The snare is one of the main elements of rhythm in modern electronic music. Therefore, many processing techniques exist to hone on the right snare drum sound for any given track. Nowadays, with drum machines and samplers, possibilities for processing drum sounds are readily available. In the next tutorial, we will show you a creative way to tune your snare drum to a track.
As usual, we have made a sequence inside our SoundBridge: DAW. Here we have most of the elements which make a full mix. Let’s have a quick listen.
~Full Mix – Snare Drum (Unprocessed)
Our sequence sounds decent, but the snare drum sounds dry, could use processing, and even some pitch tuning to the track. We will use a plugin capable of not only changing the pitch but a few other useful things as well. It’s the MDrum Enhancer by Melda Productions.
Let’s start by adding an instance of it on the effect rack of the snare drum channel.
First, though, we will listen to how the unprocessed snare drum sounds in solo.
~Snare Drum – (Unprocessed)
The MDrum Enhancer
MDrum Enhancer is an interesting tool that lets you process your drum sounds using information extracted from another sample. We could say it’s a modern alternative for drum replacement. It doesn’t place the audio samples directly into the output, but instead, uses them for resynthesis of the audio material on the input. As a consequence, the samples you use may not sound like their original version at all in the end. It’s a great tool you can use to tune your snare drum to a track.
The top left part of the interface contains controls for Input, Output, Widening, and Dry/Wet mix. Below, we have a Dynamic section. Here, you can adjust the Sustain and Character. Under that, is the Mode section, where you’re able to choose between three different modes. They control the way in which the plugin detects the input level and creates an output enhancement signal. Finally, in the same section, there are controls for Compression, Gate, and Delay of the signal.
The bottom left part of the interface contains the Sample section. Here, you can select the actual sample to be used by the processor. You have a “Root” with three different options that contain sample choices suitable for resynthesis. It’s possible to change the pitch and maximum length of any chosen sample.
To the right, the MDrum Enhancer has an EQ/Spectrum Analyzer, which controls and displays the frequency response.
Finally, on the bottom, you will find additional low and high pass filters, as well as Dry/Wet mix for the EQ.
Tune your snare drum to a track with MDrum
Let’ have a closer look at the parameters used to process our snare drum and their settings.
We begin by choosing one of the Samples from the section in the bottom part of the interface. As you can see, the root directory offers sample choices for Bass Drum, Snare Drum, and Toms. We will select one from the Snare Drum folder. The maximum length of the sample we will leave at around 1000 ms, and the Pitch, in this case, will sit at 0.
The value of the input and the output will stay at 0 dB as well since there are no clipping issues. It’s worth mentioning that the Input/Output settings in this plugin behave in the same way the Dry/Wet parameter does. This means you can use either for the same purpose.
For our snare drum, a value of 30% on the Dry/Wet parameter will be enough. We will keep the widening setting at its default value since the stereo image of the processed snare already sits well in the mix.
On the Dynamic section, which acts much like a compressor, the mode is set to Normal, Gate value is on -30 dB and the Compression at 50%.
Lastly, we set the Sustain at 20%, while the Character, which controls the ratio between input and output signal within the Dynamic section, is set to 50%.
On the right side of the interface, we will use the EQ to attenuate a bit the mid frequencies since they are too prominent.
Let’s hear how our snare drum sounds now in solo.
~Snare Drum – (Processed With MDrum Enhancer)
Finally, let’s check how our processed snare drum sounds in the full mix.
~Full Mix – Snare Drum Processed With MDrum Enhancer