Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rolling Your Own Drum Sounds Pt. 3

(In case you missed them, here's the direct links to part 1 and 2.)

In this episode, we'll be looking at a way to add a little more personality and uniqueness to your snare sounds.

In most cases, when we're mixing drums, we add some sort of reverb to to the snare either to make it sound more natural in the mix, or as an element of the sound design itself (as in the case of those 80's gated snare drums). Most of us also do some degree of layering to build our snare sounds. We might, for example, layer a snare drum that has a nice, tight 'snap' to it, with another that has less attack, but more body in order to have the best elements of both sounds. What I want to suggest, is using a combination of both in a way you might not normally think to do it.

The key here is to leave your snare drum dry, and then to take an entirely different second snare and feed it 100% wet into your reverb of choice. This gives the reverb a different timbre than you would get if you were feeding your main snare to it instead. The effect is subtle, but it can provide a lot of variety to your snare sounds, and taken to extremes, it can radically alter what your snare sounds like. Don't limit yourself to just using snares for the reverb track either... try toms, congas, tambourines, metal strikes, or even percussive synth sounds. Be sure to experiment with different types of reverbs as well, as this can also provide more variety.

Here's a quick example of the technique in action. The first pass through is the dry drum track, next is with a TR-808 snare being fed to the reverb, the pass after that is with a breakbeat type snare being fed to the reverb, and the final pass is with an FM synth sound being fed to the reverb.



mangadrive said...

I notice not many reply to your studio tips, but I for one read, enjoy and embrace the advice so keep em coming. Thanks for inspiring those that actually want to be original to do so :)

Your last phaser tip is something I tried and I stumbled across something entirely different just using other techniques with automation on sends. You can hear the results in the new demo on our myspace. Most of the melodies and pads are obviously synth but all the noise and randomness is stuff I built with drum pieces and loops using that same technique (the pitch changes are amazing if used right!)

Tom said...

Cool, glad you enjoy them...