Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Mixing the Snare

  • This topic has 7 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Kevin.
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    Stefano Centineo

      Hi all,

      How do you mix your snare?

      I understand this is probably a very broad question. I've realized that mixing the snare on my songs is really giving me the headache.

      I use Superior Drummer 3 for my drums so let's start with that. I chose my samples, build my drum part, do some basic drum mix within SD3 and than bounce all in separate audio files.

      at this point I duplicate my snare into 3 or 4 tracks and treat them differently (i.e. compression, saturation, reverb, etc.). Now I route all the snare tracks in a bus for a final touch of compression and EQ.

      Now I like my snares to be relatively present which is what I am really struggling to obtain effectively.

      If I scoop around 200Hz and boost a little of 4kHz it loses body and it gets in the middle of the way to vocals; if I scoop the high end and give some more body, it goes farther behind and it loses some snap. If I push the level up, it gets too loud and increases my crest factor too much compromising the loudness potential of my song.

      In summary when I resolve a problem, I create another one as a consequence.

      Do you guys have any suggestion on this?

      CJ [Spectrum424]

        Hey Stefano,

        In fear of being obvious, but have you checked so the snare tracks aren't out of phase?
        I mean since they are duplicated. That can create some weird cancellations.

        Not sure of what type of music you wanna fit your snare to but here are som recipes that I use as starting points:

        Subtle and mild cut through:
        +3db at 200hz
        +4db at 4khz
        +4db at 7khz

        Solid traditional sound:
        +5db at 250hz
        +6db at 2khz
        +4db at 5khz
        +8db at 10khz

        Thick and smoothe sound:
        +6db at 180hz
        +4db at 250hz
        -4db at 800hz
        +6db at 3khz
        +8db at 7khz

        Deep and punchy snare:
        +9db at 200hz
        +3db at 2.5khz
        +1db at 3.5khz
        +8db at 8khz



        Mark Holden

          Hi Stefano

          I'm still working things but I did a quick search in the Academy Lesson's section and this has a good few tips


          Arthur Labus

            Hi Stefano !

            Let me say first - i dont have Superior Drummer. I use drums kits via Kontakt.

            However, usually are the samples very good processed, so why should it be necessary to mix them all again ?
            If you have 7 drum kits and 25 different snares - why not stay in SD3 to get the sound as you like it ?
            Finally, you have an internal mixer with tons of FX.

            My experience was simples - not to mess too much with drum samples.


              I agree with Arthur. I mostly add one, sometimes two snare samples to the drumkit. Reason being: I really like a snare that has that typical (rimshot) ringing. I only use a second sample to trigger a (gated) reverb, so no direct sound. Keep in mind that if you layer 6 different snare samples, the real snare probably will sound artificial. That doesn't need to be a problem per se on beat2 and beat4 but all the blue notes will sound artificial too.

              • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Kevin.

                If you want more snap you can try parallel compression. You bring underneath that snare copy which is compressed heavily just after the attack (snap).
                ALso make sure that the velocities of your snare are regular as this can create slightly different timbres from your SD3 and make you snare weak on certain beats depending on what's going on in the mix at specific points in time. IMHO.

                Todd Mitchell

                  Aside from the original question, I have a question for the group. I've noticed on some tracks from the 90's the use of a very ping-y snare sound. But whenever the vocals cut in (and sometimes the lead guitar), the snare's body is gone and only the transient remains.

                  I'm going to mess a bit with this, but has anyone done this? I'm thinking of using a very slow side-chain compressor on the snare to clamp down on the snare after maybe 50 ms after the transient...but I haven't figured out how to automate it! What side-chain input trick would keep the compressor open for the transient? The closest idea I have is to have manually automate it or a transient designer - or to have two parallel snare tracks with the side-chain compressing just one.

                  Anyone have any ideas?


                    Hi Todd,

                    I never did this and I am not sure what sound you are after (I’m Gen-X, lol), but you can try this out:

                    - Copy the snare to a second track or even better make a second track with snare samples because this will avoid the possibility of false triggering.
                    - Insert a compressor on the original snare track with the settings that you like.
                    - Activate the side-chain function and feed the copied snare track in the sidechain.
                    - Timeshift the copied snare track 50ms forward in time (to the right, so to speak).

                    Have fun!


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