Snare bottom micing

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dsw
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Post by dsw » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:47 pm

*waits for post that says: "so I reversed the polarity of the strainer and now my snare drum sounds all hollow and boomy...what gives?*
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DrummerMan
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Post by DrummerMan » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:29 pm

It should also probably be mentioned that you'll probably get a generally better (subjective term, I know, and not absolute) snare bottom sound with properly seated snares, meaning that the snares themselves are centered and not sitting on any part of the rim and that they are straight and have equal tension across from snare to snare so one on one end is not buzzing erratically while the one on the opposite end is in fact choking the drum.

From the drummer's playing position, or any other mic position, these slight discrepancies are not always apparent but having an "ear" (that'd be the under snare mic) right on the bottom side can really draw attention to this potential problem spot.
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Post by newfuturevintage » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:12 pm

losthighway wrote: I'm pretty addicted to double micing the top with a dynamic and a condenser. It provides a very meaty "thwack".

What do you guys think?
I've done this with a 57 and a ribbon and have really liked the results. I'll slip align the tracks to achieve better phase coherency between the two.

Also, while I'm not a great fan of under-micing the snare drum, when I have, I've really liked the sound of a boundary mic on the floor underneath the drum. Especially for side-stick snare sounds.

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Jeff White
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Post by Jeff White » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:50 pm

Back in late November I miked a Snare with a 421 on top and an AT4050 on the bottom. Loved it.

Here is a complete list of the mics/preamps that we used for the kit.

Kick - RE20 into Brent Averill 312
Snare Top - 421 into Sytek MPX-4Aii
Snare Bottom - AT4050 into Apogee Mini Me
Rack Tom - 421 into Sytek Burr Brown channel
Floor Tom - D112 into Sytek BB
Overheads - OktavaMod MK-012s w/cardioid cap in X/Y into BA 312
In Front of Kit (4' in front, approx 3.5' high) - Coles 4038 into Sytek
Room (9' up, 8' in front of the kit) - AT4050 Omni into Apogee Mini Me

Awesome drum sound. Wish that I had the files to post, unfortunately I was just engineering.

Jeff
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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:58 pm

Sorry to digress further, but your post made me think of something I find funny. For those of us with ad hoc collections of outboard mic pres I think any description of why specific instruments went through different pres would read like a flow chart from Alice in Wonderland.

"I chose to use the Burr Brown channels for the snare over and for the floor tom because I find they have a 'greener slam' type of appeal, however any snare bottom should always go through my Grace preamp to get that sparkly yellow kind of tonality."

Everyone has very clear reasons in mind, but to describe them all would be difficult. Fortunately my clients don't ask that kind of question very often, or the sessions would get slowed down significantly.

Sorry- proper phase alignment on a snare. Huge difference.

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Post by 0-it-hz » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:52 pm

You know.... I started micing the side of the snare and REALLY REALLY liked it. Then the mic started moving back farther and farther and I liked it even more. These days, for the kit in my studio at least, I use a mono overhead, a pair of sub cardioids (former snare side mic etc...) about 2 feet out from the kit at belt buckle height and a room mic.

I think shell close micing was just a gateway to "whole kit shell micing" for me.
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Post by ott0bot » Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:03 pm

More digression.....
I wish I had a barrage of mic pre's at home....but I'd have to sell my spare organs to afford the stuff I want! Sure I have used the stuff engineering at other peoples studios, but I just don't have this money to do this at home. I'm trying to get by on mostly direct into a digi 003 and a digimax d8. Plus I have an art studio mp that I use for a di and mic pre for vox and bass. I also have a little mixer with decent mic pre's that i can aux send to my non-pre'd inputs on the 003. Right now I'm looking to get an affordible channel strip as a nice mic pre/compressor/eq type thing. Hear good things about the presonus eureka...but any suggestions?

anyway....when I've done double micing on the snare it seems to acheive the sound I want, but I get alot of bleed from the kick on the bottom mic. If i want a perfect snare sound I've usually done overdubs double mic'd and replaced it with the original snare track....so long as the drummer keeps time quite well this works for me. So do you just deal with the bleed or is there some techniques to keep it from ruining the mix?

