Mixing snaredrums

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moggadeet
Posts: 56
Joined: 27 Jun 2018
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Post 04 May 2020

Hi everyone,

I realized today that after two years of daily practice at producing music I am quite proficient at some topics, not so good at others and then there is mixing snares. I went through the phase "it does the work" quite fast and entered the phase "no it does not actuallly sound good" but I do not seem to progress from there.

I think I can state the problem in these terms:
- Search for a sample that fits the style
- Tune the body resonance to the key of the song, root usually or fifth sound good to me.
- Shape the sample if it needs to be shorter / more spiky. I do it with Kong decay.
- Select a saturation device and apply some if it sounds thin. I usually go for Scream4 tape and choose damage and compression to choose distortion and speed to darken.
- Try different reverb types, choose one. I usually go with Valhalla Vintage plate or ambience.
- Find predelay, HPF, LPF, decay, mix%. I usually end up around 10ms, 400Hz, 8kHz, 0.4s, 15%.
- EQ the snare, remove rumble, cut some HF, boost body if needed. I usually cut at 10-12kHz with the mixer LPF.
- With 4dyne in my sidechained bus I duck 4dB between 300Hz and 4kHz keyed with the snare. The drums are summed to that bus and that makes the master bus.

Done with one iteration of that, I go and try to adjust the level in the mix to find out that I cannot find any sweet spot at which it blends well. And then I start going back to the former steps in circles ... and there goes one hour of my studio time.

I do not have this problem with any other instrument -apart from vocals, but it is fine, since I have not started practicing with that topic yet.

Do you have any tips / good reads on the topic?

Thanks in advance!

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 1025
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 04 May 2020

What type of music do you make?

In general terms, the hpf is too high? Snares have a good chunk of their sound around 200hz.

I never tune the snare, but that might be me.

I never side chain the drum bus, let alone the 2bus, to anything, not even the snare.

The reverb goes on a send.

I level the snare to the kick. Actually, everything gets leveled in reference to the kick.

Hope that helps somehow.

aeox
Posts: 2704
Joined: 23 Feb 2017

Post 05 May 2020

Example?

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moggadeet
Posts: 56
Joined: 27 Jun 2018
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Post 05 May 2020

Thanks for the idea about leveling it to the kick, do you do it by ear?

About the reverb on a send, I could as well do it like that, it is just that it takes one send slot and I only use this instance for the snare, nothing else.

One example of it, this is my beat over an acoustic version.

Another example completely done by me this time,

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 1025
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 05 May 2020

moggadeet wrote:
05 May 2020
Thanks for the idea about leveling it to the kick, do you do it by ear?

About the reverb on a send, I could as well do it like that, it is just that it takes one send slot and I only use this instance for the snare, nothing else.

One example of it, this is my beat over an acoustic version.

Another example completely done by me this time,
Yes, you do it by ear. You make it so the kick and the snare work together and then move to the next element.

If you put the reverb directly on the snare it will push the snare to the background, so better use a send. Also, no predelay at all works best. I guess maybe if you use it as an insert the predelay helps maybe... But it's just a send slot! Use it!!! 😂

aeox
Posts: 2704
Joined: 23 Feb 2017

Post 05 May 2020

moggadeet wrote:
05 May 2020
Thanks for the idea about leveling it to the kick, do you do it by ear?

About the reverb on a send, I could as well do it like that, it is just that it takes one send slot and I only use this instance for the snare, nothing else.
You can make a parallel channel instead of using the send

Okay, now that I heard your examples. (cool music btw)

Could you provide an example of someone elses track that sounds really good to you? That would give an idea of what you're trying to achieve.

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Loque
Posts: 7261
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 05 May 2020

Erm....what was the problem with the snare?

I tend looking for the perfect sound in the past until i realized, that nobody else than me ever would care about it.

And if i hear a problem with a snare, i try to find the solution. So pls tell me, what problem do you hear?
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moggadeet
Posts: 56
Joined: 27 Jun 2018
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Post 06 May 2020

aeox wrote:
05 May 2020
moggadeet wrote:
05 May 2020
Thanks for the idea about leveling it to the kick, do you do it by ear?

About the reverb on a send, I could as well do it like that, it is just that it takes one send slot and I only use this instance for the snare, nothing else.
You can make a parallel channel instead of using the send

Okay, now that I heard your examples. (cool music btw)

Could you provide an example of someone elses track that sounds really good to you? That would give an idea of what you're trying to achieve.
Two of my references:



I do not know how to express it with words, it just feels that the snares are integrated in the music better, for a lack of better words.

