Ever feel like your snare tone is just a little bit off? Like, it's close, but no cigar? That's where we step in.
We all know that the snare drum is a crucial element in any recording, and getting it to sit just right can make or break your mix. So join us as we uncover some valuable insights and techniques to help you achieve that perfect snare sound.
Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!
In this episode, Benedikt & Malcom dive deep into the world of using EQ on your snare drum(s) and explore how you can use EQ to make your snare drum fit perfectly and sound amazing in your mix.
Making the snare work in the context of the mix is 90% of the battle.
Malcom & Benedikt go over these crucial points for making sure you get that killer snare sound:
- Understanding why EQ is crucial for achieving a balanced mix.
- Exploring how EQ can enhance the tone and character of your snare drum.
- Key considerations when EQing a snare drum.
- Techniques for addressing frequency imbalances and resonance problems.
- Using samples to augment your snare sound.
- Tips for sculpting the snare drum sound to fit seamlessly into your mix.
- Choosing the right EQ plugins for the job.
- How the wrong snare sound can impact on other instruments in the mix.
- Phase issues.
This isn't a case of just throwing techniques at you. It's helping you understand the why and the how, so you can apply these insights to your own mixes.
So whether you're a seasoned producer or a self-recording musician looking to improve your snare drum recordings, this episode has something valuable to offer. Tune in and discover how you can take your snare drum sounds to the next level through the power of EQ.
If you have any questions or topics you'd like us to cover in future episodes, don't hesitate to reach out. Happy recording!
The Blind Taste Test really made us choose what sounded best, not which guitar I like most. There was one song where I was like, oh, i like this one, and Ratch was like no, no, it's this one. And he was like, listen to the snare And it was like whoa, like the snare is like destroyed on the one I like.Benedikt:
This is the Self Recording Band Podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are DIY style Let's go. Hello and welcome to the Self Recording Band Podcast. I am your host, Benedikt Hein. If you're new to the show, welcome. So glad to have you. If you're already a listener, welcome back. Stoked to have you again. Today we're going to start an in-depth snare sound, snare tone series. So we have done a lot of big picture theory episodes lately And I just wanted to do a series of more actionable, bite-sized, shorter episodes on very specific things where we don't go as broad but more deep into one specific topic. And yeah, we started off with snare tone because everyone loves snares and everyone struggles with snare tones. And so today we're going to start this off with snare EQ. And, as always, I'm not alone here. I'm with my friend and co-host, Malcolm Owen-Flat. Hello, Malcolm, How are you.Malcom:
Hey, Benny, I'm great man. I'm excited for this episode. So much has changed since the last time we recorded an episode. Oh yeah, absolutely. How do we?Benedikt:
even start. Where do we even start here?Malcom:
I mean, i know how to start, Sorry, i know how to start.Benedikt:
First of all, congrats, Malcolm, because Malcolm got married. Malcolm married a wonderful person called Beth, a wonderful woman. I got to meet her when I was in Canada And I'm so happy for the two of you. So congrats, Malcolm. Please bombard him with messages on Instagram or email or whatever, and so that was super cool And I was so, so happy that I got invited and I got to witness this. So congrats again, man.Malcom:
Yeah, I'm so glad that you made it over, Benny, And yeah, it was really really appreciate you coming halfway around the world just to come to my wedding. That's so awesome of you. And again, for the listeners who haven't been with us since the beginning, this was actually the first time Benny and I, after like 100 and what this is 178 episodes, got to. I guess it would have been 175 or something then. First time, we got in the hangout in person, in the real world, not just on the internet. So it was super exciting. after spending literally hundreds of hours together, It's like it was awesome. It was awesome and it was amazing like it didn't feel like that, You know, it was just. we were just like instantly sitting down having a beer, as if we do it all the time, You know.Benedikt:
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I had such a blast like all of your friends, the people I met over there, that whole island, but especially like the people in your circle of friends and family, like this was so, yeah, such a warm group of people, so kind and welcoming, and like, yeah, i felt really amazing all the time over there. So thank you for everything.Malcom:
Yeah, very, very good group of friends and family I'm lucky to have and, yeah, everybody loved you. Lister is like I'm going to get the. I can't remember the exact wording Benny you used, but when I first saw him went in for a hug and he said something like I'm so stoked, you're a real person, yeah exactly.Benedikt:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're right, i'm so stoked you actually exist, i think, yeah, yeah, totally, i mean, you know there was no proof.Malcom:
Yeah, yeah, totally. I could have been the most elaborate multi-year cat fishing internet scam of all time. Yeah, No, it was so so cool. We've got so many stories and experiences that we got up to while well, benny was over here in Canada that I'm sure will be sprinkling throughout episodes to come, because we can't tell them all in the one episode or there will be no episode. It would just be a recap of hanging out, partying and going to music festivals and camping and stuff. Yeah, yeah absolutely.Benedikt:
But, like the one thing we probably should mention, have to mention and also I want to give a shout out, there is the reason for why we have these shirts on. If you're watching on YouTube, you'll notice that Malcolm and I have the same shirt on today And that is because we had a meetup with some of our listeners and people from our community. So, yeah, it was like a fantastic afternoon meeting those people And then afterwards I even got invited to a studio. Studio owner is John, he's a member of our community and the studio is called EtchTone Studio. So shout out to John And special shout out and thank you to Richie Jackson, who organized this meetup for us And he like chose the restaurant where we met, like that pub or bar where we were. This was beautiful view over the ocean, you know, and like a really cool place, and Richie surprised us with the gift bags that he brought, basically. So he made these shirts for us and he made us stickers, and he made us these like thank you cards that they signed and, yeah, exactly, bombastic is yours. Oh, where's mine?Malcom:
Actually it's mine. If you're watching the YouTube and if you're not, go check out the YouTube. But I've got this sticker that Richie made for me says bombastic, because I use that word all the time.Benedikt:
Yeah, exactly Mine's. I don't have it here, unfortunately, but mine's as fresh strings, because yeah for obvious reasons. So, yeah, this was fantastic. So thank you, richie, for all of that. Also, richie took me on a run and we had a good conversation there And like, yeah, just I was just overwhelmed and blown away by what he's done And by the people that I've met over there, also at the festival that we were together, where, like people I've never met before walked up to me and told me how much they appreciate the podcast. And it was unreal, it was really super, super super.Malcom:
It was cool for me to be at the festival and have people I didn't know come up and be like you're from the podcast And I was like, oh, that's cool, but for Benny he's like in a different country, on an island, like in the middle of nowhere. We're in a place called Lake Couch and it's pretty remote as far as places go And people are coming up to Benny. Knowing who he is is so cool.Benedikt:
Yeah, we should probably tell our listeners, especially the newer ones, where we actually were, Because not everyone knows where you live, probably. So this is Vancouver Island. It's like yeah, you can explain that better. It's like an island that belongs to Canada. It's at the Pacific Ocean.Malcom:
Yeah, we're an island on the west coast of Canada. I'm a really big island, but it is an island and a beautiful place, as Benny can now attest. He's been here and explored it pretty thoroughly. I must say, Benny, yeah, nobody travels like Benny everyone. Benny literally ran 30 kilometers the day after my wedding, where he was one of the last five people up at 2.30 in the morning.Benedikt:
Like the guy's insane.Malcom:
He's on another level.Benedikt:
Yeah, i think the stats at some point were like after 10 days or so, i've ran 100 kilometers and drank 100 beer, or something like that.Malcom:
Yes, And it wasn't exaggeration, no, that was pretty much the stats.Benedikt:
So we partied hard but I also ran a lot. I explored the island and rented an RV for the two weeks And I kept asking locals and your friends and people feel like places they could recommend And I tried to do it all. I was on the west coast of the island, that was 200 kilometers or so north of you, and then I was or I don't know how far it is, but Campo River, not the north of the island, but still as far as we could go, and then some very cool spots, waterfalls and whale watching and a couple of mountains and all of it. And then the festival and your wedding was intense.Malcom:
