Ask most recording engineers (other than our own Julian Rodgers) which mic to use when recording a snare drum and most will say the Shure SM57. In this article, we are going to show that there are other options by testing 30 different microphones for recording the top of a snare drum.
Our New 5 Star Tests
As we are sure you can appreciate, at Production Expert, we get a lot of microphones to test and review. Up until now, we have had no real “system” in place by which to evaluate and compare the different mics we try other than recording some instruments and a vocal track or voice-over and letting you hear how the mic sound in a real-world recording situation, which has its place. However, we are now aiming to change that with our new 5-Star testing program.
All microphones, unless it is not appropriate to do a test with a specific microphone, will be put through the following 5 standardised test.
- Snare Drum top from a distance of 7 inches away just above the rim of the drum
- Acoustic Guitar from 12 inches away in front of the 12th fret.
- Electric Guitar with a distorted tone on a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker 3 inches off the centre of the speaker
- A Voiceover read from 6 inches away through a pop screen
- A Male Rock Vocal from 6 inches away through a pop screen
Microphones that are built for a specific job may be excluded from some of these tests. For example, a Sub mic for kick drum is pretty much a one-trick pony so there is no point in recording a vocal with that.
The same music, rhythm, lyrics or paragraph will be used for each of these tests.
When microphones come in for review and test we will test them against our 5 point test.
The aim is to build up a comprehensive collection of audio files of a great many of the microphones available today both new and not so new.
View the full shoot out on Production Expert here.