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How to get a "fat", low, dry snare ('70s style)
Old 18th September 2012
  #1
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combfilter's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
How to get a "fat", low, dry snare ('70s style)

Not sure if this belongs to the Drums sub-forum...anyway:
I'm remixing a ballad and I'd like to try a totally different approach, even re-recording drums and other parts if necessary.
I'd aim for a '70s drum sound, like, say, on The Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why". Always loved that drum sound, full and dry but smooth as hell.

Of course the snare and its tuning themselves play a major role, and that's part of the question: for that purpose, which snare would you use / which tuning have you had success in the past with?

As for the engineering part, which technique / mic / approach would you then reccomend? I'm willing to experiment but I'd appreciate some loose guidance.

Thank you
Old 18th September 2012
  #2
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monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I don't have much for you but an EV dynamic mic like a 660 or RE18, RE15 might do you quite well. Warren Dent also said a KSM141 (or 137) is good for this. you might dampen the top head of the drum slightly with tape, moon gel, or a wallet. when mixing, don't heavily compress and limit the close mics to make them pop out, or use transient designer. don't scoop anything. try miking the bottom of the drum too to see if that suits your ear or not. maybe compress the snare slightly. obviously don't use any modern effects treatments. ribbons or neumann's on overheads/room. tape would help, a lot.
Old 18th September 2012
  #3
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The trick to this sound is to make the top head of the snare very dead, but you also want the toms to be really dead as well. Try putting a wallet on the snare drum. You also want to make share that the room the drums are in is not too live as well.
Old 18th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
top head tuned low/loose

snares loose.

damping on the head with tissue and tape (and or a 'wallet')

don't hit the rim!
Old 18th September 2012
  #5
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carlheinz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
YMMV.
...a large wood snare...top head really loose...dead ringer or tape with folded paper towel taped to the corner of the head.A Senheiser 441 is my mic of choice on snr.....D12 KICK.U87 ovr.Dead room.Start with no EQ.cUT A bit 200-250 on the kick if needed.If you have a dash of pultecs and or LA/2A/...or an 1176...just a hint here or there...ehhhh
Old 18th September 2012
  #6
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imaginaryday's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by combfilter ➑️
Not sure if this belongs to the Drums sub-forum...anyway:
I'm remixing a ballad and I'd like to try a totally different approach, even re-recording drums and other parts if necessary.
I'd aim for a '70s drum sound, like, say, on The Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why". Always loved that drum sound, full and dry but smooth as hell.

Of course the snare and its tuning themselves play a major role, and that's part of the question: for that purpose, which snare would you use / which tuning have you had success in the past with?

As for the engineering part, which technique / mic / approach would you then reccomend? I'm willing to experiment but I'd appreciate some loose guidance.

Thank you
Old 18th September 2012
  #7
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I did a project once where the snare was just horrible, old head, impossible to tune. We didn't have time to get a new head (the drummer was flying out of the country in just a few hours!) so I tried something silly: I taped a piece of notebook paper on top of the head. Right across it, so he hit it in the middle of the piece of paper. Worked great, very 70's sound. No ring, nice snap, lots of body (since the top head was so beat, it couldn't be tuned high.) Had to change the paper after each take, and once or twice it got snagged on a stick. So, not a perfect solution, but you might be shocked at the interesting tone.

As far as toms, you could also try taking the bottom head off, and micing from underneath, inside the shell, with a 57. Deaden the head a lot with tape and gauze. I've done this with good results, too.


Lastly, a lot of those 70's sounds come from a very dead room, going to tape and mic preamps that clip a bit. I had some old rack preamp (I can't remember the model, outside of this application it was pretty useless.) It would clip, but for some reason, on drums it had that 70's tone, too.

Experiment, try to think about the sound you want and what's keeping you from getting it. Good luck!
Old 18th September 2012
  #8
Old 18th September 2012
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
cherrymusic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Big fat leather wallet filled with 1970's dollar bill's taped to snare head...and mirror wire framed sunglasses
Old 18th September 2012
  #10
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slackstallion's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
^^^

+ tune your top head loose and crank the snare wire tight
Old 18th September 2012
  #11
ST.
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ST.'s Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Have you tried different snare wires?

I'm not certain it will get you all of the way to any one goal, but it may help. They come in different types and sizes and affect the sound quite a bit. Perhaps a thinner snare wire could get you a "dryer" sound without compromising the tone of your instrument(s). Then again, putting a towel over a snare equipped with such wires might give you the wrong kind of dead. In that case, maybe a wider snare wire with a towel on top of the drum would give you more "crunch". Of course a towel would dampen any ringing as well as the extra rattle attributed to wider snare wires. I haven't tried wider snare wires myself, but I imagine that might be the case.