Yeah, you nailed it man, That was great, so excited. Yeah, there's going to be stories that'll come up again on future episodes, I'm sure.Benedikt:
For sure, but the most exciting thing was that you got married and that was a hell of a party and also so cool to see, like, as I said, your friends, your family and everything. I was just so happy for you.Malcom:
So, yeah, that's a good part of that. It was so cool. Yeah, definitely A fantastic night.Benedikt:
Yeah, And now the other thing that our viewers on YouTube are probably wondering right now and I've been wondering for the past hour and a half since we started this call together today Malcolm, what is going on with that mustache? Well, I got married. I'd have a mustache now, right, That's how that works. Yeah, just a small one I have to have kids to have a big mustache. Oh yeah, all right. Yeah, that's the requirement. Yeah sure, there's different phases of a mustache.Malcom:
No, i just was shaving yesterday before going to the music festival. I was at another music festival over the weekend and I just was shaving and I was like festival mustache, Why not?Benedikt:
Yeah, absolutely. Then I'd have time to shave it before this. No, it works. It works, man, gotta say So now I lost it because of the mustache.Malcom:
Well, it's okay. What we're doing here is we're meant to record a podcast. Oh yeah, thank you, exactly.Benedikt:
Exactly. No, honestly, i just keep thinking about all the things that I want to talk about, but we should do multiple banter in the next couple of episodes and then update people on certain things and talk about things we've done on the island together, because otherwise it would be too much. All I can say now is that it was awesome that there's going to be a pre-prepared. If you follow me on Instagram, be prepared for a lot of photo dump posts and videos and stuff I'm going to be posting the next couple of weeks, just because I've documented it all and it was like so amazing. I have to share it. That's one part of it. And then, finally, i actually have it's totally unrelated to this, but I have to. This has to be part of the banter. Today, too, i have a really exciting announcement, and that is I told you before on the podcast that we're going to interview some people in the near future in preparation for the Studio Scene event in October, where Malcolm is actually flying to Germany and we're going to meet again And we're going to be interviewing a couple of producers and mixers and engineers who are speakers at this event And we're going to do some episodes in advance and then we're going to do some live podcasting at the event And it all starts next week actually. So by the time this podcast airs it's going to be this Wednesday and then Tuesday. After that the first podcast interview will happen And if you have questions for the person we're going to be interviewing, then please email those two podcasts at thesurfrecordingbandcom or shoot us a message on Instagram at benedictine or at melcomohenflutt, and the first person to interview, to get to be interviewed by us, is going to be Jill Zimmerman. She is originally from Germany, moved to Canada, has been living there for a while now. An amazing engineer, producer, mixer, mastering engineer. She does all of it kind of. And just to let you know, if you're not familiar with her work, just to let you know a few of the records that she's worked on. She's worked on Alice Cooper Detroit Stories. It has been a number one album in Germany and a number one album in the US. She's worked on Alex's On Fire's Otherness album and that was a Juno Award winner for Best Rock Record of the Year. She's worked on Three Days Grace Explosions. That was a Juno nominee. Then, like tons of other things, she's worked on July Talk Touch, the album that was a gold record in Canada and also a Juno Award winner. The list goes on and on. So really amazing records that she has been a part of And she's got to be on the podcast and we're going to talk to her next Tuesday And if you have any questions about any of those records, you can check it out at chillsimmermancom. You can check out her discography. If you have questions about any of those records or anything else you want to know, then please give us your questions and we're happy to ask her.Malcom:
She is at the forefront of like modern rock in a way, and like that July Talk record I was telling Benny before we started recording this it's so cool sounding And I can't wait to talk to her about her experience working with that band. And just, you know, like rock has been around for a long time now but it is in the recording format. It just keeps evolving and changing, like what's possible in making a rock band sound huge coming out of any sound source. So yeah, that's going to be a great interview.Benedikt:
Yeah, i'm looking forward to that a lot. All right, that's going to be the first one, and then, yeah, i'm going to tell you about the other ones next time. Just one thing at a time, because there's so much I want to share already but can't really. It's going to be exciting, all right, but now finally let's go. Let's get to today's episode, and this is about snare, and particularly snare EQ, only snare EQ. We really want to focus on one thing today. I think we can kind of that was the plan. I think this is a topic that we can kind of, where we can kind of wing it, because we've done it so often And it's been something that I remember. I struggled with that a lot when I was starting out like this really was my, my nemesis, like 15 years ago. I then obsessed over learning how to, how to you know EQ drums and the mixed drums in general, and it's particularly a snare, and then at some point it kind of became my favorite thing. I was really bad at it. I didn't know what it was that made the snare sound good or what other people did, and mine always sucked, Like everyone's does, basically in the beginning at least, and then, but then it became sort of my favorite thing And actually one thing that I'm particularly proud of now. I think I don't know I just like or I'm really happy with my drum sounds at the moment, but it's a result of me obsessing over it for the past decade or so And, yeah, so I'm happy to like. This is exciting for me to just get to talk about this and share with you how I think about EQing snare drums and drums, and you know the tools we use whether or not tools actually matter where in the chain we're using EQ. Do we EQ on the way in or just in the mix and like how do we queue for certain genres and styles and aesthetics and all of that? So let's talk about this Now. First of all, malcolm, is there anything? is there a thing that you always do, or is it completely different based on what you're working on?Malcom:
Uh, something I always do is just start with my real snare these days before introducing samples. So what that really means is that I'm looking at my close mics and polarity, checking against the bottom and the top and making sure that's all there and then immediately playing to the strengths of whatever that snare is with an EQ Uh, like that's. That's an instant first move. When I'm looking at a snare Like usually the solo, the top, we figure out where its body is, give that a boost if it needs it, cut anything that needs to be scooped out of there. If there's like a boxiness that's not suiting the song or something, um, but nothing really that dramatic, i would say, if it's a well-recorded snare, but just kind of looking at that um and then that bottom mic in there, and then in the same process, i consider this introducing your, your room and overhead like kit mics, um, and seeing what that relation is. And the whole point of this is figuring out what you have to work with um before you consider samples, uh and and like it. For example, if there is this massive like 200 Hertz body on the snare and it just slams and it's like a nice low snare that I like a uh, bombastic if you will sounding snare. Uh, i, uh that like I'm not going to go looking for a sample that does that same thing. Right, it's, it's not going to really need to exist necessarily, um, whereas if that is, if it's higher tuned and it's like that body is much higher than that, uh, maybe I'm going to find a sample to augment it, to give me that, if I, if I think the song needs that. So it's really this little like analysis of what's what, what was recorded, what we have to work with, but at the same time, uh, making quick EQ moves, intuitively, well, doing that. And then I can just kind of listen to just the snare mics and the overheads and room, if the room or overheads are relevant Sometimes the overheads really don't have much snare that is worth thinking about Um, and then from there I'm going to get samples involved very, very quickly If I, if, if they're needed, uh, to kind of create my final like, like, snare sound kind of thing, and then like and this isn't really getting much more involved than that, like, i'm not going to perfect the snare at this point, i'm just going to create the snare sound I think the song needs. Does that make sense?Benedikt:
It does make sense. Um, i didn't even think about the whole samples thing. So I and that's interesting, you mentioned it, though, because you are not thinking about snare EQ in in, like, in isolation. You, you take into consideration that you blend it with another sound and then, so you don't have to EQ is heavily, or like, it's a, it's a mix of, of, of, of, of, of, of, of of that sample, and what you do with EQ and all makes sense. The reason why I think about it differently a little bit is because I usually blend the real sample, like, if I use a sample, i blend the snare with the sample first and then EQ them together as one snare, basically, um, and, and it sounded like you would EQ the snare and then do the sample afterwards on top of that sort of.Malcom:
