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Bottom micing a snare in basic 4 mic set up

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Anonymous
March 22, 2005 8:14:45 PM

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

I'm currently feeling my way round recording live drums for a CD
project, and am trying to get the best sound possible, having only had
a few amateur drum recording experiences over the years.

I got some reasonable results on a test run a while back mixing a
stereo track from two overhead condensers (one roughly above the snare
and the other over the floor tom) and a dynamic on the kick panned in
the middle.

For my next attempt I should hopefully have the luxury of recording
four individual tracks of drums. I was going to use the same set up,
feeding the kick to its own track this time and use the fourth track
for snare. What I've been musing over though is putting a padded
condenser on the bottom of the snare rather than a dynamic 45 degrees
on the top. My reasoning (for what it's worth) is that my overheads
should capture a lot of the top skin anyway and I would like to get
more of the actual snare to mix in to the sound. My drummer likes his
flams and I've read that bottom micing captures the subleties better.

I've miced the top snare separately before and found that it didn't
really contribute much, I wound up eqing and compressing it to bring
out more snare crack anyway. This might well have been due to the
sortcomings of my mic/mic technique, however. I was wondering if
anyone had tried a similar set up and if there were any shortfalls
they could advise me of.

Thanks in advance for any benefit of prior experience you could give
me!
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 1:03:03 AM

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

i like the bottom mic approach and it's worked well for me in the past.
what i have found though is that i need something to compensate for the
increased sizzle and snap being picked up.

recently i was recording drums without the luxury of any dynamics
processing on the spot. i was having to go directly to CD along with
the rest of the band. needless to say, this was NOT ideal. what i ended
up doing was micing the top head as well and blending the two to get
the best of both worlds... or at least minimize the worst of both.

if you can't lay down two seperate tracks for snare, perhaps you can
dual mic the snare and mix it down to one channel live.

best of luck!

~david
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 1:17:30 AM

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

Gordon Craig wrote:
> I'm currently feeling my way round recording live drums for a CD
> project, and am trying to get the best sound possible, having only
had
> a few amateur drum recording experiences over the years.
>
> I got some reasonable results on a test run a while back mixing a
> stereo track from two overhead condensers (one roughly above the
snare
> and the other over the floor tom) and a dynamic on the kick panned in
> the middle.
>
> For my next attempt I should hopefully have the luxury of recording
> four individual tracks of drums. I was going to use the same set up,
> feeding the kick to its own track this time and use the fourth track
> for snare. What I've been musing over though is putting a padded
> condenser on the bottom of the snare rather than a dynamic 45 degrees
> on the top. My reasoning (for what it's worth) is that my overheads
> should capture a lot of the top skin anyway and I would like to get
> more of the actual snare to mix in to the sound. My drummer likes his
> flams and I've read that bottom micing captures the subleties better.
>
> I've miced the top snare separately before and found that it didn't
> really contribute much, I wound up eqing and compressing it to bring
> out more snare crack anyway. This might well have been due to the
> sortcomings of my mic/mic technique, however. I was wondering if
> anyone had tried a similar set up and if there were any shortfalls
> they could advise me of.
>
> Thanks in advance for any benefit of prior experience you could give
> me!

Really it all depends on what drum sound you want, but I'd be pretty
surprised if your idea sound was kick, bottom snare and 2 overheads.
I'd suggest recording some samples and letting the drummer decide which
sounded best. I'd try the set up ou mentions. I'd try the smae but with
the mic on top and then I'd try, kick, top, bottom and 1 overhead.
Also, I wound't bother with a condenser on the bottom. I find snares so
bright that a 57 is fine.

My guess is that your bad experience with the snare miked from teh top
is becuase there was phase cancellation from the overheads. Try
flipping the polarity of the overheads and see what that does to the
snare.
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Anonymous
March 23, 2005 6:37:17 AM

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

My guess is that your bad experience with the snare miked from teh top
is becuase there was phase cancellation from the overheads. Try
flipping the polarity of the overheads and see what that does to the
snare.

It's amazing how many sessions I get from others where the overheads
are out-of phase
and the snare has too much bottom end EQ to compensate.
As stated above, flip the phase on both overheads and "Bingo"
The snare sounds much better
kevin
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 10:10:06 AM

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

I suggest that instead of putting your mic on top of the drum (perhaps
an inch or two inside the rim - toward the center of the top head), you
put the mic just off the edge of the rim (only 1/2 inch or so).

With the mic just outside of the rim, you'll pick up a very balanced
sound of the drum (instead of just the top head). You can vary the
amount of snare you get by adjusting the angle of the mic (point it
down toward the floor more to get more snare sound).

I'm a drummer and I've never found that close micing a snare drum from
inside the rim gives me a sound that I like. It's totally unnatural
and, as you've found, barely gets the sound of the snare (or shell, or
bottom head).

I use a Beta 57. Unlike the others here, I never have enough high end
with regular 57's, and end up adding a bit with eq. The Beta is a bit
brighter.
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 2:25:22 PM

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

Thanks for the tips. Will try test recordings and get drummer's
opinion too. He's never shy of expressing it! Will definitely also try
micing just off the edge of the rim.

Had forgotten that the old 4 mic recordings were done using two omni
PZMs for overheads (before I knew about mic patterns and interference)
so the overheads were probably rife with cancellations themselves. I
dug out a recording and tried soloing just one overhead centered along
with the snare track, reversed the phase of the overhead and sure
enough it had more body and crack to it. Will bear in mind for these
recordings.

Thanks a lot to you all
Anonymous
March 23, 2005 6:12:59 PM

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

Gordon Craig Wrote:
> . My drummer likes his
> flams and I've read that bottom micing captures the subleties better.

Not that I've ever noticed.

You might want to check out something between the two extremes... one
of my favorite ancillary mic on the snare drum mic positions is about
3-6" off the side of the snare drum with the mic's capsule pointing at
the side of the drum between the rims.

You get the 'crack' on the top and the bottom in a pretty balanced
presentation... or at least that's been my experience.

In my couple of decades doing this I've never gotten anything I
considered productive by mic'ing the bottom of a snare drum... but as
always, YMMV.

Peace.


--
Fletcher
!