At any rate-- snare wires: a very inexpensive way to alter the sound of your snare (especially when compared with new microphones, pre-amps, compressors, etc.). FWIW, you could probably swap snare wires in under a minute.

I hope that helps
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slackstallion ➑️
^^^

+ tune your top head loose and crank the snare wire tight
For sure.
Lay a credit card flat on the snare head and duck tape it to the rim making sure you don't duck tape the card to the head. When you strike the drum the card should flip up but then immediately fall back on the head to mute it. You can also take an old snare head and cut off the outer edge and center leaving a 2" x 14' ring that can placed on the head. This makes a very dead/muted snare. You can dial in the sound you want by trimming away the ring. If you want that "Come Together" drum sound just throw a bed sheet over all the drums.
Good Luck!
Old 18th September 2012
  #13
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NEWTON IN ORBIT's Avatar
I know one modern way, it is a little too dry for my tastes, but I was hooked on them for a few years. The first thing I thought of was the Evans Genera dry...when you say dry.

They have the one with the vented holes around the perimeter. Zero ring when I was using it. Or very little. May not be the tea towel 60's thing, but it is as the name suggests----dry.

Yeah, and tuning down is of course a good suggestion. Also, maybe don't use nylon tips either. Makes a bigger diff then people sometimes say.

The funny thing is this sound you are talking about doesn't necessarily correlate w/ a deep snare...as in from top to bottom. I've had crazies come in with freaking marching snares...that ain't the answer obviously.
john
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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NEWTON IN ORBIT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Castell ➑️
For sure.
Lay a credit card flat on the snare head and duck tape it to the rim making sure you don't duck tape the card to the head. When you strike the drum the card should flip up but then immediately fall back on the head to mute it. You can also take an old snare head and cut off the outer edge and center leaving a 2" x 14' ring that can placed on the head. This makes a very dead/muted snare. You can dial in the sound you want by trimming away the ring. If you want that "Come Together" drum sound just throw a bed sheet over all the drums.
Good Luck!
Yes...this is much better than moon gel or the like IMO, as it does pop up and unmute for a second. Amazing how LITTLE material it takes to produce a change in tone too.
john
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT ➑️
I know one modern way, it is a little too dry for my tastes, but I was hooked on them for a few years. The first thing I thought of was the Evans Genera dry...when you say dry.
I was going to mention that too. that thing is drier or darker than any other head I've heard. can be a problem though if you're going for a brighter snare sound.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman ➑️
top head tuned low/loose

snares loose.

damping on the head with tissue and tape (and or a 'wallet')

don't hit the rim!
^Listen to this man.

Also, you may want to gate or compress the snare (with a long attack). You want the loose wires for sustain, but there's a fine balance to be struck with all the rattling.

And if you don't want to re-track the drums you can try running your pre-existing snare track thru a pitch shifter, 100% wet, and pitch it down a couple semitones and gate. This will fatten and lengthen the sound and give more of an old drum machine pitched-down kind of effect.
Old 18th September 2012
  #17
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nickelironsteel's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
neumann mics, vintage drum set, no close miking, vintage api/neve pres, pultecs, 1176
Old 18th September 2012
  #18
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🎧 10 years
as mentioned a few times already, tune a big drum low (14x8) and I usually just lay a t-shirt over the top head.
Old 18th September 2012
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
5x14 ludwig supraphonic-- surprisingly enough you want a generally bright drum to start with.

single-ply coated head on top-- remo ambassador or one of the coated heads w/ the dot on the bottom. again, you want to get as much impact as possible.

then it's just a matter of killing every single overtone, while keeping a nice clean snare sound from the wires themselves. a 2nd head placed on top of the main head can work-- just flip it upside down so that the mylar is touching. putting a cotton (not terrycloth) towel over the top can help as well.

deaden EVERYTHING else. i like the idea of single-headed toms, muted intensely as well.

get your drummer to play in the center of the head, no rim, not that loud, but extremely consistently.

maybe double-mic with a 57 and an SDC-- use the sdc for the crispness, and the 57 for the main body.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeReKeTe ➑️
5x14 ludwig supraphonic-- surprisingly enough you want a generally bright drum to start with.

single-ply coated head on top-- remo ambassador or one of the coated heads w/ the dot on the bottom. again, you want to get as much impact as possible.

then it's just a matter of killing every single overtone, while keeping a nice clean snare sound from the wires themselves. a 2nd head placed on top of the main head can work-- just flip it upside down so that the mylar is touching. putting a cotton (not terrycloth) towel over the top can help as well.

deaden EVERYTHING else. i like the idea of single-headed toms, muted intensely as well.

get your drummer to play in the center of the head, no rim, not that loud, but extremely consistently.

maybe double-mic with a 57 and an SDC-- use the sdc for the crispness, and the 57 for the main body.
"get your drummer to play in the center of the head, no rim, not that loud, but extremely consistently."

