Monday, April 18, 2011

My Snare Sucks - Music Production Questions

Quote: MikeCatlin
Im pretty new to producing and just got Logic i ve gotten pretty good with everything and making the beats themselves, but my snares just dont have that explosion sound to them..any help?

First, really figure out what you want your snare to sound like, like in the track. There is near infinite variety of good sounding snares, but only a handful that will sound right in a particular track. Keep that in mind when you're working. What should that particular snare sound like? Then work towards that. Knowledge of your tools and general solid production knowledge will help you shape the sound to your liking, once you know what it should sound like.

Second, turn everything else down in the mix.  When producing digitally, 0db is the maximum volume, so the relationship between the volume of all of your elements is of paramount importance. When you turn everything else down, your snare will get explosive.  You can't have everything exploding all the time.

Third, use a parametric eq on the snare's channel, create a peak and sweep it around starting at 1khz on up to around 4 or 5khz. Find where the bite is. Leave that band at that frequency, kill the boost, and gently roll off the frequencies around that point.

Fourth, once you have your snare figured out, start looking at other elements that are sounding at the same time as the snare.  Make sure that other simultaneous sounds don't sit in the same frequency range as the snare.  Now a snare should occupy a broad range of frequencies because noise is a major component of its sound, but there are usually two main sections of a snare, the body, the low end, and the snap, the high end.  Using that parametric eq technique in #3 up there,  find each of these, and clear up the eq space in other instruments that sound at the same time.

When building a track, the kick and snare are usually the foundation  in terms of the beat structure, the tonal relationships in the track,  and the overall volume of all of the various elements, so getting the kick and snare right, and building around them is an excellent way to take your mixing to the next level.


  1. GREAT advice for starting producers, the only thing i would add is layering. Sometimes the only way to get the perfect snare is to layer two or three with different elements on top of each other, with one having punch, the other crisp, etc.

  2. Solid, useful information, as always. Need to put some of what I learn on this blog into practice and actually get down to learning and experimenting with producing!

  3. i don't like snares. but i like ur blog <3

  4. yeh great post again, alot of people dont rate sample selection enough IMO - they think any old snare will do what they want with a shitload of EQ and effects.

  5. first: yes, yes, very good advice
    second: yeah sure, makes sense... pretty good advice
    third: what? i dont even...
    fourth: dont make same sound at the same time as the snare... duh!

  6. helpful stuff. i'm sure youl hit 100 one day!

  7. Great advice thanks.. following

  8. not a musician myself but this was interesting to read.

  9. brb putting distortion on my drums

  10. Ed, you will burn in hell, a hell of sweet crunchy drums!

  11. This is good advice.

  12. Thanks for this post; it really helped me out!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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