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Simple Concepts for Mixing Thicker/Fatter Claps and Snares

What’s going on? My name is Justin, and you’re checking out another quick tip tutorial from Modern Mixing.

So today, I wanted to talk about making your claps wide and big and fat. Of course, that’s going to be dependent on the sounds that you get, but you know, hopefully, this will be a good starting point for you.

So I know in the beginning stages of mixing, it’s really — there’s a lot of information to take in, and it’s overwhelming, and a lot of it is you think you need to do something to everything to make the track sound good, but a lot of that’s actually not true, and the more experience that I get, and the more tracks that I work on and the more that I mix, I actually feel like I’m simplifying my process a lot more.

I’m stripping things away, I’m taking things away, I’m getting rid of the unnecessary, because a lot of the times, you don’t actually have to do something to a sound, you just don’t. You can blend it in, and with a little bit of massaging, you can get it to sound really good.

So in this case, I’m going to be talking more about the concepts of both this clap and how I got the sound, and not so much about the tip or the trick, because in this case, it’s really, really not that important, because what I did to make this sound wider is — it’s a very, very simple technique, but let me explain to you why I did what I did, and hopefully, you’ll understand what I was trying to do, and you can go and apply this to your tracks.

So the first thing I did was with clap 1, it was primarily a mono sound. There was a little bit of stereo information, but I felt like clap 1 and clap 3, with those together, and both of those in stereo, it had this nice thickening to it, because clap 2 was a mono sound, and that was kind of going straight up the middle, so I figured if I could somehow get clap 1 and clap 3 to coexist together to sort of fuse themselves together into a stereo sound, that could be a really, really good support for clap number 2.

So clap number 2 would be the mono source, and then clap 1 and clap 3 would almost be a stereo layered sound, so that would give the fatness and the fullness to the overall clap sound.

So let me show you with clap 3, because this one came in stereo, it’s just the way I got it. I’ll play it for you.


So that’s very much a clap sound, and let me play clap 1 with that now, but without the plugin on.

[clap 1 and 3]

It sounds okay, and there’s a little bit of a delay to it as well, so it kind of comes after — a tiny bit after clap number 3. Now, let me turn this into stereo here, and you can see what it sounds like.



See how it’s just a little bit wider — well, a lot wider, and it’s way more full now. It just has this really beefy sound to it. So now, I’ll play the clap number 2 in solo so you can hear what that sounds like on its own.

[clap 2]

And then now, let’s bring in the stereo information, and see what that does.


So now you have this big, wide clap sound. Again, with clap number 2 being the main sound that you’re going to hear when you listen to the record, and then the other two claps that are supporting that clap and they’re in stereo, so they’re kind of wrapping themselves around clap number 2. They’re sort of hugging it and making it sound beefier and fatter and fuller.

So I’m going to show you what I did, it’s very simple. To get this into stereo, all I did was put the Doubler on it. And again, I’m very, very simple when it comes to what I do. All I did was I turned this high frequency shelf here off, and I left the left channel and the right channel delay in stereo, so left and right, and I turned the direct signal off so that all you’re hearing is the left and the right channel stereo information.

You’re not hearing anything up the center, and the delay, I left stock, and the tune I left at stock, so again, it’s very, very simple, I’m not doing anything complicated here, you don’t have to use ten plugins to achieve a stereo sound, and it’s all about how everything works together, so now I feel like clap 1, 2, and 3 work a little bit better together than they did before, and now the sound, the overall clap sound is a lot fatter and a lot fuller.

So what I’ll do is I’ll play it. First I’m going to play without the song on, and I’m going to play the clap number 1 in mono, and then I’ll turn on to stereo, and then what I’ll do is I’ll turn the record on, so you can see everything else, and you’ll hear the difference of what that sounds like. And again, you’re not going to hear a huge night and day difference, but it’s all these little subtle things that you do to the mix that make a big difference in the long run.

So let’s check this out now.

[claps, then mix]

Okay, so I know the vocal is a huge focal point, and it’s a lot louder than the clap, so it is sort of drowning out the clap sound, but you should be able to hear when I turn the doubler on for clap 1, that all of the sudden, the overall clap sound just got a lot wider, and it filled up a lot of empty space that you sort of hear in between the speakers.

So again, nothing too complicated, again, I try to simplify my process as much as I possibly can, but again, that should hopefully be a useable technique that you can use in your own mixes, and that’s it for now. So hopefully you enjoyed that, and I will see you on the next tutorial!


Justin Smith

Justin Smith

Justin is an audio engineer who is passionate about mixing. When he’s not mixing a song you can find him at Modern Mixing and Modern Samples.

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