I have just been mixing a track from the EP that I recorded with Hush Mosey. I was real happy with the snare sound so thought i’d write a blog post about how I went about getting the sound. One thing to note is classic phrase: ‘you can polish a turd’. The most important part of a good snare sound is a well tuned snare being hit by a drummer who actually knows how play. In this case I was lucky enough to have both, which made mixing easy!
The first process was the SPL transient designer, adding some attack. This just makes it sound like the drummer is hitting harder, which is never a bad thing in a rock song! Next use the slate digital virtual channel adds to add some harmonic saturation with the Brit 4k G setting. The SSL style EQ works well to add some air and body, using a bell for the low end keeps it tight. The Neve style EQ, is a lot more aggressive and works well to add some crack around 4.8kHz. Finally some light compression with the FG -401 stars to tighten up the snare and starts to control the peaks.
For heavier compression it’s best to keep the release fast and the attack as slow as it goes to keep it sounding open when hit hard. Hit the compressor at about – 7dB, this will start to make the snare sound aggressive and tight.
At this point the snare will be sounding nice and punchy but fairly clean. Tape emulation works well to start adding some subtle saturation.
However this is best used subtly, as soon as you drive it too hard it can start to kill the attack of the transients. So hit it lightly then finally add more saturation, such as the decapitator. Drive the plugin then try each distortion. For this track I found I preferred E, which is an emulation of a Chandler/EMI TG Channel but its worth trying each as each will work differently for different snares.