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Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:12 am

Just finished mixing a snare into a new song in my home recording studio and am wondering about some of your favourite snare mixing techniques that I can try. Care to share any ?

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Maarten
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby CS70 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:07 pm

Not much really, mostly it's at recording stage: make sure the snare sounds good, always two snare mics, overheads equidistant from the snare to make sure the sound is in phase.

At mixing, checking the phase of two mics (one of the two opposite polarity of course) and nudge them in the right spot as needed, see what the rest of the spill does for phase - the balance between the two depends on the song: more bottom, more edge.

The only "trick" is that often I use an exciter to make the drums pop - it works better than distortion for me... nowadays I often do it on the drum bus as a whole but occasionally it's only the snare, in which case the old BBE Sonic maximizer tends to work surprisingly well! Used to have a hardware one just for that but the plugin does the same job. Or Waves Aural Exciter - it's one of my few must-have plugins.

A little compression brings out ghosts more if that's what the songs calls for and the drummer is good.

Gate and reverb, of course, in quantities determined by how much I feel back in my teens..

As of balance, it depends on the arrangement but usually on level with the vocals.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:09 pm

If the drums are samples, or if they weren't recorded at the same time as the rest of the song (in a live band set up) then sometimes I put a sucker on the snare triggered by the vocal. It's a quick way of adding a bit of the sensation that the drummer is holding back during the singing but letting go when there's space.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:33 pm

CS70 wrote:Not much really, mostly it's at recording stage: make sure the snare sounds good, always two snare mics, overheads equidistant from the snare to make sure the sound is in phase.

At mixing, checking the phase of two mics (one of the two opposite polarity of course) and nudge them in the right spot as needed, see what the rest of the spill does for phase - the balance between the two depends on the song: more bottom, more edge.

The only "trick" is that often I use an exciter to make the drums pop - it works better than distortion for me... nowadays I often do it on the drum bus as a whole but occasionally it's only the snare, in which case the old BBE Sonic maximizer tends to work surprisingly well! Used to have a hardware one just for that but the plugin does the same job. Or Waves Aural Exciter - it's one of my few must-have plugins.

A little compression brings out ghosts more if that's what the songs calls for and the drummer is good.

Gate and reverb, of course, in quantities determined by how much I feel back in my teens..

As of balance, it depends on the arrangement but usually on level with the vocals.

Thanks for your reply. In this case the sounds were coming from Superior 3 but due to the bleed I treat them like an acoustic drum recording (more details on the linked channel in my signature). Never tried the sonic maximizer on drums/snare so will give that a go to see what it does :thumbup: .
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:37 pm

blinddrew wrote:If the drums are samples, or if they weren't recorded at the same time as the rest of the song (in a live band set up) then sometimes I put a sucker on the snare triggered by the vocal. It's a quick way of adding a bit of the sensation that the drummer is holding back during the singing but letting go when there's space.

Ah that's a nice idea that I never would have though of, thanks. And yes, the drums were from Superior 3 in this case but I do further treat them like an acoustic drum recording.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:09 pm

One of my favourite tricks is to add a burst of triggered noise to snares to give them a little more sizzle.

Cubase's transient designer is a pretty useful tool, too.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:23 pm

maartenl945 wrote:
blinddrew wrote:If the drums are samples, or if they weren't recorded at the same time as the rest of the song (in a live band set up) then sometimes I put a sucker on the snare triggered by the vocal. It's a quick way of adding a bit of the sensation that the drummer is holding back during the singing but letting go when there's space.

Ah that's a nice idea that I never would have though of, thanks. And yes, the drums were from Superior 3 in this case but I do further treat them like an acoustic drum recording.
Sorry, auto-correct got in the way there; I meant 'ducker' but I'm guessing you guessed that. :)
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby RichardT » Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:36 pm

If you’re using superior 3 it’s well worth playing around with the velocity response curve you can edit when you select the snare in ‘drums’.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:39 pm

The Elf wrote:One of my favourite tricks is to add a burst of triggered noise to snares to give them a little more sizzle.

Cubase's transient designer is a pretty useful tool, too.

Great idea about the noise. Never tried that either ...

As for transient designer I didn't even know Cubase had one. I tend to use the SPL one on mu UAD card, like i'm showing in my latest video.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:40 pm

blinddrew wrote:
maartenl945 wrote:
blinddrew wrote:If the drums are samples, or if they weren't recorded at the same time as the rest of the song (in a live band set up) then sometimes I put a sucker on the snare triggered by the vocal. It's a quick way of adding a bit of the sensation that the drummer is holding back during the singing but letting go when there's space.

Ah that's a nice idea that I never would have though of, thanks. And yes, the drums were from Superior 3 in this case but I do further treat them like an acoustic drum recording.
Sorry, auto-correct got in the way there; I meant 'ducker' but I'm guessing you guessed that. :)

Yes I got what you meant, but did actually think it was just a more modern way of talking about ducking ;).
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:43 pm

RichardT wrote:If you’re using superior 3 it’s well worth playing around with the velocity response curve you can edit when you select the snare in ‘drums’.

Hmm, nice one. I got the Superior 3 tracks delivered from our drummer as audio for mixing, but I guess earlier you can try to get it more right at the source. I have to say that I quite like the quality of the Superior 3 sounds already though.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:01 pm

The Elf wrote:One of my favourite tricks is to add a burst of triggered noise to snares to give them a little more sizzle.

I seem to remember that was a trick back in the 80's to help get those big drum sounds.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:33 pm

James Perrett wrote:
The Elf wrote:One of my favourite tricks is to add a burst of triggered noise to snares to give them a little more sizzle.
I seem to remember that was a trick back in the 80's to help get those big drum sounds.
Still works nicely when you dial it back.
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:29 pm

Just been listening to this SOS podcast which may be of interest: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ps-podcast
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Re: Favourite snare mixing techniques

Postby maartenl945 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:09 am

blinddrew wrote:Just been listening to this SOS podcast which may be of interest: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ps-podcast

Thanks for the tip. Will have a listen!
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