Yeah, yeah And then. But once they're there, then it would move, because, like, when I'm introducing the samples, it's almost like I'm pretending that it's now just part of the real snare. And then once that stage is done, then I would move to the bus and just EQ it as one snare, like you would. Um, but I almost made it sound like I'm just improving things during this whole process, but it's actually at least 50% of uh, fixing things as well. So you introduce the the overheads and you're like, oh, i don't like how flammie that makes it sound. Those overheads are miles up in the sky and there's like an audible delay. I'm going to try and remove the snare from these overheads, kind of thing. Um, or and and like you know, this is the same goes for like kick drums and stuff you throw in those ambience mics and sometimes your close mics fall apart and you have to either try and remove that from those farm mics or find out like some way to make it work. So there's all this correction going on at this point too. Just quickly getting things to a happier point.Benedikt:
Very glad you're mentioning all of this because you're right. If we only talk about snare EQ in isolation, it doesn't really make sense because the moment you turn on the overheads and rooms, everything changes and you got to do it in context And sometimes I'm actually shocked. Sometimes when I, uh, like you know, i'm listening to my mix, i'm working on something I already like how the drums sound and everything, and then, for whatever reason, i, i solo the snare and I sometimes I'm shocked at about how terrible that sounds on its own And I sometimes question myself that, like, is that? that can't be my snare, but in the context it works with the rooms and overheads and everything, but it's sometimes funny how it sounds on its own. It's like a very, very weird sound sometimes. But, um, but that's also because we are not. When we listen to drums in in in a room, our ear is not attached to the drum, like the microphone is. We hear it from a distance and it's the room and everything that goes into that. And um, that's also why I think sometimes and you have to get back on to the topic here but, like, um, i just recently saw a phone recording like an iPhone video of a drummer in a room where it was just the phone and it sounded fantastic And like the snare sounded fantastic, and I've heard that a couple of times actually, like I've seen videos where I was like this sounds really, really good And so, um, that combination of the snare, a good drummer and the room and everything makes the snare sound good, even on a phone. Sometimes I like that particular sound, actually like the compression that a phone does on snares. That's a different topic. But it just goes to show that the snare sound is not what it sounds like. Really close to the snare It's what happens around the kit and the mix of everything. Yeah, yeah, but okay, so to the actual EQ then I think then it's very similar actually to what I do. So my process is that I listen to whatever's been given to me when I mix and I, if I discover a problem on a certain mic, certain frequency or resonance or something I don't like, i clean that up first. But I don't really improve things at this point. I just get rid of things that I absolutely don't want to have in there. It could be a weird ring, could be a rumble or something that just is not, should not be part of the signal, but then I pretty much leave it alone. Sometimes I don't do anything at all And I just try to create a good balance between the top and the bottom mic if there's two And then the samples that usually are already in my session, because either the artists live at them and or Thomas printed new samples for me that fit the song and the vibe and everything. So I'm super happy to have Thomas, my partner, here at the studio. He's absolutely fantastic at this And at some point I want to bring him on actually to just talk about this or like make a video about it, because it's shocking how he nails that every single time where the samples just sound like a part of the kit and he just tunes them to perfection. He picks the right sample and it's just blend so well, and so I have these samples in there and I bring them in and I turn those individual sounds into my snare. Like you said, like on the bus, i have one snare. Then I treat it as one snare mic, but it's actually multiple mics and the samples together And there might be samples that are sounding almost exactly like the real snare, just without the bleed, and sometimes I use samples that are completely different, to add whatever is missing, as like you said. But whatever I do, like the end result is one snare track, one bus where it all comes together. And then there is where I actually start tweaking things and e queuing things. Before that it's pretty much just picking the right sounds, balancing and a little bit of correction, but the actual e queue starts on that bus, for me at least.Malcom:
Cool, yeah, yeah, yeah, very similar, just like this. I guess we could call it corrective step ahead of it before me, kind of thing. But yeah, i think we both agree that you're just adding all of the ingredients to create one sum, essentially, and then that's your snare, kind of thing. So yeah, we don't care what the snare sounds like on it's, the snare bottom sounds like on its own. Exactly, or the mic sounds like on its own. It's all just got to be combined. And yeah, context is everything.Benedikt:
Yeah, and part of the reason also is the context is one part, but part of the reason also is phase, because you want to make sure that when you blend it, of course the timing and the phase relationship between the sounds has to be spot on. But also if you, the moment you start e queuing an individual mic, when you combine like two, three, four sources and they are in phase, and then you start e queuing one of them, you're moving things out of phase again. It can be a good thing, can be without any consequences, but can also completely ruin things. So, for example, if you have a top and bottom mic and they're perfectly in phase because you flipped one as you should and you've aligned them and whatnot and it works, but then you add a steep low cut like a high pass on one of them, for example the snare bottom mic, this might flip it again. You know, because just because the filter does that, because it changes the phase, and then all of a sudden it's out of phase again. You do some, you know very narrow notch somewhere, or you notch out a frequency, certain resonance and without touching the phase, the polarity button, all of a sudden it sounds weaker, the transient is gone. That could be a result of the e queue move and you might have to compensate for that or instead just do it on the bus, and that's the reason why I try to not do it at all on the end or, if possible, not at all on the individual mics, but instead on the bus, because that keeps the phase together and doesn't smear any transients. And the more I can avoid this, the more I can leave these things alone. The punchier my end result is going to be, because every single move on any of those elements is going to take a little bit away from the punch, from the transient. It's going to smear it more and more, and so I try to just do as little as possible there On the bus, though I might go crazy, like I'm not afraid to boost 25 dB if I have to, or cut whatever, but on the individual mics not so much.Malcom:
Yeah, yeah, this might be the wrong time to talk about this, but maybe it's fine. You mentioned boosting like 25 dB. Like, let's say, we're just throwing this massive high boost on the snare to give it like the super modern crack and sizzle. That again is like, yeah, something you shouldn't be afraid of if that's what it needs. But I think what we should talk about is when you know that's what it needs, because I don't think it's possible to know that you need that until you've pretty much mixed the rest of the song in a way. Oh yeah, yeah, because brightness is all just a relative term kind of thing. You could have a really dark snare, but if everything else in your mix is darker, it's going to seem bright. So it's all about introducing all of those other things kind of quicker than you might think. So if you think that you mixed the drum kit and then you move on to guitars and then you mix the guitars, but drums are already done, that's just not how mixing works.Benedikt:
No, By the way, i have to mention that. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, malcolm, but I have to mention it. Please go to thesefracodingbandcom, because that balancing guide that I have there shows you exactly that, because that whole process of listening to the whole song in context, balancing things and starting with a good, rough mix, helps you make those decisions, because that teaches you a lot about the song and the arrangement and the overall sort of frequency response And you'll get a feeling for, oh, my snare is too dark or too bright compared to everything else. Instead of what a lot of people do, muting everything but the drums and ekewing that for two hours and then turning on the guitars for the first time Not a good idea.Malcom:
