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Power Producer: Ableton Drum Design

How to make your snares pop!

Published 7:00 am on Thursday 30th July 2020 by Beat Magazine

1 Two Building Blocks
The basis of every snare is the rimshot for the punch and the hiss of the so-called snare rattle, the actual perceived sound of the snare. With the Wavetable Synth, we cover both at the same time. A rimshot is built quite quickly because, with the 808 it consists of a sine wave only, which is played only very briefly.

2 Rimshot
To start, we set Env 2 Decay to 158 ms and Sustain to zero and connect the envelope in the mod matrix to 100% with Osc 1 gain. The snare rattle is also created quickly, since it is simple noise. So, for Osc 2 we choose White Noise from the Basics waveforms. Unlike other synths, it doesn‘t have any plain noise.

3 Rattle
This is because with the wavetable, the waveform must be actively swept to sound like usual noise. So we connect LFO 1 with Osc 2 Pos with 15% intensity and set the basic position to 50% with the slider to the right of the waveform. If you want to change the sound of the snare later, you should start at exactly this modulation.

4 Filter
To avoid overlap of the Rimshot and Noise, we combine Env 2 with Osc 2 Gain and set the envelope attack to 2 ms and sustain to 100%. In the filter section, we activate the Clean 12 dB lowpass and set Frequency to 8.5 kHz and Res(onance) to 50%. This is much closer to the original. With this, the basic sound is already created.

5 Effects
For our final polish, we load the following effects: Overdrive with Center Frequency at 2.3 kHz and Bandwidth at 0.96 for a rougher sound. After that, Corpus with the Bright Snare Preset, which lives up to its name and results in a brighter snare. Next comes the Drum Buss with the Transient Shaping Enhance preset for more punch.

6 More Effects
If you don‘t want an 808 snare later, switch this effect off for testing. Last but not least, we load a Reverb with 975 ms decay time and 29% wet for some space, and a Glue Compressor with threshold at -32 dB to compress the wavetable and the effects. Now the snare is ready to use and is also your starting point for your own creations.

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