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Microphone Month 2

Isolating the snare mic

There are a million ways to mic a snare drum. A common method is with a dynamic mic slid ever-so-carefully between the hi-hat and snare. But have you ever soloed the snare track and heard more hi-hat than snare? Due to the close proximity of the microphone to both instruments, bleed will almost always be an issue, and re-positioning the mic has limitations — get too far away and the snare sound suffers, get it too close and you risk the mic meeting an early demise from a stray stick-strike. But what if you could isolate the mic from the other sounds?

We’ve used a common Styrofoam cup with a hole punched in the bottom slid over the mic to help eliminate bleed from the hi-hat (and the rest of the kit for that matter). The cup might need a little tape to hold it in place. Of course, the cup will modify the mic’s frequency response. This can be remedied by taping a small-diaphragm condenser to the dynamic mic. The condenser will bring out the high-frequencies, and the dynamic captures the body and low frequencies. Make sure to align the capsules of the two mics as closely as possible to avoid phase problems.

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