Yeah, exactly, and that's exactly how I used to try to do it earlier on. It's just like there's no point in moving on until these drums sound killer. It's just like you can't until you have everything else in there. So it's about making the obvious choices and getting things moved forward, obviously, but quickly moving on to the other elements that are going to affect how your drums sound, and the drums are going to affect how they sound. So if the guitars are a more important part of the song, why are you prioritizing your drums? Right? So that continues on. And again, the classic vocals getting introduced at the last. Second problem. Yeah, okay, we're going to get into broader theory rather than just snare drum though, so back to snares. Yeah, totally.Benedikt:
So I've just got to turn off an alarm here on my phone because it's going to go off in five minutes.Malcom:
So We're running late. Yeah, no problem.Benedikt:
So, yeah, back to the that's all correct and everything but like back to the actually cue moves then that we make there. So context is everything, as we said, but I think there's still some go to, at least for me. It might be different for you. There's some go to moves that I at least try most of the time And then I will do. I will end up doing some variation of that almost always. So I want to talk about that real quick. The three things that I almost like. There's four things, actually four bands, that I almost always use in one way or another. The first one is I'm probably going to use a low cut not always, that's the one I don't do always but I'm probably going to use a low cut or like a high pass, whatever you want to call it. So I get rid of rumble and it does two things for me. It ends up the unnecessary low end, which with real drums, can be all kinds of weird things. It can be what Dave Piotek called stick wind or like weird rumble. You know that. Just you know you don't need that. Sometimes it can be perceived as a transient in front of the transient or something, and you can get rid of that. If you filter it out a little bit, it makes it tighter. Sometimes it can be rumble from the kick drum, sometimes it can be just a too too big of a low end that you don't need. And also, what I find is it focuses on the actual body of the snare more. So if you do that low cut, it gets rid of the unnecessary stuff while boosting the actual body, the actual fundamental, a little bit, because every filter has a resonance and it like focuses that And I just like what that sounds like most of the time. Sometimes I might even make it a little resonant. So I filter it out and then make it so that there's a little bump at the frequency where I'm filtering. So that's one band not always but very often And then the other three it's really almost always And that's the first one boosting around the fundamental. So usually somewhere around 200 Hertz lower snare could be 150, a higher snare could be 250, but in between there somewhere I'm going to be boosting And after I've like later in the episode I'm going to say something about that because there's a trick that I, that someone told me and I think it's awesome in regards to that. But so I'm going to be boosting the fundamental somewhere, then I'm going to be cutting somewhere in the midrange where I where what I call the sort of basement jam space sound sort of is. There's like a cheap, you know cardboardy I'm a true sounding part of it at like around 700 or so Usually that I need to get rid of because otherwise it will sound like a demo. That's how I always feel about this And it's different for every snare and room, but usually somewhere there in the midrange I have to do some sort of cleanup work And then and then the final band is just a general broad top end boost. Can be a broad bell or a shelf, but like pretty hefty sort of top end boost that I almost always apply. Sometimes that includes the upper midrange for some additional crack and attack there. Sometimes that doesn't sound really good and it's not necessary. Oftentimes I prefer really the top end, like 8k plus or something. But yeah, these are the things I do most of the time. So I'm actually putting a kind of a smiley face, curve on the snare and get rid of the very low rumble stuff And that's pretty much. It Like I do some variation of that and it depends on a couple of things, but that's pretty much what I do on 90% of the rock songs that I work on. It's like a smiley face and filtering out some rumble.Malcom:
Cool. Yeah, i would say we're close on that. I don't find myself doing the low cut very often these days, but I honestly I heavily gate my snare almost every time these days. So it's like the in between rumbles taken care of, the rumble and the decay is pretty taken care of as well, but sometimes you still need to for sure.Benedikt:
I like the sound of it also. That's part of it, yeah, of course, the fundamental boost.Malcom:
Yeah, that is like. Can't think of a mix. I've done without that in a long, long time. It just makes things better generally. Or, like you know, trying to make up for maybe the fundamental being higher than I want it to be. You can just kind of like, say, say, 275 is your fundamental, just go for like to get closer to 200. You can kind of cheat it that way. And then the mid cut I've actually been purposely ignoring, kind of as an experiment, because at least in Canada garage sounding drums are kind of back in style a little bit. Yeah, so, and you really do get a lot of impact by leaving that in. Like it really does punch in the face with all that mid information kind of thing, but invariably I ended up going back and taking some of it out, but for now I'm trying to leave it in because the samples are always kind of already scooped out And yeah, just, it's been a cool experiment And I think it's making me be more careful about the smiley face, because smiley faces always sound good.Benedikt:
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.Malcom:
So yeah, that's been cool. And then the top boost. I'm glad you said like a bell in general, because again it's, it always sounds nice cranking the top end of a snare generally If it's like if there's not too much hi hat or something in it, you're usually it feels nice to do. But I find that if you're a little more discerning there's usually a spot in every snare that sounds like really great. You kind of find like the perfect spot for the crack or like the sizzle or like whatever you need to add in there. So experimenting with a bell I find is a better like you're going to get a better result in general, rather than just a blanket, like like tilting the whole top end up. So that that's a good note. Just go hunting for it And again go hunting on the sum of your snare sound, not necessarily just on the bottom or the top mic, like find, find what suits the whole sound.Benedikt:
Absolutely, totally. I agree about the midrange thing, by the way. you totally right that it's back in style and and it's kind of cool. I find myself doing a combination, though the most often. So I try to find the part that sucks still and go as narrow as I can there. But then I might do a very broad boost at 1k or so or like 1.5 or something that covers the whole midrange where I kind of, you know, have this narrow cut, but then I boost all of it a little bit to just bring it forward. So, yeah, i totally, i totally agree, and you can overdo it with the smiley face, of course, and it's kind of, and if you overdo it a lot it can sound very cookie cutter, sometimes dated even, you know, and it's definitely more exciting if you leave the good parts of the midrange in, and that's where the character of any drum lies, that's where it sings, where it resonates, and so I'm totally with you there. It also depends on the genre. If I'm doing like radio rock, that's supposed to sound big and, like you know, like a Nickelback song or something, that's just all 208k plus and not much in between. But if I'm doing like a more of an indie band or something with more unique sort of character, then it might be, might be pretty, pretty different there, yeah.Malcom:
Yeah, here's a cool concept for EQing a snare. It's the idea of EQing through other tracks essentially. So, say you do scoop out your close mics because you're sold on your snare bus and the symbols, the overheads and rooms probably aren't routed to that, so you are making decisions without those And you end up with the scoop kind of modern thing. Often you that is the right call Like. Usually that's works really well, not like an overly scooped thing, but scooping out something. But you probably still need to make up that mid range information somehow. So there's like this hole in your mix And you can do that a number of ways. One way would be like the very compressed and like pumpy dark room mics that are very common in rock mixes. You know people crush the room mics and really like, go for this like bonnemy snare kind of sound being mixed in That's going to add back this huge amount of mid range And that. So that's like an additive EQ you can think of. Or sometimes later in the game I'll add more samples and go with like this distortion sample that is literally just like, but in mid range, and like that can fill that hole a little bit in a way that doesn't sound like a cheap snare, so you can like there's workarounds And if you can think of it as like I'm working on a different track, or you can think of it as I'm doing something to the snare with another track.Benedikt:
