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How do u get that magic snare sound? Dynamic Microphones
Old 15th November 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 
iamproof's Avatar
 

How do u get that magic snare sound?

ok so i been trying to acheive that magic drum sound for a while now and not havin much luck...dont get me wrong ive done some nice sounding mixes with great cymbals but theres still somthin i'm missin i think with compression of the whole drum mix so the snare really reacts with the other sounds? i'm trying to get that beautiful poping snare sound. hard hiting but yet soft at the same time(no wat i mean?)...drum replacment is defin the sound i'm looking for but ive tried loads and loads of samples but cant get that magic snare. I was listening to a band called The Classic Crime...and their snare sound was pretty much exactly wat im lookin for......it sounds a bit fakeish but it works well.....i think its from a drum machine possibly Roland td series? anyone care to take a guess........here is the link........check the song 'the fight'

http://www.myspace.com/theclassiccrime

if anyone can offer some help in getting the magic snare sound it would be much appreciated........
Old 15th November 2006
  #2
Gear addict
 
the russian's Avatar
 

It's 90% how the drum is tuned believe it or not. Figure out what kind of snare he uses!
Old 15th November 2006
  #3
w2w
Lives for gear
 
w2w's Avatar
 

Cmon...this one is easy....just get: A Magic Snare!! Available only in this limited TV offer!! Call Now!!!!
Old 15th November 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I've come to realize over the years that comb filtering has been kicking my ass royally. I always thought the whole "sart with the room" was kind fo stupid, but its really more important than any mic or preamp or mix technique. Build about 10 baffles on stands, and put them all around the drums. Really tightens things up.
After that, its gets a little easier. I'm still not nailing it perfectly, but its made me a lot closer. Snares like a little distortion on them too. Vintage warmer works well sometimes.
Old 15th November 2006
  #5
Gear addict
 

Like a previous poster said, it's all in the size and tuning of a drum. A 5.5"x12" 20 ply snare will never sound like that one in the recording. Even the right snare drum tuned really tight with the snares tuned tight will never sound like that.

I'd reccommend getting a 6.5" (or 7") x 14" 6, 8, or 10 ply snare and tune it "fat". Basically tune the bottom head as low as you can and still get a ring out of it when struck and tune the top head accordingly. Also loosen the snares as much as possible without rattling.

I had trouble with this too until I got my '70s Gretsch 8x14 6 ply snare and learned how to tune it. I can tune it way fat and it sounds great for rock or jazz or I can tune the top head up a bit and it will sound kinda like that recording you posted.

Basically get the natural sound of the snare drum 90% of where you want it before you start thinking about effects.
Old 16th November 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
 
uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
Basically get the natural sound of the snare drum 90% of where you want it before you start thinking about effects.
The natural sound of the snare drum doesn't come off a tiny section of the top head where the mic is pointed. It comes from the whole drum. Ever since I started using a mic in front of the kit, maybe 3 feet out, 3 - 5 feet high, the snare sounds great. There's a sweet spot out there. If you've got isolation headphones, have the drummer play a beat at a low to moderate volume and move the mic around. Suddenly the snare sounds like a snare.
Also, you can pull the snare mic off the drum so it's also seeing the side of the shell. Works great if you want less thump and more whack.
Old 16th November 2006
  #7
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BradM's Avatar
Two important points have been made that I totally agree with:

1. Phase cancellation due to early reflections and crappy room tone will kill your drum sound. I recently got my live room acoustics straightened out (more bass trapping and strategic placement of diffusors) and did some tests recording drums in various areas of the room. I found that placing the drums in the livlier half of my room on top of a hard reflective drum riser gave me the most natural and punchiest drum sound for my room. I actually picked up less room ambience in the overheads in this half of the room too. It seems counterintuitive, but the diffuse room reflections were being absorbed by the more absorptive half of the room and not bouncing back into the close mics. Other positions in the room sounded phased out in comparison. Placing the drums on carpet sounded like absolute crap by the way.

2. A good snare sound is a combination of overhead mics, close mics and various distant/room mics. Jamming a mic 2" from the top head does not give you a huge popping snare sound. It gives you a "donk" sound with too much low mids IMO. On a recent session I found that the snare "magic" came largely from an SM57 I had pointed at the drummer's ass from a couple feet away. That coupled with a distant room mic that was squashed with a Distressor really filled out the snare sound and gave it some size.

Create your own unique snare magic. The bottom line is that the sound of the room and the tuning of the drums is going to color things much more than you can EQ or compress the sound.

