Old 07-11-2019, 06:14 AM   #1
WarringtonCJ
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Default Present Snare without being Cranked?

I think this is probably one of the better mixes I've done (feel free to destroy it) but the main thing bothering me is the snare. I seem to get it to really pop. Currently i have a wide q eq boost on the snare track at around 200hz for body and then some compression going on on the actual bus taming the snare a bit (about 2-3 GR). Also running a p-comp in tandem with it. Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated

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Old 07-11-2019, 06:51 AM   #2
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Hi, I don't have the chance to listen right now, but generally I find giving a boost to the high mids (or low highs, if you prefer) really brings a snare out. Anywhere between 2-3 kHz.

As for compression, try a slower attack time with fast release to bring more transient through.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:57 AM   #3
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I think this is probably one of the better mixes I've done (feel free to destroy it) but the main thing bothering me is the snare. I seem to get it to really pop. Currently i have a wide q eq boost on the snare track at around 200hz for body and then some compression going on on the actual bus taming the snare a bit (about 2-3 GR). Also running a p-comp in tandem with it. Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated

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I can hear the snare just fine. And I'm listening on a single bluetooth earbud.

Can you be more specific about what's bothering you? I'm not certain what it is you'd prefer to hear.

I can see it being a bit too peaky or clicky, if that makes sense.

I would avoid big boosts in the eq.

Rather, I'd encourage you to cut the sounds you don't like, then see where you're at.

After that, any boosts that are needed will be much easier to hear.

That's a very tightly-packed mix/arrangement. Frequency masking will absolutely be an issue. Subtractive eq is your friend here.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:59 AM   #4
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I can hear the snare just fine. And I'm listening on a single bluetooth earbud.

Can you be more specific about what's bothering you? I'm not certain what it is you'd prefer to hear.
I feel like its being masked a lot by something or just not forward enough. The snare is the pillar of my mix and everything is volume adjusted around it but even still it doesn't jump out like I want it to.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:19 AM   #5
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I can hear the snare just fine. And I'm listening on a single bluetooth earbud.

Can you be more specific about what's bothering you? I'm not certain what it is you'd prefer to hear.

I can see it being a bit too peaky or clicky, if that makes sense.
Agreed. It sounds good to me but if you want it to be more noticeable, it could be due to how you've compressed it (or "transient-enhanced" it). You might want a more punchy sound with less snap on the attack. I find ReaComp works well for this (not so much for the snappier sound, so I'm guessing you're not using ReaComp on the snare as the main compressor). Check the attached image for a setting that might work. Adjust threshold so it's getting around 6dB gain reduction (then adjust "wet" as the output level). You can also reduce the knee size to make it hit more like a hammer.

One of the key components to making loud/in-your-face compression is a somewhat fast release time.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:28 AM   #6
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Agreed. It sounds good to me but if you want it to be more noticeable, it could be due to how you've compressed it (or "transient-enhanced" it). You might want a more punchy sound with less snap on the attack. I find ReaComp works well for this (not so much for the snappier sound, so I'm guessing you're not using ReaComp on the snare as the main compressor). Check the attached image for a setting that might work. Adjust threshold so it's getting around 6dB gain reduction (then adjust "wet" as the output level). You can also reduce the knee size to make it hit more like a hammer.

One of the key components to making loud/in-your-face compression is a somewhat fast release time.
I guess I could be a bit more specific.

Snare Track:
Nothing here but an EQ boosting a bit of 200hz.

P-Comp:
Using a distressor clone to obliterate it then high passing it.

Snare Bus:
Mostly there to just sum the snare and pcomp but apparently i cut 650hz out of it for some reason I don't remember.

Drum Bus:
EQ with some small moves done to balance out the overall kit

SSL G384 compressor clone with the side-chain HPF engaged at around 150hz (so the compressor ignores the kick drum basically) hitting about 2/3 GR on snare hits. Im not infront of my desk to tell you the exact settings but its pretty fast on both settings. The attack is a tad slower than the release.

Limiter, which isn't really doing much. It's a couple db of GR every now and then with really hard hits.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:42 AM   #7
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Can you isolate the snare track and post a sample clip with/without enabling the "obliterating" plugin?
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:45 AM   #8
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Can you isolate the snare track and post a sample clip with/without enabling the "obliterating" plugin?
Just the raw snare track? Sure I can when I get home in a few hours. That "obliterating" is only taking place on the parallel comp bus so I can just mute that.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:53 AM   #9
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Yeah if I can hear what's affecting the snare and what it sounds like without the effects for comparison, that would probably help. If none of the other busses downstream of the snare track (and its parallel comp bus) are affecting it much, it's probably just how the snare and its parallel comp bus sound.

