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

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

Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:36 am

It's interesting to hear some of you describe the bottom mic as adding thickness, etc. I always just hear noise, basically. Pure snare rattle with a bunch of mud underneath that sucks, so I HPF the shit out of it. I sort of think of it as a way to alleviate the need to add HF boosts to the top mic and give the snare a little texture.

I do the compression thing Roscoe mentions a lot when I actually use a bottom mic. It can sound like reverb for sure. I use whatever compressor plugin has the ability to suck the initial transient out almost entirely.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by vvv » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:11 am

Rodgre wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:28 am
And every studio needs at least one Fender Pro Jr. :)
That's something else I learned from roscoenyc!
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by digitaldrummer » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:42 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:36 am
It's interesting to hear some of you describe the bottom mic as adding thickness, etc. I always just hear noise, basically. Pure snare rattle with a bunch of mud underneath that sucks, so I HPF the shit out of it. I sort of think of it as a way to alleviate the need to add HF boosts to the top mic and give the snare a little texture.

I do the compression thing Roscoe mentions a lot when I actually use a bottom mic. It can sound like reverb for sure. I use whatever compressor plugin has the ability to suck the initial transient out almost entirely.
that's pretty much the way I've always treated it too. EQ/compress to bring out the "shhh" or "psssstttt" and then gate if it's too long, and expander to filter out extra bleed (so I'm typically using the Waves SSL channel strip for this). and often this goes only to the reverb send, but sometimes I mix with the main snare if it needs something .
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:05 am

digitaldrummer wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:42 am
Recycled_Brains wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:36 am
It's interesting to hear some of you describe the bottom mic as adding thickness, etc. I always just hear noise, basically. Pure snare rattle with a bunch of mud underneath that sucks, so I HPF the shit out of it. I sort of think of it as a way to alleviate the need to add HF boosts to the top mic and give the snare a little texture.

I do the compression thing Roscoe mentions a lot when I actually use a bottom mic. It can sound like reverb for sure. I use whatever compressor plugin has the ability to suck the initial transient out almost entirely.
that's pretty much the way I've always treated it too. EQ/compress to bring out the "shhh" or "psssstttt" and then gate if it's too long, and expander to filter out extra bleed (so I'm typically using the Waves SSL channel strip for this). and often this goes only to the reverb send, but sometimes I mix with the main snare if it needs something .
I have to remember to try the expander / gate trick to get rid of that mic when the bass drum gets hit. One of the reasons I mute it a lot is because I hate the way the rest of the kit sounds in that mic, but I never think of that simple solution.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by roscoenyc » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:17 am

I would add one more thing about the bottom mic.
There's so much high end coming from those snares I've found that using a condenser for miking the bottom head is much
more trouble in bleed than it is for the extra high end you might get.
A hypercard dynamic will do the job just fine and you'll most likely appreciate the rejection.

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

Post by losthighway » Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:32 pm

Rodgre wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:28 am
roscoenyc wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:58 am
I mic the bottom all the time.
As I'm getting a huge percentage of my drum sound from the overheads the bottom mic gives me something that the overhead or the top mic does not.
Compressing the bottom mic with fast attack/slow release can impart a lot of space, almost like a reverb.

If you have a track with no bottom mic it's really easy to get that sound if you want to.
The method I use is to put a small amp, like a Fender Pro Jr, on the floor facing upward then place the snare drum on top of that with the bottom head and the snares on top. Mic the snares/bottom head which is on top. You send your snare drum top mic to that amp. The hits will excite the drum and the snares. Instant bottom mic!
What he said....

I've done the snare reamp trick as well. It's a great way to process a programmed snare by the way, to get a bit of "randomness" to the track.

And every studio needs at least one Fender Pro Jr. :)

Roger
Do I lose points for doing this with my a Blues Jr instead of a Pro Jr?

I also like stacking up 2-3 snares next to an amp, and also exploring some room mic possibilities.

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

Post by drumsound » Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:57 pm

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:36 am
It's interesting to hear some of you describe the bottom mic as adding thickness, etc. I always just hear noise, basically. Pure snare rattle with a bunch of mud underneath that sucks, so I HPF the shit out of it. I sort of think of it as a way to alleviate the need to add HF boosts to the top mic and give the snare a little texture.

I do the compression thing Roscoe mentions a lot when I actually use a bottom mic. It can sound like reverb for sure. I use whatever compressor plugin has the ability to suck the initial transient out almost entirely.
Where are you placing the mic, and what type of mic. In the past I'd get hash like you're describing, usually with an AT Pro37 because that seemed like what was 'supposed' to be used. I had it right under the snared, close to the center of the head (working around the stand). That sound is why, after a few ties, I gave up.

I got intrigued by what Rodgre said, so I tried his method, and I used an M88. It was a night and day difference.
roscoenyc wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:17 am
I would add one more thing about the bottom mic.
There's so much high end coming from those snares I've found that using a condenser for miking the bottom head is much
more trouble in bleed than it is for the extra high end you might get.
A hypercard dynamic will do the job just fine and you'll most likely appreciate the rejection.
Exactly what I did. M88 for the win.

