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Getting a fat snare sound

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#1
Thwack

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I am presently playing a brass Pearl Sensitone snare, 14x5.5. It is a crisp sounding snare with a Remo Ambassador tuned fairly tight. I have tried getting it fatter by trying various combinations of head tensions, an Evans reverse dot, and Puresound snares. It remains fairly bright and can get get ringy if I'm not careful with the tuning.

I am willing to purchase a new drum, since I want a backup snare anyway. Before I do, I figured I'd ask for advice.

In order to get a fatter snare sound, what drum and head combo would be best? Wood? Deeper? Any specific snare model (supra)?

As a point of reference, I hear people talk about "Back in Black" as an example of a fat sound. I just listened to it, and that's fairly close to what I have in mind.

Thanks all.
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#2
TommyWells

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First of all, the snare sound you are lookinf for, (Back in Black-AC/DC) is already processed. It is mic'd, EQ'd, has room sound with it, compressed, etc. So, you may be able to get something that you feel like "replicates" the finished snare drum sound on a record, but it just isn't possible to do what is beimng done in that situation. I would say, first of all. Don't worry about the drum ringing wide open. Let it breath. If you want to fatten it a little bit, try the Emporer X heads. They are thick and SOUND thick. I don't know for sure what drum was used on that record, but in that time period, the standard snare drum for so many rock records was a 5" or 6 1/2" Supra-Phonic. The drum that you have, (Sensitone,) is very similar. Remember, a recording like that is not a true representation of what that drum sounded like on the floor at that studio....
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#3
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If you call mushy sounding FAT, an Aquarian American Vintage head on a metal snare drum should fatten it up enough for you.
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#4
EvEnStEvEn

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You'll get the fatness from a deep shell with a dampened batter tuned med/low.
I'd recommend the LM402 as the obvious choice in a metal snare.
If you'd prefer wood, the choices are endless.
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#5
Den

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Instead of buying yet another head, you can take an older head (preferably flat, with no dents) and cut out the head from the hoop. Tune your drum normally, or a bit lower than normal. Lay that circle of drum head on top and you will instantly hear a drop in pitch (a good 2 1/2 whole tones) and the snare wires will have a more distinct looseness to them. I have done this and it's a quick fix. Try it...it works!

The experts will mention that this has been done before in the studio. It's a good starting point if you do not have a deep snare handy. Really...try it.
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#6
K.O.

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Ludwig Coliseum snare (8 x 14) with an Evans Hydraulic head...now that's FAT sounding...or at least it was 25 years ago.
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#7
dave11772

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I've had success with a 6 1/2" Supra with a 2 ply head top and a thinner head on bottom. A little Moongel works wonders for the ringies. Good luck.
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#8
mgy*cqd

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Try a texture coated Aquarian Studio X with reverse power dot. Kills the high end ring your drum is known for and adds attack without eliminating the mid and low frequency resonance. It won't sound like the record, but it's the type of sound you're asking for without making the drum sound flat, boxy, and unable to project.
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#9
bbunks

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Before buying new heads or even new drums, play around with your tuning.

Tune the batter to a medium tightness. Take the resonant down a few steps looser than the batter. Loosen the snares a little. Adjust accordingly.

I've found that a looser resonant gives me a darker / throatier sound that just has "more" to it.

As for heads......a Coated Ambassador w/ a reverse dot is a pretty nice choice also.
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#10
pocketlizard

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I have been playing that drum (Sensitone) for about a year now and just LOVE it :D :D :D !!! A drum teacher from town sat in last night and complimented on the drum several times. I bought the PEARL after playing a maple piccolo exclusively for about 16.7 years, and to me I would not want a deeper sounding drum. That said, there are alot of good suggestions already posted here, but I wanted to give PROPS to the PEARL drum...
ALSO, I just returned home from buying another Pearl sensitone> this one is the aluminum anodized shell, 5.5, superhoops for my son on his 18th birthday tomorrow. I think the aluminum will be a higher pitched drum...kinda looks like an Acro...i think...
PL
By the way...what is a reverse dot??? never had or seen one... :roll:
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#11
mgy*cqd

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[W]hat is a reverse dot?

