In this tutorial I will show you two methods how to make your own 909 style snare drum with 3xOsc. The sound is very basic, but knowing how to make one might come useful to you in your future sound designing efforts.
Here’s the audio preview of the snare:
Ok. First thing to do is to load the 3xOsc.
Basically, we need two oscillators: sine wave and noise. Sine will be used as the ‘body’ of the snare and noise is for the ‘sizzle’. Let’s start from the sine wave so make sure Osc 1 has sine selected as the oscillator shape. Also, disable the Osc 2 & Osc 3 by turning their volume knobs to 0%. We’ll come back to the noise part later.
Now, let’s use volume and pitch envelopes to make the sine wave sound like a short kick drum so go to the INS tab and VOL subtab, enable the envelope and tweak it like this:
Next, go to the PITCH tab for the pitch envelope, turn the Modulation amount knob all the way to left and set the Attack time to very short.
The kick needs to be tuned down a little so go back to the PLUGIN tab and set the Coarse tune to -6 semitones.
Ok, the kick sounds alright (though it needs some EQ, which we’ll do later). Next, mix in the noise by choosing noise as the Osc 2 shape and adjust it’s volume to 10% (the noise level should be fairly low in relation to kick).
Next, we need to adjust the volume envelope a bit so go back to INS and VOL tabs, enable the Tension edit mode (TNS) to shape the Decay a bit to give the sound more ‘snare like character’.
Actually, the Decay time could be longer, so choose the TIME editing mode again, and increase the Decay a bit:
Next, add a little ‘sharpness’ to the noise via filter resonance. Under the ‘Filter’ choose SVF LPx2 as the filter type and set the resonance knob to about 10 o’clock.
Next, assign the 3xOsc to a free mixer track for EQ and compression.
Now in the Mixer, the following tweak is just a matter of taste: turn the stereo separation all the way to right (100% merged). This sums the left and right channels to mono. This is because the noise coming from 3xOsc is kind of ‘spread’ between the left and right channels. I somehow like it’s sounding better in snare sound design if it’s in mono. I don’t know about you. Use whatever you like better.
Next, load Fruity Parametric EQ 2 to the 3xOsc effect slot (we use it for cutting off the low end). Select high pass filter as the filter type and a steep slope (steep 8) (you can select these by right clicking the band token and under ‘Type’ choose ‘High Pass’ and under ‘Order’ select ‘Steep 8’) , set the bandwidth to 56% and cut everything below 180Hz.
Next, boost the 3 – 4kHz area (3.6kHz in this example) few dB’s (5-6dB in this example) for more ‘attack’ or ‘presence’ or whatever it should be called.
And if you feel like the noise is sizzling too much, cut the 8kHz area one or two dB’s with a high shelf filter.
Also, if you wan’t to enhance the ‘body’ of the snare, try boosting slightly around 400Hz area, even though too much boost in this range may easily make it sound like it’s coming from a can or something.
Next, let’s use compression to add a little more sharpness and snap to the snare so add Fruity Limiter to the fx chain, activate the compression mode, drop the Threshold to around -22dB, Ratio to 2.5:1, Attack to around 7 ms, Release to 130-140ms and finally, compensate the gain reduction by raising the output Gain to around 5dB.
Now, load one more effect to the fx chain: Fruity Reeverb. Only a tiny amount of reverb is needed – and for the high frequencies only so set it like this: turn the LowCut to 3000Hz, HighCut to OFF, HighDamping to OFF, RoomSize to around 20 to simulate a smaller room, Color to Warmer, drop the Decay to 0.6 seconds and Reverb level to 19%.
As you can hear, this kind of small and subtle reverb adds a continuation to the sizzle of the snare, but doesn’t add too much of that depth and sense of space which isn’t required right now.
That’s basically it. In the 3xOsc, try different mix levels between the sine and noise to suit your taste.
Now, if you wan’t, you can drop Edison to the Master track (or the 3xOsc track) and record and normalize the snare and save it to your own collections. Recording with Edison is easy. After you have loaded it, press the record button in it and play your sound.
Trim it (select an area, right click and choose Edit -> Trim)
Normalize it (under Tools -> Normalize).
Save the sample as wav:
Or drop it to a Sampler channel straight from Edison by dragging it:
Via the Sampler Channel settings, you can easily tune it as well:
This was the end of the method one. Now, while this might be a quicker way to create a snare drum with 3xOsc, the downside is that you can’t control the sine and noise envelopes separately as both are controlled with same envelope. This can be problematic if you would like to use i.e shorter decay time in the kick while having a longer tail in the noise. Also, the tail of the kick drum is still there and it poses an easily audible pitched element when you play higher notes. Check this:
With that said, I will now show you the second method on making a snare drum. With two 3xOsc’s. The principle and end result is still the same, but with a better control over the envelopes.
So first, start a new project and load 3xOsc. This 3xOsc unit will be dedicated only for the sine wave (kick) so choose sine as the Osc 1 shape, set it’s coarse tune to -6 semitones and disable Osc 2 & 3 by dropping their volume levels to 0%.
Head to the INS and VOL tabs, enable the volume envelope and tweak it like this:
Very short Decay time results a very short kick.
Now, head to the PITCH tab, turn the AMT (modulation amount) knob all to left, and set the Attack time to very short:
Now, assign this 3xOsc to a free mixer track and drop a Fruity Parametric EQ to it’s effect slot and again, roll off frequencies below 180Hz with a high pass filter and steep 8 slope.
Ok. Kick part is ready. Next, the noise.
Load another instance of 3xOsc, set noise as the Osc 1 shape and disable Osc’s 2 & 3.
Go to the INS and VOL tabs, enable the volume envelope and now, use longer decay time for the noise than with the kick. Use the Tension Edit mode for editing the Decay tension. Also, under the ‘Filter’, increase the resonance (with SVF LPx2 selected as the filter type):
Assign this second 3xOsc unit to a free mixer track and drop the volume level to around -18dB and Stereo Separation to 100% merged (if you feel like it).
Next, layer the sine 3xOsc and noise 3xOsc together using a Layer channel. You’ll find the Layer channel under Channels -> Add one. Layering is simple: in the Step Sequencer, just right click the channel selectors of both 3xOsc channel so that they are green and press ‘Set children’ in the Layer channel settings. Also, set the Layer channel volume to 100% if you don’t wan’t any unnecessary volume reduction.
Next, EQ the noise with PEQ2.
Now, use compression for both signals together. In order to do that, route both mixer tracks to a new mixer track and drop a Fruity Limiter there.
In the Fruity Limiter, enable the compressor mode and tweak it like you did in the first method:
Add PEQ2 (to the route track) and boost the 400Hz:
And Fruity Reeverb (to the route track as well):
The end. 🙂
Watch the video version of this tutorial below, and download the .FLP files for both snares.
Download Snare Drum Example With One 3xOsc’s (requires FL Studio 10.0.9)
Download Snare Drum Example With Two 3xOsc’s (requires FL Studio 10.0.9)