What’s the best Snare Drum Microphone?

What is the Best Snare Drum Microphone?


I’ve recently been looking for a ‘good’ ‘industry standard’ snare drum microphone. There are many options, here are my thoughts on the microphones available.


The studio gurus would say – ‘there isn’t an industry standard, it depends on the song, the room, the snare, the drummer, the way the wind is blowing!’ Which is all true. But not particularly useful for a drummer looking to do some home recording. The reality is that any mic will record the snare drum, condensers, dynamics and ribbon mics. There are however, a few ‘go to’ mics that keep popping up on forums and interviews with renowned engineers.


The most commonly used type of microphone on the snare drum is a dynamic mic. They can take high SPL’s (loudness) and are robust. They are also typically less sensitive to high frequencies giving them a more ‘mellow’ sounds when compared to say condenser microphones.


Here is a list of commonly used dynamic microphones for snare drum.


1) Shure SM57


This mic retails at around £100 in 2014. It is a bit of an ‘industry standard’ used widely in studios around the world. It has a cardiod pattern, meaning it picks up what is in front of it without too much bleed from the other drums. When I’ve used this mic it gives a ‘thick’, ‘beefy’ ‘mellow’ sound to the snare drum. It wouldn’t be described as a particularly sensitive mic but is well suited to music where the snare is hit hard.


2) BeyerDynamic M 201


Retailing at around £150. It’s a similar mic to the SM57. It has a hypercardiod pattern, meaning that it’s range of pick up is narrower than he SM57. It’s been described as ta workhorse mic. Some review that it’s more sensitive than the SM57 so is more detailed. I’d say its a taste thing between these two mics. If you can try them both for yourself! One for snare top and one for snare bottom.


The Audix i5 and the Sennheiser e 905 are in a similar price range with a similar specification.


There are more expensive options. Dynamic microphones that can be used well for all sorts of sound sources.


I’ll leave these for another post. The above mics are a great place to start on the snare drum. Check out the Zen Pro Audio Clipilator to listen to these mics in action.


For more drumming info and tips check out www.bristoldrumlessons.com

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