It is a fact that layering is a crucial aspect of making any style of music that relies on programmed drum sounds. Designing a single snare drum can be a time-consuming process. This is because you need to use everything from filters, distortions, compressors, and phase aligning. Sometimes just one sample works well with the rest of the elements in the mix. Therefore, if you find the perfect drum for your record… use it. However, this won’t be enough in most cases.


Snare Drum Designing


In the following tutorial, I will try to demonstrate how to make a solid Dub Step snare using multiple layers. I will try to achieve that big impact and a fat-sounding snare, for which the Dub Step genre is best known for. To make things easier, I will use a Break Tweaker by Izotope. By loading an instance of Break Tweaker into a newly created channel within the SoundBridge: DAW, we can see the initial interface with clean tracks. After entering the generator page of the first track, I will choose a sample mode in the drop-down menu of the generator type window, and choose a snare drum sample to start with.




Following that, I have added a mix of two types of distortion, just to boost up harmonics of the snare drum a little bit.


~Snare Drum layer 1


In order to add some extra low end to our snare, I will load another layer. In this case, it will be a sine wave that is pitched down by a few octaves. I feel very strongly that tuning it to the key of the song is very important. Otherwise, it won’t sound right in the mix. Additionally, I will make the sustain and release short to hear this sub-layer only at the very beginning of the layered snare drum. As I said, this is to add a bit more to the low-end frequencies area.




Let us hear how this 2nd layer sounds solo and in combination with the upper layer.


~Sub Bass Layer solo


~Sub Bass layer + Snare Drum layer 1


Last touches


Furthermore, as our 3rd and final layer, I will use an 808 like snare drum sample to add more presence in the high-frequency area. If you wish so, you can add a noise sample as well. In the end, we have the whole frequency spectrum of a snare drum covered. Finally, let’s color the snare with some distortion. Here is how the 3rd layer sounds solo and with the other two layers together.


Snare Drum


~Snare Drum layer 2


~Sub Bass layer + Snare Drum layer 1 + Snare Drum layer 2


To conclude, a bit of Reverb and some compression won’t do any harm, so let us hear how the layered snare drum sounds like.


~Final Layered Snare Drum + Reverb & Compression


Download the patch here.