Here's my favorite trick for getting a super-realistic crack.
I take an Earthworks QTC1 or TC30k and place it as close to the shell of the snare as I can get it before the shell bumps the mic when the drummer hits the snare.
In other words, I am mic'ing the side
of the snare drum with an omnidirectional microphone.
By moving the mic up and down the shell (closer to the rim that holds the top head or closer to rim that holds the bottom head), I can vary the sound. The amount of "body" changes relative to the amount of "crack" due to nodal points existing alongside the shell.
The snare sounds so much more
like the sound of a real snare drum heard in the same room... you won't believe it.
All the drummers who've heard this mic'ing technique on their snares have been impressed by how natural the recorded snare sounds. In many cases, reverb wasn't even needed!
Sceptics concerned about bleed need not worry. Even though we're talking omni, with the mic so close to the shell, your preamp gain will be so low that you'll pick up less bleed than you'd pick up with an SM57 on the top head.
With an API 512, I have the gain pot turned all the way down and
I have the pad engaged. Going straight to tape, the tape machine still gets hit hard.
Also, those who are afraid of proximity effect need not be squeamish... omni mics don't suffer from a heightened low-mid response when you move them closer to the sound source like cardioid mics do.
I have yet to run into another engineer who uses the omni-against-the-shell technique iluustrated here. But I wouldn't be surprised if this technique becomes a "standard" as others discover it on their own.
Once you listen to a snare recorded this way, you'll wonder why you ever settled for the flat "paper" sound you get when you point an SM57 at the top head or the "sandy" sound you get when you point a 451e at the bottom head.
If you're curious (and indie-rock or emo inclined), the most recent record from the band Karate (Southern Records)
has a snare recorded with an Earthworks omni.
[This message has been edited by microsoftsucks (edited 03-20-2000).]