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making a real snare sound great - tutorial

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by dcb, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. dcb

    dcb nerd

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    -------------------------------------------------------------
    UPADTE : HERE IS THE GUITAR / BASS KEMPER PATCH FOR THAT SONG !

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3233582/Uebersound Kemper Patches/Uebersound Kemper Patches.rar
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    ive gotten a lot of requests about how i got this snare sound recorded in this room (im left, drummer is hannes from conjoined twin octopus) :

    the starting point was less than optimal. i only used a top snare mic, no fancy preamp... we didnt even tune the snare (though the snare sounded pretty good in the room. im not really a fan of picollo snares, but this one ruled!)

    [​IMG]

    the final product sounds like this :



    pretty good, huh?

    so how do i make my snare sound great?

    easy way would be (like EVERYONE does nowadays, load up trigger and use a premade sample by steven slate). this is a great way, and i often have to go that route, but its also a very static. a real snare, with all the articulation a great drummer can add real "feel" to your song.
    so i give you my whole chain that i used on this snare, maybe it works for you, maybe you have to tweak a few settings.

    TUTORIAL - HOW DO MIX SNARE ? :

    1 ( DRY SNARE )

    this is how the snare sounds unprocessed. boring, but its a great starting point. the bleed is unfortunately a little extreme. but it does work in the mix.



    2 (USING A NOISE GATE)

    i think you all know how to setup a gate. i use the ssl duende drumstrip gate. att 0.00 , rel 0.13, hold 0.00, open -26, close -26, range 13 db.
    (youll hear a little reverb going on, thats up to taste but actually came from the overall kit reverb, i forgot to turn that of when exporting for this tutorial)



    3 (USING TAPE FOR HIGH END FOCUS)

    i used the uad ampex ATR 102 because i absolutely love it for high end enhancement. the snare itself is a littel dull, so i loaded up the CHUCK AINLEY preset and tweaked the HF Shelfs to taste, so i got a nice balance between the bleeding hihats/cymbals and a nice attack on the snare hits.
    you really have to tweak around to find the perfect setting for your own snare.

    here is the preset i made

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3233582/UM/UEBERSOUND STUDIOS - SNARE ENHANCEMENT.fxp

    and heres how it sounds :



    4 (DRASTIC EQUALIZING)

    next i shaped the focus of the snare to give it more edge.
    i used the ssl duende eq channel with some more gating.

    [​IMG]

    i boosted the high end 12 db @ 8 khz to give the snare more crack,
    the compressor helped even more to make the snare pop. i also added a good bunch of dbs (6) @ 200 hz to give the snare more body.

    here is how it sounds :


    5 (TRANSIENT DESIGNER)

    now to add a little more life to the snare, i love expanding the sustain part of a snare. i use the spl transient designer for thsi task. it ads a little more attack about +3 but more important i add +13 of sustain. the transient designer is a simple 3 knob plugin. i recommend to get that (i use it on my uad card) its an absolute musthave for me!



    6 (MORE TRICKERY)

    now what i do to make the snare more interesting, i ususally blend in the sustain of my favorite snare drumsamples (even single shot samples work great). you could also add just the bottom of one of your favorite "fat" samples to give the snare more weight. i often do that kind of stuff.
    in this case it wasnt necesarry.

    though what i did was some more parallel processing :

    i sent toms, kick and snare to a new aux and nuked the hell out of it, for even more sustain. i cranked the waves cla 76 (i love this plugin to death!)
    all button mode and mixed this underneath the original. makes the signal more exciting and sounds as if the drummer hits the snare super hard.



    FINAL WORDS:

    i hope this little tutorial helps you guys and maybe well hear some more real drums over here again. sample enhancement is cool. but personally am sick of completely slat-ized drumkits. to me, a real snare feels totally different thatn a replaced kit. brings back emotion (to my ears at least)!

    have fun guys!
     