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

Post by mjau » Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:43 pm

Rodgre wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:38 am
mjau wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:08 am
I’m working with some drum tracks now on a few of my own songs where the drummer stereo-mic’d under the snare with a pair of Josephsons, along with the usual top mic. These are fairly sensitive brush tracks, and the snare takes on a 3-D quality as a result. Wouldn’t need it for everything, but in this context, I love it.
Now that seems interesting! Especially, like you say, on brush tracks.

Roger
Yeah, it's not a dramatic stereo spread...just enough to give the brushes some room to move around a bit.

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

Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:39 am

drumsound wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:57 pm
Where are you placing the mic, and what type of mic. In the past I'd get hash like you're describing, usually with an AT Pro37 because that seemed like what was 'supposed' to be used. I had it right under the snared, close to the center of the head (working around the stand). That sound is why, after a few ties, I gave up.

I got intrigued by what Rodgre said, so I tried his method, and I used an M88. It was a night and day difference.
I think I do it the same way, if I understand his post. I mirror the top mic. Same angle, capsule same distance from the bottom head as the other mic is from the top head, same distance in from the rim, pointing at the snares.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by vvv » Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:45 pm

losthighway wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:32 pm
Do I lose points for doing this with my a Blues Jr instead of a Pro Jr?
Not for this, but you mebbe may for playing through it, IMO. A Pro,Jr. just always sounds right; a Blues,Jr. might sound OK, IME (I don't like the BJ's reverb, the build always seems sloppier, the condition of 'em is usually rougher, and they don't do the sweet cleans of the PJ, especially with a 12AU7 in the pre).

Re bottom of snare tracks - I use 'em far more than hat tracks, including last night, when I used the former but didn't use the latter.

Also, I like to pan the snare top and the snare bottom slightly off, like 11:55 and 12:05, if adding a mutual reverb.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by Calaverasgrande » Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:26 pm

I used to be super in to it for a while. Then I realized I only liked it when I was using a Beyer 201 on the bottom. That mic just has that focus like a condenser, and the hypercardiod rejection helps clean up bleed from the rest of the kit.
That said. I don't even think of bottom micing the snare unless it's a drummer with a really busy snare style that deserves to be brought more forward.
Some old guy once told me back in the 90s that the problem with modern recording is everything is too sharp and defined.
Instead the emphasis should be on the song. What elements are indistinct or defined only matters in so far as how it furthers the song.
It took a while for that to sink in. I eventually kind of took it as the general concept of storytelling as it relates to movie making. I watch a lot of extra features or audio commentary on movies. I really love it when film makers expound on the storytelling process and philosophy.
So yeah, bottom mic when it furthers the song. But making the entire drum kit crystal clear isn't always going to do that. Sometimes you need to tuck that snare under a blanket so the vocalist or instrumentalist can speak more clearly.

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

Post by drumsound » Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:10 pm

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:39 am
drumsound wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:57 pm
Where are you placing the mic, and what type of mic. In the past I'd get hash like you're describing, usually with an AT Pro37 because that seemed like what was 'supposed' to be used. I had it right under the snared, close to the center of the head (working around the stand). That sound is why, after a few ties, I gave up.

I got intrigued by what Rodgre said, so I tried his method, and I used an M88. It was a night and day difference.
I think I do it the same way, if I understand his post. I mirror the top mic. Same angle, capsule same distance from the bottom head as the other mic is from the top head, same distance in from the rim, pointing at the snares.
what mic?

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

Post by vvv » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:30 pm

Recent drum mixing/recording-related threads have been very topical for me right now because my current collaborator, with whom I have done some 50 songs since March (linked below) with only congas or other hand percussion, just decided he's going to go full-kit, and has sent me 5 songs' drums with 10 tracks of drums each, including hats and side-snare (where he's getting a lot of the wires). I'll note that we have gone full-on electric on some stuff, as opposed to the acoustic 50.

I'm loving it!

I'm using the side-snare every time and have even used the hats track on 3 out of 5 songs.

So far, I am slightly panning snare top and side as discussed above. I used a plate on 1 song but am now just using a lot of the global compressed reverb in parallel - snare sound is yuge, and yet appropo.
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Re: How important is it to mic the bottom of a snare?

Post by losthighway » Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:33 pm

vvv wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:30 pm
I'm using the side-snare every time and have even used the hats track on 3 out of 5 songs.
I used to mic the side of the snare with an SDC. It was in my early days where you read someone who knows things saying something about a technique and then proceed to constantly do it for the next 10+ sessions, but you don't really know what you're listening for. I liked it at the time.

I'd be curious to try that again.

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

Post by vvv » Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:15 pm

If the top is, "whack", the side is like, "bom* with rattle". Pretty cool in that you get some tone with yer hash.

* intentional attempt at onomatopoeia
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