The snare that will punch shit out of you

Quotec

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#1
Right.

To get a proper banger one should pay attention to drums. I don´t find myself struggling with kick but it´s always snare that kills me. I heard of many techniques to get a good punchy-cut-through-with-a-nice-top snare. Peeps do layering, some use only one sample, some prefer to stay "natural" and some boost and compress like nuts. None of these techniques really helped me to get a snare I want. I have managed to make it punchy and cutting through the mix, but my snare sound really dull, I can never get the 2kHz and above area right. Or then it´s the mid range that gets me into trouble. How do you go about your snares?
 

bdrensk

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#2
Probably layering a punchy 808 or 909 with an acoustic snare. Leave the "snap"(peak) of the analogue snare mono (with mid side EQ) and the acoustic "tail" stereo. Fab filter is great for that. Saw this technique in the Mefjus masterclass and generally it works.
 

smoothassilk

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#7
I find managing the transients hard. Either I have too much transient and it eats up all the headroom, (sounds great, but ruins loudness of the body) or I compress too much and I lose it.

Recently, I've made an improvement using volume automation on the snare, after I've layered some stuff together, (usually 2 or 3 snares, one for snappy transient, one for powerful body, one for nice white noise top end) sorted out fade in and fade outs, compressed the crap out of it. (attack on the compression is hugely important for transients)

Then cause I'm a noob and can't hear these things without seeing them myself, I render and look at the waveform. Usually I have a massive transient peak, so I use volume automation to lower it to about the level of the body of the snare, then I can normalize and get headroom back.
 

Mania

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#9
^yes. its more likely you have a poor listening environment that makes it more difficult rather than you being a noob
 
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#10
multi band compression will give your snare everything it wants, compress bands of the snare - low, low mid, mid, mid mid, high mid, high.
This is what I do for my drums, tbh maybe even a little too much, Its hard to get levels right, just having the snare too quiet or too loud by just a few db's can drastically alter the sound, transients etc -
 

Serum

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#11
If my snare isn't toppy enough I tend to layer a clap or a snare that has the right tops then take the bottom end out of it. The number of layers depends on what's going on with each sample.

Distorting sounds will make the tops cut through too so that's worth a go.
 

Quotec

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#12
Thanks guys, some worth ideas! Layering a clap and distorting sounds worked wonders but now the snare sounds too snappy. In the case I want to make rather a dancefloor puncher snare like Camo&Krooked did few years ago, should I be more focusing on upper mid area where supposedly punch frequencies lie?
 

smoothassilk

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#13
Thanks guys, some worth ideas! Layering a clap and distorting sounds worked wonders but now the snare sounds too snappy. In the case I want to make rather a dancefloor puncher snare like Camo&Krooked did few years ago, should I be more focusing on upper mid area where supposedly punch frequencies lie?
Don't just think about it in terms of highs, mids and lows. You also have to consider time as well: the sharp, clicky attack and the body/tail. In that order.
 

Saftstein

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#16
I'm still trying to figure out how e.g. Smooth or Fred V & Grafix are layering their snares. I had success on some heavy neuro snares with layering distorted sounds (even an amp made a great sound) but i can't figure out how to make those snares that have this punchy feeling but are still sounding soft and calm.
Examples would be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GZQQcpoWR4 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WOi5IRuO7Y
Maybe anyone could help me on this, thanks :)
 

smoothassilk

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#17
I'm still trying to figure out how e.g. Smooth or Fred V & Grafix are layering their snares. I had success on some heavy neuro snares with layering distorted sounds (even an amp made a great sound) but i can't figure out how to make those snares that have this punchy feeling but are still sounding soft and calm.
Examples would be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GZQQcpoWR4 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WOi5IRuO7Y
Maybe anyone could help me on this, thanks :)
I wouldn't use much distortion if I were you.
Layering, eq and compression ought to be enough to get phatness and punch.
Perhaps post a few of your snares you've made and see if anyone here can find out where you're going wrong?
 

Saftstein

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#18
I wouldn't use much distortion if I were you.
Layering, eq and compression ought to be enough to get phatness and punch.
Perhaps post a few of your snares you've made and see if anyone here can find out where you're going wrong?
Thanks for the help man! Yes i do a lot of layering, eqing but hardly any compression. I've tried it a several times but i've never been successful with it.
Anyways, i've uploaded 3 snares here: https://soundcloud.com/since-now/snares/s-H5wUu

First Snare is my liquid layer, i think i've been layering like 15 snares (isn't that way too much? lol) on this one. The second one is the neuro snare which was based on the first snare but layered with distorted hits, i was quite happy with this one in this neuro tune though... Third one is an older layer which doesn't sound too bad i think, but i haven't been using it for like a year.
Thank you :)
 

smoothassilk

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#19
Thanks for the help man! Yes i do a lot of layering, eqing but hardly any compression. I've tried it a several times but i've never been successful with it.
Anyways, i've uploaded 3 snares here: https://soundcloud.com/since-now/snares/s-H5wUu

First Snare is my liquid layer, i think i've been layering like 15 snares (isn't that way too much? lol) on this one. The second one is the neuro snare which was based on the first snare but layered with distorted hits, i was quite happy with this one in this neuro tune though... Third one is an older layer which doesn't sound too bad i think, but i haven't been using it for like a year.
Thank you :)
Different producers use different techniques. I wouldn't layer 15 snares together, I would use 3 or 4 and every one has a very, very specific purpose: one is just for the snappy transient, so I slice it and put a very short fade out on it to remove most of the snare and just keep the inital attack. One is for body, which I put a fade in on so it doesn't interfere with the transient one, and I'll probably boost this snare at it's fundamental (use a frequency analyst) and lowpass it, maybe a little distortion before the lowpass. Then I'll add a highpassed third snare with a nice sounding top end and a tail, again fade in to prevent it interfering with the transient one. Make sure that all the snares are the right volume.

Then I render and compress the shit out of it. Doubtless someone on here will know better than me on this, but I currently use threshold below -25, ratio above 25:1, release below 15ms and attack between 1 and 5ms. The attack setting makes a huge, huge difference because if you set it to 5ms, you'll end up with a huge peak at the beginning of the snare, which eats all the headroom and if you set it to 1 or 0 ms, the transient will be totally squashed and eliminated. That's why I tend to set the attack closer to 5ms, then render and use a transient shaper or volume automation to control the peak level: it's more accurate than fiddling with the attack knob.
Then, to finish off, I add some multiband compression and eq some more to try and clean it up and bit and get frequency balance right.

Your method will probably work too, but it can be a bit unreliable and doesn't give you as much control over the character of the snare.

I say all this shit, but I don't actually know whether it's right or not? Can someone back me up and confirm that I'm not talking bollocks?
 

Saftstein

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#20
Thank you mr. smoothassilk!
Your method sounds really solid to me! I think it's important to have control of your sounds and not layering random snares that sound good (like me).
When fading the body of the snare, does it mean you fade away the punchy first part of the layer?
May i ask if you use typical snare hits from typical packs or if you just layer what you find that sounds good? Also what compressor do you use? I always went with the standard ableton compressor.
 
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