    #1 dcb, Mar 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2015
  2. TimPio

    TimPio Member

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  3. tempe

    tempe Captain Midnight

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    Great tutorial man, although you forgot the number one ingredient which is something that at least stops me from using completely natural snares as much as I would like to. The Drummer has to be able to hit the damn thing extremely hard and extremely consistently for the genre of music we're making.

    Unfortunately if the drummer sucks you've screwed the pooch without even pressing record. The guy from the band you posted sounds like he can play though!
     
  4. dcb

    dcb nerd

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    thanks! yeah, theres lots of reasons and of course first and foremost the drummer dictates if youll end up using the close mics or not.
    when you have to shitloads of editing, its probably not a great idea and youd be better of replacing everthing.

    but nevertheless, going the natural route can give your project a really unique identity. if the musicians suck though i would decline the job ;-)!
     
  5. CubanDude

    CubanDude not really cuban

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    sick! great tutorial, thanks a lot!
     
  6. tempe

    tempe Captain Midnight

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    Definitely, I think there's a point very early on where you decide what sort of project it's going to be. I spend a lot of time making my own samples and trying to blend different things together on every job as nothing annoys me more than kick10 / snare12a on everything!

    I wish I was fortunate enough to work with better musicians but if I turned down the job every time I encountered a shitty band I'd be living in a box under a bridge!
     
  7. tempe

    tempe Captain Midnight

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    Also definitely backing the saturation + transient designer combo, try switching up the chain a bit it can be really cool.

    I've been messing around with this;
    Subtractive EQ
    Transient designer boosting attack and sustain
    Lots of saturation
    Compressor
    Additional EQ
     
  8. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    thanks for posting, i definitely dig the drum sounds on the kemper clip.
     
  9. heshian46

    heshian46 Member

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    Great post. Its nice to hear how a real snare can come to life.
     
  10. Emdprodukt

    Emdprodukt Member of Dude Castle 69

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    Thank you very much! Its obvious that the drummer was really good and your raw tracks are pretty awesome on their own. You said you used an I5 on that snare. Would love top know more about the micing!
     
  11. MetalMiller

    MetalMiller ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Awesome! Would you mind sharing the snare snippet? (unprocessed)
     
  12. aviel

    aviel Member

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    wow. what snare is that? i cant find any snare on SD 2 that sounds raw like that and dont have all that overtones
     
  13. osum

    osum Misanthrope

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    Great thread, thanks!
     
  14. xTomx

    xTomx Member

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    Good post, I'd add that a good deal of your snare should be coming from your overheads too.

    Just requires adjusting mic distance so your snare sits centered in your stereo image and is equidistant to your OH mics.
     
  15. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    Thanks for this Daniel, the result is awesome and it's nice to see how you got there! Definitely stealing the tape bit in step 2 for top end!

    You could get your gate working even more effectively by some rough midi triggering; you wouldn't have to even check that each hit was dead-on, just that no extra hits were there, and have it open the gate 3-5ms before the hit.
     
  16. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    ^you could also copy the snare track and move it a few ms before the actual snare, then sidechain it to the gate. if you don't want to mess with midi and have a clean enough snare track
     
  17. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    That's the same as triggering a gate with a bit of lookahead from the original track. The MIDI would guarantee it isn't triggering the gate with kick/cymbal hits like it is now.
     
  18. dcb

    dcb nerd

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    yeah, thats a really good tip! i must admit usually i edit the snare track by hand if needed. in this case it worked. but the midi thing is a really cool tip!

    yeah, im amazed what the uad tapesim can do, its one of the most effective highend eqs itb !
     
  19. heshian46

    heshian46 Member

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    ...although you can definitely hear the snare is out of tune on the raw track. Only minor though, it gets lost in the processing by the end. Nonetheless, a great sounding natural snare.
     
  20. AllanD

    AllanD boom tap boom-boom tap

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    I'm assuming the MIDI is created from a trigger track right?




    To OP: Great post.
     

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