Yeah, totally, totally agreed, yeah, absolutely. And also I think that other elements of the mix that I first I thought that is where you would be going with this, but you're right to with, like, adding sounds to the snare, but I also think that other elements of the mix, like the guitar tone, can make the snare sound differently in a way or make you perceive it differently. I think you even talked about that on on an episode, like an experience you had in the studio where you were. I think you were listening to, you were, you were dialing in, i think, a guitar tone or so, but you were listening to the or something like that you know, but where that's so true, like, based on how the guitar sounds, you might perceive your snare completely differently, and so the solution to your problem might not necessarily be the snare EQ, but maybe changing the guitar tone or whatever You know.Malcom:
I want to retell the story because I feel like that was actually a long time ago that I told that. But it was my band, bandarascals, which is the intro music for the podcast. If anybody's wondered what that is, go check out Bandarascals. We made that record actually with a guy named Eric Ratz, who's a big time producer in Canada, here and the world. He's just, he's awesome and super fun experience. We won the big grant, so that's how we afforded to do this big record in the warehouse recording studios like one of the premier studios in North America, and we were going through this crazy guitar tryout. So I literally played like seven, eight guitars can't even remember how many just like from the intro of the song to the end of the first course, and I would double them up. And then we went and did like a blind taste test and I did this for like every song, i think, and then we would choose like okay, i thought number three sounded the best for this song. And then there was one song where me and rats disagreed and I got to say on every other song, almost everybody in the room agreed, which is really fascinating. It's not about drums, really, but just the blind taste test really made us choose what sounded best, not which guitar I like the look of most or like playing the most. It was like it was fascinating. But there was one song where I was like, oh, i like this one. And rats was like no, no, it's this one. And I was like, oh, like, no, like listen, like it's thicker or whatever kind of thing, And he's like listen to the snare And it was like whoa, like the snare is like destroyed on the one I like, and it was just like such a learning moment is like okay, just got to listen to again the whole, not just what you're focused on. In this case, the guitars were kind of they're just less important.Benedikt:
Yeah, yeah, totally Exactly, and it, yeah, and so if that's the case, if you're fighting a guitar tone, then you can cue all day long and it just won't ever sound the way you want it to sound And maybe it's time to just switch to a different guitar tone that frees up some space. So I had this a couple of times where I wanted I had a very ringy snare and we wanted that And I really wanted to bring out that midrange ring, that long sustain, and it was just cool for the song And I don't know if you ever had that. But like when in solo you can totally hear it, it's there, it's like amazing snare that just sings, but then with the guitars and everything in it just disappears and sounds like dry cardboard thing, you know, and there's nothing you can do. It's sometimes crazy how, how that can, how that works, you know, and until you change the guitar tone or sometimes the bass, if it's the snare and the bass are in the middle and the bass is really exactly at that frequency or whatever, it's a really really you know, bright bass sound or something. As long as you don't, it's like, until you change this, there's nothing you can do. And then, when you change it, all of a sudden there's room for that snare ring to come through. I've had this a couple of times where I had no chance making that happen without changing the other elements of the mix.Malcom:
Yeah, Yeah, it's a recurring theme, apparently of this whole episode. Is context really matters? Yeah, exactly.Benedikt:
Exactly. I wanted to add a few little tricks here or things I've discovered or people taught me. So one of them is what I mentioned about the fundamental boost thing. I've I always had this problem that and I think this is pretty common that I like to boost a lot of like bottom end, like a lot of the fundamental of the snare, but then I get this also creates this pretty high like pretty full of energy, high energy peak at like around 200. That then causes like the limiter to like triggers the limiter. Look at the analyzer. You can even see that big jump there at this frequency and it just uses up a lot of headroom And without the snare really getting a lot louder. So I always had to be careful with that And sometimes I just had too much of their frequency, but it still doesn't didn't sound like too much. And so I found out and I don't even remember who told me this, but it was some other producer that I talked to that It's a shame I can't remember. Anyways, but if I remember I'll add it later to the show notes, but I remember having this conversation that when and it makes so much sense if you saturate a drum a lot and I do that with snare drums a lot. This adds more energy to that 200 sort of area, to that fundamental, and you create harmonics and you it makes this a little thicker and this area can get a little bit out of control And that, in combination with EQ, can make it even worse. And so you're boosting a lot, you're adding harmonics, it gets thicker and thicker. And the way for me to combat that is I boost kind of a little bit, you know, around that fundamental. So if that fundamental is 180, i might boost, like you said before, i might boost 160 or 220 or something close to that, maybe even both, but not the actual fundamental, and I try to make that area broader. Instead of like focusing on this narrow peak there, on this narrow single point where all the energy is, i try to make it broader. I try to add a little bit below and a little bit above And that creates a similar effect that makes it thicker without adding so much energy in that one frequency that will then cause the limiter to go crazy and all of that. So that is really a cool trick that I've learned And I love to do that with something like a you know a channel strip plug in like a Neve or something or an SSL where I crank the saturation. I just love that And then I boost a bunch of low end, but I might choose 30 Hertz off or something And all of a sudden I have the thickness, but it's less pokey, it's fatter, it's wider and thicker sounding and it just works better in terms of headroom.Malcom:
So yeah, this is like a great example of ignoring your analyzer. Your analyzer might help you kind of find where the fundamental is, but when you're actually making the adjustments, don't pay any attention to it. Just trust your ears.Benedikt:
Yeah, i heard actually I've heard an interview that was not the one, but I've heard an interview with Steve Albini. That kind of left me a little confused at first, but then I started to to realize and listen to some of his records and realize what he was doing there. He said he's he's generally boosting and I thought it must be a mistake. He's generally boosting, I think 80 or something on a snare drum or 60 or something crazy like that. And I was like what, why would you do that? But then I checked out the gear he's using at the console he has and the way those, those shelves work that he's using, and so 80 or a hundred or whatever on that console starts way up higher and it goes down low, you know, but the so just choosing a frequency pretty far off the fundamental, does just enough to the fundamental so that it works And it also boosts, makes everything around it a little thicker and and that just works in that case, because the shelf is like not not exactly there but a little lower, and you know things like that And he just, he just makes the decision with his ears, not with the analyzer. Yeah, and he's using 80 sounds great on the console and he doesn't question it and just does it. You know.Malcom:
Yeah, i mean yeah. I mean, if you want to be super crazy technical about things, thinking about the tempo and space of frequencies. Yeah, the tempo of frequencies is a quite a concept, but if there is a lot of space between kick and snares, you can do outrageous stuff to the bottom end of your snare and still have the room to do it. I mean again, depending on your bass and guitar arrangements and stuff like that. But if there's room for it, you can do more than you ever thought was possible down there And it probably could work.Benedikt:
Yeah, Absolutely, Absolutely Even. I mean this is probably a little too advanced and not necessary for most people. But even different types of EQs, like you know, circuits, topologies of EQs make a difference in terms of speed, in terms of how fast they are. So a purely digital, like a fab filter or something, is very accurate, super fast, could sound pretty accurate and pretty pokey pretty quickly. And whereas if you use a Poltec or something that just has a little bit of a slower feel to it, where you can boost a lot but the transient doesn't get as crazy in a way, And so you can, depending on whether you want, like, a quick punch and a more narrow sound or more of a thick, wider sounding thing, you can choose a different EQ and make it feel quicker or slower in a way. So that's definitely also a thing. But in most cases and I just have to say that your stock EQ will do, or a fab filter or whatever it will do There's always different colors and different options And I like to combine certain things with certain options. But that's because I'm a professional and I, you know I have those tools because it's my job. But if that wouldn't be the case, I would, and even if, like I could probably make it work just with, you know, a fab filter or whatever.Malcom:
