M201TG, M160, SR-5 review 3/3

As I mentioned in my previous post, the combination of the top microphone and the bottom microphone is important, mainly when close-micing near the head of the snare drum.

Then, how about the side position, which is the middle point between top and bottom?

Hits head of the drum, but the part where the sound rings is the shell, so wouldn't the sound signal be received more richly?

In addition, most listeners, except the performer, hear the sound of the snare's side, so in a way, wouldn't the side position be much closer to the actual sound?

In conclusion, it is not as easy to use because the pressure of the snare itself is not sufficiently secured in the side direction, there is no punch feeling and a lot of other sounds (hihat, toms, etc.) are mixed in.

If you only deal with the snare sound, you can make a good enough sound through multiple processing, but the more kick & hihat in the process will be considerably altered, breaking the overall balance.

But this is the case when it used as a major microphone, and it can be very useful if it is used as a subsidiary role.

In fact, installing and using a subsidiary microphone at various distances and locations to solve a fundamental problem of close-micing is not limited to snare drums.

Using the microphone properly makes it easier to arrange the space of the drum sound, adds vitality to the drum performance that may dry up due to excessive processing, and can easily glue the distant drum parts into one sound.

In addition, sometimes it plays a major role, it is a famous anecdote that Gated Reverb is a technique created by accidentally blending the talkback microphone channel.

Usually, these microphones are installed at a distance from the drum to evenly capture the sound of the entire drum, and if the distance is far, the high range is attenuated, but the mid & low range is rich.

But the ‘rich’ also means sound is ‘blurred’, it can be sometimes harmful, or it can be a problem that is difficult to use live concert other than studio recording.

In such a situation, a snare side microphone is more convenient and useful.

SR-5 microphone installed from the ride cymbal’s direction to the side of the snare side.

It can be seen that the distance is slightly spaced apart from the snare, and the position is determined in consideration of the purpose of use and phase.

In the position shown in the picture above, the entire drum sound can be collected more evenly.

It is called snare drum side for convenience because the direction of the microphone is mainly directed to snare, but in reality, it is not simply targeted at the snare drum.

First of all, it is very suitable to use for gluing the entire drum, and it also has the advantage of not being blurred due to its relatively close distance.
Or, you can raise the kick & hihat sound more and mix it on this channel.
Of course, the side sound of snare itself is also usable.
There is no punch feeling, but it is easy to add a sense of color because there is plenty of resonance that is considered to be insufficient only by Top and Bottom.

The choice of microphone is determined by considering these various uses.

I usually choose from these three products: Beyerdynamic's M69TG and M88TG, and the SR-5 from the Stager-microphones.

When getting the snare side sound first, I tend to use the M69TG. And the M88TG when I want to get the hihat sound more actively, and SR-5 is a microphone that is not biased toward any one of these purposes and is evenly suitable for various uses.

  • SR-5 (Stager microphones)

The biggest difference between most other ribbon microphones and SR-5 is that the attack sound is plainly received sound signals. (Sometimes it feels stronger than a dynamic microphone.)

It is like the sound characteristics of the dynamic microphone at first glance, but it adds ribbon's unique naturalness and richness.
The most surprising thing is the low-frequency characteristics, and the low pitch of the kick that comes in when installed with the snare side microphone. It is wide enough to make you think it is coming out as stereo and comes out smooth.
In addition, the sound of SR-5 has a vividness that is difficult to explain simply in acoustic terms.

However, it seems that the air band is somewhat insufficient, perhaps due to the limitation of the ribbon microphone, but it is not a problem at all because it does not lose its softness and naturalness when compensated by EQ.
This is an advantage that can be felt the same in other all Stager-microphones, and you can check the technology from Stager-microphones which is a manufacturer specializing in ribbon microphones.
For reference, Stager-microphones offers a variety of live clip promotional videos using only its ribbon microphones, and it is impressive that SR-5 is used for both kick/bass amplifiers/other amplifiers/vocals. (What's interesting is that the vocal monitoring is done with PA rather than in-ear monitor, it’s like they feel confident about their products in a live-concert situation.)

Although the SR-5 is not the only case, the phase is something that cannot go unattended, but in the case of snare side, it is often difficult to distinguish clearly because it is not directly pointed at the target of attack.

Therefore, depending on the intention, it must be adjusted to where the desired sound comes out, or it must be changed to the direction whist considering the kick. (Ride direction <-> Hihat direction)

Alternatively, phase correction tools or non-linear phase EQ can be used to match the phase, and sometimes applying the HP filter boldly can be a better option.

