Guidelines for miking snare drums with DPA Microphones.

Sound pressure level

As with brass, a drumkit can produce very high peak sound levels. Levels in excess of 120 dB at a distance of one meter and at a few cm from a drum or cymbal head 140 dB or more are not unusual. It's obvious that the microphones must be able to handle these levels without clipping, which is not always the case in many recording situations.

Cardioid microphones

A cardioid microphone like the d:dicate™ 4011A or d:dicate™ 4011C placed at the rim of the upper skin is a good position. If you take notice and care with your top placement you will not find the need to place a mic on the bottom of the drum to intensify the snares. The 4011A or 4011C, due to incredible resolution, can pick up all the snare sound from the top without the phase shift problem caused by over/under miking techniques.

Wide cardioid microphones

A d:dicate™ 4015A wide cardioid or d:dicate™4015C compact wide cardioid reveals a little more low frequency energy than the 4011A or 4011C at the same position. The wide cardioid pattern is less directional and will pick up more of the drum's timbre and reproduce more of the snare surroundings.

Omnidirectional microphones

For jazz/folk genres, a d:dicate™ 4006A or d:dicate™4007 Omnidirectional Microphone can be placed strategically between the snare and the hi-hat. Please refer to the hi-hat section.

Clip microphones

If you want the microphone to be out of sight and are tired of fighting mic stands in the jungle of drum stands, you should try the d:vote™ 4099D Instrument Microphone. Easy and fast to attach, and with a very punchy and fast sound. Not much EQ is needed, if any. You won't believe what this incredible little mic is able to do.

A snare drum may benefit from a double clip microphone setup, one on top and one below the drum; the upper mic will focus on the 'in-your-face' punch and the lower mic on the snare high-frequency bite from below the drum. Shift polarity on one of them and blend them in desired balance.