Bottom Snare Mic'ing?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by kfowler8, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    Do any of you consistently mic the bottom of a snare?

    I use the traditional SM57 on the top but have played around with micing the bottom. I've been using a modified MXL 990 condenser mic. I find the results to be OK but nothing special. I end up have the mix of the MXL much lower than the top. Just to give it a little added color/punch.

    I've got an EV RE20 sitting around I've considered trying. That's a big mic to put under a snare but who knows.

    What have you tried that you like?
     
  2. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    I do. We use an Audix OM5 on the top and a RODE NT-1 on the bottom. I have found that I tend to compress and EQ the OM5, but leave the RODE natural. Our snare drum sound depends on both mics. The top mic is the "body" but the bottom mic gives the snap and rattle - but still, those are only blended in to give overall "body" to the drum sound.

    I have also found that a HUGE part of the drum sound we are using these days comes from the overheads, room mics, and external kick mic. We run a matched pair of sE440a mics for overheads (just got them a month or so ago and LOVE them as OH mics). Then we add an sEX1R about a foot or two out from the kick. Finally, we put a pair of RODE NT-1 mics in the room (placement depends on the overall sound - they are never in the same spot). THOSE mics tend to make the drum sound - I go back and blend in the close mics for definition and body.

    For close mics we use Audix - a D6 mounted on a suspension mount inside the kick, a D2 on the rack tom and a D4 on the floor tom.
     
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  3. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I agree with everything you said mmd! For me, I will use a mic on the bottom if it's a dry kit recording that doesn't utilize room mics. I find if room mics are a large part of the mix then the bottom mic is not really necessary.

    kfowler, yes for sure the bottom snare mic always gets mixed way lower than the top. And as always when bottom miking....check phase! For that matter phase alignment management is a devil of an issue for a multiple miked kit...I spend careful time on that.
     
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  4. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Oh, for sure. Once the room mics and overheads start to really make the sound, often the bottom mic can be taken out - it's redundant. Shoot, sometimes I will keep the bottom and mute the top mic - just kind of depends on the song, really.

    My drummer and I sometimes argue about the "liveliness" of some of my mixes. He likes a dryer, clickier sound, I like a bigger, open sound. Most of the time we meet in the middle - but it'll take a few mixes to get there, lol!!

    Phase...UGHHH - that's why the room mics are never the same!!! I started running one a little higher up in the air than the other, and have gotten use to staggering the distance/spread more. It's kind of cool how much the sound changes by moving them around!!
     
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  5. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Here's a tune I'm working on right now. Rough mix...but kit was recorded in a dead booth. I have a Neumann KM84 on the bottom and a 57 on top. What do you think?
    Audix D6 on kick, D2 on rack, D4 on floor (sound familiar mmd? :thumbs:) and a pair of KM84s for OH.

    https://app.box.com/s/61sio58nl7ydgf0z32e9kysu89oqrf9j
     
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  6. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    Sounds fantastic to me! All of it.
     
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  7. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    I've said this to you before, she reminds me so much of Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention and Solo. What a voice to work with!!!!

    IMO, The snare bottom definitely adds texture, but something about it is off. Maybe it needs more top snare or less to add to the mix, but as it stands, for me, almost a messy distraction with everything else so well defined. Way more obvious before the change than after. Or maybe do a retake with the springs just a little tighter.

    Guitar and voice are pristine and I really like the 3D stereo image. NICE! And not even mastered yet!

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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  8. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Nice!! Very tight drum sound. The tune is pretty cool too.

    Is that all close micing (aside from OHs, obviously)?
     
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  9. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Yeah I need to play around with the mix. It certainly changes in the B section when the snare is hit with a single stroke as opposed to the way the drummer is letting the stick bounce in the intro. Thanks for the pointer!

    Yes, all close miked. The drum booth I recorded this in is small and dead. Here is the same booth, but totally different session and drummer. And this one has no snare bottom mic.

     
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  10. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Sweet!! Is the Gretsch kit your band's, the studio's, etc? What model is it??? I have a Gretsch kit but my drummer is all about his Pearl, lol. He uses the Gretsch when we record for my country side project.....
     
  11. LenPaul

    LenPaul Premium Member

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    Used to nudge multiple mics tracks into phase alignment manually to correct any phase issues.
    Now it's much easier with all the new software, do it for ya automatic, click a button , instant in phase, tweak to taste,
    Just too easy, too easy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  12. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Pointer? I'm taking pointers from you! I'm just a hack.

    I call that dragging the stick across the snare for lack of a better way of describing it. I'm sorry if that was intentional, looking for something different. I guess I'm polarized towards the polished side!

    As always, thank you for sharing! I really appreciate your generosity! And I always learn something! :thumbs:
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  13. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Interesting topic. I use bottom snare mics but it's a secondary mic.Nice to have but not a must have. It does add a lot of snare rattle which can be good but one can get there by just positioning the top mic differently. I like side micing the snare for that as well, or just back off the top mic and use more overheads. My current approach is to use a DX 77 (or any figure 8 ribbon) with the bright side facing down to the kick beater and the dark side facing the snare from underneath, one mic for kick and snare bottom, add an inside kick mic and a snare top and you've got yourself a very nice center of the drums, just time align everything to it and off you go.
    One thing that bothers me about conventional wisdom regarding bottom snare micing is the phase reversal thing. IMHO it is not always the polarity flip that sounds better, quite the contrary. First off it depends on the ratio/ blend of the top and bottom miss (if they are 70/30 or 80/20 then it really isn't as simple as "common sense" suggests and second, snaredrums don't radiate sound in the way that the phase flippers theory suggests (drum head moving away from top mic while moving towards the bottom mic), the sound is one wave propagating from the center of the shell in all directions regardless of drum head movement. Try to listen to a snare set up vertically in front of your nose and see if you hear the sound being out of phase between your left ear (top) and your right (bottom). My advice on phase is to try what sounds better, not what some "theory" suggests.
     
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  14. John Scrip

    John Scrip Senior Member

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    I try to have one in there. Sometimes I use it, sometimes not. When I do, it's usually saving my ass on a snare that just doesn't otherwise cut through.
     
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  15. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    That's a really interesting idea. I'll have to that.

    Side question related to this, is there a way to block 48 volts going to a channel? My 8 channel interface only has two buttons for phatom power (1-4 and 5-8). Isn't there a risk of frying a ribbon mic if you send it phantom power?
     
  16. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Yes, there is a risk. Don't use +48 with a ribbon. If your interface has two phantom buttons, turn one off and send the ribbon mic to a channel with no +48. It might make for a non-intuitive mic order, but you can assign the track to the "right" spot in your DAW. You aren't using eight +48 mics are you?
     
  17. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    My problem is I have five condesor mics. 2 AKG 414s for OH and 3 CAD M179 for toms. So I have to have the phatom on for channels 1-4 and channels 5-8. I see where you can get phantom blockers. Looks like a pretty easy circuit to make too.
     
  18. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    That's an option. Does your interface have an insert jack on each channel? Another option would be to buy an external phantom power supply. Always thought that'd be dumb, but I have gotten YEARS of use out of the one I bought. I find it to be a little "cleaner" than some of the interface supplies...
     
  19. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

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    Not sure what you mean by insert jack. I have a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and a Warm Audio Tone Beast. Right now I’m running the top snare SM57 to the Tone Beast.
     
  20. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Ok, cool! Why not run the ribbon through the Tone Beast?
     
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