Snares: Live Gigs vs Studio Recording

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I recently went back into studio with our band (haven't been in a long time). And, we're gigging a lot now. I guess I'm either older and wiser, or else just more OCD lol. I hear a big difference between which of my snares sound good in studio recorded vs what sounds good live.

Live I'm choosing aluminum snares or older vintage 3 ply snares with re-rings. And not-so-heavy hoops. For our jazz/ blues sound I tune them medium/low with snares on loose side. These drums have a bit of a ring (those with dampers help. I prefer dampers to Moon Gel or wallets; the dampers you can control the amount of, well, dampening). They sounds just a bit slight on trashy side, but not over-the-top. A crush roll sounds very crushed and sweet. Think NOLA Preservation Hall.

In studio I'm using birch snares. Older Tama MIJ or Made in England Premier birch. Heavier rims. As little ring as possible. They sound tighter and more articulate, which I don't particularly like live but they seem to record better.

Anybody else have comments on what they prefer live vs studio with their snares?
 
I've just had my first studio experience and I found that in the studio it really depended on the song and I changed the tuning a lot depending on whether the song called for a ringing singing snare, or a dry snare, or a tight snare or a 'phat' snare.
Live, on the other hand I tune for more of a middle ground and then just make it work for the song as best I can by hitting the drum differently.

I only have three snares to choose from but I found that the variation I could get from tuning my main snare covered as much ground as changing drums so in the end I just stuck with that one, and learnt quite a lot from the process. None of my snares are high end.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
All depends what rooms you're playing live and the room you're recording in.

I use the same snares live as I would in a studio. I find the 400,402, Acrolite and 14x6.5 Steambent Maple covers all tunings and allows me to get all the sounds I need.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I gave a friend of mine my old Tama Rockstars and he used them in the studio. Live, they sound horrible. In the studio? They were awesome. I had those blue Evans hydro's on the toms and a worn out Remo ambassador on the snare with a ring. I guess everything was so thuddy on those things that they translated well to the mics for whatever reason. I guess there was no annoying rings to worry about.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
All depends what rooms you're playing live and the room you're recording in.
Recording drums is for me only for my own and my students amusement at this point, but I think this holds true.

In any case, my serach for snares is for the most part dependant on finding somthing that ust works in most cases. I have a few and obviously there are som that are very specific, but my main snares are really not. I go the Vinnie snares not just as a fanboy. He wanted something that worked in most situations, I agree that they do. Obviously, very much depedant on personal taste. The new one has a bit more of everything and can kind of fill the spot of both the old version and a dry brass shell. It's easy to get used to things and maybe a little blind, but I think it works.

I have a few snare that have a niche, but that doesn't mean they can't do other things.

Having the right sound for a backbeat in a dense track is a different thing. That will vary a lot, but it's not a situation I find myself in. Probably the main reason the pro session guys have such a collection, especially if they do all sorts of styles and to some extent are required to sound like someone else or get a typical traditional sound. Kirkee B said in an interview that he was basically down to 6 drums, and that should really be plenty for what he does if they're the right drums.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
In my amateur experience:

When recording, I prefer to use the overheads to create the sound of the kit. I don't place them over the cymbals, I place them over an area that provides a good balance of drums & cymbals. This mic'ing technique helps produce an accurate snare sound.

The snare mic is used to provide a bit of punch to the overall mix. If its level is too high, the overtones require muting with gels or pads. (When solo'd, a top-only snare mic doesn't capture the effect of the snare wires very well).

When the snare batter is muted with gels, etc., the harmonic overtones that give it character are lost. It's these harmonics that help define a wood, steel, or aluminum shell.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Exactly, CBPhoto. When the snare batter is muted with gels, etc., the harmonic overtones that give it character are lost. It's these harmonics that help define a wood, steel, or aluminum shell. It just becomes a thud not musical at all. Much like a marching snare that's all head and tight snares.

When we recorded I think the engineer mic'd kick and snare, and then used 3 overhead mics for hi-hat, rack+one ride, and the main ride. We muted snare with my wallet.

Engineers sure earn their money coming up with a good drum mix.


In my amateur experience:

When recording, I prefer to use the overheads to create the sound of the kit. I don't place them over the cymbals, I place them over an area that provides a good balance of drums & cymbals. This mic'ing technique helps produce an accurate snare sound.

The snare mic is used to provide a bit of punch to the overall mix. If its level is too high, the overtones require muting with gels or pads. (When solo'd, a top-only snare mic doesn't capture the effect of the snare wires very well).

When the snare batter is muted with gels, etc., the harmonic overtones that give it character are lost. It's these harmonics that help define a wood, steel, or aluminum shell.
 
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Drifter in the Dark

Silver Member
As a general rule, I use metal snare drums for live playing and wood drums for the studio. The only wood snare I like to use for live playing is a 14x4 Yamaha MCAN piccolo. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule!
 
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