The ’80s introduced many changes to music production in general. The rise of the electronic drum machines took the music scene by storm, and soon many music producers started to create huge snare drums in their top charting songs. The sound of that specific kick and snare drum marked an era in music production of that time, so in the next tutorial, we will show you have to produce a powerful 80’s drum sound with the help of a gated reverb trick.


Let’s start!


I previously made a short drum sequence which consists of a Kick drum, Snare drum, and few Hi-Hat sounds in the SoundBridge: DAW. It’s still raw, but let’s hear it anyway.



~Drum Sequence – Unprocessed


Add the reverb


As you can hear, the Snare drum sounds pretty clean right now. The next step to alter this would be to place a reverb effect on it. For this purpose, I have chosen OldSkool Reverb by Voxengo. It’s a pretty cool reverb effect which is available as a free simpler version, and an upgraded version which is payable.



With the reverb size and time set to pretty high, now we can hear the big space added to the Snare Drum.


~Drum Sequence – Snare Drum (Processed with Reverb)


Compress the reverb


The next thing that I will do can be an optional step. By adding a compressor effect after the reverb we will reduce the dynamic range of the reverb signal. This means that we can thicken up the sound a bit and accentuate the sense of space. For this purpose, I will use our own native compressor which is included in the SoundBridge: DAW plugins bundle.



By adding a compressor after the reverb, we can say that we have pretty good sounding Snare Drum so far. Let’s have a listen.


~Drum Sequence – Snare Drum (Processed With Reverb & Compressor)


Noise Gate effect


The only issue with this is that the tail of the reverb is very long. This leads us to the next step where we will add a Noise Gate effect in order to get that famous 80’s Snare Drum sound. As some of you maybe know, a Noise Gate effect is essentially muting the signal whenever it level drops below the certain point of the threshold. We will add a Noise Gate effect after the Reverb and Compressor so it can process the signal coming after the process done by those two effects. For this purpose, I will be again using the native Noise Gate effect. You can find it in the SoundBridge: DAW plugin bundle.



By setting the attack, release and the threshold of the Noise Gate effect as shown in the picture above, we got a nice sounding 80’s style Snare Drum. In the end, let’s listen to the final product. You can further experiment with the settings of all 3 plugins in order to polish the sound by your liking.


~Drum Sequence – Snare Drum (Processed With Reverb, Compressor & Noise Gate)


Feel free to download the project here.