Mixing Snare Drum: Get a fatter snare

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One of the FIRST steps you can do when mixing the snare drum is to check the phase in relation to the overhead mics.
I know when I first started out mixing, and I wanted a fatter snare I would grab an EQ and just start boosting the frequencies I thought sounded good like crazy.
WRONG move.
You could potentially be losing most of your tone simply because the snare drum you recorded (or someone else recorded) is out of phase with the overhead mics.
Without going into super detailed explanation about phase, basically what that means is wave forms from a sound source (i.e. snare) are hitting mics at different times.
These different timed wave forms could be canceling each other out in the mixing “phase”. HA! see what I did there. pun intended. sorry.
Mixing snare drum (s) doesn’t have to be rocket science. If you know the fundamentals it can help you get started on the right foot.
So BEFORE you grab that new plugin you bought and start going boost crazy on me, check the phase and you may be pleasantly surprised!
If you tried what I show you in the video below, used  some strategic EQ and compression moves, and you STILL can’t get the sound you’re looking for then maybe the problem is in the recording itself. Sometimes you just need to re-record a bad sounding take.
Some things you can do is to make sure the drummer changes the heads of the the snare and has them tuned properly.  Dull and out of tune snare heads can’t be fixed in the mix.
You may also  want to make sure you have the best mic placement possible. Just move the mic around and record a few takes and pick the best one.
You can also consider bringing in samples if you don’t have the option to re-record the drums. I use Slate Digital’s Trigger when I need to do this. 
Check out the video below to see checking the phase while mixing snare drum in action on one of my home studio recordings. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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  1. Pingback: Mixing Drums - How To Make Home Drum Recordings Sound HUGE

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