So yeah, i just use fab filter because it's the quickest. It's just the quickest tool in my arsenal. Exactly, i like it.Benedikt:
Yeah, i use that for cleanup and then usually a console EQ or so. For the rest And that's also not because of the sound of the console, but I use the like very often. I use an SSL console style strip plugin or the SSL or an EVE, but I use it because I don't look at the analyzer then, and I use it because the frequencies in there are actually a little off and so I have to make decisions with my ears anyways. And because I've gotten so yeah, and because I've gotten so used to what that sounds like, that I know, if I know exactly what 8K like the center of the red top end button, like a knob on the SSL what that sounds like. It's not actually 8K, It's like a little off, but it says 8K, it's the center. And if I just turn it up in shelf or in bell mode, i know exactly what that sounds like, even if the sound needs it. That's there. I just know what that is. That's just yeah, because I've used it so often And also same with the bottom end. I just got used to that. I also know that, for whatever reason, boosting 3.04K, even when it's very wide and musical, almost never sounds right to me on that EQ. It's always a little harsh and a little just sticks out of the mix too much And I use it only if I feel like there's not enough stick attack and the snare is really too dark or it just doesn't cut through. And I use that on the SSL. But if it's already kind of bright and I tend to not use that but I use something different then. So I really just know that EQ very well and I like that. I don't see the exact frequencies.Malcom:
Everybody will find the tools that work for them, like that SSL super popular plugin. So many people use it. I don't own it anymore. I bought it, never used it, didn't like it. it's gone.Benedikt:
Yeah, i just learned it and the way it interacts with the saturation that's built in, and so I could say the same thing about all kinds of other tools. If you've spent enough time with one tool and you know it inside out, you can do great things with it, and that's how I feel about this SSL thing.Malcom:
Yeah, i think again we're getting off topic, but I think just like a good that help people with buying too many plugins, because Benny and I have both bought too many plugins. When you try something out, if it's not like immediately fairly intuitive, i would just move on because there's another tool that will do it And it should feel like it's like if you're a guitarist and you pick up a guitar and you don't like how it feels, you're not going to buy that guitar. Why are you going to force yourself to use it because somebody else's. Just it needs to kind of fit you the workflow a little bit Like. for me, my analog plugins are like the SoundToy SikU. That thing is my version of the Neve, even though it's infinitely less flexible, and it works on that and the radiator by SoundToy.Benedikt:
SikU, those are like my two hardware ones that I go to.Malcom:
Otherwise, it's almost always Pro-Q that filter And I'm totally happy with my results.Benedikt:
The radiator is the perfect smiley face plus saturation tool. You have bottom, you have top, you have little bit of saturation and everything just sounds better with that thing Like everything literally. It's almost never that it's worse after using that thing.Malcom:
Yeah, but you got to click that noisy switch Turn off the noise.Benedikt:
Absolutely, yeah, totally, Yeah, all right. so I guess I have two more questions. First one is where in the chain do you use EQ or a dictionary EQ? in particular, Are you EQing into compression? Is it like the first thing? Is it the last thing you do? Is it before or after clipping, limiting, whatever?Malcom:
Yes, Good next question. Like my close mics, my EQ is usually first in chain, but then there's usually it ends up being a compressor on my individual mics as well. So then there's my bus EQ, which could be considered early in the chain, but also it is post compression from the single thing, so it's kind of all over the map, and EQ moves normally happen fairly early for me, but that doesn't mean that I don't then go throw something ahead of it in the chain when I'm getting more into the fine details. So yeah, i honestly don't think I could even answer that reliably. I'd probably say something open up a session, and it'd be just totally different All right.Benedikt:
Yeah, i could change for me too, but I have kind of a go to at least, or a starting point. My thought process is I start with and I do that on almost every track I start with a cleanup sort of EQ where I just get rid of things that I immediately, when I listen to the rough mix for the first time, i immediately know this needs to go. So I just clean it up. That's the first thing in the chain. Basically I don't gate drums, so for me it's like that's the only cleanup release is the EQ. I gate toms sometimes or I cut them out or I use MIDI gates to have more control over that, but snares not so much. So yeah, clean up EQ first. Then it depends on a few things, steve, yeah, it's actually I don't. I said I have a go to, but actually there's 50-50 sort of chance depending on a certain thing. So boosting into compression or after compression sounds differently. And I'm saying boosting because my correction thing at the beginning is usually something like a FabFilter or a stock EQ that just cuts out stuff I don't want. But I don't boost there a lot, unless it's like completely off and I know that I need a broad, you know, whatever tilt or something to just make it overall brighter or whatever. Corrective Yeah correct EQ exactly. But then boosting top and bottom end into the compressor, for example, will sound different compared to compressing first and then boosting top and bottom end, And it depends on the bleed on the track that makes a difference. So how does my hi-hat bleed? that's on the snare mic. How does that sound if I boost it into? if I boost top and into the compressor versus boosting that after the compression, one will be worse. Usually it will be louder or just sound more harsh and sibilant and you've got to watch out so that this isn't the case. And the other thing is if I boost a bunch of bottom end, will my compressor, how will my compressor react to that? And is it like is it possible for me to get the amount of punch and control and also the consistency that I want? Or is it better to do it before, like get a consistency first and then boost that? And it really depends on the source material, but it's definitely different. So, for example, if the drummer is really inconsistent, then a loud hit will have a different amount of bottom end compared to quiet hit. It will not only be a difference in volume but a difference in tone. And when I EQ that and then into the compressor. This will sometimes not work as well, And when I sometimes need to create a sort of a consistency first and then boost all of it so that it sounds more consistent in the end, If I do it the other way around, it might be that certain hits get compressed like crazy and other hits will be ignored by the compressor, basically, And that can create even more inconsistencies. And so that's really what I'm listening for the consistency and the bleed and how that affects the compression and all of that, And based on that, I make a decision to boost into the compressor or afterwards.Malcom:
Yeah, i agree with all of that. And then if I said like if I had to answer this question, i would say in general, it is like my surgical pro-Q and we'll not do in surgical things at all, really but corrective pro-Q and then compressor and then hardware equivalent like SyQ or something is later in the chain. Like it's almost always in that order, not the other way around.Benedikt:
Yeah, most of the time actually, for me too, it depends. This brings me to one more trick that I wanted to mention here. So and I think we have to talk about this really quickly One thing that's super important with the Q-ing snares is, in most cases you want to add top end. Like really in most cases, most of the time a snare is not bright enough the way it is, unless it's like a super processed sample already. And when it's real drums, or even if it's programmed and you left the bleed in, you'll have higher bleed and simple bleed on that snare track And if you boost a bunch of top end, that stuff will come up And this can be very problematic and this is very common, very normal. It was something I remember I've been fighting that for years, like hi-hat bleed and snare in the snare drum was like the worst, and it was something I didn't have a solution to. Gating didn't work, because every time the gate opened I heard the pshh from the cymbals or the hi-hat, whatever I did it, just I couldn't get rid of it, and part of it is to just that's really important to hear. I think Part of it is just to embrace it. Sometimes You just got to treat the snare mic as a snare and hat mic and that's it And it doesn't matter. It's not a problem that there's hi-hat on it And as long as you can live with the fact that the hat's going to be pretty center in your image, you can find a way to make the snare brighter and also not make the bleed sound shitty And it just doesn't matter that it's there. So that's one way of approaching it And sometimes I just do it and it's fine And I had to learn to accept that. It depends also how it blends with the overheads and everything. The other thing is that there is like what you said, malcolm, with instead of boosting all of the top end, find an area that is really good for the snare but maybe doesn't really push the bad stuff of the