Tips for a "pro" snare sound???

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by lookslikemeband, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. lookslikemeband

    lookslikemeband Member

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    I'm currently using a Roland 2480. I have good mics, good cables, pre-amps; etc.

    No matter what I do, I can't seem to get a decent snare sound out of my drummer's kit. It's not a piece o' shyte either.... It's a DW custom kit with a Craviatto snare.

    For the snare, I've tried all of the "standard" mic'ing techniques: 2" in 2" high at a 45 degree angle; etc.

    I've tried 57's and a Beta 56.

    I'm getting a rather dull sound from the snare.... not the "WHAP" I'd like to get.

    I've EQ'd, compressed, reverbed; etc...

    Maybe I should try a small condenser mic that could handle the high SPL's???

    Any suggestions would be awesome...
     
  2. OneMileWish

    OneMileWish Guest

    The sound I love is a 57 on top pointed at around 45 degrees towards the center 1.5-2" high, 1-2" in from the rim, then a 414 or a km184 (or another pencil condenser) placed 4-6" below the bottom head pointed up at the snares. If available, I put a 75Hz or 150Hz rolloff on the bottom snare mic to get rid of some of the kick.

    If the player uses a lot of ghost notes I'll compress the bottom snare mic to tape fairly heavily to bring them out. Even if not, i'll still compress both mics it to tape, just not as heavily.

    The idea here is to get the tone from the 57 and the 'crack' from the bottom snare mic, then blend them together for that nice, professional, full sound.

    Top snare mic - tone of the snare somewhere between 200-400Hz, usually around 250Hz. Generally boost a little 800Hz (sometimes) and some 3-4KHz. If there's an annoying ring try cutting somewhere between 900Hz and 1K. 3, 4:1 ratio getting around 6 or 8db reduction on the strongest hits.

    Bottom Snare Mic - This is for the 'crack' and 'sizzle'. Boosting attack between 3-4KHz, 8KHz for some sssssizzle, 10k for some nice top end. 6:1 or so ratio on the compressor, how much depending on the style of the player.

    In regards to the EQing, that's all if needed after I've gone through and cut out whatever frequencies I don't like.

    Also, the type of reverb you put on the snare will have impact.

    Hope some of that helps...


    Dan.

    Edit: I just remembered another technique I tried fairly recently that I got some really good results with. I was constrained to only using a 57 on the snare, so I placed it 4" or so outside of the snare perpendicular to the shell. Got a nice full sound, but there was a bit of bleed. Great for that "live" sound though! I'm pretty sure I actually learned this technique either here or on the old PRS Forum...
     
  3. gregc

    gregc Member

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    Compression..... that'd do the trick!
    gregc
     
  4. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    If you use OMW's two-mic technique (which I have to say I use as well :)) don't forget to check for out-of-phase-ness between the two mics. Since you're miking the same sound source from opposite directions, you have to keep phasing in mind.

    You may or may not need to invert the phase/polarity on one mic - I've had to do this in the past, but not every time. Depends on how you aim the mics.

    --chiba

    PS Not to create a tempest in a teacup, but squashing the hell out of the signal with a compressor isn't going to 'fix' your problem - it may get you closer to what you're looking for (which would be good), but it's just as likely to create an entirely different set of problems. The last big drum session I did - recording drums for my wife's album - I used NO compression on the drums AT ALL while recording. Not a bit - and the drums sound KILLER. BTW, two mics on the snare for that session :D
     
  5. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Not completely sure about recording, but for live, I have found that the a combination of a few things make a snare sound good.

    1) a wood drum; 2) a batter head (the white kind) as opposed to the clear single or double ply hydrolic head; 3) the 'crack' of a snare drum that you like to hear lives in the 6k range; standard rock reverb for a snare drum is 2.5s (yes, 2 and a half seconds!) of bright plate reverb.

    The problem most people make in attempting to get a good snare sound is trying to make it sound too fat. A decent sounding drum has a lot of meat to it already. Try not to over-EQ in the low- and low-mid or even midrange areas. If you want it to 'crack' boost at 6 to 6.5 k.

    dave
     
  6. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    i found the two mic technique is a little tricky due to phase problems.

    remember the closer the mic is to the edge of the snare, the better the crack. the closer to the middle of the head, the more duller the sound.

    also, i use the three finger rule. from about an inch from the edge of the snare, i make sure the SM57 is about three finger widths high from the top head. i then point it about 45 degrees towards the center of the head.

    and dave brings up an excellent point:

    the more "open" the snare sounds, i.e. with little to no muffling, the more alive and active the snare will sound in the mix.

    i'm willing to bet your drummer's got something like a pre-muffled head like an Evans Genera Dry or a Remo Pinstripe something. ask him to try a coated single ply drum head like a regular G1 Coated, Coated Ambassador, or Aquarian Texture Coated, tuned rather tightly, with the bottom head tuned a 3rd higher in pitch, and i'm sure the sound will improve dramatically.

    if you must use muffling, its best to tune all the toms and snare to as resonant as possible a sound, then use something like Moongel to dampen the drum bit by bit, preserving drum tone, yet maintaining control.

