Stacking Snares: 3 Tips for Better Snare Sounds

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In just about any genre of music, you’re going to probably stack a few snares together to get a bigger sound. You might not have to, but you’ll at least think about it.

Unfortunately, 99% of producers stack their snares wrong. And 51% of all statistics are made up on the spot. This is one of those statistics.

Although the jury’s still out on the exact percentage, the truth is that most people are unsatisfied with their snare stacks for one or more of these three reasons – so avoid these pitfalls and learn how to make better snare stacks here:

[wc_box color=”primary” text_align=”left”][wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”1. Use EQ the right way.” text_align=”left”][/wc_box]

That’s right, there’s a wrong way to use it. Use your EQ to carve out the frequencies you don’t need. And don’t leave any in that shouldn’t be there. For example, you don’t want two snares that sound very similar in the 250-500 Hz range to be layered. You’ll have too much energy in those frequencies, making it hard to get a good snare sound overall. Just use what you like from each layer and get rid of the rest.

[wc_box color=”primary” text_align=”left”][wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”2. Choose the right layers.” text_align=”left”][/wc_box]

When you’re picking your samples to layer, think about how you’re going to use it. Most people just hear a sound they like and throw it in the mix. But this leads to four great sounding snares and one giant mess. Choose a sample because you like one of the following: the “crack/snap”, the “sustain”, the “body”, the “top”, or the “rattle.” Then use EQ to get rid of the rest of the sample.

[wc_box color=”primary” text_align=”left”][wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”3. Find interesting sounds.” text_align=”left”][/wc_box]

This is the most overlooked aspect of layering snares. You need a good sounding snare as your main layer, but try adding some interest to the snare by adding a cool electric snare sound, or maybe a detuned snare. Experiment with unique sounds to get the perfect sound for your production. Without at least one interesting layer, your snare will sound sterile and boring.

To learn more about getting great drum layers, check out our recent release Secrets of the Hits: In the Style of Bruno Mars takes you step by step through the process of creating hit-sounding records, all in the box. Check it out here!

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