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Recording snare drum: your favorite mic combi...

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Alécio Costa - Brazil, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Hi folks!
    I have just finished recording some drum takes one hour ago.
    We were reasearching for a nice bright tone, testing several snares, mic placement and mic combinations.
    For mic placement, I utilized one mic at the classic top position and the other one as a side snare mic, similar to Fletcher´s technique.

    It provided me a much better tone, far from the broken sound we frequently listen from bottom mics and with lesser leakage.

    We tested 12", 13" and 14" wood snares. New or semi new Evans/Michael/remo drumheads.

    For a funk groovy tune (similar to Cuter beauford´s playing style) we ended up with
    a C2000B on top and a Beta57 as a side snare. ( Phase checked, properly tuned)

    I myself am not a big fan os sm57´s and beta 57´s bi-miking snares. For the overbright days of digital era...

    So.. what are your favorite snare mic combis?

    Hope to read some tips of yours also!
    Nice weekend
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I have several 'favorites'...and for several different reasons.....

    Audix D2 is excellent for top and bottom...Crisp but not hyped...It'll take a good whack and work so no fear of the drummer hitting it...small and manuverable..for drummers who cannot or willnot provide ample room for micing their kit.

    Sennheiser MD421...Tone wise it is the 'best' dynamic.It requires a bit of space and the clips are attrocious.

    Beyer M422...Beautiful little super cardioid mic.It has flavor and it has a very low self noise floor.You can put it anywhere! Dont let the size of this mic fool you..it is BIG.

    SM57...in pairs as described by the recorderman.'nuff said.A lot of people think you have to aim this mic DOWN at the snare to get any response.NOT SO.In a parallel setting (parallel with the head, ) it has a different tone off axis than on...more pleasing..you might need more gain, but who doesnt!

    There are others, but I like dynamics and super dynamics for the snare.I never feel like they are out of my control.
  3. heinz

    heinz Guest

    I typically run with either a beyer M201 or an MD421 on top head, occasionally a 57 on bottom. Sometimes I compress the bottom mic only which can sound good.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I'm another big fan of the 421 and find that is great for any thing on the drum kit. I Almost always go through some sort of Neve/clone or API and usually start with 57 and besides doing the aim at the snare side will also try to aim from the lower snare side pointing up to the top of the rim edge. This can give a much brighter tone with less buzz/rattle in the sound. For the additional brighter tone, I might use an AKG 451/452 and/or use a hard/fast/transfomerless mic pre. If it needs more, a good dose of BBE or Aphex can be the frosting on the cake.
  5. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    I have used a Sennheiser MD441 on the last few sessions, and it has surprised me on how great it sounds...lots of snap and pop. I also like my MD421-U5 and the SM57...Try the 441, it might surprise you!
  6. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    audiogaff, nice comment but won´t the mic get in the way of the drummer? I am still trying to imagine this alternative placement.

    I have also used aural exciters, but hihat leakage can become a nightmare. One needs to be very careful with gain. I also prefer to apply as minimal things as possible so as to not regretted at mix time.

    I will look for a 441 also. Some people do like the audix mics also. The akg 418 provides a very bright snare but I have found this mic quite noisy. For live applications it is ok. It sounds fantastic on congas, where he was originally suitable for.

    But guys, check the C2000B. I was relly surprised capturing a 12" medium to high pitched snare. Adding a 441 might be dream comes true, if targeting with the right top mic pre.
  7. missilanious

    missilanious Guest

    SM-57 at the edge of the rim facing the outer inside, and a dragonfly on the bottom angled at the rim where the 57 is placed in the middle of the snare, and of course blended in phase.
  8. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    It could get in the way, but usually it is ok. Place the mic so that it is parallel to the bottom rim edge of the snare, 1-2 inches from touching, then start to point it up towards the top snare rim. Somewhere between the mic being parallel and tilted up you will get the brightest tone. You may want to try and mic the snare from the front of the snare or the otherside next to the floor tom to reduce leakage and the bouncing HH knee of the drummer.

    As for the BBE thing, I only attempt that at mix time. A very littel goes a long way. You may also need to use sweep eq to cut real offending HH bleed.
  9. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    sure. Verify the side snare mic as Fletcher suggested also.
    Nice weekend!
  10. sign

    sign Guest

    Most important factor here is a good sounding snare and a good sounding drummer.

    A dull and dark sounding snare will require quite some hi EQ and that's where the hat bleed problem is sneaking in.

    A bright sounding snare like a decently tuned birch snare will not give you any problem and when you have a Sennheiser MD441 (and room for it) or a Beyer M201, you're in music heaven.

    BTW, 421's are still the best tom mics.
  11. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    agreed. I prefer condensers. Bright , without the need of excessive eq.
  12. sign

    sign Guest

    Sometimes a dynamic is a much better choice and 441's are better sounding than many condensers.
  13. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    just curious but what is the frquency response of the 441?
  14. sign

    sign Guest


    The MD441 is probably one of the very best dynamic microphones. Very versatile too, great mic for horns. Hyper cardioid with a very nice off axis response. Bleed? almost none.

    Cheers, han
  15. davemc

    davemc Guest

    I get a lot of my snare sound from my overheads..
    Mics on snare. Well I like a Atm23 and use 57,421,km85 they will all sound good depending what you are after.
    I have mic'd top and bottom, side, further away etc etc Really depends on the sound.
    I know someone who adds a shotgun above the snare.

    Pres I like my Buzz if I want clean or maybe the API or calrec.. Only just played with the neotek before I closed for rebuild. That had a certain smack to it.
  16. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    yeah, a shotgun shall be pretty cool also dave.
  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    What he said!!! :)

    I also agree here, but I have also had some good success with Audix D2's...I find myself switching back and forth between my 421 and my D2's. My biggest problem is that I have only one 421, so I place it in-between the 2 rack toms. I has a pretty wide pickup pattern, and seems to work just fine. I really need to pick up another 421 or two!!!

    I just got my 441 about 2 months ago after borrowing a friend's for a few days. First time I tried it on a snare, I went out and bought one the very next day, it was *that* good!!!

    I have been using the crap out of it (my 441) lately! This past weekend for example, I recorded a really fantastic electric guitar track using just the 441. I normally like using a dynamic on the grill like the 421 or an SM57, and then placing a LD condensor back a few feet to get some of the room ambience. This past weekend however, I was being a bit lazy as this session was dragging on forever, I was tired, and just decided to put up the 441 by itself. First time I tried it on a guitar like that! Just beautiful! Amazing actually!

    Like I said, I normally go for the 421 or the 57 on electric guitars, but I thought, "What the hell" and drug out the 441...

    Hehe...it's a nice mic Alecio, you need to give it a go!
  18. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I dunno why are they so expensive in here. Much more than a beta57.
    Audix are getting very popular here also.
  19. sign

    sign Guest

    Hohohoho!!! whyis the 441 so much more expensive than the 57 ??

    Because......the 441 is at least a hundred times better! :D
  20. sign

    sign Guest


    I'm glad to have six 421's and two 441's.

    Another favorite dynamic mic of mine is the Beyer M88 and the M201 (which is another great snare mic)

    Have you ever tried an M88 on the speaker grill?
    Very tight sound and v e r y little bleed.
    Great classic mic!

    Another amazing mic is the Beyer M160 and M260 (ribbons) :tu:

    If you go to my website and listen to 'sound fragments', rock example 2 (Silent Spring), you will hear the MD441 on heavy rock guitar. Played all at once in a small room.

    Cheers, Han

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