A snare drum is one of the most important pieces of a drum kit. It’s responsible for bringing life to the kit.
So, when it comes to recording the drums, one must be sure to get the best mics for the job. There is a wide range of mics on the market, but not all could be what you need.
The most important consideration when buying snare mics accessories is their quality. And that means you need to buy from a trusted brand.
I have been playing drums for several years now, and I understand how hard it can be to get the right mic.
But don’t worry. In this guide, we will be bringing you some of the best snare drum mic reviews of this year. Every product on this list is designed to deliver the best quality sounds.
What mic is used for the snare drum?
I have come across this question what kind of mic is used for drums? many times. And in most cases, it’s the snare drum that becomes the focus of discussion.
It should be a surprise because the snare is easily the heartbeat of pop music. It controls the song with its beats and could add great energy to the groove.
I will be answering this question by highlighting a few crucial factors to keep in mind when choosing a snare drum mic.
The number of options on the market could be overwhelming. Mic selection, placement, pre-amp options, processing, and reverb are among the tricks that make a mic worth considering.
Also, there are different kinds of snare drum sounds. Some are big and fat, while others are thin and ringing. You can bring out these aspects by choosing the right mic.
Main factors to consider include:
- Headroom. This is the mic’s ability to withstand high SPL without distortion or clipping. A snare drum is very loud.
- Mic size. You don’t need a big mic because they need to be placed between the toms and the hi-hat.
- Type of mic – Dynamic mics pick up less ambiance and leakage than condenser ones. Ribbon is not recommended as they can pick other drums around.
- Directional pattern. Many engineers most prefer directional mics. They can filter leakage from toms, hi-hats, and ger instruments. Omni mics are not bad either as they offer a more natural sound sometimes.
How do you MIC under a snare?
Many drummers don’t know how to mic a snare drum. And that is why they sometimes don’t get the best sound from the drums.
Distinct sounds define a snare drum. Most people can tell its sound from a distance, and they can be mic-ked under or over.
A mic placed directly at a snare drum a few inches away will capture the sound differently than a human being. Combining the attack on the top side and the rattles under brings out that distinct snare sound that is so common.
So, two mics are needed.
Here are tips to get that perfect sound from the snares:
- Choose the right mic. A small condenser mic will capture those high frequencies snare rattles well.
- Position it well. You can place it as close to the drum as possible. You don’t have to worry about the angle, too, as you will not hit the mic.
- Phasing. Phase issues are eminent if you have two mics facing each other on the opposite side of the snare drum. But you can resolve it easily using your software technologies.
Why is the SM57 good for snare?
There are so many choices in snare drum mics. It all comes down to what the engineers want, though. One of the best choices is the SM52 placed over the drum.
The Shure SM57 comes as the de facto standard for live and recording snare drums. Well, there are many new contenders on the market, but there’s something about the SM57 that keeps it in the lead.
It is its delivery of the low-end punch. This effect comes from the proximity effect of its tight cardioid pattern that filters off the hi-hat that stands out.
So, yes, it’s an excellent option for the snare.
4 Best Snare Mics for Live and Studio
Here are some of the best mics for recording snare drums.
1. Shure SM57
The Shure SM57 is a Cardioid Dynamic snare mic that needs no introduction. It is the most popular option on the market.
It’s no wonder that it comes first on any list of best mics for snare drums. Many see the legendary Shure SM57 as the institution in the world of recording.
The mic is highly dependable, versatile, and well-constructed. You can always be sure to get the best-sounding output from the mic.
This seemingly ubiquitous mic you will find in almost every studio and live venue. Every recording producer may have this mic.
It’s currently the best and more reliable snare drum mic out there. Features a contoured frequency response, delivering a clean instrument.
It comes with the capsule close to the grills, making it perfect for close sound capturing. It can withstand very stressful SLPs, and still deliver a clean and bright tone.
