New Toys: Lauten Audio Snare Mic

Lauten Audio’s Snare Mic is a phantom-powered FET condenser microphone specifically-designed for snare drums. It has a 32-mm diameter capsule, cardioid polar pattern and a 20-Hz to 20-kHz response. It has a high dynamic range and is capable of handling very loud sound of 135dB SPL minimum.  It has up to 28dB of off-axis sound rejection to minimize leakage from other parts of the drum kit—actually all sound.

Measuring only 4.2-inches long, Snare Mic’s diminutive size allows new possible placement locations all around the snare drum. The included quick start guide shows three placement suggestions (starting places) and the sounds you’ll get in those positions. Snare drum sound changes drastically with small distance differences (proximity effects), aiming angles and the inherent directional characteristics of this mic.  

For further sound shaping and exactly “dialing in,” Snare Mic has two, three-position filter switches located right on the mic’s body. There is a high-pass filter with Flat, 80Hz, or 140Hz choices and a low-pass filter with: Flat, 5-kHz, and 12-kHz choices.

These filters modify the behavior of the mic itself. Various combinations of these two switches actually change the microphone’s sensitivity above and below their cutoff frequencies but without altering the “shape” of the cardioid polar pickup pattern.

In our tests, we found the Snare Mic produced a very flattering snare drum sound for our 6 ½ by 14-inch Ludwig Black Beauty. My drummer (a studio engineer/owner) remarked that it usually takes at least two mics to get the sound we got with the one Lauten Snare Mic.

We also tried all three of the suggested starting positions in the included (.pdf) guide and I liked the 30-40-degree angle with the mic about two inches just over the rim. This produces both a solid low frequency punch and also added a good “crack” to the sound. I ended up for the particular song, using the 80-Hz position on the HPF to reduce some of the subsonic energy leakage from the kick.

A worthwhile addition to your mic collection and strictly for a good snare drum sound, the Lauten Snare Mic is designed and tested in California and sells for $398 US Street price.