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Faking snares?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Deafen, Oct 23, 2001.

  1. Deafen

    Deafen Member

    On my first big recording project, I've already screwed up (a bit). The drums are all tracked, and sound pretty damn good, if I do say so myself -- with one exception.

    The snare was top-miked only, and because of that, the sound of the snares is almost completely missing. The snare drum sounds almost like a very high-tuned tom.

    There's a fair amount in the overheads, but I don't want to rely on that, since it smears the imaging (and besides, the levels don't match up, so I'd end up with super-hot cymbals if I did it that way).

    I'm looking for a way to fake the sound of the snares, _without_ triggering and using a sample, since the drummer plays with a huge amount of feel on the snare. I've had reasonably good luck using a short, gated, noisy reverb (FreeverbToo15 on the "Snare!" setting is good, because it has so damn much white noise in the short tail), but that adds an ambience that I can't match on the rest of the drum kit. Makes it sound like the snare was recorded in another room.

    On another forum, someone suggested that I put a monitor on top of a snare, adjust the playback level until the snares rattle, then miking the bottom and mixing in the pure snare sound. That sounds like it would work fine, but geez, what a bunch of work. (I've got 14 songs that need fixing. Yeah, I should have caught it earlier. Whoops.)

    I've got plenty of time, since there's still weeks of tracking to finish. Nobody's paying for my time except me, since it's my home studio and my band. FWIW, I'm using Cubase VST 5r6 on a PC.

    I'm looking for ideas. Got any?
  2. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    I don't understand why remiking the snare would be a lot of work. You simply feed the already recorded snare track to the monitor sitting on the snare, and mic the bottom head, returning it to an empty track. Start recording the whole tape that way = all 14 songs, with just the snare track playing back, while you record a channel of bottom snare to tape. When you're done, blend this new track with the old track and you're finished.
  3. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Gee, with 14 tracks, I figure you'd want to do the re-micing trick for at least some of the mileage. You could do other stuff on particular tracks, but you probably wouldn't want to do a bizarre fix on everything, or it would just suck instead of being creative.

    One weird sound I was just hunting for a use for is balancing one of those hand percussion rhythm eggs on the center of the plastic speaker of a battery powered Smokey amp. I imagine reamped snare top could get this to sound reasonably like bottom snare in the right context, though the reamp alone might be a better balance, depending on your basics. Also, maybe that weird ambience the plug-in gives you on the snare could make a particular track work. Don't be afraid to try something that isn't technically perfect, but I wouldn't use these tricks on more than one track each on an album.

  4. trondmjoen

    trondmjoen Guest

    you could also try feeding the snare track through a roland space echo a bit hot. works great for some noisy rocknroll tunes.
  5. Deafen

    Deafen Member

    Yeah, I suppose it won't be too hard to do it, I'll just have to budget a few hours on a Sunday or something. If it keeps me from wallpapering... :)
  6. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Another solution if you have any direct x apps on your PC is to use wavemachine Lab's Drumagog DX plugin.

    This is a triggering app somewhat akin to DM_5 or a ddrum or FORAT unit, but instead of using one sample like those units, it uses 24 different samples per drum.

    The beauty is, a while ago I made a drumagog ready sample set, called " snare tail " for the exact reason you describe! If you need it lemme know.
  7. Henchman

    Henchman Active Member

    Originally posted by Aaron Carey:

    The beauty is, a while ago I made a drumagog ready sample set, called " snare tail " for the exact reason you describe! If you need it lemme know.

    I'd be interested in that!!!
  8. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Originally posted by Aaron Carey:
    This is a triggering app somewhat akin to DM_5 or a ddrum or FORAT unit, but instead of using one sample like those units, it uses 24 different samples per drum.

    I love my forat, and although I use sound replacer most of the time (mac based), This sounds interesting. Can you change the pitch of the samples like you can on an F-16? I like to get my kick drums perfectly in tune with the key of the song, and soundreplacer doesn't do this.
  9. Henchman

    Henchman Active Member

    Originally posted by Deafen:

    Here's an example: last night I spent three hours getting set up to record 12 tracks of rhythm guitar (3 mics, two takes clean, two takes dirty). All for stuff that'll be absolutely buried in the mix. :)

    Why waste all those tracks?
    If there's only 4 takes, I would be using 4 tracks personnally
  10. Deafen

    Deafen Member

    Well, it's not really 'wasting' tracks, because it's just disk space, not tape. Each take had two close mics (dynamic and condenser) and a room mic. I don't know what mix of the sounds will be best for the song when all is said and done; this way, I can push that decision off until mix time. When the time comes, I'll mix each set of 3 down to a single track and use the four resulting tracks in the final mix.
  11. Deafen

    Deafen Member

    Just wanted to follow up here. I went ahead and remiced the snares, with excellent results. It was a very enlightening experience; I learned a great deal about how the sound of the snares themelves contribute to the sound of the drum. For example, if I gated the hell out of the source track so that all I got was an impulse (1 ms hold, 10 ms release, predictive attack), I got a very short snare vibration, which made for a nice, tight snare with lots of crack to it. If I left the source track ungated, the snares sometimes picked up a little of the kick or rack tom bleed, and it sounded very smooth and natural.

    I did experiment with using different drums, but found that there was much more difference between tight/loose snare settings than between drums. This may have been because they were all the same diameter. I had a Ludwig, a Yamaha, a Mapex (?), and a Darwin to choose from; I think I used the Mapex and the Ludwig most. I guess that the drum itself contributes more to the top-head sound, and there's just not that much difference in the sound of the snares.

    On some tracks, I had to slide the snare sounds around just a tiny bit because Cubase's latency compensation didn't quite get it perfectly, and there were phase problems. On other tracks, it worked "out of the box", as it were.

    Thanks for all the advice! Things are moving along, and no major screwups in the last couple weeks. :) I may just post up some of the final results for public skewering when all is said and done.
  12. guapo

    guapo Guest

    Deafen, regarding Henchman's comment about waisting tracks, I have to agree. IMHO, it's not about waisting the physical tape, or hard disk space, but more waisting creative energy and time. I've learned the hard way over the years that when tracking, time is more than money: it's also the creative flow that can get bogged down. Learning to work quickly and keep things moving along is unbelievably important in the studio. Thus, I tend to use the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your project. :)

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