How to Fatten a Snare Drum with Impulse Responses
Today, I want to talk about a technique for fattening up a snare drum sound. Now, there’s an old trick that many of us still use that we reamp a snare drum out through a guitar amp or a bass amp to mix back in with the original snare drum to fatten it up a little bit. It does something to the midrange that makes it speak a little bit more.
Now, that could require quite a bit of setup time, and also there’s a volume limitation for most of us living in apartments and project studios. Thankfully now, there are options that we can do this right inside of Logic. I’m going to be using the Space Designer plug-in and Rosen digital guitar cab impulses.
Now, the Rosen impulses were specifically designed for guitar, so they have Marshall and Orange cabinets, and Fender cabinets. Each one of these impulses inputs a very specific flavor on the sound.
Let’s listen to the drum mix with the impulse in, and then I’m going to bypass it so that you can hear it without the impulse.
This is going to be off.
[drums play without impulse]
[drums with impulse]
It sounds a little fatter to my ears, and almost a little bit more like tape.
Let’s get deeper into how I’m doing this. I opened up a Space Designer plug-in on the snare drum track. I’m going to solo the snare drum track now. Let’s listen to that for a few seconds here.
[snare drum plays]
This is with the impulse in. Here’s without.
[snare plays without impulse]
It’s a pretty drastic difference.
Typically, when I use these impulse responses, I set the dry knob on the Space Designer plug-in all the way down. That way I don’t have any of the dry signal coming through. The reason for me is that sometimes I hear a little bit of phasey-ness when I have that really cranked up.
[snare drum plays, adjusting dry knob]
A little bit of phase that’s going on there to my ears. It’s okay if you have it just bleeding in a little bit, but often, I just turn it down.
Let’s listen to this in the mix again.
You could try this with a bunch of different cabs, too. Right now, I have an Orange cab loaded, which I like. It’s a closed back 4 by 12 cabinet. It just does something nice to the mid-range.
Let’s preview a couple other ones really quickly.
Here’s the Orange.
[snare drum plays with Orange impulse]
Let’s try a Mesa Rectifier.
[snare drum with Mesa impulse]
Let’s try something that has an open back cabinet to it.
Let’s hear that in the mix.
You can see it definitely brings out the mid-range.
You could also try this using other drums. Say, maybe creating a duplicate track of the bass drum, and affecting one of them with the impulse to get some cool lo-fi bass drum sounds.