bleed, because it's not so much about the volume of the bleed but about how it sounds. A loud hi-hat is not as problematic as a really harsh, weird sounding one. So try to find a good spot for the top end boost And that's why I often times think that a higher frequency works better, because it sounds smoother and a little more expensive, compared to boosting anything between 5 or 5, 6, 7k, that can sound sometimes a little harsh, but if you go 8K+ it can sound a little smoother oftentimes. So just think about that. The boost doesn't only affect the way your snare sounds, but it also affects the way the hi-hats bleed and the cymbal bleed sounds. And then, finally, what I've learned is that you can and there's other ways to remove or reduce bleed, and that's not part of this episode. But one really cool trick is if you use samples. The only exception to the whole EQ on the bus rule for me is if I want it to be brighter, but making it brighter brings up the bleed in a very weird way, undesirable way. I might choose to only boost the top end on the sample but not the mic, for example, if that works in terms of phase. But oftentimes I leave the mic dark and maybe just boost the fundamental, but on this, or I do all the other EQ moves on the bus, but the top end shelf or boost. I might use a crazy boost on just the sample and that gives me all the attack and crack and stick attack that I want without boosting the bleed. And then I combine that with the darker mic and all of a sudden I have my snare.Malcom:
Yeah, this goes back to a past episode where we said drum samples might sound more natural than real drums, because if you are forcing your drums to do something that they are not for example, a really old snare skin that just has no top end left in it, it has just been beat into death you can't revive that by just boosting top end. It'll just sound flapier and flapier and flapier and your hi-hat will get louder and louder and louder. So just choosing a sample that does that job is going to sound more real. And, yeah, so, like back at the beginning of this episode when I said that I was going through and playing to the strengths of what's recorded, that does not include boosting the heck out of a snare drum that doesn't have top end already. That's when the sample would come to do that job specifically.Benedikt:
Yeah, and for those of you who just, for whatever reason, don't want to use samples I know you are listening. I know there's a few of you who say, nope, sample's not for me. More power to you. Fair enough, but maybe one thing to consider is then maybe you can record a bunch of samples, a bunch of hits off your actual kit before the session. So after you set it all up, like when it's in perfect shape for the session, while the mics are there, record a couple of hits like quiet hits, loud hits, ghost notes, all of it off your kit and then later you can use those as samples, if you need to, and blend it with your kit and it will sound just like your kit, because it is your kit. And then, if you find that the drummer was a little too like not hitting hard enough or a little too inconsistent, you can trigger a snare, sample that is your actual snare, and maybe even EQ that without causing the bleed to come up, and blend that with your original performance and all of a sudden you have a brighter snare without boosting the hi-hats, and it's the exact same sound. So maybe that is something you might consider then. Yeah, then the final question you might come for you is in which part of the process are you EQing? Let's assume you produce a full record and not just mix it. Do you EQ while you're recording and if so, is it the same type of moves or are you saving all the EQ moves for the mix and you're just doing it with my positioning and tuning the drums?Malcom:
I love tracking through hardware if that's possible. So definitely doing something on the way in if the tools are available and it's helping. But everything can be thought of as a cue placement, drum choice, tuning, performance they're all going to accumulate to how that drum sounds right. So that can mean coaching the drummer to do more rim shots if we want more of a top-end crack on the drum and just making sure those drums are teched and sounding awesome. Mic choice as well, right Mic placement. So yeah, it's constantly shaping it into what sounds good. Can be tricky knowing what you need in that final drum sound when you're just starting with drums if you don't have a lot of pre-pro tracks down. So again, another big push for having good pre-pro with good sounding guitars and stuff in there so you can kind of listen in context and be like, yeah, this seems like we're heading in the right direction. But yeah, if there is hardware EQ, i'll probably try and sneak some of that top-end right off the bat, maybe a little low-end as well, but subtler moves than I'll do in the mix for sure, just because we don't have all the pieces of the puzzle yet.Benedikt:
So you're going to paint yourself into a corner too early.Malcom:
Yeah, sometimes you do. Sometimes you know exactly what you want. I'll be damned if we're going to let the guitars decide how the drum sounds.Benedikt:
Yeah, totally Depends on what the voice is of this mix and the part or whatever. Sometimes it is a snare.Malcom:
I do want to say shout out to Vogue Billins and I know that Benny, when he was on the island he went into a met up with those guys because he was up in their area and Andrew and Lucas they're in the community, I think, and Andrew's even in your coaching program.Benedikt:
Yeah, absolutely Great musicians.Malcom:
Oh yeah, that was a great shout out to those guys Super original sound and on their drum sound in particular I went ham. It sounded pretty darn close when we were done tracking drums because we just went to all UADs so it wasn't actual hardware, it was printing through UAD stuff. But we went hard, super stoked on how that turned out and it was one of those. Like this is our drum sound. Everything else is going to fit this.Benedikt:
Yeah, also, i mean, i was at their jam space and I watched them play and, man, i had such great times up there too. I spent three afternoons, evenings, with Andrew. One was way longer than I expected it, so I was there to just watch them play. I missed their jam, but then I stayed until I don't know what it was 2 or 3 am or something, just with Andrew watching. I think you should leave and having I don't know how many beer. So how many beers? yeah, it was awesome. But then I got up there again and then I actually caught them rehearsing and I watched them And I was about to say that that dude has a sound, that drummer That is. I was kind of surprised about how controlled it was, because he was playing. I'm used to it when I'm in the jam space and I watch a rock band and it's all of those symbols and it's a loud mess and it's pretty uncontrolled and you can barely hear anything else. But this was very, pretty quiet, pretty controlled, quiet symbols, and although I said to him that I wish he would hit the snare a little harder in some parts, but overall it kind of worked. It was a unique sound and it was like there was a good ratio between all the parts of the kit and, although it was a lot quieter than what I was used to from most rock drummers, he has a sound. I don't know what it is, but it sounded cool, even though the drum kit wasn't in the best shape and there was cracked cymbals and all that. But I don't know the way he played. There was something to it.Malcom:
That's what I said to him when I was there. We rented a kit and cymbals and hired a great drum tech for the session, which helped so much. But you're right, he's got a very unique style and doesn't hit like a John Bonham snare drummer. It just doesn't hit that hard. So that's again why I think getting the sound on the way in was so important. It was just like you can only make a drummer do so much right, and if I got him to start rimshotting every hit the rest would suffer.Benedikt:
It's not him anymore.Malcom:
It's not the parts even anymore. And some bands you can. Some bands are like why aren't you rimshotting? There should always be rimshot for you in music, but not the case with their music. So I just needed to process that snare and drum sound and kick until it was as I'm going to hold up the sticker again bombastic as I needed. Well, he was playing it the way that he plays, so like it. Just I couldn't trust that that was going to work out later. It had to happen then.Benedikt:
