Clipping snare too much?


Nov 22, 2007
Poconos, PA
I'm forever running into the issue of my snare being buried in the mix when i try to get the loudness in mastering. Maybe I'm clipping it too hard?

I run EQ, comp, and Gclip on snare tracks then on a snare bus as well, then again over the entire drum bus, and again on the master. Is this too much GClip? I can get around -13 to -12 RMS according to Reapers stock meter, but the snare clearly becomes way more pronounced if I back off the master limiter....
Sounds like an unnecessary amount of clipping for no reason. One gclip on the snare bus should suffice, and then on the master bus if you're mastering. I think it's better to run gclip on the individual tracks rather than the entire drum bus if you need to clip parts of it.
Sounds like too much clipping to me. Also, don't put one on the master channel. Let the mastering engineer do that shit. Focus on the mix.
I have only one gclip on the snare or snarebus if I have snaretop and bottom.
No clipping on the drumbus, but gclip before compression in the mastering stage.
Never had problems with a drowning snare, and I master to about -10 RMS
try giving your snare the rights to the 200hz range. boost at ~200hz by +2.5db. then cut 3.5db off every other track in the mix. works for me, just saying.
Same as Mago here ... that's IF it even needs it. Sometimes instead of clipping I will use a multiband comp on a clone track and just add some distortion to the upper frequencies to make it stand out a bit. (Basically the same principal as a distressor)
It depends if you are talking about natural drums or samples. I find the latter takes more clipping to keep the snare focused as a snare sample tends to have a much larger transient peak than a natural snare drum due to the processing which also means the weight of the hit is lower than what is ideal. Gclip on each snare sample track only to even out the different transient peaks between samples, so the biggest transients are clipped but the lower ones are not then raise the gain in Gclip until all samples sound like they have the same weight as each other and not too many transients are being lost. Only a couple of DB here and there. I then put a Gclip on a buss that I have all close mics going to (kick, snare and toms) to even out these peaks in the same way, very little clipping needed so its completely transparent. API 2500 on master drum buss to glue with only 1.5-3db reduction. Once this is done I have no trouble getting masters up to -9db easy with only one mastering EQ and limiter, no compression or clipping used during mastering at all.
Yeah I'm talking samples here with totally programmed drums. I really only do this from home and don't even have proper monitors, and it's mainly just demos of new ideas for my band, but I like to get all up into it and try to make each mix surpass my previous ones. I think part of the problem with this recent one is the snare sample I'm using, it has a lot of natural body and meat, and also a lot of ring, which may be causing muddiness in that area.
I know most people will tell you to mix with your ears not your eyes, but your eyes can often tell you things your ears can't, more so if you don't have a good monitoring set up. Look at the wave form of your mixdown pre mastering... are there huge peaks that stick out well above the main body of the mix or just the odd one or two here and there a couple of db higher?
If you see lots of transient peaks then it can be a good sign of an unbalanced mix and will require severe limiting to achieve loudness in mastering which will also lead to things like the snare and kick to be pulled back in the mix.
Can you post an example?
in fact I have been thinking ALOT lately about the whole 'mix with your ears, not your eyes' argument and while it makes some sence I think it is full of contradictions and is actually really bad advice (if not the worst) to give to a noob engineer. I have a rant prepared for this argument that I will type out later. It will be interesting to get your opinions on this when I do.

Since you are using all samples I would say try what I suggested for sure, and if you are blending multiple samples, only gclip the one that is the loudest. 2 sample.mp3

I am normally tune to Drop C, but I wanted to play with lower tuning stuff so I dropped the low C down to A for this. Bass is pitch shifted guitar, which I'm sure isn't helping the mix that much at all. I don't totally humanize my drums either, and they are basically one sample per drum....which also may be part of the problem. But again, this is just for demo stuff and for me to practice mixing. I'm slowly getting a little better, but I am still blown away at some of the clear mixes I hear on this forum after I spend hours tweaking my stuff and am thinking "whoa, this is sounding good"....only to get shot down by your guys's stuff.

Anyway, cheers guys and I appreciate the help.
Agreed. Compression is doing something a little strange somewhere, maybe on the drum buss? Something is making the middle of the mix sound like it is getting 'sucked in' when the snare hits. Any sidechaining anywhere?

Also, mix balance is an issue here. Guitars are too loud which makes the drum kit sound further back in the mix. you are only getting the 'tick' of the drum sample transient coming through rather than the body of the hit making it sound weaker. Have a look at the method I mentioned above to tame the peak and increase the body of the hit and decrease the guitars. The verb (gated?) is a little to in the face, but I feel this maybe an attempt to make up for the lack of body in the drum hit as mentioned above. Verb should add sustain only. Try using a low pass filter on the verb round 7.5Khz.
On a fast listen, I'd say the attack and release on the compressor are the ones to blame. Oh and I hear too much slamming on the kick and snare too.

I agree with Mago, sounds like a compression issue
FX chain on drums is just slight compression on just about everything along with mainly HP and LP eq. I think I have a tendency to hit my kicks and snare harder with the compressor....probably about -3 to -6 GR at like 4:1. I'm going to re-assess this later after work. I also have a tendency to mix, burn to cd, listen in car, get drunk, then re-mix while drunk and thinking "OH FUCK YEAH I GOT THIS NOW"......only to most likely make it worse.