Brad
Old 16th November 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 

That's a good reminder! I've been tracking all the drums on a rug for the last god knows how long. I'm going to try taking the rug off tomorrow.

I listened to that song on laptop speakers so my judgement might be rather off. The song has that weirdly very tuned and very quantized sound so much of the radio has these days. Sounds like a sample with dynamics tracking off and sounds like it has a lot of tranient "poke" to it which can be done with a VCA compressor like a dbx slammed really hard and maybe gated or a transient designer or a plugin knockoff. Upper mids and perhaps some 8kish stuff is your friend for making drums cut through a mix though it can make them thin very quickly too. Cut 900ish stuff to rid of the iness of the ring if needed. As said before, above all, learn to tune the drum right. There's tiny a bit of ring left in the snare and that will sound horrid if the drum is out of tune. That's something you can't really fix in the mix unless you totally replace the drums which sounds weird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Two important points have been made that I totally agree with:

1. Phase cancellation due to early reflections and crappy room tone will kill your drum sound. I recently got my live room acoustics straightened out (more bass trapping and strategic placement of diffusors) and did some tests recording drums in various areas of the room. I found that placing the drums in the livlier half of my room on top of a hard reflective drum riser gave me the most natural and punchiest drum sound for my room. I actually picked up less room ambience in the overheads in this half of the room too. It seems counterintuitive, but the diffuse room reflections were being absorbed by the more absorptive half of the room and not bouncing back into the close mics. Other positions in the room sounded phased out in comparison. Placing the drums on carpet sounded like absolute crap by the way.

2. A good snare sound is a combination of overhead mics, close mics and various distant/room mics. Jamming a mic 2" from the top head does not give you a huge popping snare sound. It gives you a "donk" sound with too much low mids IMO. On a recent session I found that the snare "magic" came largely from an SM57 I had pointed at the drummer's ass from a couple feet away. That coupled with a distant room mic that was squashed with a Distressor really filled out the snare sound and gave it some size.

Create your own unique snare magic. The bottom line is that the sound of the room and the tuning of the drums is going to color things much more than you can EQ or compress the sound.

Brad
Old 16th November 2006
  #9
Neve 33609 and maybe a PCM60 or 70.
Old 16th November 2006
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by the russian View Post
It's 90% how the drum is tuned believe it or not. Figure out what kind of snare he uses!

And 90% how the drum is played...
Old 16th November 2006
  #11
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

you guys that are pointing your snare mic down at the head, take note: put the capsule about 1 to 2" up off the head, even with the rim or a little past it, and point it *straight across* the drum. if you're using a 57, e.g., the 57 will be parallel to the skin.

enjoy.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 16th November 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k View Post
you guys that are pointing your snare mic down at the head, take note: put the capsule about 1 to 2" up off the head, even with the rim or a little past it, and point it *straight across* the drum. if you're using a 57, e.g., the 57 will be parallel to the skin.

enjoy.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
this placement works really good . lots of crack
Old 16th November 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
picksail's Avatar
 

With the assumption that the source/performer are adequate, then try using an SPL Transient Designer or the software equivalent, Waves TransX, to shape the envelope.

This way you can most definitely get the transient response you so desire. After which, you can follow the newly acquired sound with compression of your choice if you choose to then, tame it a bit to sit properly within the mix.
Old 16th November 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
Yep, the snare itself.

Go to a bunch of vintage drum stores, and bang on a couple HUNDRED snares until you find 'the one.'

A few engineer/producer buddies of mine were looking for a gift for me once, and they did just that. Best present I ever got (it's a 60s Ludwig somethingorother). Here's a sample of some tracking I did with it recently in this thread: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/93713-approach-when-tracking-mixing-drums.html.
Old 16th November 2006
  #15
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Bounce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k View Post
you guys that are pointing your snare mic down at the head, take note: put the capsule about 1 to 2" up off the head, even with the rim or a little past it, and point it *straight across* the drum. if you're using a 57, e.g., the 57 will be parallel to the skin.

enjoy.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
I often start here with toms as well. Gives punch and body. If I need more depth/body, I'll angle a bit towards the center of the drum head where the lowest fundamental and overtones are :-)
Old 16th November 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
GearHunter's Avatar
 

Ditto: The drum, the tuning, the way you hit it. That's all before you even get a mic out of the closet.
Old 16th November 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
The way the drummer hits the snare drum is everything!

