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Snare miking theory Q - top & bottom

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Anonymous
February 14, 2005 1:39:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi all,
One of the remaining tender spots in my knowledge is snare top &
bottom. First off: why? I think I may know already - let me see if I
can BS my way thru it.

1) snare top is hit with stick (unless drummer is from Green Day. He
might hit it from the bottom.)
2) top mic picks up snare top head which initially moves *away* from
mic as it begins to vibrate/oscillate
3) bottom mic picks up snare bottom which initially moves *toward*
bottom mic
4) flip phase of bottom mic
a) putting both mics in same phase relative to head motion
b) canceling (at least partially) room and other surrounding sounds
giving better isolation
c) thus reinforcing snare signal
5) bottom mic also available as reverb send

Do I win a kewpie doll or go ask mom to buy me more tickets?

My real question, tho, regards postion of mics. Assume you're the
(right-handed) drummer looking at the kit. Snare top mic is probably
around 10-12 o'clock position looking at snare to fit it over the kick
and to our right of the hat.
Should the bottom mic mirror this position? That is, exactly directly
under the top mic? At the same relative angle? I'd think this would be
best for 4b & 4c, but does it really matter much? Also, given the
different quality of top & bottom head sounds due to bottom having
snare wires and top not having them - matched pair of mics relevant or
not?

Whew - I hereby publicly admit my powerlessness and humbly beseech thee
to drink from the endless font of RAP knowledge...

Thanks for playing,

Mikey Wozniak
Nova Music Productions
this sig is haiku (in relative phase)
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 12:38:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1108363150.435063.8040@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com> novamusic@hotmail.com writes:

> First off: why? I think I may know already - let me see if I
> can BS my way thru it.
>
> 1) snare top is hit with stick (unless drummer is from Green Day. He
> might hit it from the bottom.)
> 2) top mic picks up snare top head which initially moves *away* from
> mic as it begins to vibrate/oscillate
> 3) bottom mic picks up snare bottom which initially moves *toward*
> bottom mic
> 4) flip phase of bottom mic
> a) putting both mics in same phase relative to head motion
> b) canceling (at least partially) room and other surrounding sounds
> giving better isolation
> c) thus reinforcing snare signal
> 5) bottom mic also available as reverb send
>
> Do I win a kewpie doll or go ask mom to buy me more tickets?

You win a coupon for a box of popcorn.

Your observations of the head movement are correct. One thing you have
to understand is that there's some travel time from when the top head
compresses the air inside the drum and the compressed air moves the
bottom head. Given the frequencies of interest in a snare drum, you'd
expect that inverting the polarity of the mic on the bottom head
wouldn't be necessary, but in practice it usually just sounds better
that way. But sometimes not. Listening while changing the polarity is
something to do, not a given thruth that inverting polarity of the
mic on the bottom head is the way to do it all the time.

I suspect that one reason why inverting the polarity works as often as
it does is that there's a fair amount of energy transferrred from the
top to the bottom head through the wood or metal shell of the drum.
The speed of sound is much faster through solid material than it is
through air, so there is less time difference in these sounds than
what's carried through the air inside the drum shell.

You don't really gain any leakage cancellation because the two mics
are too far apart to pick up enough of the same thing, which is
necessary for cancellation.

The more important reason for putting a mic on the bottom head is
because it's a different sound than the top head. Whem mics are placed
close to the drums and you don't get much projected sound (which is a
mix of the top and bottom head sound) it helps to have some of that
bottom head sound to supplement the sound of the stick on the top
head.

> My real question, tho, regards postion of mics. Assume you're the
> (right-handed) drummer looking at the kit. Snare top mic is probably
> around 10-12 o'clock position looking at snare to fit it over the kick
> and to our right of the hat.
> Should the bottom mic mirror this position?

Not necessarily. The position of the top mic is often a compromise
between where it sounds the way you like it and where the drummer
won't hit it. You don't have that constraint on the bottom head, so
it's reasonable to play around with its position a little more. It's
not worth spending hours on, but it's worth a couple of minutes to try
to find a sound that combines nicely with the top head - or to decide
that you really don't need it for the sound that you're trying to get.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 8:48:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

novamusic wrote:
> One of the remaining tender spots in my knowledge is snare top &
> bottom. First off: why? I think I may know already - let me see if I
> can BS my way thru it.
>
> 1) snare top is hit with stick (unless drummer is from Green Day. He
> might hit it from the bottom.)
> 2) top mic picks up snare top head which initially moves *away* from
> mic as it begins to vibrate/oscillate
> 3) bottom mic picks up snare bottom which initially moves *toward*
> bottom mic
> 4) flip phase of bottom mic
> a) putting both mics in same phase relative to head motion
> b) canceling (at least partially) room and other surrounding sounds
> giving better isolation
> c) thus reinforcing snare signal
> 5) bottom mic also available as reverb send

Hey, I'm BSing too, but what about:

6) bottom head of snare has, well, that big metal beady strip thing
(called a "snare") on it, so the bottom mic picks up more of the sound
of the snare smacking and rattling against the drum head.

Maybe it's just so obvious you didn't include it, but I thought
I might throw it in too.

- Logan
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 9:35:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1w5Qd.56274$uL5.8671@fe2.texas.rr.com> lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com writes:

> Hey, I'm BSing too, but what about:
>
> 6) bottom head of snare has, well, that big metal beady strip thing
> (called a "snare") on it

Oh, so THAT'S why they call it a "snare drum." <g>


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 15, 2005 4:30:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Maximizing the wide equalization bandwidth from drum overheads is often
a quandary due to the verity that in most drum kit recordings, the
overheads are out of phase amid the snare and toms. Adding more low
frequency content to the snare or removing low frequency content with
high-pass filtering from the overheads, will only exacerbate the
dilemma.
In mixing, some engineers will enhance the low-end of the snare through
low frequency gain,
utilizing a "Q" factor between 3-5. This will obviously create the
misapprehension that the snare sounds fuller, except, when the
over-heads are added into the mix, the effect is shattered. This
phenomena occurs due to the fact that the long wavelength of
frequencies between 70-140hz will be out of phase with each other when
they are combined together when 3-4ms apart.

