Recording A Snare Drum

The snare drum produces a short, distinctive, snap-like sound and often helps establish the tempo of the song. The name comes from the cluster of metal stretched across the bottom head of drum called the snares.

Microphone Type

  • Microphone Type: Dynamic,
    • Polar Response: Cardioid or super cardioid
    • Example: Shure SM57, AKG 451

Technique

Position the microphone so the head is pointing at the top skin of the drum at a distance of about 2-6cm. The microphone should be close to the top edge, aiming down at an angle of roughly 45 degrees.

As the snare is located so close to the other drums, it is vital to get the angle of the microphone positioned in a place that separates it from leakage from the other drums, especially that of the Hi Hat.

Top Tips

  • Always position the microphone away from where the drummer may hit it by accident.
  • To get more attack from the snare, point the microphone head nearer where the drummer strikes the skin.
  • A snare‚Äôs attack energy is focused around the 4-6 kHz frequency range.
  • If there is still excessive leakage into the snare microphone from the other drums, try using a super cardioid response microphone to achieve a tighter pickup angle.
  • Eliminate rattles and buzzes with damping rings.
  • To capture the true depth of the snare sound, a more advanced technique is to position a microphone underneath the drum as well as on top. Point the additional microphone at the snares themselves (metal cluster). The microphones will most likely need to be phase reversed since it will be facing the top microphone. Flip the phase button on and off with while listening to check for the fullest sound.