Single Mic to Capture Snare and Hi-Hat

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by pablomago, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. I tech for a live for broadcast show at a local community radio station. (Live @ Lunch, KRFC-FM 88.9 Fort Collins, CO, Fridays at noon Mountain time if you'd like to listen). We have a limited number of inputs so we usually use three or four mics on a drum kit. We have a Rode N4 stereo mic that we like for overheads when we can use it.

    Usually we just throw an SM 57 or BETA 57 on the snare and between it and the overhead we get a decent enough amount of hi-hat in the mix. But I was wondering if we could get a better blend if we positioned the mic in a different place. Or maybe use a different mic. We have some SM 81's and some Rode SDC's.

    What has worked for you? Suggestions?
  2. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I know a great FOH man who uses on 57 about ten inches from the snare side, under the hat, facing up just a bit, and he gets some wonderful sounds (tours with world class musicians).
    I have not done it, but I imagine it requires some creative EQ.
    pablomago and s0c9 like this.
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I’ve used an Audix i5 for this. Very much like a 57. Mounted on snare but pointed between snare and hat. A little bit of eq is also needed.
  4. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    As you know, there are all kinds of ways to mic drums and drum sets. As you are putting up mics for live-in-the-studio shows, you don't really have the time to explore many different options, so IMO you should keep it simple. Hi-hats are usually plenty loud, not requiring close miking. There aren't many options for close-miking the snare without interfering with the human being playing it. I like the method of pointing the snare mic a little off parallel to the top or bottom head, depending on whether you want the snare sizzle emphasized, and I choose the Beyerdynamic M201 over the SM57. YMMV of course.
  5. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    This is how I've been doing it (live) for decades. Usually don't need any EQing at all, but that's really a function of the snare tuning and mic position. Give it a try and if you have time, try moving the mic a bit.
    pablomago likes this.
  6. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Try setting up a Glyn Johns mic array or a Recorderman array. You'll get a balanced kit from either. Personally I prefer Recorderman and have used it numerous times with great satisfaction.
    Wasnex and mikewalker like this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    not so much for live use. in the studio: frequency limitations of the 57s could be an issue for some music/genres. usually, it's the cymbals which 'suffer'.

    00 images2b2.png

    two condensers + one kick mic of choice = great, natural 'sound capturing'! not so great if the drum instruments sound terrible to begin with.

    OP: good luck with your in-studio, live broadcasts! :thumbsup:
    pablomago likes this.
  8. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    When I'm micing drums for stereo, I nearly always use the same technique as you - kick, share, and an overhead pair. To my ears, the overheads do just fine with capturing the sound of the entire kit and I EQ them that way. The kick and snare mics are necessarily EQed for their specialized sounds. The snare is extremely sensitive to EQ notching and its sonic character changes significantly with some tweaking in the midrange. I usually, roll off most of the highs to avoid harshness. The microphone used also makes a huge difference, for me, a dynamic uni is a priority.

    On the occasions when I've had a mic on the hi hat, it's always with a mind toward mic choice and EQ appropriate to cymbals. This is necessarily very different from the snare sound.

    The bottom line is having one microphone doing double duty for snare and hi hat is always going to be a serious compromise in sonic character of one or both.

    Having said that, there is no reason not to experiment when you have the opportunity, and if your unconventional technique happens to sound good, then who am I to say it's the wrong way to do it?
    John6, pablomago and Wasnex like this.
  9. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Second the Glyn Johns approach. :thumbsup:

    Last drum tracking I did just that... and added a room mic and also a Sennheiser e609 on the hh.

