Pro Audio Files

Tips for Mixing Snare Drum with Glenn Fricker

Next up, snare drum. Okay. And uh, this is like, this has got to be one of the easier snare drums I’ve ever recorded, and again, we’re combining several mics here, and I’ve got one extra track here, so we’re just going to get rid of that, because we’re not using a trigger on this track, and if you guys have watched my videos, every now and then, I will use triggers on the snare, not actually a trigger sample, but to open and close a gate, I’ll actually move it physically ahead in the track.

Basically, I’ve got three sounds going on here for my snare. I’ve got a 57, then I’ve got a Lewitt condenser, and then I think I’ve got a 57 underneath. I could be wrong. We’ve definitely got a bottom mic somewhere going on. I just use it as a little bit of filth. A bottom snare mic can be a little papery, it’s not to my liking. You know, 57 is the standard of course, but I like to pair that up with a small diaphragm condenser to just get a little bit more thwack on it.

So yeah, listening to the same — let’s listen to a different passage here and see what’s going on here with the snares, because yeah, it’s got a few rolls and whatnot coming up, and this should be interesting. So let’s start out here. Just see what we get here for our group.


Yeah. So throw on the main drum buss here.

[drums soloed]

Yeah, told you guys, yeah, Matt Starr is just simply amazing. The drum in question here is a 5.5” Ludwig Supraphonic, the most recorded snare in history, and I’ve been really getting into Ludwig drums as of late. I’ve got a 6.5” Supraphonic that’s wound up on an awful lot of demos.

Anyway, yeah, so let’s take a look at what’s going on here with a 57. That’s our drum buss. Let’s go on to our snare buss here. So I’ve got three mics going on there, we’ve got a 57. There’s our condenser. And our bottom mic.

So it’s mainly the 57 on this one. On the metal stuff, I find myself using a lot more of the condenser than the 57, but the 57 is just sounding great here in a rock sense, so yeah, let’s go with that.

As you can hear, I’ve got a fair amount of reverb going on on the snare. So we’re just going to clean everything up here for a minute.


So I’m just going to mute out and just take a listen to the snare mic by itself here. We’re going to take a listen, and I’m going to take you guys through the signal chain again. There’s not a lot of processing going on on this one as well. So as usual, I’ve got, you know, the virtual channel going on, and a little bit of the SSL thing going on. A lot of drive, just want to get a little bit of crunch going on. A little bit of pre-EQ. I don’t even have any post EQ going on here.

So a little bit of 10kHz, and 3.2kHz, maybe just a little bit of brightness there. A little bit of cut at 400Hz, 416Hz there. 3dBs down, and then a little boost at 170Hz just to kind of fill in the bottom a little bit. Rolling off at 50Hz, no distortion or anything like that, so here’s on and off.

[snare, before and after EQ]

Just kind of adding a little bit of crispness to it. Not a lot. And next up in the chain is the Slate Lift. We’ve got it set to Punchy and Silky, and this thing is just great. You can just abuse the hell out of this plugin, and it’s going to sound awesome. You know.

But this mic doesn’t need a lot of silk. Then again, you don’t want to overdo the punchiness as well. It’s a pretty full sounding mic, and I get my snares by combining a bunch of mics, not just one, so it’s not just one mic that works, and you’re going to see how I combine it with the overheads in the rooms, and make it kind of all fit together. Like I said, a lot of things have to happen at once, you know, to make the mix really happen, so this is just one small piece of the puzzle here, and a little compression.

Again, slow attack, semi-fast release, no makeup gain, we’re just — set the threshold so we get about 5dBs of compression at a 4 to 1 ratio. You know, a little bit of EQ, little bit of gentle compression, and when you’ve got really clean, great signals, you don’t need a lot of processing to make it sound good.

So again, dry…

[snare, dry, then processed]

And processed. So there’s our three snare mics. I’m going to just kind of bring up the group. Now, I don’t have any gating going on on the top mics. Let me zoom in here, let’s take a look here. You can hear a little bit of the kick drum, you can hear a little bit of ghosting. You know, if we take the gate off, let’s take a listen.

[snare, no gate]

You know what? Maybe we’ll go with the gate, because I want to hear a little bit more of that ghosting. And ghosting is something I’ve struggled with for the longest time, and I find if you just basically have a bottom snare mic on, you can get that ghosting and crank that up a little bit without having to worry about hi-hat bleed and getting all of that, so if you’re gating your top mics, you might want to ungate your bottom mic and get that ghosting going on, because a lot of drummers like throwing that in just so they can yell at you for not getting the ghosting in there in the final mix.

At least, that’s what I think they’re doing it for anyway. Alright, Matt’s probably the exception. Apologies to Matt. He’s ghosting because he knows what the hell he’s doing. Guys that have come in at my studio are usually just showing off.

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