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Ed, how do you get that "CLICK/SNAP" on drum tracks?
Old 11th November 2005
Gear Addict
radiant's Avatar

Ed, how do you get that "CLICK/SNAP" on drum tracks?

I've got a question that has been haunting me for a while.

Getting great drum tones on tape is paramount of course but how do you get that snap/click sound out of the Toms/Snare/Kick etc. on the attack? I’m a drummer so to me the “pop” sounds unnatural on modern pop/rock records but very pleasing.

I've tried my own techniques to achieve this with EQ and compression but just can't quite get it. I remember seeing a thread about this many moons ago somewhere. The guy explaining it talked about cloning tracks and using gates on the transients etc. Is there an easier way to achieve it? Do you process the attack only? Could a transient designer be all I need to get "that sound"?
Old 11th November 2005
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Ed Cherney's Avatar

Hi Radiant......having a good sounding kit, and a drummer that knows how to hit....oohh, always the best and easiest way. But, that rarely being the case, maybe I can help. Transient Designer is an excellent box, especially if you need more (or less) harmonics and more (or less) attack. You need to get a good EQ curve on kick and snare, certainly. The kick usually requires a pretty good dip in the 120 to 400 or 500 Hz range, a peak at the fundamental, usually around 70 to 90 Hz, and some brader boost in the 2.5 to 6KHz range. The snare depends, but I usually have to add some shelving top, a dip in the 1Khz and some sharp boosting or cutting somewhere else (depending on the sound of the drum) to either boost or cut ringing, cymbal leakage, etc. I usually don't compress the kick, unless the dynamics are so wild that they need to be reigned in. I do like to compress the snare, though. 1176 works good, especially to get some gooooooosh. Usually 8:1, medium to slow attack and fairly quick release. The amount of compression depends on the track and how radical you want to get. I do take a mult of the kick and snare, though, and compress (or limit) and EQ and gate the bejesus out of them. Usually I peak the low end and upper midrange of the kick, and add it to the original kick.....I use the original to retain some of the natural dynamics that the drummer played, and use the heavily processed one to keep it present. I'll also use a Transient Designer on the multed snare and crank up the harmonics and then mix into the original snare to get some action on it. The truth is though, you can't always tell what the drums need until you actually try to put music around them. If it's a rocking guitar heavy track, you obviously need more snap to get them to cut. If it's a ballad, or jazz, etc. it's easier to let them just sound natural and not have to squeeze them as much. It's really out of desperation....that I just keep trying different things until it feels, more than sounds, but feels right. You just have to be a bulldog and not let go......and that usually means trial and error until you land on the elusive "thing" that makes it work.
Old 13th November 2005
Gear Addict
radiant's Avatar

Thanks so much Ed. I couldn't have asked for a better response! Great, informative post. Much appreciated!

Old 28th November 2005
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by Ed Cherney
having a good sounding kit, and a drummer that knows how to hit....oohh, always the best and easiest way.
Could you elaborate on "knows how to hit"? I'd rather train drummers than mess around with lots of processing. That is, what is it about the way a great drummer plays that would eliminate the need for subsequent processing to achieve the desired click/snap or what is a typical drummer doing wrong to create the need for such processing? I welcome responses from any of the guest mods. Thanks.
Old 1st December 2005
Here for the gear

Being that BFD is basically a dry recording of drums, I applied some of Ed's EQ suggestions last night. I turned a very disappointing, lack-luster kick sound into a great sounding kick! I will apply his suggestions to snare tonight.

Much thanks for sharing ideas, Ed!
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