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What's better than sm57 on snare?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by svart, May 10, 2004.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I am dying of curiosity what you define as a great snare tone. Could you please name a specific record or records or perhaps post an mp3 of one that you recorded yourself?

    Thanks Kurt
  2. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    As has been mentioned here about 100 times, the sound/tuning of the drums is absolutely critical.

    I now dedicate the first night of a session (when possible) to just getting the drums sounding good. I am now absolutley a dictator when it comes to getting the drum sound right at the source, and insist that the drums get re-tuned, etc. as needed.

    Now remember that I am working with local amateurs rather than the caliber of mucisians that Recorderman gets to work with, so rarely do I see a kit come in that sounds very good right off the bat!

    I used to go ahead and track the drums, then spend 3,000 hours (!) trying to fix the sound in the mix with tons of compression and EQ. FORGET IT! Those days are long gone for me, and I would rather "donate" some of my time to the first night, and spend 3-4 hours getting it right at the source rather than trying fixing it later. It will never sound as good.

    I wish I had the experience that Recorderman has that I could get the sound as quickly as he does, but unfortunately, that just takes years of experience, and the ability to attract the proper talent.
  3. krash

    krash Guest


    I definitely would not rank my drum recordings in the "great" category.

    Some out of my collection of MP3's on my PC...

    Dave Weckl Band "Synergy" record has near-great to great snare drum sound on every track imho.

    Dave Matthews Band "Before These Crowded Streets" record has some near-great snare drum sounds on it.

    Keb' Mo' "Keb' Mo'" has a very good snare drum tone that really fits the style of the music but too much hi-hat bleed for my taste...

    Matt Redman "Where Angels Fear To Tread" really has a collection of unique, very good snare drum tones that gives character to the whole record, but the drum overhead EQ/comp results in a bit of a "hissy" top end mostly in the hi hat and ride cymbal.

    Out of 5 gigs of 128K MP3s that's all of the "great" or "close to great" drum sounds I could find, and that's from my own music collection that really does not include much that could be defined as "pop".

    FWIW my own published recordings are not in the class of these... in fact if you asked for "pretty good" snare drum tone, then I could add another 5-10 albums to my list from my collection, and my own record would not make that list either. If you added "usable" category then my stuff is probably in the top of that category in my opinion.

    Now that I'm no longer using an SM57-type mic (I have an overly bright SM58 that I used to use for snare), upgraded my mic pres, and have spent a lot more time with mic placement, I think my snare drum tone is getting closer to my category of "pretty good", and maybe by the time I finish the next couple of recordings I'm working on, I'll get it to borderline "near great". :) Here's to hoping. My biggest limit to getting from "pretty good" to "near great" is not mics, drums or recording technique, but it's the room.

    FWIW my modified Oktava MK-219 is the hands-down winner from mics I've used on snare drum. We used an SM57 recently on a 1930ish mandolin and it sounded very good but we had to get it about 2" from the instrument body.
  4. svart

    svart Active Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    hey guys, scored a D1 and a m201 for about 200$ I suppose this is good. more brushes for my pallete!

    thanks guys, I'll post what I come up with soon!

    oh and i did try my 219 on the snare but i'm hesitant to say it was great.

  5. krash

    krash Guest

    Last night I was messing with the recorderman overhead technique and set up my 219 on snare drum as usual (this time my "non-resonator" 219).

    About 3.5" from the rim with the diaphragm just above the rim, it definitely did not rock.

    Last time I made a recording with the 219 on snare that I thought sounded really good was with an unmodified 219 about 6-7" or more away from the drum miking the shell. I am beginning to think it's more about that particular mic placement sounding good, and working well with an LDC, as opposed to the routine SM57 miking near the top/rim of the drum.

    More later... We begin tracking drums again soon for 2 more records and I need to get my bearings about which mic technique I'm going to use, since the drum kit is the heart of the "ambient" sound of the record and may help define the overall sound.
  6. krash

    krash Guest

    FWIW today I tried another recording with MK-219 on snare and this time about 6" away, it was better.

    Still not there yet though... MK-219 is certainly better than my other mics. That close to the drum has too much "crack" and not enough body.
  7. 57 not quite doing it for you? (I can't figure out why.)
    Try an SM98. Not enough 'crack'? remove the wind screen.
    Not enough 'roundness'? try an MD421 (set the EQ on the mic to suit)
    Above all, ashit can any "picholo" snares and get a real drum.
  8. jodyjfk

    jodyjfk Guest

    Considering some of the drummers that come through here, this is what I WISH I could put on the snare: a big thick towel!
  9. Pootkao

    Pootkao Guest

    I've had some interesting results with an AKG 414.
  10. svart

    svart Active Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    wow guys, I didn't know there were people out there that didn't like a nice crack to a soprano snare. a thick towel? a real drum? I'm sorry but the cardboard box of a snare sound doesn't float my boat! :) all kidding aside, the snare sounds killer, just haven't found a mic that matches it close enough, but i'm getting closer..
  11. missilanious

    missilanious Guest


    if your snare sounds great use this mic it sounds exactlly like you had your ear up against the snare, no color except for a little top shelf at 12k, not a pressence boost. And if you have an amazing kit in an amazing room try the earthworks omni's, no color flat, fast, time coherent picks up every nuance in the room and picks up far, earthworks through a grace is sim-ly the closest you can get to being in the room.
  12. svart

    svart Active Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    just a short update, I have tested and used the audix D1 and the Beyerdynamic m201 that I bought and they both are leaps and bounds better than the sm57 on snare. I REALLY like the m201 on the snare much better than anything! to the guys who suggested using it, THANK YOU.

    that is all. now returning to our regularly scheduled program...
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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