Whether you are performing live or recording, the Shure SM57 is one workhorse you will love to own. Its quality is outstanding and yet not overly priced.
• Cardioid pickup pattern
• 40 – 15000 Hz frequency response
• Weighs 284 grams
• Capture 310 Ohm impedance
• The package includes a clamp, adapter, and bag.
• Excellent shock that reduces handling noise
• Cardioid means an isolated signal source
• A popular product
Here is another snare drum mic that will not disappoint you. The Beyerdynamic M201TG is a worthy rival to the SM57 above.
The mic promises great sensitivity and an excellently articulated sound that brings out the best in snare drums.
If you are looking for a mic optimized for professional use, the M201TG should be a great option. It comes with a dynamic moving coil and hyper-cardioid polar pattern that rejects unwanted noise from the hat and the toms.
Unfortunately, it’s a more expensive alternative to the SM57. However, its beautiful design a seemingly indestructible nature will make you forget the price.
It also promises a very natural sound with more depth and punch.
Go for this option if you don’t mind spending a little extra on quality. It’s a versatile weapon for the professional recording world.
• Hyper-cardioid pattern
• 40 – 18000 Hz response
• Weighs 220 grams
• 200 ohms output impedance
• Excellent clarity and natural sound
• Versatile and useful
• Ultra-premium quality, even in sound
Sennheiser is another reliable mic brand that promises excellent performance. Their MD 241 II Snare drum mic excels as one of the best microphones for capturing the snare drum.
Whether you are recording in the studio or playing live, this mic will not disappoint. It’s another legendary piece on the same level as the SM57 above.
Among the most attractive aspects of this mic is its excellent qualities. It’s known for delivering a balanced, crisp, and articulate sound.
The mic comes with a large diaphragm and dynamic element that will easily handle the highest sound pressure levels. This makes it a perfect choice for recording the snare and other drums.
Its dynamic capsule promises an even signal response, mostly under close-mic use.
Besides, this mic is designed by professionals to be a reliable workhorse. It features among the toughest mics you will ever want.
My favorite feature is the glass composite and stainless-steel housing that assures ruggedness and durability.
The MD 421 is a very versatile mic that will handle any type of acoustic instrument. It makes us of a 5-stage bass switch that delivers an excellent bass attenuation. That makes the mic perfect for a wide range of situations around the set.
I also like the balanced and natural sound that comes from these mics. Together with its lifted mids-highs, this bad boy will make your drum set produce amazing sounds.
• Cardioid pattern
• 30 – 17000 frequency response
• Weighs 385 grams
• 200 ohms output impedance
• Excellent noise elimination
• Sturdy and durable
The Shure PGA56 Dynamic snare drum mic is another reliable weapon for recording the drums. This is your perfect option if you are running on a budget.
It comes with a tailored mic cartridge that offers a natural and clear sound output. The whole unit is made with high-quality and durable material.
I have used this product severally and find it one of the best value snare drum mics.
Shure is known for producing professional mics, and this one is no different. You can count on it for top-quality performance. It’s also durable, whether you use it for live performance or for recording.
The mic comes with feedback-reducing features and eliminates background noise. You will get the sound from your drums as naturally as possible.
Also, this is one of the most affordable and professional drum microphones. It may not be as good as the SM57, but you be sure of its quality features.
For those who are on a budget and yet still need a great snare drum mic, go for the Shure PG. It delivers Shure’s quality at an affordable price.
I would go for the Shure SM57 instead. However, the PG is still a great choice if you don’t have the money.
• Cardioid pickup pattern
• 50 – 15000 Hz response
• Weighs 287 grams
• 200 ohms
• The package includes a clamp, adapter, and a bag
• Excellent value for money
• Tailored mic cartridge
• Sturdy and durable
• Not richness of more expensive mics
The snare drum could easily be the backbone of your drum set. Therefore, you must make sure you get the right microphone to record it. The products reviewed above will be a perfect fit.