In addition, there is a method of changing the arrangement of the harmonics using compressor or distortion, and it is important to have clear intentions because any last-minute touch-ups to the mix must be considered.

(In my experience, there were more times when it was aligned to the correct phase when it was at some distance than when it was closely attached to the snare side.)

The waveform when SR-5 is positioned on the snare side in the hihat direction.

The red color of the third channel in the middle of the picture is SR-5, and you can see that both the kick and the snare are evenly collected.
And, as you can see from the channel for kick and snare, you can see that the phase is also well aligned.

I said that a clear intention is important, so let me make an example of how the SR-5's snare side microphone can be used.
First of all, the 100Hz-180Hz band usually used as an important role in the presence of kick sound, but often overlaps with the base instrument, and if you boost and mix the SR-5’s band, it is reinforced very smoothly and improves the sense of space.
Snare's 300Hz-500Hz area is the main culprit for making the sound murky, but SR-5's side channel has abundant characteristics, making it suitable for completing a more natural snare sound with proper boost.

In addition, if the compressor is used ‘hard’ after boosting 10kHz with Shelving EQ, the attack of the hihat sound can be revived, and Due to the panned overhead microphone, there is an effect of gluing a hihat with a presence on the side to the central image.

Or it may be possible to boost the snare's attack and clarity by boosting above 5 kHz.

In some music, you may need to use gate boldly to mix, in which case SR-5's snare side channel is suitable for the harmony of the whole drum sound.
It plays the role of gluing by adding natural drum sounds to individual tracks that are somewhat awkwardly cut off due to the gate. (The proper use of the hard compressor here will make the effect even more noticeable.)

By the way, there was an artist who looked at the snare side microphone and said, “I don't think I need this microphone.”
And when he came back to me after a while, he said, "I loved the snare side channel. Let's use it again this time."

Again, SR-5 is an excellent choice as a microphone suitable for all these various applications. (The nuance of the kick is very very much useful.)
However, it can be used much more widely according to the intention of the sound engineer, so just refer to the above examples.

Frequency analyses of the snare side channel, which is received sound signals by SR-5.
Above was only hitting Snare, and below was hitting snare, Kick, and hihat at the same time.
When you look at the circled part, it is possible to guess to some extent how it can be used.

I talked about using it as a snare side microphone first, but in fact, the SR-5 is more valuable when it used as an electric guitar amplifier microphone. (The manufacturers say it is suitable for almost all types of sources, especially with vocals and guitars.)

I prefer to mix and use two or more microphones on the amplifier, and this method is easy to make rich sound.

However, there are many variables to consider, such as compatibility and phase between microphones, and there is a disadvantage that immediate sound making is inconvenient in terms of routing and processing.

To avoid this inconvenience, using only one microphone had to feel something was lacking, but SR-5 clearly solved that problem.

Personally, when selecting a microphone for an amplifier, dynamic is preferred over condenser. The reason is preferred over intuitive sound rather than rich sound, and SR-5 has both advantages, it is not insufficient to use it alone.

Using a single channel makes routing simpler with fewer variables, so all the processes such as changing the position or adding additional processing becomes very flexible, giving you room to focus on the sound itself.
SR-5's sound requires some EQ correction due to its somewhat insufficient airy frequency band, but as mentioned earlier, it can quickly complete any musical sound with changing naturally no matter how the tone is shaped.

For acoustic guitars, SR-5 also has great sound.
The previously introduced M201TG suits any strong performance with a silky touch, and the M160 stands out for the soft touching that contain more emotion. And SR-5 captures the lively sound regardless of any style.
Since this applies equally to any instrument, it is very suitable for getting band sounds, which are important elements of liveliness.

In addition, as recommended by the manufacturer, it can be used not only for instruments but also for vocals.
There's a strange feeling of being able to focus somewhere along with the personality different from the condenser microphone, which I think is the biggest advantage of SR-5.
It's not like I'm getting sound, it's like I'm putting music in it. (I think it's very useful in the process of composition where I have to focus more on the music itself.)

In most cases of choosing a microphone, a particular microphone is rarely "non-replaceable."
This is because different options are considered depending on the purpose.
This goes for SR-5 as well. which has been said to consider other microphones with the snare side microphone.

However, while writing, I suddenly thought about what would happen if I assumed that if I had to choose only one microphone. Among the various microphones, SR-5 has risen to the top. In addition, except for the condenser microphone, the options are even narrower.
Among these, if the price is not considered, I will choose the SR-5 without hesitation.


SR-5 Review (KR)