Snare tutorial: Layers and compression.

Production | Dec 3, 2010

  1. Invict



    15 posts
    Since Aug 30, 2010
    Layering, EQ and Compressing does the trick.

    For a long time I had the problem that my snares just didn't sound right enough, but after I started using compression on my (layered) snares, it got a lot better.
    I used to work on one snare for hours. By not getting the sound just right and hearing the same thing again and again, you might get 'tone deaf' after a while.
    When working on one sound and litening to it all the time, take a break after 30-45 mins (at most). When I practiced a lot, it'll go faster, especially after compressing, I am satisfied quicker.

    So, here a little explanation:
    First, I collected usefull samples by creating my own sample pack. I usually use 3 to 5 layers of snares.

    One (or maybe two) layers for the low frequencies around 200 Hz. I call this the 'punch layer'. Pitch it while using a spectrum analyser. To punch it a little more, sometimes I pitchslide this sample from high to low (very quickly). Also (in FL) the 'pogo' button works great, it kinda does the same thing. This method makes your snare sound a little more spor-like, if you like. If you don't like a lot of punch, forget about the sweepdown and turn down the volume of this layer.

    The mid and high end layers are pitched one by one untill they sound nice. Use envelope filters to make them sound tight. Then add some EQ cutting away the low end from 200Hz to make space for your 'punch' layer (somtimes I don't, because it might sound better (snappier), but you'll have to try). Also you should experiment on the volumes of the layers.
    After sending all samples to one channel, 'glue' the seperate sounds together by compressing the whole bunch.

    For compression, I put the ratio on 1:4-1:10, put the attack to zero (0) and set the release by pulling the threshold way down and gain up back to normal volume again and tweak the release until it is just right. Then bring the threshold back up until your snare has the dynamics you like. You can try EQing before or/and after compression, to change the compressed layers.

    To make a snare blend in with your beat, I sometimes seperate the snares in a break to use as one of the layers.
    This makes the snare sound good together with the breaks' hihats/cymalism (depending on the break, but usually breaks do have hi-hats/cymbals). Also sending some layers to a reverb send channel, it polishes your snare into the beat.

    Of course you can use a snare that is already good, but I just like tweaking my own new snares.

    I just realized, I use comma's a lot.

    Just wanted to share this. :D Have fun.
  2. Invict



    15 posts
    Since Aug 30, 2010
    One 'ticky' layer for both snare and kick blends them to a more solid beat. A quick pitchslide in this sample makes them more punchy. This little sound I usually hi-pass from about 300-400Hz.
  3. Ilju^



    63 posts
    Since Apr 2, 2006
    multiband compressor + dist. + comp.