Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

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Electricide
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Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by Electricide » Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:40 am

I always did this just 'cuz....other engineers did it. Put the kick and snare up the middle..the rhythmic center, etc.

Then we put overheads over head and pan left/right for stereo. Most of the time, the snare is NOT in the middle of this stereo picture.

Wouldn't it make more sense to bring up the individual drums panned to their location in the stereo image from the overheads? Otherwise, you've got attacks coming from two different positions...screwing up the imaging, I would think.

Now, if you have a stereo mic technique that has the snare in the middle, nevermind, but since the snare is off center from the kick, centering the snare would make the rest of the kit sound right-heavy (from the drummer's perspective), because low tom, floor tom, ride, and even another crash are over there, and you'd be leaving less for the hi-hat side mic to pick up.

Ramble ramble, just trying to flesh out a technique instead of blindly just doing it.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by @?,*???&? » Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:52 am

When I stand in front of a drumkit, I don't hear the snare drum as being all that left of center anyway. The left/right imaging in the overheads is something I always strive to make as wide and natural as possible when recording though. Having the snare up the middle isn't an issue then. It still seems off to one side or the other due to the overheads.

Directing the mics away from things to create a better stereo image is always desired. I hate it when the floor tom mic is getting alot of hi/hat and/or snare drum. That really screws with the imaging.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by djimbe » Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:58 am

I pan it a bit (I always use audience perspective). I find it's easy to go overboard, and that kinda ruins the whole across-the-stereo-field thing. I play pretty sparse though, and often like mono drums pushed to one side (arrangement depending, of course). For a backbeat heavy song, panning the snare can work to seperate the mix and draw attention to something like a buried organ part on the OTHER side of the mix though, which can be cool...
I thought this club was for musicians. Who let the drummer in here??

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by industrystandard » Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:09 pm

also, the snare is probably centered traditionally because it sees a lot more action than the toms...

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by Electricide » Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:10 pm

yeah, I'm not talking mega pan. in reality the snare is only 5 or 6 inches off center, maybe. But with lead vocal, bass, kick, snare up the middle...yick. I played around with panning kcik a bit right, snare a bit left, so the drums don't sound like a totem pole.

Many of you will retort that old school engineers had Everything down the middle, and you have to use the frequency spectrum correctly to seperate parts. I totally agree. But just sending it up the middle "just because" is what I'm trying to avoid.

What do the rest of you do?
Last edited by Electricide on Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by blappo » Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:11 pm

It seems to me that when watching/listening to a live band, you don't hear drums (snare or otherwise) left or right, but rather in the center. To me this is one of many factors that makes mono drums appealing.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by soundguy » Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:25 pm

I prettty rarely put a snare up the middle. If you do a lot of minimal micing stuff on a kit, you pretty much need to put the snare where it works with the other mics so it makes sense with the picture you are trying to paint with the kit. That might be up the middle, it migth not. I would think it would depend on the other mics, no?

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by jaredbyline » Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:53 pm

blappo wrote:It seems to me that when watching/listening to a live band, you don't hear drums (snare or otherwise) left or right, but rather in the center. To me this is one of many factors that makes mono drums appealing.

Thing is, you do hear where they are. You don't realize it because your brain does it instantaneously: taking the two different things that each ear hears and combining them to make a sound image of where things are in relation to you. Unlike other people, as engineers, we have to worry about it.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by Electricide » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:00 pm

yeah, if your plan is to mimic a live performance setting, or band on a stage jam session deal, then mono mic is right on. But for giving the impression they are on the throne.... dave was leaning towards my sentiment, that it depends. With the Glyn Johns set up, panning the two mics left and right puts the snare in the middle if the mics are equidistant from the snare. Then, the crashes go left a bit and the ride right a bit because those are closer to their respective capsules. But if the mics are a bit different, then the snare will shift towards the closer mic's side.

continue discussing!

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by AGCurry » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:09 pm

I don't really care whether the mix reflects where the snare is in physical space. I have found, though, that panning the snare a little off center seems to improve the pan of the overheads. One of those psychoacoustic things, I guess.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by cassembler » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:11 pm

I generally only use the snare close mics in a mix if I _have_ to. Thus, it would make sense to pan it wherever it fits best in the mics I depend heavily on (room, overheads, and kick).

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by soundguy » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:17 pm

worth noting, why would you want to put ANYTHING on top of the kick drum? If youve never tried that approach, you might want to listen at least once. My mixes tend to get destructively wide, but if you can keep it reigned in, leaving room for everything is intensely beneficial. kick up the middle, snare somewhere else.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:32 pm

interesting stuff. does anyone do the 'kick a little left/bass a little right' thing regularly? i find it helps sometimes....

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by jsegovia » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:39 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:interesting stuff. does anyone do the 'kick a little left/bass a little right' thing regularly? i find it helps sometimes....
I always put the kick just to one side (e.g., 1 Left) and the snare just to the other (1 Right). This leaves the lead vocal and the bass in the center.

Now that I think of it, maybe I should move the bass out one or two as well, maybe with the kick, to leave the vocal alone in the center. I honestly don't know if it makes that much difference.

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Re: Putting SNARE up the middle...a consideration

Post by Electricide » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:39 pm

yeah, putting stuff that occupies a lot of the same ferequencies in the same spot seems silly. I mean, I could carve a huge low end section of the kick for the bass, and Vice Versa, but why necessarily sacrifice the instrument's character? This gets into the 'place the mic to get the best sound' vs 'make it all fit good' debate.

Anyway, having male vocal and snare, or kick and bass, or all four in the same space gets tricky. even a little room helps. But do you then lose a solid center to your song (assuming it's rock-ish)?

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