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Recording a Snare Drum

By Lyle Caldwell 

Snare - What you usually want is a microphone that will handle the volume level and emphasize the attack of the snare while minimizing the bleed from other drums, especially the high hats. A cardioid dynamic is usually the ticket. Try placing the mic about 1-2" above the snare top head, and about 1-2" in from the rim, at an angle. You want to position it so it's out of the player's way, and so that the bleed from other drums is lessened. This can be tricky. Assuming a right-handed drummer, try about 10 o'clock.

Good choices for snare include: SM57, Audix D1, Beyer M201, Sennheiser MD421, and the Earthworks SR71.

You can also try adding a second mic beneath the snare, to pick up the sound of the snares themselves. This is a matter of taste, but try a mic that has a nice high end reproduction. AKG 414s and AKG 451s are common choices. Try reversing the polarity of this mic in the mix.

Note- many people try to get everything out of one snare mic, but a lot of the crack and air in a snare come from the overheads, so if you think the snare channel isn't bright enough, make sure you listen to it in conjunction with the overheads!




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