Layering Snares

Layering Snares

One of the secrets to getting a powerful snare is to layer multiple snares together. Here I will show you one technique, however this is not the only way, I have met people with varying opinions on the best approach. Layering doesn’t just have to be for creating loud heavy snares though. Its a great way to make something unique and your own from generic sample packs.
I forgot to mention to be aware of the pitch of each snare as they can clash and try layering in other sounds (non snares) for something truly different.

I had to put a limiter on the audio of the tutorial as it was quite loud when I got to the master bus fx so what your hearing is not the 100% original signal but close.

As usual I will be working in Ableton Live but this can be done in any DAW

  • Torm3nt

    really good vid man – how exactly do you invert the phase? I'm not quite sure I understand the “phase” part completely..

  • RupertBrown

    Thanks, sorry I skimmed over that I was running out of time. To invert the phase in Live drop in a “Utility” audio effect (Native live plugin) and turn on the Phz-L and Phz-R buttons at the bottom to invert the phase of the Left and Right channel.

    Phase is where in a cycle a wave is at any given moment (relative to the beginning of its cycle). Thats not an easy description I know, I might need to do a video on it for you. I will have think about how to explain it better… maybe with finger puppets.

  • John

    Great video mate, thanks for sharing that. I'm assuming you can follow the same procedure for kicks? Cheers.

  • Muser Guide

    Great video, interesting points on ADSR and frequency filtering!

  • RupertBrown

    Not quite, the lower your dominant frequency is the more you have to worry about phase. Ive had quite a few people ask so next week I will cover layering kicks!

  • RupertBrown

    Next week I will explain more about phase in my layering kicks tutorial.

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  • Lorry

    Thanks for taking the time to do these videos. IMHO though you're navigating a bit blind there with those snares! In my experience, it's more fruitful to do this kind of editing in a mix, with a kick and hihats in a drum pattern, or even constantly A/B'ing against a bunch of solid snares that you like (not to copy them, but to get in the ballpark of quality sounding).
    If you just create a snare in a void, it's hard to tell if it's any good or not.

  • RupertBrown

    This is a very good point Lorry! I used to compare more often then I do now as I have a fairly good idea of what I want (although I still do from time to time). But again this is great advice, Thanks.

  • Max Spell

    Thanx for usefukk video!!!
    And why it does not presented on iTunes as “Kick layering and phase cancellation”, I inderstand it totaly, but I would like use it as offline tutorial sometimes?

  • RupertBrown

    Hey Max,
    Looks like I slipped up and this episode wasn't added to iTunes, if you have a look now you should see it as “snare layering”, Kick layering and phase cancellation is a different follow up tutorial.
    Sorry about that and thanks for pointing that our or I would of missed it.

  • Callum

    What is the rough idea behind the compression settings used on the whole group buss? You mentioned low threshold, what about the ratio, attack and decay settings? Also what sort of compressor should I use to glue layers together?

  • RupertBrown

    I am using the T-Racks 670 fairchild emulation which doesn't have those controls, the ratio changes automatically depending on how hard you push it. But as a rough guide try a small attack maybe .8ms to let most of the initial hit though. Ratio of about 3:1 The release will depend a lot of the length of the sample but try starting at the 20ms mark.
    Keep in mind there is no “correct” setting so start playing around and trust your ears.

    As for what sort of compressor I would say use what ever you already have. I like the T-Racks 670 because it seems to add its own colour so its a subtle effect as well as a dynamics processing unit. But again there is no wrong choice, I would suggest focusing on hearing the settings then the brand of plug. These days most DAWs come with a competent compressor.

  • James Greig

    Thanks for the tute, what version of Live are you running?

  • RupertBrown

    Full version Live 8.1.5 (not suite)

  • kubi

    Thank you very much! Very helpful!

  • Lazershark

    Loved the tutorial,
    made a totally awesome snare right after that.
    definately gonna be watching some more 

  • Anonymous

    Did you know “totally awesome snare” is actually one of the best kinds of snare?

  • Major

    Hey just discovered this site,  very helpful stuff, just thought I would drop you a message and say thanks

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Im glad you like it here, I hope you stick around :)