MICROPHONE ABOVE OR UNDER THE ROLLER?
If you have only one microphone, put it on. It’s obvious.
This is where the characteristic sound you need when recording/miking comes from.
Often, however, especially in the studio recordings or in the most well-equipped live shows, we see that the snare drum has two microphones, one above and one below.
WHY IS THE MICROPHONE ABOVE THE ROLLER?
Most of the typical sound of the snare drum is taken from above, so a dynamic microphone is recommended, capable of “resisting” well at high sound pressures. They are “directional” so they tend to concentrate their field of action on the snare drum, considering less the Charleston.
There is no precise rule for positioning, but it must be close enough to capture important nuances such as the edge, the characteristics of the skin, and the “blow” of the part where the wand strikes.
Obviously the more you position far away the more the sound will be balanced, while the closer it is the more you will avoid the re-entry from the other parts of the battery.
WHY THE MICROPHONE UNDER THE ROLLER?
For under the snare drum the advice is to use a condenser, so as to capture the higher frequencies, which often in dynamics tend not to be too marked, as in the case of the Shure SM57.
You will hear many phonics say that with the microphone under “I take the tailpiece” , to say that they are ideal for resuming that characteristic rustling that in the mixing phase can be very useful to give body to the sound of the snare drum.
Place the microphone directly under the snare drum, close but not touching the tailpiece. Be sure to consider the phase relations between the two microphones. Try and possibly reverse the polarities of one of the two if there was a need.
WHICH MICROPHONE FOR UNDER THE ROLLER?
A classic microphone to be placed under the snare drum is the AKG C 3000 B, condenser and twin of the C 3000 of the 90s. Obviously there are others, strictly condensers, of various price ranges.
I spoke not only about which snare microphone to use, but I tried to illustrate the features and to respond to the various doubts that a drummer not very experienced in miking could have.
The models are many, the schools of thought are just as many and therefore the potentially infinite solutions. Personal taste and above all the budget make the difference.
If the money is low, go with the Shure SM57, a hundred euros and you have a great snare drum mic. There are cheaper ones, often valid microphones and more expensive ones where excellent products are found.
Have you ever had a microphone?
Never record a snare drum?
Start with the Shure SM57
Mind you, if the goal is a recording of a demo or miking for a life in a pub almost all are fine, even the cheapest sets. Needless to have a € 1,000 microphone to send it to a € 50 mixer and keep it at very low volumes in a bar where everything resounds.
Often reading the various forums you make fleas to many microphones without taking into account in which situations they will be used. As with all things, I always call for a balance between real necessity and budget.
Obviously, if you are looking for a more accurate result, especially when recording and you have a certain level of instrumentation at your disposal, then you will need a microphone of a higher range.