Old 06-03-2017, 06:13 AM   #1
bloodbubble
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Default Compressing a snare, masterclass!?

I'm working on a multi-mic'd kit which I didn't compress on the way in. The snare was played what quite aggressively on a few tracks, so much so that all I'm really getting is a loud cardboardy snap, no body no ring etc, its really mostly peak.
So obviously I'm thinking I'm going to have to compress this peak down with a fast attack, slow release to get more of the sustain out yeah?
But then I seem to lose the punch that's so popular these days, am I being too heavy handed??.

Or should I be aiming to set my compressor so finely that its misses the very first instance of the peak then clamps down, then releases for the sustain? OR...
set the compressor so it clamps down for the very first instance of the peak then releases super fast to leave the rest of the peak and sustain in place.

OR... should I compress the snare right down and lay the original uncompressed snare over the top for the punch??

I realise that a lot of my snare sound comes from overheads and room mics but the danger is always washing things out with cymbals/hats, which also increase on the snare mics as I compress.

I do not want to use samples, this is actually something I've laid awake thinking about for a few years now!! I am surely over complicating things
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:11 AM   #2
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Hmm, maybe look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdePPCHazjE.

Also, maybe something like https://www.bozdigitallabs.com/product/transgressor/ .
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:16 AM   #3
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Why not just upload the file? I surely shouldn't lay a finger on it though Ill turn that snare into a gong...
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Thanks JHughes, that's one of the better demonstrations I've seen for compression. Quite practical and thorough.
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Old 06-03-2017, 10:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bloodbubble View Post

I realise that a lot of my snare sound comes from overheads and room mics but the danger is always washing things out with cymbals/hats, which also increase on the snare mics as I compress.
In that case I would try keying the overheads off the snare, so that they open during snare hits and go down to a lower level otherwise. In cases where it's finicky to find that perfect keying setting you can try duplicating the OHs to a track purely for getting keyed off the snare, with it going silent otherwise, and using the original OHs for everything you want snuck back up.
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:24 AM   #6
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Thanks JHughes, that's one of the better demonstrations I've seen for compression. Quite practical and thorough.
Thanks. BTW, I know that video doesn't directly address OP's problem, but one later in the series does (compressing for tone) and talks about transient shapers and dynamic EQ too. Access to that video requires Patreon patronage.

Oh, and there's one that demonstrates ducking too, and there is a snare example. Very illuminating.
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Old 06-03-2017, 01:00 PM   #7
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I'd limit OH's, compress snare with fast attack + fast release (to let the body through) and then mix all mics and aim for 12dB dynamic range with 300ms RMS when all drum mics are are mixed in.

If DR is low, back off the compressor or limiter. If DR is over 12dB, use limiter and/or clipper on the drum bus.
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Old 06-04-2017, 11:03 AM   #8
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Thanks folks, lots of good stuff to get into there! I'll dig in tomorrow.
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodbubble View Post
I'm working on a multi-mic'd kit which I didn't compress on the way in. The snare was played what quite aggressively on a few tracks, so much so that all I'm really getting is a loud cardboardy snap, no body no ring etc, its really mostly peak.
So obviously I'm thinking I'm going to have to compress this peak down with a fast attack, slow release to get more of the sustain out yeah?
But then I seem to lose the punch that's so popular these days, am I being too heavy handed??.

Or should I be aiming to set my compressor so finely that its misses the very first instance of the peak then clamps down, then releases for the sustain? OR...
set the compressor so it clamps down for the very first instance of the peak then releases super fast to leave the rest of the peak and sustain in place.

OR... should I compress the snare right down and lay the original uncompressed snare over the top for the punch??

I realise that a lot of my snare sound comes from overheads and room mics but the danger is always washing things out with cymbals/hats, which also increase on the snare mics as I compress.

I do not want to use samples, this is actually something I've laid awake thinking about for a few years now!! I am surely over complicating things
Are you starting by dialing up your main drum sound from the overheads?

Is the snare just louder than everything else? Even the cymbals?

I might do something like:

Compress the OH bus until it's leveled. (Fidelity be damned.)
Or use a multiband if the issue is limited to a particular frequency.

Dial this up with the intention of using it as is if necessary.

Maybe make a parallel OH bus and remove the snare here as much as possible. Severe eq to try to cut it right out. Maybe be a high cut down into the mids. Maybe a cut at a hot frequency. You'll have to experiment. This one may or may not make sense to do.

Then a bus that's just the raw OH. EQ'd if there's something really wild in general but raw dynamics.

Now mix between those 3 buses.

Finally, blend in some of the close snare mics to get the presence you want from the snare in the mix.


Now if the thing is still just so blazing loud in the OH tracks that there's nothing to be done... Well, that's what I've got.

One more idea:

Dial up a track - probably the top close snare mic - to isolate that. Especially around a center frequency.

Use that track to parameter modulate an eq cut on the hottest frequency of the snare in the overheads. Dial to taste so you don't hear artifacts.
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Old 06-05-2017, 06:55 AM   #10
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Sounds like too much SPL crapping-out the mic?

I know you explicitly said you don't want to use samples, but the easiest solution (short of re-recording) would probably be to create a sample pool of snare hits with good tone and replace the nasty spike hits.
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