Losing the Snare Drum in Mastering

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So that's what an OHM is
Member Since: Dec 27, 2004

Over the past couple of months I've developed a really big, punchy snare sound that I really like. I finished mastering work on a band's album a while ago and preserved the sound to a good volume, and also liked it.

But recently I've been encountering the problem of the snare drum being squashed out in mastering. I'm not sure how I escaped it before, but it's become much more apparent recently. Its punch gets greatly diminished by any maximizer. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to work against this, or any ideas on what I could be doing wrong. Any help is appreciated.

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I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Aug 22, 2006 01:24 pm

In my experience, the most important thing in this situation is to make sure that the snare has its own "notch" in the frequency spectrum. If its competing with any other instrument in its dominant frequency range, its presence in the mix will suffer greatly. This problem seems to be compounded by compressing/limiting.

Honestly I haven't found much of a workaround yet other than going back to the mixing phase and carving out more of an EQ notch for the instrument in quetsion (my problems are with the kick drum fighting with the bass guitar and losing all of its punch).

Maybe you could try a multiband compressor, and back off of the compression for the frequency band in which the snare resides. But that might sound odd, I don't know.

I'm back bitches!!!
Since: May 27, 2004

Aug 23, 2006 06:11 am

Don't forget to make sure the snare is not clipping your output buss (going over 0 DB) As this is the forst thing that gets wacked when maximizing. Typically the output will be limited to -0.3 DB on your maximizer. If anything is clipping at this stage then it's peaks will be squashed. I ran into this problem alot and am working very heavily to make sure none of my output bus levels clip while still getting that punch that we all like the snare to have. Notching out in the EQ will also help drastically as Tadpui said.

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