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Compressing Snare Drum - How To Set Up A Compressor On Snare


Yes, here I have another in-depth tutorial, this time about snare compression. Continuing on from my other compression videos, I wanted to further explain how to hear the changes compression makes when using the attack and release controls on snare drum as well as give you a simple process to dial in the best snare compression, in any mix.

The right amount of compression depends on your reason for using snare compression in the first place. Is it for controlling the peaks for a bit more consistency? Or is it for more power and aggression?

So the main reasons why I use compression on snare is the dynamic control of the transient peak, I want to add fatness or fullness and length by boosting the apparent loudness of the release section of the waveform in relation to the transient and also for some tone shaping as well.

So when I'm talking about the transient peak of the waveform, it's referring to the envelope of the sound. So here is a snare drum, and you can see that you have the initial peak here. If I open that up for you there. So you have that initial peak, and then once that's happened in time, then it starts to peter out in level or amplitude.

And this is why a compressor is regarded as a dynamic range controller because we can manipulate the amplitude of this wave form using the attack and the release parameters. So we change the waveform, we're changing the envelope, and therefore we're changing the actual sound. So to add length, what I'm going to do is I'm going to increase the perceived loudness of this tail end of the sound. And this is where the reverb lives. The natural room reverb in the recording or the snare wires reverberating and slowing down.

And this section of the waveform often gets lost in mixing, particularly rock and pop. And we've got various different techniques we can use to help emphasise that not only with compression, but also with reverb as well. So what I'll do is I'll play this mix for you and then I'll take away gradually all the elements that are going towards lengthening the snare for me in this mix. So they are going to be reverb, parallel compression and regular track compression.

In this video, I help you find the sound you're looking for when you use a compressor on snare drum.

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