Solution

Reverse the phase ON BOTH overheads.

Try going back to some of your older recording and try this and while
checking for phase problems, monitor all drum kit elements in mono. If
the snare is too loud in the overheads, insert linked compressors keyed
to a gated and limited snare trigger send. Use quick attack and release
times. You most likely not generate half-cycle distortion from a quick
release time

This process is used often and can be illustated in The song "Black
Velvet" by Alannah Myles. You will notice that the
snare sounds full and present, but by all means not great. What does
sound suitable is the fullness and sustain of the crashes on the
downbeats.

Kevin Doyle
Anonymous
February 16, 2005 12:49:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

kevindoylemusic@rogers.com wrote:
> Solution
>
> Reverse the phase ON BOTH overheads.

> Kevin Doyle

Hmm, that is the exact same text that was posted in reply to
another article a couple of minutes ago.

Kevin, if you want to participate in this newsgroup and not
seriously annoy others, I would like to make a suggestion:
DO NOT USE CUT AND PASTE AT ALL. Just type up what you want to
say right there in the window that you're using to compose
your post.

If you already have an article that you've written previously,
and you think it is relevant to question someone asked and may
contain the information they're looking for, then write something
like this:

I read your question about micing the snare and thought
an article I wrote several months might be helpful. I've
posted it at http://whatever.whatever.whatever/whatever.html

You might find the part about compression to be relevant
because [reason why it's relevant].

Kevin Doyle

However, in this case, I'm not sure the article you posted really
is relevant or helpful. It's just barely tangentially related.
The original question is about micing the top head of the snare
vs. micing the bottom, and the interactions between the two.
It's not about how the snare mics fit in with the overall picture
of micing the whole kit.

It's obvious you have some experience in the studio (more than
I do, for sure, which is not saying much since I have very little
experience in the studio...) and some insight to offer, but if
you post the same stuff over and over without being asked and
without even making it clear that you're quoting yourself, you
make yourself look like you believe you have all the answers
and everyone here is just waiting for you to reveal the secret
knowledge that only you have.

- Logan
Anonymous
February 16, 2005 5:37:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<kevindoylemusic@rogers.com> wrote:

> often a quandary

Indeed. Hence, get the Quantagy, if only for the alliteration.

--
ha
Anonymous
February 16, 2005 7:34:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

hank alrich wrote:

> <kevindoylemusic@rogers.com> wrote:
>
>
>>often a quandary
>
>
> Indeed. Hence, get the Quantagy, if only for the alliteration.

Yes, but these days where to get a large quantity of Quantegy is
certainly a quandary.

- Logan
Anonymous
February 16, 2005 10:14:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"novamusic" <novamusic@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1108532744.835449.241780@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> Whew, thanks Neil, for being a) on-topic, and b) thorough. For a minute
> there, I thought you'd been reading all that Kevin Doyle stuff (you
> missed, I ducked my head). :) 
>
> I hadn't hought of this, below...
>
>> well... see what I'm getting at? Ideally in this circumstance, the
> bottom
>> snare mic should be IN phase with the kick mic so that the excursion
> of the
>> head on the inside of the kick matches in the time domain the
> incursion of
>> the head on the outside - otherwise, MAJOR phase issues will ensue.
>
> "outside" refers to outer kick head?

No, in that case, I meant the outside of the back head, the "batter head" of
the kick drum, the head the the beater whacks upon... sorry if I wasn't
clear there.

>Is it a non-issue if there is no outer kick head?

No, hell, everything's an issue with drum micing - that's why engineers take
so much pride in a well-mic'ed kit. But nonetheless, I was not referring to
an outer kick head in this case, I was referring to the excursion of the
main/inner head impacted by the kick beater as experienced by a kick mic
inside the kick vs the incursion experienced by a bottom snare mic that
happens to be fairly close to that same (beater/batter/inner) head of the
kick.

>I'm not clear on what you're referring to.

That stuff above should have made it clear if I was remiss in doing so
before.

> BTW, I'm not a snare-bottom addict, my general philosophy is "doesn't hurt
> to
> record it to a separate track, we may or may not use it".

Yer right, it can never hurt to try it, as long as you leave yourself an
"out".

>I didn't think matched pair would be an issue, but now ya got me thinking
>about
> floor reflections & that's a good thing. I'll try aiming the bottom mic
> toward the drummers crotch (seriously), which is probably a bit more
> absorbent that the rest of the kit. Maybe I can get the drummer to wear
> pampers or depends... :)  no, I think not. But maybe I'll try something
> absorbent or some sort of barrier between the bottom and the kick.

Well, instead of pondering where to aim the front end of the mic, I'd worry
more about getting minimal reflection from the floor by making sure the
back-end of the pickup pattern isn't giving you a hard time... IOW, with ANY
cardioid, you probably don't want to be 90 degrees perpendicular with the
floor, as your max rejection is going to be at some obtuse angle from that -
again, this is going to depend on which mic you choose, so just play with it
until you find something that works. Different drummers set up their kit in
different ways, and every room is different, so these things are going to
factor into your decision as to how much (if any) of that bottom snare mic
to use.

Neil Henderson
(Still a Hater of bottom-mic'ed snares :D  )
!