In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create that huge snare sound that can be heard in countless of modern EDM tracks (especially in the ‘build-up’ section, just before the ‘drop’). I’m not 100% sure, but I think it’s called ‘bigroom snare’ (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!).
Here’s an audio preview:[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio5/Snare-Examples.mp3]
And here’s how it works in a mix:[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio5/Mix-Example.mp3]
Now, to create something like that, all you need is a snare sample with some ‘body’. By ‘body’ I mean presence in the 100-500Hz frequency range (bass and low-mid range). Then, apply reverb and compression and you’re all set.
Here’s how to do it step by step:
First you need that snare sample. If you have FL Studio, use the browser and locate the ‘Packs -> Drums -> Snares’ folder and pick your snare sample.
I recommend using the ‘Grv Snareclaps’. Many of them has punch in the bass/low-mid range and you can make great impact snares out of them. I used the ‘Grv Snareclap 29″ as my main snare when I was making this tutorial.
TIP: When choosing your snare sample, you can use the help of a spectrum analyzer (Fruity Parametric EQ 2 for example) to check in what frequency areas the sample is peaking. Just drop it to the Master track and keep an eye on it when you browse and audition the samples.
Next, drop your snare sample to the Step Sequencer and assign it to a free Mixer track.
In the Mixer, add a Fruity Reeverb 2 to the snare drum Mixer track and dial in following settings. Remember that these settings are just what sounds good to me so feel free to apart!
Few words about the Fruity Reeverb 2 settings I used above:
High Damping (DAMP): damps the high frequencies in the reverb signal and causes the sound to become muffled and warmer. Setting the High Damp to damp only the higher frequencies (13-15kHz or above) or bypassing it completely is recommended to let those high frequencies pass through because a bright reverb works better for the impact snare than muffled one. I just bypassed it completely by setting it to OFF.
High Cut (H.CUT): removes the high frequencies from the reverb. Makes the room sound duller. Just like with the High Damping, cut only the highest frequencies or turn it OFF to bypass it completely. I set it to OFF.
Room Size (SIZE): sets the size of the virtual room being simulated. Use huge Room Size settings. I set it all the way to 100.
Predelay (DEL): creates a slap-back echo effect that can add atmosphere. The Predelay increases the ‘largeness’ of the reverb. Using values of 100ms or more simulates an ambience of a pretty large room or space. I used 125ms in the example. Whether to increase or decrease the Pre-delay time is up to your taste. Feel free to experiment.
Decay Time (DEC): controls the decay time of the reverb. I found that using a pretty moderate Decay Time worked quite well, but if you want the reverb ‘tail’ to be more continuous, use longer Decay Time. I used 3.2 seconds.
Next step is optional: in the Mixer, add Fruity Parametric EQ 2 to the snare drums effect chain and boost the 250Hz and surrounding frequency area a bit using a Peaking Filter with semi-wide Bandwidth (around 40%). This’ll enhance the bass/low-mid frequency range and gives more ‘body’ to the snare (but only if the sample has presence in that frequency area). Of course, using EQ here is a matter of taste. Whether the sample requires a boost or not and how much to boost depends on your snare sample and your mix. But in this tutorial example, I found that the EQ boost sounded pretty nice with several of the ‘Grv Snareclaps’ samples.
Next, add Fruity Limiter to the snare sample Mixer track effect chain, activate the Compressor side of it and dial in following settings:
Here’s an explanation to the settings I used above:
The aim is an extreme compression effect so start by lowering the Threshold level to a fair amount below the input peaks of the snare sample (you can see the input peaks in the Fruity Limiter graph when you playback the snare sample). This is a starting point for a heavy compression. Where to set the Threshold level exactly depends on the input signal level of your sample (and in the end, your taste), but as a rule of thumb, set it a way more lower than the highest peak of your snare. I used a Threshold level of -28dB with the example snare samples.
Set the Ratio to fairly high to really bring out the tail part of the snare (by tail I mean the part of the snare sample that comes right after the attack). It will also boost the tail of the reverb signal. I found that using a Ratio of 4.5:1 seemed to work pretty well with the example snare.
Compensate the gain reduction caused by the compression by increasing the Gain. Of course, the exact level depends on your mix and how loud you want the snare to be.
Set the Release time to around 150ms or use your taste. With longer Release times, it will take longer from the signal to ‘recover’ from the compression and you’ll get less pumping sound. I found using Release time of 150ms working pretty well in this example. It sounds hard and bumpy, but it kind of fits in there.
It’s a pretty heavy compression yeah, but I think it serves it’s purpose as a special effect in this example.
That’s about it, basically.
So in a nutshell: find a snare sample with presence in the bass/low-mid frequency range and process it with a big reverb and heavy compression.
The end. 😎
Watch the video version below and download the .FLP project files:
Download Huge Impact Snare Sound .FLP (requires FL Studio 11.0.4 or later to open properly)