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Hard cracking snare processing Dynamic Microphones
Old 29th December 2010
Gear Head

Hard cracking snare processing

I'm trying to get a monster cracking snare sound for a punk record. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for compression, limiting, and eq. Its just something new to me.

I'm also dropping samples, so if anyone has a good one they could pass on to me, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Old 30th December 2010
Gear Head
seanastill89's Avatar

It all depends on what gear you have access too, if I had all of the gear possible, it'd just be beta 57a snare top, normal 57 snare bottom, both into a nice API, use a 550 a or b EQ, find the low-mid resonance on the top mic, take it down a few notches, bring up a bit of high mid on it too, only if it's nice. On the snare bottom, filter out some of the low end, just to clean it up, if it sounds way too thin then back it off a bit, you can add a bit of tops in if you want, it's a personal taste thing, if it needs it I do it but generally I leave it be.

Once that's all done, put it through a nice compressor (1176, a nice SSL compressor, or API again).

One little trick to get that punky snare where it's all a nice consistent level, this also helps when you have a drummer in the band who is a bit inconsistent when they hit the snare. With the compressors, whichever you choose, set them both in series...set the first one with a fast attack and long-ish release, this will act a leveller and make the snare consistent, it will unfortunately also take away much of the snare's character and attack...this is where the second compressor comes in.

Set the next compressor with a medium/slow attack, sweep around and you will find a sweet spot where the snare's attack sounds natural again, you can leave it there or increase the attack if you want. Set the release to a medium-fast to mirror the natural decay of the snare, again there's gonna be a sweet spot in there. But I fear I may be rambling.....

That's the sort of thing that I'd be doing if I had the choices of any gear! Just choose your favourite out of any tools at hand and use that...experiment with it and have a bit of fun....

Good luck, hope you pull some great some back up when you're done man!

p.s. if you have access to one, you can NEVER, EVER, EVER go wrong with putting drums through a tape machine, it does things to the attack and decay of drums that are nearly unspeakable on a forum for fear of getting banned for obscene language!

Last edited by seanastill89; 30th December 2010 at 02:53 PM.. Reason: forgot a necessary point!
Old 30th December 2010
Lives for gear
frans's Avatar
Yep, I second the things seanastill89 said.
But in case you are left with a halfway decent snare track already recorded... the magic of a 1176 with fast attack and the release timed to flow with the song gets you in the right direction. Even the sims of, say, UAD bring you there.

Another thing to try would be to mult the snare (worst case scenario) to a few channels. (in the box, there are DAWs which would introduce a few samples delay between tracks, totally and utterly destroying everything - so either get your DAW to keep the tracks in time 100% or mix outside the box - or forget about it)
-one track just lowcut and a bit of leveling and/or eq, maybe expand everything that's not snare by 5 dB or so -that's your main track!
-one track gated heavy, distorted, lowcut, add a few % to taste
-one track pulled backwards in time, just to serve as a sidechain trigger for all the other mults (that means, your gate or expander doesn't use the signal from it's own track but from THIS, so the gate opens before the snare is hit, following all the fast kchz! on the attack
-one track with a drum replacer, using a sound that's different than the one your track has, compress/distort/eq/mix to taste
- one track... you get the idea - get creative.

Keep in mind you need way more than ONE sample to spice things up. That's the reason these drumreplacers have files with sometimes 30 different sounds of the same snare and more.
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