Try a Beyer M-422 mic for your snare drum, freak'n magic from a single mic, even works on crappy cheap snare drums.
Old 16th November 2006
  #18
Gear Nut
 
iamproof's Avatar
 

ok some great tips guys......the only thing is the snare sound we recorded was **** so snare replacment is the only option for me unless i re-record the snare at home but i cant really be assed to go thru it slicing and syncing it up to the original......i have a lot of snare samples including larry seyer drums and dfhs but they just aint kuttin it...i mean they sound good enough on its own but then i bring in the rest of the instruments and it just gets lost a bit...i think the bit im missin is in the buss comp and snare comp settings.........
Old 16th November 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 
dokushoka's Avatar
 

Context...

The snare sound and bass drum sound will play a HUGE part in setting the vibe of a song. Along with what everyone else said, I think spending a lot of time thinking about what you want the snare to communicate in the song will help you get some "magic." Its not always about getting that "Born In the USA" sound or whatever, its about making a statement, artistically. Sometimes a boxy snare can be cool!

Some great examples, for me, of *distinct* snare sounds that work wonders in songs that aren't typically what mooks consider the "magic" sound:

Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles
Its boxy and pretty weird sounding, but perfect for the track

June July, John Vanderslice
A lowly tuned metal snare with some kind of odd filter on it? Beautiful

Tracy Jacks, Blur
A pingy, tight sound. Has a ringing overtone that, in many contexts, would annoy the **** out of some tight assed engineer, but its great in this song.

Any Day Now, Elbow
Pong Pong, Pong Pong.

Climbing Up the Walls, Radiohead
No wires on, sounds like its in the other room, but it serves the song SO well
Old 16th November 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k View Post
you guys that are pointing your snare mic down at the head, take note: put the capsule about 1 to 2" up off the head, even with the rim or a little past it, and point it *straight across* the drum. if you're using a 57, e.g., the 57 will be parallel to the skin.

enjoy.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
I think we can do even better than that...once you are up 1-2" then pull the mic back away from the rim 2-3" and point it so that it is looking at the "impact zone". Orient your snare wires so that they are all in line with the way the mic is pointing. The angle of the mic will be about 10 degrees with respect to the head of the drum when it's in this position. This position, while it doesn't isolate as much hi-hat, ends up sounding more like a snare drum and less like a timbale.

Try an SM7B with the mid boost engaged as an alternative to the SM57 sound.

Enjoy more!
Brad
Old 16th November 2006
  #21
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
by blending with triggered samples :-)
Old 17th November 2006
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
valver's Avatar
 

So much depends on the player
Old 17th November 2006
  #23
Old 17th November 2006
  #24
Gear maniac
 
commaKaze's Avatar
 

When positioned similar to how Brad mentioned in 2nd post, I like the RE-20 on snare.
Old 17th November 2006
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
The way the drummer hits the snare drum is everything!
Absolutely.

I had the unique pleasure of recording Bernard Purdie one day.

I'd bet my Black Beauty that there is not one engineer on this board that could get a bad snare sound when he's playing.

Tuning is important but I'd take a trash can with a good hitter anyday.
Old 17th November 2006
  #26
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Enjoy more!

damned if i won't be trying that mic placement next time i get the chance. thanks for the tip!


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 17th November 2006
  #27
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
Let me know what you think! Keep in mind that you can't squash the crap out of the snare mic with a compressor in that position--you might get too much hi-hat, which can be good or bad. However if you go easy on the compression then it sounds quite nice.

Brad
Old 17th November 2006
  #28
Lives for gear
 

So when you're doing that parrallell to the skin thing, do you mirror the placement for the bottom mic too, or do you leave that pointing up at the impact point??

J
Old 17th November 2006
  #29
Gear nut
 
anne_paranoid's Avatar
 

Drummer is 50% of the sound.

I recorded some drummers that you could use DW drums perfectly tunned with Neve, Api and Manley that NEVER would sound right.

I remember specially one that played kick-snare-kick kick -snare and first kick was very very loud, second was quiet and third was a caress to the kick skin. Absolutely impossible to get the sound, even with drastical compressions.
Old 17th November 2006
  #30
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Keep in mind that you can't squash the crap out of the snare mic with a compressor in that position...

i don't even use compressor on drums anymore, maybe a little on the kick to even it out. i use multiple stages of transformers to get them reigned in, and i now run out of Logic straight into the preamps in my console, which are also transformer based. i'll dial the preamps until there's just a hair of breakup; you can't hear this in the mix, they just sound thick and even.

the mix comp brings it the rest of the way home, the api is simply incredible.

i'm also big into transient shaping on the drums, haven't used gates since forever.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
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