How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

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How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Phobos » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:02 am

Usually I just stick a 57 on the top head. Educate me as to why and how a dual-dynamic micing approach might be better.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Colorblind » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:23 am

I do it more often than not, both for getting a fatter, fuller sound, and to get more of the snap from the snare wires. That said, it may not be your cup of tea, but you won’t know until you try it. Be mindful of phase.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by digitaldrummer » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:42 am

i put a mic there about 90% of the time and end up using it about 10% of the time. sometimes I only send it to my drum reverb to give it some extra splash. Usually Audix D3, SM57, or maybe a Sennheiser 441 if it's not needed elsewhere...
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by losthighway » Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:39 pm

I'd say I do it about 80% of the time. I use it often at a lower volume than the top mic. Sometimes I go for the flipped phase trick with a fat sound coming from the two, more often it's high passed to cut out the kick with a little notch to emphasize whatever tickle from the snare wires isn't present in the top mic. At that point the top mic is all body and attack and the bottom is turned way lower with just a little bit of the crackle.

Many times on a good kit/well balanced player and/or a session with a ton of channels I'll just use the top mic. The overheads then become key to my success, as well as (more obviously) the quality of the natural drum sound. I have had times where I recorded multiple songs by someone without a bottom mic, but then really wanted it after the fact on one or two specific songs.... which is weird. Something about the drum part, or the key of the song, or what might have happened to the drum tuning that went unnoticed over the hours. Then I reamp the snare and usually get something that helps me.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by The Scum » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:48 pm

"How imortant?"

Not super important.

But occasionally useful.

It depends on how the drum is speaking.

Some snare drums sound about the same from all sides. The bottom sounds like the top, more or less. This is more true for drums that are tuned higher and the wires are kept tighter.

Some drums sound very different from underneath. Sometimes it's useful, sometimes it's a rattly mess.

If you really want to see what it can do, experiment with the snare wire tension, and see how the bottom mic picks it up. There's a sweet spot in the middle where the bottom mic enhances the sound, and adds some longer sustain/decay.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by michaelkerchner » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:21 am

i mic it 100% of the time and mix maybe about 10% into the snare sound but without it i feel like some sizzle is missing, an its fun to be able to just send the under side to a reverb send. also if doing some drum replacement (shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) sometimes the bottom mic has noticeably less bleed for a cleaner trigger signal
sounds good, compress it
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Recycled_Brains » Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:31 am

I hate bottom snare mics and try to avoid them at all cost, BUT sometimes you need it. I notice a pattern where if the drummer is really good at tuning his/her kit, it's totally redundant. When that isn't the case, I tend to use one. Or when the the drum is being tracked really dry and dampened. The slightest bit of bottom mic can help you to avoid EQ'ing top end into the top mic.

One thing that consistently blows my mind, is everyone seems to use a 441 under the snare. You put a 57 on top, but the $700 actually great sounding mic goes on the bottom? I've done it because I've seen it in like 800 tracking videos with "pros", but it always felt really silly to me and I just stick with a 57 now since it sorta high passes itself and I don't really use 57s for important stuff.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by losthighway » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:35 pm

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:31 am
I just stick with a 57 now since it sorta high passes itself and I don't really use 57s for important stuff.
That's so funny, that's EXACTLY what I have going. It's the only love my 57 gets.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by drumsound » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:54 pm

I've never done it successfully. I also haven't tried in AGES. I suppose I should see if, now that I know more than I once did, I can consider it a useful thing.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Burnt Ernie » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:07 pm

I do a beta 56 on top,and a sm98 underneath. I have an old Slingerland Krupa chrome over brass (the deeper one),and track and sum together flat with a soundcraft 200b into 1 track on interface. 80% top,20% bottom. A little goes a long way. Also use PZM's on floor under snare,and floor tom on seperate tracks.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Rodgre » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:50 am

I didn't do it for years and years. Always just the top mic. I mean, like 20 years. I just never bothered.

