I'm having trouble with ghost snares at the moment. I have a pretty processed main snare, and I don't know how to make a ghost snare that still sounds like the main snare but avoid the 'machine gun' effect they mention.
I've tried doing a round robin with 4 snares pitched up/down somewhere between 0 and half a semitone, plus different velocity levels
Smoothassilk, have you tried do a bit of EQ on the ghost notes? Primarily using a high-shelf to lower the high-end response, snares are snares because they have snares attached; when the drum is struck with less velocity, the snares don't rattle as much, you get a slightly dimmer sound in addition to the lower volume & pitch variations.
Turn its volume down, high pass filter, and reduce the decay/sustain. Bit of eq to make it a bit different. I'd tune mine by cents, as a semitone starts to sound melodic up/down/up/down to me. You might also try adding a touch of distortion to the main snare, but not the ghost. If you've reverb on the main snare, turn it down too for the ghosts. Increase its attack sdightly to dull the initial transient. Anything and everything to make it feel like a softer, gentler version.
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Also, possibly tuning the ghosts lower. I'm not entirely certain now, but I think the skin of the head gets stretched and vibrates faster on harder hits.. anyone know?
A lot of producers use seperate breaks for their ghost snares. The whole point being that they should add a little more of the human element. If that's not what your going for then yeah, less velocity, shorter hits, hipass/lopass. If you've layered your snares then maybe take one or more layers off for the ghost. Or try using a different softer sample or something glitchy instead.
Personally, I'm quite fond of making more intricate kick arrangements which tend to leave less space for ghost snares, I've also been known to use toms instead on occasion, mainly for dubstep though.