For me personally the way the snare sounds on your record is as important as the how the vocals sound. I like a good snare sound. A good sounding drum can really make or break your song/album. Obviously you need the best snare mic to accomplish this.
So what is the key to a getting the snare to sound good. Two things, the snare itself needs to sound good and the other is the microphone used to capture the sound. I’ll go into techniques as we go on, but if you have these two, you are doing pretty good right out the gate.
SO WHAT’S THE BEST SNARE MIC FOR RECORDING?
Many will agree and some will scratch their heads, but hands down the best microphone I like to use is the Shure Sm57.
The snare is a loud beast and putting super expensive and sensitive mics next to it is just dangerous. For one, you have a drummer who is striking at full force right next to that $500 dollar investment!
OK, so there is that, don’t put expensive microphones next to a guy swinging his arms with sticks!
But, really, check this article out about why the Shure SM57 is the best mic to use.
I like to use that microphone, because it can take that loud sound very well and accurately. It also has a body and head that can take hits if it accidentally does. It’s a basest and workhouse. My friends at Sweetwater have discussed and agree as well.
WHAT ABOUT DRUM MIC KITS?
I love drum mic kits and not just for starting out. They are set-up for each drum, for instance, your kick, toms, over-heads and snare. Pretty much everything you need to get started. I personally like the tom-tom mics and over-heads.
Some of these mics are clip-on, and those can really come in handy. Particularly I really like the Sennheiser drum mic kit. The e604 is great on toms and I actually really love it on the snare. When running live sound I often use this one too.
This one has a great response and the sound is a bit fatter. Meaning, I think it gives a little more depth when recording or running it live. But much like the SM 57, it is small and can be hidden. The one problem I found vs. the 57 is that it is far less versatile when positioning it on the snare.
WHERE TO PLACE A MICROPHONE ON A SNARE?
This is one I like to leave up to you. There is no exact spot to put the microphone. You need to trial and error until you find it. Each snare is different and each drummer hits differently. Another thing is, each drum kit is set-up differently too. That means you need to be creative with where you place it.
For me, I like to place it as far away from the drummer and about 1-2 inches above the snare at an angle.
Some people like to mic the bottom of the snare too. To me, that just sounds terrible. If you can blend that in with the top microphone, it might sound ok. For me, I never mic the bottom.
IT’S AFFORDABLE, SO WHY NOT!
OK so another argument for the best snare mic is it is AFFORDABLE! How much is it? We’re talking like $80 for the SM57. My friends at Remo also agree. Is it the best snare mic? I hope I made a decent argument for you. I love it, I use it all the time for my snare.
If you are using something that you like, let me know, I would love to hear your review on it!
Keep on making great music!