A few years ago, I decided to try it again and my snare tone got remarkably better. I will never go back.

I used to think that the bottom mic was only about snare sizzle and I wasn't sure how to make that work for my snare sound. I now realize that a lot of bottom end is coming from that mic. You might not even perceive it when you solo that track, but when you blend it with the top mic, making sure they are in polarity with each other, the snare gets much thicker and punchier with the bottom mic. It also gives the snare a little more length that you might normally rely on a reverb to give you. The little decay of the snares gives a sense of splash to the tone. I used to think it was just about adding the sizzly noise and top end snap. Not the case for me now. It's become a critical part of my snare tone now.

Sometimes, depending on the song, I will put an expander on the bottom mic just to get rid of excess rattle or kick drum bleed, but often, I like the bleed of the kick as it gives it a bit of midrange punch as well. It's also a nice touch with grace notes that might not cut through on the top mic.

That's my two cents.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by drumsound » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:25 am

Rodgre wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:50 am
I didn't do it for years and years. Always just the top mic. I mean, like 20 years. I just never bothered.

A few years ago, I decided to try it again and my snare tone got remarkably better. I will never go back.

I used to think that the bottom mic was only about snare sizzle and I wasn't sure how to make that work for my snare sound. I now realize that a lot of bottom end is coming from that mic. You might not even perceive it when you solo that track, but when you blend it with the top mic, making sure they are in polarity with each other, the snare gets much thicker and punchier with the bottom mic. It also gives the snare a little more length that you might normally rely on a reverb to give you. The little decay of the snares gives a sense of splash to the tone. I used to think it was just about adding the sizzly noise and top end snap. Not the case for me now. It's become a critical part of my snare tone now.

Sometimes, depending on the song, I will put an expander on the bottom mic just to get rid of excess rattle or kick drum bleed, but often, I like the bleed of the kick as it gives it a bit of midrange punch as well. It's also a nice touch with grace notes that might not cut through on the top mic.

That's my two cents.

Roger
This post really intrigues me. Where are you placing the bottom mic, and how far from the head? What mic types are you getting the best results with. I've got a session Saturday and I'm thinking about putting up a bottom snare, because its been so longs since I've even tried.

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Rodgre » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:41 am

I typically use a 57 on the bottom, capsule about 1.5 to 2" from the head on the edge, about an inch into the head from the rim, at a 45 degree angle. I'm usually not very anal about the position. If it sounds good, I leave it. If not, I move it a little. Often I either use an Audix i5 or Telefunken M80 on top, but a 57 is just as good. I usually put the top mic through a 1073-type preamp and the bottom goes through a channel on a Trident 65 series board. I flip the phase on one of them to see which sounds thicker (sometimes it just works without flipping the phase) and make sure the overheads are in phase as well. That's about it. Nothing too fancy. I can't state enough how big of a difference it made to me. I have been kicking myself for 20 years of not doing it sooner. Hopefully you like the results you get too!

Roger

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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Jarvis » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:16 pm

I do it. It brings out the Saltine. Usually 57/i5 about 1.5-2" away, perpendicular and NOT directly under the snares.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by drumsound » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:49 pm

Rodgre wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:41 am
I typically use a 57 on the bottom, capsule about 1.5 to 2" from the head on the edge, about an inch into the head from the rim, at a 45 degree angle. I'm usually not very anal about the position. If it sounds good, I leave it. If not, I move it a little. Often I either use an Audix i5 or Telefunken M80 on top, but a 57 is just as good. I usually put the top mic through a 1073-type preamp and the bottom goes through a channel on a Trident 65 series board. I flip the phase on one of them to see which sounds thicker (sometimes it just works without flipping the phase) and make sure the overheads are in phase as well. That's about it. Nothing too fancy. I can't state enough how big of a difference it made to me. I have been kicking myself for 20 years of not doing it sooner. Hopefully you like the results you get too!

Roger
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