Why dont snares sound like snares anymore?

midnightlaundry

Well-known member
Always hated the snare on the song black and blue / kenny wayne sheppard. Sound like hitting a 150 gal oil barrel.
FUCK KWS.. Talk about a spinoff act..
His daddy dragged him all over the country and gave him every advantage..
SRV was hard knocks..
No respect for kws..
 

Metalhex

Well-known member
sampled drums are nothing new, most all the big producers were using some kind of samples going back to the 80s, that "snare wire" sound you talk about was probably white noise with reverb added over. i dont think its old school snares not cutting, in fact i think its the opposite, the 90s old school high tuned piccolo thing everyone was doing would pop out too much in a modern downtuned brickwalled mix and not sit right.
Chad Sexton from 311 always had that snare "pop"...but it works for them. I wonder how it would sound in a metal mix?

Actually, I am one of the few that like the St. Anger snare. It actually sounds more like a snare to me on the initial hit, but it does have quite a reverberating after-ring to it
 

controlled_voltage

Active member
yeah the snares are cookie cutter and it's lame!
bring back martin birch throw andy sneap off a fucking cliff.
that said 80% of the "new metal' vocals are completely interchangeable, boring, predictable, melody-less and suck more piping hot dog shit than the drums.
I can hang with chuck shuldiner, tom araya and phil anselmo etc then they got mimicked by a bunch of half assed twats with too many piercings, makeup, loin cloths, masks, mean faced grimaces in their promo pics, bad posture, dreadlocks , and tats and now there is so much garbage out there that it's depressing.
 
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RevDrucifer

Well-known member
Rick Beato has some great videos going over drum samples, it's the Production Styles of Brendan O'Brien, Matt Wallace (or was it Andy?) and Randy Staub. They're a hoot when you hear the exact same snare sound on Puddle Of Mudd, Linkin Park, Collective Soul and Rage Against The Machine. 😂

I've been playing drums as long as I've been playing guitar and actually prefer playing drums over guitar. Drum sounds are just as important, if not more than guitar tones are. I'm not in a space where I can record my own acoustic kit, I finally got a studio big enough I can fit some V-Drums in, but it's still an apartment. The biggest problem out there lately isn't so much the VST's as it is the end user. With the shit available now, you can really get some amazing results by taking time to dial shit in. I've found the majority of guitar players don't really give a shit and just slap on Drumkit From Hell.

As for the snare sounds themselves, Portnoy and Danny Carey have had my favorite snare sounds and both those guys turn the snares off all the time and generally rely on more top mic than the bottom mic, so I blame them!

Overall though, I pick a snare sound depending on what kind of energy it's going to bring to the song. Higher tempo stuff, I'll usually bring the pitch of the snare up a bit, and turn it down a bit for slower stuff. If it's modern metal, I'm definitely using more top mic than the bottom mic and I'll use reverb to fill out the body of it so I can automate to fit each section better. With the slower, less heavy stuff I use a lot more bottom mic, A lot of it's in the velocity programming. When people are pegging everything at 127, it's burying the beater/stick and doesn't allow the head to ring out and that's half the reason you're not hearing a full snare sound anymore.

But that's why I spend forever tweaking drum MIDI's. I write them out hit by hit and tweak the shit out of the velocities to get what I want from them. The two songs below are the last songs I recorded and they couldn't be further apart in styles/sounds. One is like Lamb of God and the other is like Big Wreck/Zep. They aren't mixed, but the drums are mostly done.

This is probably the exact snare sound not enjoyed in this thread, but in this case, I wanted it to sound like an uppercut to the chin. I spent a while tweaking the pitch of it until it was just right and still have to automate the reverb to tighten some sections up. Note that the snare jumps between rimshots and regular hits depending on the section, instead of just wailing rimshots at 127 the whole time. This is 80% close mics and 20% room mics.
https://soundcloud.com/strokeface%2Fet-tu-brute
And the more traditional snare with the actual bottom mic cranked up a bit. (Drums come in at 0:46) Initially, I went with a big, Bonham sounding kit and it made the song drag. I the snare in this one took a while to dial in, it's actually a Tama Bell Brass, but barely sounds like one. This drum mix is 85% overheads/room mics and 15% close mics.
https://soundcloud.com/strokeface%2Fto-the-water
This is what happens when I get baked before posting; I write a fuckin' book.

tl;dr I'm not surprised everything sounds the same. But it doesn't have to it with a little effort. It's too easy to slap on a decent sounding VST and call it a day unless you really take an interest in drum sounds. And an even bigger interest in tweaking velocities.
 