Maybe disable those downstream bus effects for the sake of this comparison too. If when disabling those bus effects you notice the snare "comes to life", then you probably don't need my 2c anymore.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:57 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by WarringtonCJ View Post
I guess I could be a bit more specific.

Snare Track:
Nothing here but an EQ boosting a bit of 200hz.

P-Comp:
Using a distressor clone to obliterate it then high passing it.

Snare Bus:
Mostly there to just sum the snare and pcomp but apparently i cut 650hz out of it for some reason I don't remember.

Drum Bus:
EQ with some small moves done to balance out the overall kit

SSL G384 compressor clone with the side-chain HPF engaged at around 150hz (so the compressor ignores the kick drum basically) hitting about 2/3 GR on snare hits. Im not infront of my desk to tell you the exact settings but its pretty fast on both settings. The attack is a tad slower than the release.

Limiter, which isn't really doing much. It's a couple db of GR every now and then with really hard hits.
Far too much compression, as I suspected, not enough eq shaping on the actual snare track.

I'm assuming that "snare bus" is parallel compression?

Compression should be the last thing you reach for if you want the sound to jump out, oddly enough. It sounds paradoxical, but too much can add mud. I learned this the hard way. Take all my advice with a grain of salt. I'm still learning. I only offer this now as it's in the forefront of my thoughts these days.

I would lose the sidechain comp at the very least and opt for a gate right on the snare channel, if you're trying to get an explosive sound. ReaGate has an awesome preset called "snare gate" that works really well for this.

Do you have room mics? Or if you're using a virtual kit, you can run the kick, snare, and toms to a separate channel and squash that to hell. This you send to an over all drum submix, along with the close mics. Blend to taste. This is just parallel compression, which you have a good handle on, it seems. Here's a Kenny tutorial that I refer back to often:

https://youtu.be/_-55L5yXyXQ

For me, parallel compression didn't make much sense till I started thinking of the parallel tracks as completely separate. I even go so far as to print the output of kik/snare/toms to a separate channel. That way I have to two separate sets of audio. I stole that idea from this video:

https://youtu.be/__9gWehqz6I

http://joelcameron.com/blog/2016/5/2...n-mixing-drums

The reverb idea was very eye-opening.

I would also suggest using "Hot For Teacher" as a reference track. That's a very speedy, dense mix, but it punches hard.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:00 PM   #11
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Yeah if I can hear what's affecting the snare and what it sounds like without the effects for comparison, that would probably help. If none of the other busses downstream of the snare track (and its parallel comp bus) are affecting it much, it's probably just how the snare and its parallel comp bus sound.

Maybe disable those downstream bus effects for the sake of this comparison too. If when disabling those bus effects you notice the snare "comes to life", then you probably don't need my 2c anymore.
I am. I'll just upload the raw snare and record the snare sum bus as a seperate track.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:17 PM   #12
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Compression should be the last thing you reach for if you want the sound to jump out, oddly enough. It sounds paradoxical, but too much can add mud. I learned this the hard way. Take all my advice with a grain of salt. I'm still learning. I only offer this now as it's in the forefront of my thoughts these days.
It all depends on the attack and release times. But, in general you are right, compression makes things sound smaller/further away, but with long attack times and fast release you can enhance transients, rather than rub them away.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:41 PM   #13
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It all depends on the attack and release times. But, in general you are right, compression makes things sound smaller/further away, but with long attack times and fast release you can enhance transients, rather than rub them away.
Totally agree. I haven't developed the skills for such deft work though. In 24bit resolution, we've got so much headroom, it doesn't make sense to crush everything.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:51 PM   #14
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Sounds like a popcorn maker got in a fight with a doorbell.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:15 PM   #15
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Sounds like a popcorn maker got in a fight with a doorbell.
Constructive. (Funny though.)
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:26 PM   #16
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Totally agree. I haven't developed the skills for such deft work though. In 24bit resolution, we've got so much headroom, it doesn't make sense to crush everything.
Sure, I prefer less level and more dynamics too, but compression is a tool to shape the attack and release of sounds, as well as being a general levelling tool.