Yeah, absolutely, Absolutely. Yeah also goes to show again that so much of the sound is the drummer and all these other things. Yeah. So how do we wrap this all up? I think, first of all, don't worry about the tools. If you have a DAW, you have an EQ. That's fine for now. Use that, learn that and apply the things we've been talking about here and you'll be fine. Second, i think the key areas to focus on is where is my fundamental? Can I boost that, or should I boost somewhere around that, and what's the difference there? Experiment with that. First of all, figure out what we mean when we say that, like what's the bottom end, the body of the standrum, the fundamental note. If you will Figure out that frequency and then play around with how you can manipulate that, how you can boost it or maybe even cut that if it's too thick or whatever. Or if you've been too close to the skin with the mic And sometimes that can even be the case, especially with a drummer that doesn't hit as hard, where it's a really dark kind of sound and the mic is pretty close. Maybe you want to even make it a little thinner, i don't know. But just find that and experiment with how you can manipulate that fundamental part. Then spend some time experimenting with the mid-range. See what boosting the mid-range sounds like, what cutting it sounds like where the snare sings and how much of that ring you want or how much of it is like cardboardy sounding if it gets more expensive sounding if you cut it. Experiment with that a little bit. And then the third part is the top end. Where can I boost without making the bleed sound crazy? Where is the snare sounding the best there? Where is my stick attack? Where is it maybe a little harsh? There's some frequencies I always find in the upper mid-range that make a snare cut through but also sound pretty terrible. Pretty quickly It almost sounds like a whip or something instead of a snare if you go crazy there. So figure out how much of that you want and what to avoid. So these key areas, because it's not that you need like 10 bands of EQ or so on a snare, it's actually pretty simple. That was one of the key takeaways for me after spending a lot of time learning this was that I always thought I had to do these crazy things to get the snare sounds that I heard on other songs. But actually it's only a few things, and a lot of it is the context with the overheads, the room and everything else, as we said, and a few key things that you need to know where they are and how to manipulate them And that's it, and you don't have to do 10 crazy moves. It's really not like that, And I was very surprised when I found out how little is necessary sometimes, like how simple it actually is And at the same time it feels so complicated to get a good snare tone. It's actually not a lot that I do. If I look at my mixes now, you'll see it. If you bought one of our mixing courses or if you're in the coaching program, my moves on the snare room are fairly simple. It's like a few key things and that's it.Malcom:
Yeah, the snare is as important as you make it in a mix, and out of all instruments, it's the easiest thing to overdo, i think, where you end up with it way too loud because you're like, oh, it sounds so huge now, but it's like 10 dB louder than it should be. And in reality if you just turned it down and listened to the song on the snare drum, you would be totally happy and wouldn't have needed all of that processing, and it might be better off with it actually without it. Sorry And yeah. So again, going back to the resource Benny mentioned earlier stand-off mixes that resource is so worth checking out because balancing is 10 times more important than anything you do with the EQ. And again, you can think of balancing as a form of EQ. Bringing in the bottom snare mic is going to add top end. It is a form of EQ if you think about it that way. It just depends on your brain likes to think about things, i guess. So, yeah, do check that out. I push it in every one of my YouTube videos nowadays because it's literally the most helpful thing I could think of somebody going and watching. It's better than my videos. Just watch that. My video is just to trick people to watch that.Benedikt:
Thank you so much, dude. Yeah, and people are enjoying it. I get emails every day from people thanking me for that. I also got my first real shitstorm lately. I haven't talked about that yet. That's probably something for another episode, but we started running ads And what happens when you start running ads is the trolls come out And I get even more good emails about it because more people saw it. But then, of course, some people came crawling out of their cave or something And then started hating on the ad. It was hilarious. I responded to every single comment And it was really funny. Anyway, the video is good. People love it. Check it out. Now, what else did I want to say? Oh, yeah, and one key thing to keep in mind is 95%, i would say, of all snares that sound shitty. It's not because of the eQ moves or any of those choices, it's because of the actual snare and the drummer. It's really like that. It's like when people refuse to use samples or don't know how to use samples and they recorded an amateur drummer and they didn't tune the drums well and they didn't have a drum tech. They don't know how to choose and put on the right drum skins and all of that The sum of all of that. You can't undo that with any eQ move or any mixing trick in general. So you're doomed If you don't want to use samples and you are in that situation where you record an amateur drummer in a jam space. There's no way It's not going to sound like your favorite records, and so you've got to realize that 95% of all problems come from that, and so you've got to either use samples or you've got to learn how to set up a drum kit and play properly, because that's really where it's at.Malcom:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely Yeah. There's a couple bands I'm talking to right now that have drummers that are choosing to use program drums because it's more time effective, cost effective and it gets some of the result they need for their type of music. And it's crazy that's possible nowadays. Like it's really cool if you choose to embrace it. And then there's another one that's got a live drummer but hires a studio drummer. It's because they see how important it is, they've gone through it And the live drummer is great. But when you hire one of the best in the world, it sounds like one of the best in the world And everybody's got their own circumstances. So I'm not saying everybody should do this, but it's just like, really think about that. What gets laid down in your drum recording is as good as your album can be. It can't get better than what happens there.Benedikt:
Yeah, absolutely All right. So, as always, if we missed anything here, let us know. If there's any question you still have about how to EQ snare drums, or any problem you encountered in your mix or whatever, let us know. Send an email to podcast at theselfrecordingbandcom, or send us a message on Instagram at Melcom Own Flood or at Benedict Hein, or join the Facebook group theselfrecordingbandcom slash community. Anyway, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you are enjoying this. I thought this would be way shorter. Actually this episode We went very long, but maybe the next ones are a little shorter. So our plan is to do a series here. Next up would be snare compression and then clipping saturation and maybe some snare effects. So the whole thing. Basically, let us know if you're interested in that, if doing three or four episodes in a row on the same topic is something you would want to listen to, and then we'll make a decision, because there's going to be more. We could talk about certain bass techniques, guitar techniques. There's so much to unpack where we could go much deeper than we did on the broader episodes, and if you like a series like that, just let us know. And if you think nope, please don't do like five episodes in a row on the same thing, please also let us know, and then we'll try to mix it up a little more.Malcom:
Yeah, we have no idea what you want Exactly. Please tell us. Yeah, totally.Benedikt:
All right, and don't forget about so many call sections in this one. You might want to go back and then write it all down.Malcom:
You don't have to. It's in the show notes.Benedikt:
Exactly. It's in the show notes. Wayne is going to put it there Exactly. So the final call to action here is again don't forget our interview with Chil Simmerman. Look her up on her website. It's chilsimmermancom. Slash discography is where her work is, and chilsimmermancom is the website. It's going to be in the show notes as well. Look her up if you are not familiar with her work, and then please send us questions for her, because we're very excited about this episode And I'm sure she loves to. She's going to love to answer your questions and help you.Malcom:
So we'll try and throw that prompt into the community as well. So let us know there. Exactly, facebook community. That will also be in the show notes if you're not in there already.Benedikt:
Exactly Show notes, all of it Show notes And where to find the show notes. That's maybe the only real call to action you need, Because everything else we've mentioned is going to be in there. The show notes are theselfrecordingbandcom 178. 178.Malcom:
So that's it.Benedikt:
Theselfrecordingbandcom 178. It's always the number of the episode.Malcom:
Theselfrecordingbandcom and the number of tips, and most of the time your app also has them built in, or whatever, as well.Benedikt:
Exactly, but the detailed show notes are really on the website, so you'll find it on your podcast app, but there's only so much space And it's not pretty The way it's formatted and everything is not that pretty. If you want the full thing, well formatted and all the links clickable and everything, you go to the website And, yeah, it's always theselfrecordingbandcom slash episode number.Malcom:
Question for you, Benny, from me. What is the link to the web page show notes in the description of the show notes in a podcast app.Benedikt:
Yes, there we go. You guys think of everything over there, germans love them. Yeah, there's like a summary or like whatever fits the show notes. And then it says for detailed show notes and info, whatever, click this. And then it takes you to the actual thing, Killer. Of course I'm not going to make Wayne, i'm not going to put like, make Wayne put all that effort into it and then not do it properly.Malcom:
Yeah, absolutely, Yeah, yeah Again. Thanks everyone. Let us know if you're digging this and the idea of deep dives and see you next week.Benedikt:
All right, bye-bye, bye.
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