Top Tip – part 1 of an occasional series

One of the first (and most disorientating) things I learnt when I moved over to recording music is that, ever since Sgt Pepper was released back onto civvy street, there are no rules.  Or, more precisely there are and everyone in the field either swears by them or ignores them totally.  Take the dark art of re-amping.  Common enough with guitar or bass, using Amplitube or similar, but how about the snare drum?  This tip is particularly useful if you can’t be arsed with sorting out phase problems but want a under snare mic sound.  Record the drum using a top mic, solo the track on playback from your desk, route it to the nearfield monitors.  Stay with me – retrieve the snare from the kit and place it wires up on the speaker, point a mic (ribbon/LDC/SM57 whatever you fancy) at the wires, playback with the gain up and record to a spare track.

Best results come from a good quality snare and some boosting of the low eq helps make the wires jump.  Further variations include a scattering of 5p pieces on the wires and quick shakes of maracas on some of the offbeats.  As they might say on the X Factor, it’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey.

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