There are plenty of ‘do-it-all’ microphones that people use for a range of drum applications in order to get the job done. But, the problem with these microphones is that they are often the same ones being used on guitar amplifiers, as well as a host of other instruments too. So, why would you use a guitar microphone on a drum when both sound sources are vastly different in volume, tone and dynamics? If you really want to do your drum sound justice, then considering a microphone that is designed for the purpose is going to be the best starting point, particularly for the snare drum. That is why the MXL A-5S is such a good addition to any microphone kit, given that it is purposely voiced for a snare sound.
BANG THE DRUM
I don’t think I need to point out just how different the sound of a snare drum is to the toms or the kick drum. It has a unique characteristic that makes it such an integral sound of most drum kits and one that you want to stand out from all the others. The MXL A-5S comes into play as a dynamic microphone that is voiced just for this purpose. It is capable of extremely high sound pressure levels, allowing it to be set up very close to the drum head and used with even the heaviest of hitters. Hitting the snare and listening will tell you what I am banging on about. The A-5S delivers a warm, punchy mid-range with plenty of sizzle that grabs the snare sound and propels it forward in the mix. It’s great how it captures so much definition and clarity, allowing you to peel back any unwanted frequencies to match it up with the other drum sounds in the kit.
The easy mounting ring that is included allows for the A-5S to be snapped onto the side rim of a snare in a moment and a quick adjustment of the capsule’s angle means you are all set to go. The rugged housing is strong enough to take the occasional wild stick shot, although it can’t do much to reject the big sound when this does happen. It’s tighter-than-usual cardioid pickup pattern ensures there is plenty of side rejection from other sound sources, but doesn’t reject the sound of a stick cracking across the casing. But, you can’t win them all.
Hits and Misses
Great voicing for use on snare drums
Compact, drum mounted dynamic microphone
Capable of handling very high sound pressure levels
A little limited with use on other instruments