DJ Rxs big snare tutorial


New Member
Apr 7, 2009
Aight someone asked how to do a big snare so here´s my production techniques exposed the way I tend to do them:

1. First of all pick up a snare sample to your sampler that works as a "ground sound" for your snare.

2. Make sure the snare sample is beginning down right from the attack, some samples have some extra bits before the actual sample and you need the get rid of the extra bits in order to achieve tight sound. Adjust ADSR to make it sound right.

4. Tune it in the right pitch so it sound good in your track

5. Now take a second snare sample with a different timbre and qualities you want to sum up with the first sample. Once again check that the sample starts from the attack. Make the necessary adjustments with ADSR.

6. Next go to the pitch and carefully pitch the 2nd sample up and down few cents at a time and listen how they lock into each other. As these two samples play together they comb filter each other.

In some pitches the freqs are summed up, in others they are canceled. Think of this operation as sort of EQ:n the sound. While changing the 2nd snare pitch you´ll soon hit the sweet spots, which can be found in different pitches. What you want is the beefy bottom end and nice timbre in the upper freqs. Find and pick a sweet spot of your choice.

7. Next play both samples on their own and analyze what kind properties each sample bring to the summed sound. Carefully mix them together.

8. Depending on the samples, you can repeat these steps as many times as possible, I usually use 2 - 6 different samples summed together depending what kind of character I´m looking for the snare. Mix the samples together. Remember that you can use different ADSR settings to extract different attributes from each sample you use.

9. Next step is to find a high attack sample, It can be a gunshot sample, ch, ride or any other sample that has high attack in it.

10. Once again check that the sample starts from the attack, in order to make the snare sound tight.

11. Go to ADSR envelope and put Attack to 0, Decay to a very low value, Sustain to 0 or very low value and Release to a low value in order to avoid click and pops

12. Set the Decay value in such way that you´ll only segregate the attack from the sample. Only few ms are needed from the sample.

13. Add it to the summed snare sound, change the pitch and find a sweet spot. Mix the attack and the whole lot together.

14. Next go to the effects section, this is an optional part so exclude this one if you think you do not need to make the sound extra fat. Find LFO and put it in a high rate. Go to mod matrix and modulate subtle the pitch of a sample. Adjust the LFO rate and pitch amount to find the right spot. The modulation should not be heard but the sample should sound fatter. Repeat this in all snare layers but not with the attack layer.

If the sound doesn´t sound good anymore, remove some of the modulation from the layers or make modulation more subtle.

15. Off to the channel strip, EQ first. Cut the low freqs out and boost the 180-220 area. This is the are where the fundamental freq is. Multiply fundamential freq by two and remove dBs from that frequency.

Scan though the upper freqs by boosting an band +12dB and sweep trough the eq area. When you find freqs that are heavily boosted by the sweep take few dBs out of that freq. The 330Hz, 500Hz and 1000Hz are freqs you should especially be very careful with.

16. I presume in this tutorial that you know how to use compressors, as going into details would take too long. Compress the sound with VERY moderate settings. Use moderate attack and release rates, compress only few dBs. At this point we only want to make very subtle compression to tame the sound.

17. Use distortion plug or a saturation plug to subtle saturation, DO NOT over kill the sound.

18. Create another Bus channel, put a Chorus or Flanger into insert and mix it in. EQ and compress the channel if needed. Mix some Chorus or Flanger in. The effect should be ALMOST inaudible, the focus is to gain some debt and extra weight into the original sound.

19. Create another Bus channel, put an EQ, reverb and compressor into insert and mix it into the original channel same way as you did the Chorus / Flanger channel. Again the effect should be ALMOST inaudible, the focus is to gain some debt and extra weight into the original sound.

20. Create yet another bus channel and direct the original sample channel into it. Use heavy compression on the channel. At this point we are parallel compressing (also called NY compressing) the sound. Crank down the threshold and set the attack and release to exaggerate the attack.

21. Repeat the steps 18 and 19 with parallel channel using the same busses.

22. Create another Bus channel (SUM channel) and direct the original channel, parallel channel and the FX channels to that Bus SUM channel. Mix all tracks together.

23. EQ, compress and sature the summed sound suitable for your needs.

24. Bounce the outcome. You´re all done!

25. After doing few of these, sum them up the same manner ;)

So there it is, there´s additional techniques that I didn´t want to include into this tutorial, feel free to bring them up in this thread.

Feedback and questions are always welcome! Remember these techniques can be applied to all percussive elements. If you decide to copy/paste this into somewhere, please add the author name (DJ Rx) and the link to this thread as well!

Enjoy! :not_worth
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Anyone second that?

I must underline that this is just one technique to produce big percussive elements. I´m sure there´s million+ ways to do this, however this is how I´ve learned to do all this. I reckon the best way to judge my production techniques is to try them yourself and evaluate the outcome :)
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I myself find a snare that sounds higher and almost like a shuffle and highpass that over a low sounding snare.

Works fine... but this might help
I myself find a snare that sounds higher and almost like a shuffle and highpass that over a low sounding snare.

Works fine... but this might help

Yeah I used to do things like that as well, took me few years to get this right, so please do try this one, makes world of difference!
pretty complex way of making a snare!! i just get my trusty old phat snare i use on almost every track, then find another interesting snare and eq it over the top. apart from a few tweaks, thats all i do,
Tbh this method does look a bit daunting an seems a lil ott, i hear ya on the pitch correction while layering snares but most the fx seem a lil unnessesary but before i judge i will test out this method an get bak to you.
I pieced together my drums about a year ago and with every tune i make i keep beefing them up, some times tho i just spend a few hours screwin about making a new drum loop, yet the outcome is always the same cause its the way i know.
Would be good to have more techniques on makin drums. Have you got any tunes so i can hear how effective this method is??
Most of it is relevant, id do quite alot of what he is sayin, i still dont think that anymoer than 2-3 snares are needed tho, you mention about samples cancelling other freq out of other samples, so it would be easier to keep to a few snares rather than 2 - 6 like stated.

not sure on using LFO on them tho, will have to try this out and see what happens, but i couldnt imagine that working?

Post up some tunage brah give us some examples ;)
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