Snare Bleed in Overhead Mics

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Dave Meadowcroft Dave Meadowcroft 5 months, 1 week ago.

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    Profile photo of Josh

    I’m having trouble with the Snare bleeding thru my overhead mics that I’m using for the Toms/Cymbals for Live Music. Is there any way to pull the snare out other than using the EQ and cutting the frequency of the Snare out?

    Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated!

    Profile photo of RS

    What is the problem with the bleed thru the overhead mics?
    If we would know better, there might be ways like mic placement, phase coherent setup of the OHs, to get what you want to achieve.

    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C

    There’s no real way to keep a snare drum out of overhead mics. Mic placement
    can help but may cause other issues.

    Are you close micing the snare as well or just trying to capture the drum kit
    with overhead mics only.

    Profile photo of Josh

    So my current setup is as follows:
    Inside Kick Drum
    Outside Kick Drum
    Top Snare
    Bottom Snare
    Left Overhead
    Right Overhead

    The problem with the snare is that it bleeds thru the overheads to the point that once I get the Toms and Cymbals to the sound level Im looking for. The snare overrides them if that makes sense. I can bring both snare mics all the way down and to the normal ear listening you’d never know. But to the few including myself who grew up in music and pays attention to the detail of each sound you can tell. The snare thru the overheads sounds kinda muffled/muddy. It doesn’t capture the real sound of hearing a snare up close. It gives none of the rattle (maybe that’s the wrong word) it only gives you the pop sound. The problem is when I run up the snare mics to get those sounds in the mix. Then the snare is really over powering. If I try EQing the overhead mics to cut out some of the snare then it causes the Toms to sound off. The easiest fix but obviously the most expensive fix is to just mic the Toms and reposition the overheads to capture mostly the cymbals. I was hoping there was some way with the digital board to pull out the snare that I didn’t know about.

    Profile photo of tourtelot

    All I can think of is to mic your toms separately and then “underhead” your cymbals with cardioids, that might help.


    Profile photo of Dave Meadowcroft
    Dave Meadowcroft

    Without micing the toms there are really only 3 things left… mic choice, mic positioning and eq.

    1. Use SDCs (small diaphragm condenser) for overheads if possible. They generally sound clearer on distant sources when compared to dynamics so any spill will will tend to be more ‘musical’. They are also often better with the higher frequency detail that define the cymbals you primarily want them to capture. Not all SDCs are created equal of course so this is very much a generalisation.

    2. Position, polar pattern and direction play a huge part. Try aiming your mics in a different direction paying attention to where they pick up from most to make sure that area is covering what you want, but not the snare. Cardiod/hypercardiod makes a big difference too. The tighter pattern of a hyper can be beneficial, but they also pick up more from the rear – so depending on the space, reflections and other instruments cardioid can be the correct choice.

    3. Try using HPF to keep the low out of the overheads, anywhere from 100 Hz to 250 Hz can work although lower will be better for your toms, and notch out other unwanted snare frequencies just a little and with a wide Q – It won’t disappear but may sit better in the mix.

    There is also a number 4 – use a quieter snare, head, sticks or drummer! Fixing the source is sometimes the only solution!

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