, with the hi hat/cymbal bashers I tend to attract to the studio, I can't often use a condenser because of the bleed and all.
Oh well......................

-Scotty
Old 3rd August 2005
  #25
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Try it you might like it

I used to be a dedicated 57 user. I started using the lowly AKG C1000. It is a tremendous improvement for micing most snares. Check it out.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #26
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq
somebody should make a thing to protect drum mics
Talent?

War
Old 3rd August 2005
  #27
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llarena's Avatar
 

I love condenser mics on snare I usually put 3 or 4 mic´s on it. The classic 57´s combination but the down mic near the shell so i can get more than the high freq sound of the snare, Shure beta 56, Sen 421, Neumann 87 or tlm103 (better) in the other side of the top (usually there is a tom in the middle) and a valve mic ( usually a valve Rode) in the front of the snare shell (20 ctms). In order to get a nu metal sound you can gate or cut in pro tools (or nuendo, logic...) only the crack of the condenser mics in another track so you can get the power of the drummer attack. If you want a more natural sound you leave it as it works and you can get some punch snare sound if you put two room condenser mic´s like u87´s about 3 mts making stereo image usually the most powerfull sound in those mics will be the snare´s crack so you can gate or clean, put in a bus and compress them.

Only some ideas.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

I use a revox 3500, which is like a Beyer 201 with a litte more top end, and sometimes a BLUE mouse, or a 451, or an sm81. I rarely use a bottom snare mic anymore, as there is enough snare side stuff happening (for rock type stuff) in the room, and lots of good stuff happening in the OH. A lot of the tracks i am presented with for mixing have a 57 on the snare, and it actually sounds fine alone, but then the phase relatioship to the OH is at a place where all the oomph of the snare is simply going away when the OH is at the level I want it...

IMHO, poor phase relationships kill more drum sounds than mic selection.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #29
Quote:
IMHO, poor phase relationships kill more drum sounds than mic selection.
Exactly.... That and bad tuning / bad playing.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #30
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Jamstudio's Avatar
 

I always liked km184 but hey, i got bad taste



Remco
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