It's a head with a circular layer of mylar (usually ~4" in diameter) adhered to the center of the underside of the batter head instead of on the top side. Usually used on coated heads (though the Evans Coated Power Dot puts the dot on the batter side).
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#12
AgDrumma07

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I'd recommend the Remo Emperor X head. Of course a deeper drum may help too, but getting a head is a much cheaper solution. I put one of my 8x14 Superstar snare. Found it online for only 10 bucks too.


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#13
dcrigger

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Ludwig Coliseum snare (8 x 14) with an Evans Hydraulic head...now that's FAT sounding...or at least it was 25 years ago.


Well "Back in Black" was released in 1980 - so it's more like 29 years ago. :-)


Basically what Steven wrote - it's mainly a tuning thing... and in 1980, a muffling thing.

A deeper drum works better, but a 5.5 can certainly get close to this kind of sound. And IMO (as usual), thicker, duller, muted, pre-muffled heads aren't the ticket - you can get this sound with an Ambassador (that's what you're hearing on the lion's share of records IMO). As you tune it down low enough, it will get out of control note length-wise. Which is where muffling or processing comes in...

Basically there are three ways on taming the note length - ways which can be used separately or in tandem. Muffling on the drum - in 1980, the most common studio technique was a paper towel folder into a 2" x 4" rectangle taped close to the rim with a strip of 2" gaffers tape. This could be positioned completely on the head or hanging nearly off the rim. Or any place in between, giving very fine control over the amount of muffing. Second would be compression, applied to the mic signal - with the compressor set to emphasize the drum's initial attack, then clamp down volume-wise on its subsequent ringing tone. Third would be a noise gate - that basically turns the mic down (or off) between each snare drum note - again diminishing the ring.

Listening back to "Back in Black" just a few minutes ago, I wouldn't characterize its snare sound as extremely processed at all - by today's standards. Pretty much a drum tuned to sound like what you're hearing, and played real consistently.

There's a cool video interview with that album's engineer, here... http://www.recordpro...att-bigvid.html

...where he talks about how all the tracking for that disc was down with all four musicians in the same room playing together. So that doesn't speak to what might have been down during mixdown - but keep in mind this would've been 1979... sampling was just being invented, not commonly used... we still five years from MIDI ... and something like 15 years from anything resembling ProTools.

Have fun,

David
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#14
TommyWells

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All true, David, but room mics with tube compression was the order of the day. When I was recording in London in those days, there were always room mics and always Fairchild tube compressors. Which gave all that body to a snare drum in a rock n roll mix. Sounded very natural. It just brought up the sounnd of that snare drum in the room. Often the noise gate on the snare drum would be set to turn the room mics on and off. Hard to achieve that sound at home in your practice room. Especially by muffling a snare drum. :wink:
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#15
gezz

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I'd recommend the Remo Emperor X head. Of course a deeper drum may help too, but getting a head is a much cheaper solution. I put one of my 8x14 Superstar snare. Found it online for only 10 bucks too.


I have had great resulths with the Emperor X heads too... have you tried the black X's yet?
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#16
AgDrumma07

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I'd recommend the Remo Emperor X head. Of course a deeper drum may help too, but getting a head is a much cheaper solution. I put one of my 8x14 Superstar snare. Found it online for only 10 bucks too.


I have had great resulths with the Emperor X heads too... have you tried the black X's yet?


No I haven't. Not really a fan of black drumheads, except for kick resos. What do you think of them?
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#17
gezz

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I love the Black X heads.. yeah they are drier, and as a rule they are NOT of major cosmetic appeal to me but i like the sound very much.. if you see one maybe give it a try :)
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#18
Thwack

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I'd like to thank everyone for replying. I think I'll try a new head before anything else. I've already spent a lot of time with tuning, adjusting the snares, muffling rings and moongel already. Compression and processing are not available to me. :(

Thanks again to all.
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#19
TommyWells

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Or anyone else that is not in a great recording studio. Good luck, and you can always try a snare drum with a little more shell depth to see if that is what you are wanting.
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#20
harvdm

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Fidock 6/12 Blackwood with wood rims. Nuff said
www.fidockdrums.com
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