Skip to main content

I recently recorded a standard rock band with 9 mics as follows:
Beta 52 - Kick
Snare Top: Beta 57
Snare Bottom: SM57
High Tom: SM57
Low Tom: Beta 57
OHs: Earthworks TC30s
High Hat: Kel Audio HM-1
Room Mic: Mojave MA-200

Everything came out great except the Bottom Snare. I placed it about 2 inches below the center of the bottom head and all I got was the sound of the actual snare beads (soory don't know what they are called). It sounds miserable. I was hoping to add some depth to the snare by reversing the phase of the bottom mic and mixing the two together.

What am I doing wrong? Should the bottom mic be further from the bottom of the snare? Should I put the mic off center so that it doesn't pick up as much of the actual "beads?"

Any help would be appreciated. I am doing teh other half of the drum tracks tomorrow with the band.

Mike T.


hxckid88 Sat, 07/22/2006 - 01:13

The first time I recorded drums, I put the SM57 angled at the bottom. The snare was pretty loud as it came out in the overheads. For rock music (at least loud rock/hardcore), I dont think that works AS well. I ended up mixing the wey/dry snare with a trigger sample. I would assume it would sound best with the top mixed with the overheads and the bottom one angled a bit, but it should be lower than the rest. That is how I'm going to record my next set of drums. But there are alot of factors involved. just a though

hueseph Sat, 07/22/2006 - 21:28

Personally I think you're making it more complicated than necessary. It's nice if something is working for you but if it isn't, why keep trying? If you're getting a decent sound off of the top of the snare, why bother micing the bottom if it's giving you a problem?

Question though, how does reversing the phase on the bottom mic "thicken" the sound of the snare? If the mic is not out of phase, I would think that the sound of the snare would be thinned. In that sense I can see where andershoeg is coming from. If you've put that mic out of phase when it was already "in phase" , you just end up cancelling out whatever frequencies the two mics share.

Now on a totally different and off topic side note, I was listening to Zeppelins studio version of Since I've Been Loving You and noticed how prominent the squeak of the kick pedal is. It's kind of cool. Funny though that any other engineer would do his very best to get rid of that "noise" which, by the way, I think is a result of bottom snare micing.

Massive Mastering Sat, 07/22/2006 - 22:12

You reverse the polarity of the bottom mic not to "thicken" - but to NOT "thin" it out.

The top head is moving away from the top mic. The bottom head is moving TOWARD the bottom mic - Two different directions, subtracting from each other. When you invert the polarity of the bottom mic, the signals ADD together.

Same thing with toms or mic'ing an amp from the front and back simultaneously.

anonymous Sun, 07/23/2006 - 14:28

So, first off thanks to all for your input. The recording went well this Saturday and by moving the 57 away from the snare itself while angling it slightly resulted in a great sound. Mixed with the top mic (with the phase reversed :) ) I got a much more prominent sound in the mix. I wish now I had pulled it off better with the last attempt, but hey as long as I can get it to sound good the band will never know right?

Thanks for all the help!
Mike T.

Massive Mastering Sun, 07/23/2006 - 21:17

hueseph wrote: Ok. Thanks for making that clear. I had to ask. On the other hand is it possible to have phasing problems that would cause a "thinning" by reversing the phase?

Absolutely - Reversing the polarity when it's not necessary will do that quite effectively.

It can also be used as a tool for spacial enhancement among other things.

MadMax Mon, 07/24/2006 - 02:23

Massive Mastering wrote: [quote=hueseph]Ok. Thanks for making that clear. I had to ask. On the other hand is it possible to have phasing problems that would cause a "thinning" by reversing the phase?

Absolutely - Reversing the polarity when it's not necessary will do that quite effectively.

Oh heck yeah... using an external EQ (especially graphic EQ's) will often produce enough phase shift to do this quite handily, as well.

It can also be used as a tool for spacial enhancement among other things.

If you have a bad harmonic ring you can't kill otherwise, just isolate the ring on the bottom snare and bring it back in phased reversed... it'll knock it down.

Need/want a piccolo snare but only got an 8" monster? Thin it with the bottom snare mic.

That bottom mic can do some pretty nice things easilyy that you would have to otherwise fight to get. Be creative!


tubedude Fri, 09/08/2006 - 12:58

WAAAAY off topic here, and by off topic I mean not even related in any way, but...
I was just browsing through here, since I havent been on this particular forum in like 2 years, and ran across Rosemarys posts and a picture of her playing a green bass in this long shirt, and went and read some of her posts.

How many of us, as guys that love to record and play music, have dreamed and wished for a girl to come along that could talk about mics with you, talk about recording, or sit down and play bass and jam out late on a Friday night while you played guitar or drums... and be incredibly gorgeous at the same time? Ha! How in love would you be?

Down to the real question after that rant of compliments... how come more females arent into it? Even playing music, they are rare, but when it comes to recording, its like they are non existent. There ARE a few notable girls in the biz (Sylvia Massey-Shivy for instance) but its rare. Wonder why.
And Rosemary, you are in my dreams from this point out! haha Post some more pictures of you jamming out! I can only find the one with the bass.

Scoobie Fri, 09/08/2006 - 14:29

Hello Mike.......

This is something for you to think about trying. I record live shows mostly and do mic up the whole kit. But when it comes to mixing, I tend to only use three mic's the most. The Overheads and the kick. Sure i use the snare and toms some(When Needed), but the three mic's is usally all i need. Even in my home studio when tracking drums usally i can get by with three mic's. But i do have a well treated room.

I think you would be suprised with work on mic placement what just the Overheads and kick can sound like.


bobbo Fri, 09/08/2006 - 14:31

how i record bottom of the snare is that i angle and distance the bottom mic the same as the top mic, and depending on how big the snare is it may or may not need to be phase inverter, i put the mix in mono and go back in forth checking to see it sounds weak or full, i always mic the bottom of the snare because most of the local yocal bands i record have shitty snare that sound like butt so to get a good full sound i have to mic both. but i'd really prefer a room miced snare sound... mmmmmm so full and "real" sounding