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moggadeet
Posts: 56
Joined: 27 Jun 2018
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Post 06 May 2020

Loque wrote:
05 May 2020
Erm....what was the problem with the snare?

I tend looking for the perfect sound in the past until i realized, that nobody else than me ever would care about it.

And if i hear a problem with a snare, i try to find the solution. So pls tell me, what problem do you hear?
It might be my case that I am obsessing with it. Maybe in the future I might be able to understand what is different between my tracks and my references and thus be able to look for a solution like you say.

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avasopht
Posts: 1997
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 06 May 2020

moggadeet wrote:
06 May 2020
Two of my references:



I do not know how to express it with words, it just feels that the snares are integrated in the music better, for a lack of better words.
First: synth snare
Second: rim (extra verb towards the end of the drum loop)
---

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Boombastix
Posts: 1343
Joined: 18 May 2018
Location: Bay Area, CA

Post 06 May 2020

My "Snare Process":
1. Find a snare sample that usually works. I have a selection of 20 snares that are pre-mastered. OR I use Loopcloud with the Snare Preset and just scroll through snare sounds while looping the music. Simple as pie. (I normally drop in snares as audio)
1b. May decide to layer and/or EQ sligthly, low cut if I didn't use a pre-mastered snare.
2. kHs transient shaper to fine tune attack and decay to fit style and tempo and song integration.
3. Optional, sum with kick and add 1:2 compression of 2-3dB when kick/snare hits together.

Then work on the music, revisit 1-3 the next day if I wake up not liking a that sound the next day. If I spend more than 5min on this I feel I waste my time. I have never tuned a drum and probably never will, but I slide them in time a few ticks so it sound good. You have varying pitch in kicks and snare so tuning won't change that, meaning you cannot avoid some phase cancellation. Any prominent phase cancellation can thus be fixed by sliding the snare. Nobody talks about this in their "How to Tune Drums" YouTube videos. Note, this is MY work flow for electronic drums where I decide the sound or groove.

If you get something from someone to mix and you cannot change stuff easily, you probably will have to approach it differently.
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KevTav
Posts: 312
Joined: 12 Jun 2016

Post 06 May 2020

moggadeet wrote:
04 May 2020

Do you have any tips / good reads on the topic?

Thanks in advance!
1) Find the right drum for the mix
2) Find the right mix for the drum
3) Find the right drum for the genre
4) Cutting frequencies is better than boosting
5) Try a sloped, wide Q cut, from 80Hz to 320Hz on ALL drums as a starter. Go wide and shallow to start, try more surgical thinner Q cuts and sweep between those frequencies
6) Stereo Imaging on snares. SLIGHT. Widen the higher ends just slighter. Experiment with it.
7) Watch compression attacks and release, they make HUGE difference.
8) Snares react well to Transients. ALWAYS pay attention to attack and sustain. You should have control over the attack and sustain in some part of your instrument or inserts. Lack of this control is a BITCH.

9) Some drums just suck balls. Some just are just garbage. If your snare drum irritates you after 2 minutes or 3 minutes of play, get it out. Don't try and fix it.

With snare it's usually "garbage in garbage out" deal. 85% of snares I hear are not meant to be in songs. But that's me.
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moggadeet
Posts: 56
Joined: 27 Jun 2018
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Post 11 May 2020

KevTav wrote:
06 May 2020
moggadeet wrote:
04 May 2020

Do you have any tips / good reads on the topic?

Thanks in advance!
1) Find the right drum for the mix
2) Find the right mix for the drum
3) Find the right drum for the genre
4) Cutting frequencies is better than boosting
5) Try a sloped, wide Q cut, from 80Hz to 320Hz on ALL drums as a starter. Go wide and shallow to start, try more surgical thinner Q cuts and sweep between those frequencies
6) Stereo Imaging on snares. SLIGHT. Widen the higher ends just slighter. Experiment with it.
7) Watch compression attacks and release, they make HUGE difference.
8) Snares react well to Transients. ALWAYS pay attention to attack and sustain. You should have control over the attack and sustain in some part of your instrument or inserts. Lack of this control is a BITCH.

9) Some drums just suck balls. Some just are just garbage. If your snare drum irritates you after 2 minutes or 3 minutes of play, get it out. Don't try and fix it.

With snare it's usually "garbage in garbage out" deal. 85% of snares I hear are not meant to be in songs. But that's me.
Thanks for the tips!

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