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:43 pm

It's all shades of gray, but here are some things I have found help:

A mic with a tight pickup pattern and strong off axis rejection can help you focus in on what you really want. I have found the Beyer M201 to be especially good at this.

Most places you would put a second snare mic would get more hi hat or kick bleed, with the exception of an additional top mic. Though, a lot of times this will too, since the second mic is usually a condenser and tends to "hear" a lot further. The fact that it is being put together with another mic tends to further reduce its presence in a mix, and you can blend to taste.

A recent thread has discussed how de-essers and compression techniques can offer help with this issue as well (more specifically with room mics but some of the same principals can apply).

There is also gating. Gating seems to be disliked by many. I do have a technique where some gate plugins will let you set your reduction levels. This can be nice because it allows you to avoid the on or off, sound of a typical gate with a -inf setting and get a more subtle ducking with a -15db setting. Toying with the attack and release time can further smooth it out.

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Post by bigtexasthriller » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:42 pm

Mixing today, I inverted the polarity on the snare channels as suggested.....sounded much better when the polarity was reversed on the bottom mic.....Just that made it so much better....

The way I understand phase is that when you use 2 or more mics, you need to have the sound waves reach those mics congruently....meaning that the top part of the wave needs to reach both mics simultaneously....if they hit at different parts then there will be a cancellation of certain frequencies....I assumed the 3 to 1 rule was based on how sound travels, and the waves would line up again at a 3 to 1 distance....that was just a guess based on knowing that sound decreases in volume at an exact ratio with distance. I used to set up mics purposely out of phase to hear the difference on acoustic guitars, so I do have some idea of how in phase and out of phase sounds.... The room mics were a far enough distance that I knew some frequencies wouldn't be as present anyway, and the kick and tom mics were close enought that the bleed of the rest of the kit wouldn't matter so much with phase cacellation....

How much of that is correct? Many of us have learned physics 2nd hand.....

But now, yeah, I definately have a new awareness of having to pay attention to phasing on the kit as a whole.....Thanks.....
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Post by bigtexasthriller » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:48 pm

For the question above about bleed....Does your mic pre have a low end roll off? That should help right away....plus you can roll it off more with your eq in the mix.....but bleed CAN be great.....
Do the best you can with what you have.....

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Post by fossiltooth » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:28 am

Wow. Great posts on this thread, Garges.

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ott0bot
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Post by ott0bot » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:51 am

bigtexasthriller wrote:For the question above about bleed....Does your mic pre have a low end roll off? That should help right away....plus you can roll it off more with your eq in the mix.....but bleed CAN be great.....
Indeed it does have a roll off, which I have used. And you're right that helps for sure. bleed is ok to a cetain extent...but the drummer wants to acheive this classic Motown drum hit with a big reverb. And I'm just not sure that will work on the full kit take because there is too much bleed and his other playing is too busy to give that same feeling. I really want to isolate the drum hit so it sounds really open...but really full. I may try an additional room mic in tiled or concrete room and get some more natural reverb too. Experimentation is the key, right?

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snoopy23
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miking top and bottom of snare

Post by snoopy23 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:32 am

Here's what I have tried recently, with good results. I used a CAD 200 mic in the omnidirectional position. I stuck it inder the snare, between the snare and the batter side of the kick. It gave me a crisp snare-bottom sound and a good, solid click from the beater of the bass drum as well. Since it's omni, phasing hasn't been an issue and it has added a bit of crispness to my drum sound.
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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:13 am

ott0bot wrote:...but the drummer wants to acheive this classic Motown drum hit with a big reverb. And I'm just not sure that will work on the full kit take because there is too much bleed and his other playing is too busy to give that same feeling.
Classic. The drummer wants to sound motown and the only honest response to him is "Well, start by playing that way." Maybe if they called you 'producer' you could offer that help, I don't know.

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snoopy23
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Post by snoopy23 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:40 am

Classic. The drummer wants to sound motown and the only honest response to him is "Well, start by playing that way." Maybe if they called you 'producer' you could offer that help, I don't know.

How many drummers have you heard say "I want to sound like John Bonham". Great. Tune and play your drums like him, find me a cathedral to record in, and toss in some top of the line neumanns and a top-line console and we can make that happen.
Drummers might not be the smartest, but we are probably the strongest!

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