Play with attack and release times on toms or bass drums in isolation and you'll start to get a hang of it pretty soon.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:17 PM   #17
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Sure, I prefer less level and more dynamics too, but compression is a tool to shape the attack and release of sounds, as well as being a general levelling tool.

Play with attack and release times on toms or bass drums in isolation and you'll start to get a hang of it pretty soon.
Thanks bud!
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:04 PM   #18
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Thanks bud!
I should have said "attack and sustain", but you get what I mean.

Tod said the same recently. He gets people to do it with a bass drum. I did it with a single floor tom hit on loop. Just keep playing with attack and release to get different amounts of attack and sustain out of the drum.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:24 AM   #19
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you could try some saturation plugins - even when used with subtlety you can radically alter how loud/punchy things sound. this is also important when you want to release more headroom in order to increase overall perceived loudness (without compressing things flat). you will also need to consider how this interacts with the compression you're already using - if you get it right the apparent (perceived) volume will increase when you apply the saturation so when/if you adjust this the actual dB hitting the compressor will be lower, hence less compression. of course, you could also put the saturation after the compressor in the chain - try both ways round!

i'm afraid i've forgotten the youtube video I saw that explained this all, with examples, in a much better way. but the basic concept is simple and you can experiment quite easily with your favoured saturation plugins.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:29 AM   #20
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you could try some saturation plugins - even when used with subtlety you can radically alter how loud/punchy things sound. this is also important when you want to release more headroom in order to increase overall perceived loudness (without compressing things flat). you will also need to consider how this interacts with the compression you're already using - if you get it right the apparent (perceived) volume will increase when you apply the saturation so when/if you adjust this the actual dB hitting the compressor will be lower, hence less compression. of course, you could also put the saturation after the compressor in the chain - try both ways round!

i'm afraid i've forgotten the youtube video I saw that explained this all, with examples, in a much better way. but the basic concept is simple and you can experiment quite easily with your favoured saturation plugins.
Saturation can soften transients though. Sometimes a parallel saturated track works better.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:24 AM   #21
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Saturation can soften transients though. Sometimes a parallel saturated track works better.
good point - another avenue for experimentation!

i'm relistening to the mix in the OP and one thing that occurs to me is that the clickiness of the kick drum (and the toms a little bit too) is almost distracting from the snare i.e. they sound a bit too similar in the overall mix. perhaps that's just me (and i'm only listening on crappy earbuds), but if there was more of a distinction, sonically, between the kick and the snare, then the snare would sound less 'masked'. I think this also has something to do with the performance - in many parts of the song, the kick is playing at the same time as the snare, as well as on the beats all around it, so their 'similarity' is accentuated.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:25 AM   #22
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I'd just add some saturation to brighten it up a bit. Or you could try the phasey slap-back trick; short feedback and pre-release, play with the pre to find a phase relationship that makes it pop out of the mix.

I was also gonna say it sounds more like a problem with the kick dominating the drum sound.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:27 AM   #23
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Might try an additional mic too. Mic'ing the snare from the side - right in front of it and about the same height it sits. If there isn't some bleed issue from something else in that spot, you can get a nice complete snare sound. I think some people call this a 'jazz' mic'ing style?

The rock stage led to a dynamic mic right up on the top of the snare to get some punch without screeching squealing feedback. Then we had to start mic'ing the bottom for the snare sizzle and try to put the sound of the snare back together again in the mix.

If you go for getting 95% of the drum sound from the overheads - pull out the tape measure or a drum stick to make sure the snare is centered - extra credit for also centering the kick - then either a spot mic in front of the snare or a center overhead over the shoulder can be a really useful input.

Trying to get a present snare sound out of just a '57 on top is the worst!
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:32 AM   #24
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Trying to get a present snare sound out of just a '57 on top is the worst!
Hmm, It's all I've ever needed. I wrap it in t-shirt to deaden the response and make it more punchy. I bring up the overhead if I want more snare but recording the snares separately always seems like an unnecessary hassle.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:55 AM   #25
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Hmm, It's all I've ever needed. I wrap it in t-shirt to deaden the response and make it more punchy. I bring up the overhead if I want more snare but recording the snares separately always seems like an unnecessary hassle.
Hence my get 95% of the drum sound in the overheads (and center the snare) comment.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:34 AM   #26
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Idk how I missed the entire rest of the comment, heheh...
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