I totally agree and think this is a crucial point. Don Henley has a very light touch. Make sure that when you're dialing in your sound that the drummer is hitting in the center of the drum and isn't smacking the crap out of it.

I mentioned before that I thought the snares should be really tight - I take that back. Eagles "I Can't Tell You Why" is an awesome fat, low and dry snare. I don't know if the sublte slap on the snare is artificial but the snares are definitely not tight!
Old 21st September 2012
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
combfilter's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks guys for the great response. That's a lot of nice ideas!
I will definitely try to loosen the top head and damp it with various stuff to see what sounds better. I did use wallets, gaffer tape and paper towels in the past, but never tried paper sheets, a second head, a cotton cloth "tea towel" style...and of course I also love the credit card thing! Gotta try it asap.

The snare wire is admittedly something that I never really experimented with, and I like the idea of miking the toms from the bottom also removing the reso head.

Talking about odd things to place on top of the snare, last night a drummer friend suggested me this:



I think I finally found a use for that scratched Art Garfunkel album. Also, had a laugh at the end heh

@TeReKeTe: Would you put the additional SDC on top similarly to the SM57? What about side miking?
Old 12th January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
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Malcolm Boyce's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Castell ➑️
I mentioned before that I thought the snares should be really tight - I take that back. Eagles "I Can't Tell You Why" is an awesome fat, low and dry snare. I don't know if the sublte slap on the snare is artificial but the snares are definitely not tight!
For sure.

On "I Can't Tell You Why" specifically, there is a tom played with the snare on the backbeats as well which helps give it the weight on that particular track.

That being said, there are plenty of great fat, dry sounds that are just the snare providing that vibe.
Old 28th November 2017
  #23
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zinzin's Avatar
old but for me relevant thread. that eagles snare in post #1 is beautiful!
i need a new snare to get that sound, i can only go that low on my ludwig 14x5,5.
so i am looking for a 14x7 snare. what would be better for this kinda sound? steel or wood snare?

Last edited by zinzin; 28th November 2017 at 10:03 PM..
Old 28th November 2017
  #24
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JulianFernandez's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
No you donΒ΄t... LM400 Supraphonics were used all the time. You can totally get a 70s with a 5.5 incher.
Old 29th November 2017
  #25
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Chrisso is a resident expert on this sort of thing, I'm certain I've seen him answer this question before. Search his posts.
Old 29th November 2017
  #26
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YouTube
Old 29th November 2017
  #27
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bambamboom's Avatar
 
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🎧 5 years
A great trick is to take a spare drumhead, flip it upside down, and lay it over top of the installed head. Instant fat sound. It is great because you can do this very quickly, so it's awesome for live shows where you can get 2 very different snare sounds with one drum.

Old 29th November 2017
  #28
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🎧 15 years
While the upside down drum head can be useful, for the way-old first post asking about "I Can't Tell You Why", the sound there is (as mentioned by someone else) a simultaneous snare/2nd tom hit..... separately mic'd and each heavily and separately gated. There may also be a ducking tone routed in...I vaguely remember Symzyck describing that in an old R-E-P (or similar) article.

Not that it applies to this thread, but another other-wordly, fine fine fine snare is the one in Sade's "No Ordinary Love". Now THAT one takes some real time to duplicate
Old 29th November 2017 | Show parent
  #29
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zinzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle ➑️
While the upside down drum head can be useful, for the way-old first post asking about "I Can't Tell You Why", the sound there is (as mentioned by someone else) a simultaneous snare/2nd tom hit..... separately mic'd and each heavily and separately gated. There may also be a ducking tone routed in...I vaguely remember Symzyck describing that in an old R-E-P (or similar) article.
seems strange to combine it with a tom hit, but i will try it!

thanks for all the answers, you saved me some money. was about to buy some 14x7 snare.
Old 29th November 2017
  #30
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andychamp's Avatar
 
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