    Ended up with an amazing huge-sounding kit (was a budget vintage kit that had aged well). Sadly the session was scrubbed due to drummer's health issues... (drummer had not aged nearly as well as his kit)
    pablomago likes this.
  10. Thanks, for your replies, everyone! It gives me some places to start. We usually have limited time, but we might be able to experiment a bit. A lot of it depends on the kit and the player, and we get all kinds. I can't say we've had any total crap kits. A few drummers who've used kits that are overkill for our little studio, but we can roll with most of them. We try to isolate other instruments as best as we can, but we still get some bleed. And, sure, snares and hi-hats are different beasts EQ wise, but close can be good enough. I'm sure the overheads are getting most of it anyway.
  11. BwanaDust

    BwanaDust Inactive Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2019
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Lincoln Learning Solutions - Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
    You wanna no what works really great? A bi-direction mic. I prefer ribbons but you could use a condenser as well. You set it with the null facing the shell (front pointed up, back pointed down. The best thing about this is it combines the top and bottom of the snare so you don't need two mics. You also get a nice amount of hi-hat and some of the beater side of the kick. It's an old school technique, but it really works. It might be too bright using a condenser (I've only tried it with royer and cascade mics).
  12. JPaulGeddy


    Sep 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    Was doing some ad-hoc recording of our band practice once, just a kick, single mic for snare/hi-hat, and an overhead. Was stunned how good it sounded. If I needed more sizzle on the high-hat, brought the overhead up a skosh. Will probably go that way live as well.
  13. I am using two of these on smaller kits - sometimes as low overheads - sometimes even mic from under..........,w_620/v1426630785/o1ihjs4sctmos8edpbz4.jpg
    View attachment 3450024
    they were orginally reference mics. VERY omni directional. I actually posted about them a while back - but I don't guess anyone had run into them. I also have a friend who is on the road with a national act (pretty well known I guess) and he turned me on to using these.

    A lot of gigs, smaller rooms etc. I will use on on the snare - get the hat, along with a Kick mic (beta 52)
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  14. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I use a pair of similar Behringer Omni reference mics for some things. I have done a kick and stereo pair on a kit and thought it worked well in a jazz / bluegrass, mostly acoustic setting.
    Not sure whose technique but the mics are spaced equidistant from an imaginary line drawn through the center of the snare and through the center of the kick. Hat side forward, fl tom side rearward.

    I tend to get a lot more acts where close mixing is the thing and often dedicate 9 inputs to drums. Being a control freak, I personally prefer mixing close mic’ed ;-). I also like the sound of a socked 57 pointed down at the hat, inside the edge of the hat. You get a lot of the stick / hat interaction. Which can be a nice busy percussion thing to play with ...
    Frankjohnson likes this.
  15. I ran sound a month ago where the headliner ate up enough inputs that I only had 3 left for drums on the opener. I did kick snare/hh and an overhead above floor tom angled a bit toward the rack toms. I think it worked better than the close mixed set behind it.
  16. At the station I work at, we have the Cincinnati Reds Winter Caravan stop in each January. We do a live broadcast that is picked up by, and simply for easy's sake, I run the four mics into a small behringer mixer, and send one output to one of the wall mic jack to the main control room board, so I only have to work one fader when the broadcast happens.
  17. getbent


    Aug 20, 2010
    Chicago, IL
  18. Bboopbennie


    Jun 16, 2019
    SM 57 has been the standard for a long time. There are so many great mics out there now, you just have to give them a try. Behringer XM 8500 is pretty amazing at $ 19.00. Audix i5 is a sleeper too.
  19. BwanaDust

    BwanaDust Inactive Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2019
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Lincoln Learning Solutions - Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
    If you really want to get some bang out of that one mic on snare/hat, try using a ribbon. Point the top directly at the shell with the front side facing up. It will pick up the top AND bottom of the snare and combine them. Plus you'll get a nice tone from the hat and a bit of the kick beater head. You could try it with a figure 8 condenser, but I like the ribbon sound better.
  20. Wild_Bill_57

    Wild_Bill_57 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 18, 2017
    Southern, OH / Las Vegas, NV
    Owner- Southern Ohio Sound
    For several bands we used a Shure VP88 stereo overhead and a Beta 91a in the Kick that was it. Always had compliments on the drum sound.