Microphone Shootout – Snare Drum Edition

Over the Christmas/New Years break, my friend Brandon and I got together on two separate days and put a whole bunch of microphones to a test. Previously, I posted the guitar amp version of this test. Today, I present The Snare Drum Microphone Shootout.

Before I present the results, I must talk about the process. We tested ten different microphones during the course of this day. In order to eliminate as many variables as we could, the microphones were set up in as close to the same spot as we could get and I played every test the same way: Center hit, off-center hit, flam, nine-stroke roll. Also, I used the same drum (Mapex Pro M series) and the same pair of sticks (Vic Firth 5A, wood tip) throughout the whole process.

We had two of almost all of these microphones, so the snare drum is double-miked for all but a few tests (which I’ll disclose when we get to them) – one microphone on the top head, the other on the bottom placed right around the snares themselves. No EQ is placed on any microphone, but the phase is flipped on every microphone on the bottom head and some levels are adjusted for a more balanced sound. I also edited some takes to ensure that they don’t overlap.

Without further ado: Here are the results! Ten microphones, presented two at a time. The first microphone listed is panned hard left and the second is hard right.

Our first matchup is the ol’ standby facing one of its many challengers – Shure SM57 – vs. Blue EnCore 100i.

Snare Mic Shootout 1

Next is probably the least fair matchup – Audio Technica Brand X XM3 (discontinued) vs. Electro-Voice N/D 478.

Next we have the Audio Technica battle – ATM29 (discontinued) vs. ATM63 (also discontinued).

Snare Mic Shootout 3

Next is the oddball matchup – Samson Q3 (discontinued) vs. Groove Tubes Convertible.

Snare Mic Shootout 4

Lastly, we have the single-microphone matchup – Audio Technica ATM650 vs. Electro-Voice N/D168 (discontinued).

Snare Mic Shootout 5

The interesting thing to me is the frequency responses of these microphones – clearly, some microphones picked up the shell of the drum better than others.

So, there you go. What do you think? Personally, I think I found my new snare drum microphone within my own collection thanks to this.

6 responses to “Microphone Shootout – Snare Drum Edition

  1. Hi Ed, nice tests, but test #2 mp3 link does not work…can you reup it? Thanks, Bob

  2. you said since you have 2 of MOST of the mikes, that “the snare drum is double-miked for all but a few tests (which I’ll disclose when we get to them)”…well I didnt see any disclosures, so which of them were not dual miked up + down w exact same mic pair? thanks

    • Every microphone is doubled except the last two, which are both in the fifth mp3. Those two – the ATM650 and the N/D168 – are only on the top head of the snare drum.

  3. ps also was the ATM63 you used the plain first version with no “HE” at the end, or the later “HE” version called ATM63HE as they are slightly different mics in spec and sound.

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