    IME, i cant stand overly taped up or muffled drums. might as well use cardboard boxes.

    but bottom line, its mostly up to your drummer, and snare tastes are about as singular as picking the right guitar for us! so, tread lightly...
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    The most important piece of gear to get a pro sound in a drum session is a good pro drummer.

    Give me a pro drummer who is good, and I will give you a good sounding track with any setup.
     
  8. covert

    covert Member

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    One thing that has been known to work surprisingly well is to mic from the side, anywhere from 2" to around a foot off. You can vary the attack vs. wires sound by moving the mic closre to the top or bottom of the drum. Seems to work best on deeper drums. Using a condenser and a dynamic taped together is also pretty common. Works well with either the technique described above, or more standard techniques. Finally, tuning is important beyond escription.
     
  9. lookslikemeband

    lookslikemeband Member

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    Thanks guys for the help!!

    Ironically, when we have "experimented", the perpendicular method of mic'ing his snare (with the sound hole facing the mic) has given us the best "attack and whap" that we're looking for.

    I stayed away from it though because it's not "conventional"....

    I guess the old saying is true.... If it works, just do it.

    Our drummer is top notch (IMHO, one of the best rock drummers in our state), and he is very consistent and easy to work with.

    I'll give it a shot, and see what happens!

    Thanks again!!

    Lance :dude
     
  10. OneMileWish

    OneMileWish Guest



    Oh, man, don't fall into that trap!! You can't shouldn't follow "convention" any more than you should place mics using just your eyes. Sure, there are good starting points, but your ears are always what you s hould follow! :)

    Good luck at the session, let us know how it turns out.
     
  11. heinz

    heinz Guest

    the only rule is that there are no rules. Every tried and true technique can have exceptions based on the drum and the room that it is in, what else is in the room, the song and what else is in the mix, astrological sign, solar flares, etc..
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I don't know if this will help, but...

    IMO tuning the drums properly is as important to good recorded tone as are the drummer and the kit.

    First things first: when you listen in the live room, do they sound good?
     
  13. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    yea,

    its amazing no matter how great the drummer is, or how killer their gear is, he/she can be TOTALLY clueless to tuning his/her drums properly.
     
  14. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Guess i've been lucky. All the great drummers i've been fortunate enuf to play with or record over the years have been super picky about tuning.
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Some more than others, but same here.

    My main point was this: he wants a "whap." My question, is there a "whap" to be had? If not, that's where to start.
     
  16. lookslikemeband

    lookslikemeband Member

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    Hey guys!
    Thanks for all of the responses!!!!

    Yeah... in the room, there is DEFINITELY a "whap". It's a great sounding kit when in the room.... just not when I record it....

    I'll be putting more down this weekend, and see how it goes.
     
  17. OneMileWish

    OneMileWish Guest

    You know, overheads have quite a bit to do with snare sound too. What are you doing there?
     
  18. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    +1

    Most of the drum sound when I'm working on a record comes from well placed overheads and room mics. For the most part, I'm using the close mics just for some location information and perhaps to bring out a frequency that is not apparent in the overheads. As always, ceck phasing and check in mono!
     
  19. lookslikemeband

    lookslikemeband Member

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    I'm using two Oktava MK 012's.

    Yes, they definitely pickup the best sound of the kit, that's for sure!! If they could handle the SPL's, I'd buy an old one off Ebay and use IT for the snare!!

    (BTW... I'm using the 10dB pad, and placing them on high boom stands behind the drummer, coming out over the kit ... about a foot apart, at a 45 degree angle)
     
  20. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    The danger there is that you're very limited on the mix options if you can't process the snare (and kick) separately from the OHs. Fine for retro, lofi, and audio verite approaches, very limited for a modern sounding mix. Even great overhead tracks won't work on their own in a most modern mixes.

    (This from the occasional fan of lofi, retro, even one mic approaches to the kit).
     

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