Monkey Man

Super Moderator
@RevDrucifer it's all about velocities for me too... and shifting hits around by a few ticks.

Since the late '80s in Cubase / Edit Track on the Atari I've obsessed over these tweaks. Every hit gets scrutinised for velocity and timing. Even shitty drum-machine sounds can be made to create the impression of a live drummer, as you'd know.

One thing I learned early-on is to imagine myself on the drummer's stool, bangin' away. That helped prevent me from making simultaneous hits on different kit components that IRL wouldn't happen. High hats with snare rolls or cymbals spring immediately to mind...
 

controlled_voltage

Active member
@RevDrucifer it's all about velocities for me too... and shifting hits around by a few ticks.

Since the late '80s in Cubase / Edit Track on the Atari I've obsessed over these tweaks. Every hit gets scrutinised for velocity and timing. Even shitty drum-machine sounds can be made to create the impression of a live drummer, as you'd know.

One thing I learned early-on is to imagine myself on the drummer's stool, bangin' away. That helped prevent me from making simultaneous hits on different kit components that IRL wouldn't happen. High hats with snare rolls or cymbals spring immediately to mind...
are you still using a 1040st and a sampler?
 

DanTravis62

Well-known member
I only use triggers on my demos because that's my only option 😂

I run it on a buss through a super shitty outboard fostex compressor to make it sound less obvious, but it's still too obvious.

The Andy Sneap-ophiles have made this modern bullshit sound ubiquitous, unfortunately.

It makes me think Fenriz and others in black metal were ahead of the curve, going back to 70s style drum sounds.
 

Kapo_Polenton

Well-known member
Like others have said, because everyone is using the same samples and we are obsessed with no bleed and over compressed and filtered sounds. I fought it for year but due to an unfinished basement and wee lil' kids, I converted my Tama kit to hybrid with triggers and lemon cymbals and pump it through EZ drummer or SD3. It's awesome to play on for sound and feel BUT it does sound like everyone else. So much that if I ever use it for any type of produced music, I would probably layer the snare and cymbals with my own cymbals. What is lacking in the market today (and which would likely not sell much) is a huge library of raw unprocessed and imperfect samples for drums. This would include room mics. If they want to deal with the phase issues that is a bonus but if you start with a raw sample and are in charge of shaping it as you want (or shaping it LESS), we'd breathe more life back into things again.

SD3 oe EZD need a sample pack called "Raw Rock" or "Raw Metal" etc etc...
 

japetus

Well-known member
It makes me think Fenriz and others in black metal were ahead of the curve, going back to 70s style drum sounds.
"Stop using drum samples"
 

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Metalhex

Well-known member
but if you start with a raw sample and are in charge of shaping it as you want (or shaping it LESS), we'd breathe more life back into things again.
I don't know anything about recording or engineering etc... but I like the sound of that 😄

Fwiw I am recording a project with my buddy who is using the Steven Slate drums and they sound great for what they are, but still the snare doesn't sound like a snare to me
 

RevDrucifer

Well-known member
@RevDrucifer it's all about velocities for me too... and shifting hits around by a few ticks.

Since the late '80s in Cubase / Edit Track on the Atari I've obsessed over these tweaks. Every hit gets scrutinised for velocity and timing. Even shitty drum-machine sounds can be made to create the impression of a live drummer, as you'd know.

One thing I learned early-on is to imagine myself on the drummer's stool, bangin' away. That helped prevent me from making simultaneous hits on different kit components that IRL wouldn't happen. High hats with snare rolls or cymbals spring immediately to mind...

Yep, when I'm giving non-drummers tips on programming drums I always remind them, "You can only hit 4 things at once and since two of those things are with your feet, choose wisely."

Really, for any guitarists programming drums, it's not a bad idea to pick up a book of basic rudiments to get an understanding of what drummers are actually doing. While it can be boring sitting there tapping rudiments with your fingers, when you apply them to a kit things start making a lot of sense.

I couldn't imagine the work that went into dialing that shit in back in the day! I get lazy now and copy and paste all over the place and Logic has a great "Randomize Velocity" feature where I just dial in the highest and lowest velocities and it randomizes the selected portion. Works great for kicks/cymbals over one whole section.

I just can't wait until I have a kit I can actually play and won't have to do it all with a mouse anymore!
 
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