Creating Snare Drum Ambience with Reverb, Delay and Distortion


Today, we’re going to take a quick look at something I did today while mixing my friend’s record. His name is Micah Beckwith out of Indiana, and doing a worship project for his band, Sing Love Worship.

I’ve got the rough here. It was inspired by something he did in the rough mix, and I took it a step further in my mix. So I want to show that off. Cool trick to a snare drum, using delay. I’ll be adding this to my course called mixing with special effects. I’m about to go back through all of my courses. I’ve got almost ten courses or so, and I’m going to be adding modules.

To any of you who have purchased those, you’re going to get those for free. So if you check out any of my products now, you’re going to be getting a whole slew of free videos in the coming weeks and months as I go back and revamp everything.

So, that out of the way – a little shameless plug – I’m going to show you the rough mix, and then I’m going to come over and walk you through what I did to his snare. Kind of like a supplemental snare type thing going on.


Okay. So we’ve got that, like, stereo delay type thing going on. I’m going to come over here and show you what I did with that section of the song.


Okay. Sounds pretty gnarly, right? So that delay is really the kind of soul of that snare drum. The original snare drum, which you heard in the rough, came to me super bright, and I’ll give my friend some crap, I have no idea what he was hearing with that one.

But I love him to death, so I just took that, and just took out a ton of top end. Let’s take a look at that.

[snare drum]

Kind of a real annoying snare. So I took out a bunch of top, added some chunk, and Lo-fi is not really doing much. I just like to add Lo-fi to things sometimes.

So, anyways, that in the mix sounds like this.


Alright. So, he had the right idea with the delay, and I like that stereo delay, but I wanted to keep – I felt like there was some space over here to the left, being that I panned the guitar swells to the right. So, I wanted it to kind of delay and move, and so, I just started trial and error throwing some stuff on it.

The first thing I did was just a standard delay – stock delay in Pro Tools. I found that a dotted eighth looked about right, and then I EQ’d to take out some of the warmth of it, and some of the top. Even more, because just to my ear needed less of that.

Then here’s where things get interesting. I looked at my account, and I had the UAD Raw just sitting there, and it was back when they first announced these. I think I bought an Octo and maybe it was something they gave me, but even paying for it, this is a great plug-in. It’s modelled off the – you guitar players will know – the ProCo Rat.

Sick guitar pedal. Fuzz type pedal. Anyways, so I used that. I got a filter here, so it’s cutting top end, adding distortion, and it sounds amazing.
Here’s without it. There’s another plug-in there, I’ll bypass it and show you in a second. Here’s soloed without it.

[snare drum]

Okay. Let me turn the delay on.

[snare drum]

You can see, I’m sending the delay into a verb. We’ll get to that in a second. Here’s with just the delay.

[snare drum]

Okay. So, a slightly darker version of itself. Then with the UAD, it sounds like this.

[snare plays]

Okay. Kind of barking at us a little bit. I went and sent that to the Blue Cat’s Patchwork, because there’s a preset that I love to use. Anyone who’s followed me for any amount of time, you’ll know – especially if you’re a member of The Mix Academy, I do this all the time.

I take and pull in a preset Tony Maserati mentioned ages ago on Pensado’s Place. It was the Effects Cassette Deck. This thing, I love to drive the junk out of it and get a ton of nasty distortion, and then blend it with the Blue Cat Patchwork in parallel.

So that at about 26%, here’s without that. And then with it.

Kind of a cool, phase-y thing going there too. Here’s the 100%.


Yeah, actually probably even sounds better at 100%. Let’s run with that. Then all I did was send that delay right here into the Gino-Hall, which is the Lexicon 224 set with just a really long, sustained decay, and that sounds like this.

[snare drum]

Yeah. So, by itself, still sounds cool. In the track, it sounds even better. Here it is one more time.


Cool. An appropriate time to end the tutorial with an error from Pro Tools, but I hope you dig that.

David Glenn

David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at
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