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  #1  
Old 07-11-2017, 11:24 AM
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Default Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Hi all,

We have an album recording this week, and we're struggling with snare buzz with certain bass and guitar frequencies. We record live, so isolated tracking isn't really an option, and the room is small, about 5m x 3.5m. Is there anything we can do - rockwool isolation panel, raising off the floor, angling etc. - to in any way reduce the amount of buzz?

Thanks
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:21 PM
Wave Deckel Wave Deckel is offline
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Have you tried with tuning the snare to a different pitch? Also you could try a piece of silver-paper from a cigarette-pack. Cut out two small pieces, thumb-size more or less, and put those between the wires and the bottomhead, close to the bearing edges. It has worked with some snares in certain situations.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Good suggestions from Wave Deckel.

Other thoughts,

I appreciate you're space limited, but would you be able to get any more distance from the guitars in that room?

Could they angle their amps away from you?

Perhaps some sort of sound shield in front of the drums like those perspex clearsonic screens (though they're expensive) or one of those consotina dividers that people get dressed behind, to deflect or dampen the frequencies that cause your snare buzz?

Or a small panel in front of the guitars to deflect back to them or upwards to the ceiling might eliminate or reduce buzz.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Man that's a bit of a bummer.

The only solution I could see that would cure it would be to DI the bass and guitar and use cab impulses. What's the engineer/producers take on it?

Seems a shame someone should compromise their sound for a recording. Defeats the object of capturing a great performance.

Surely the mic bleed on everything would be real bad in a room that small.

What genre are you doing?
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:29 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

If you want less snare buzz, the only way to accomplish this is to reduce the volume of the guitar and bass amps.

Can you build a small iso booth for the bass and guitar amps? You could have both amps in one booth, close mic'd, and facing opposite directions. You'd want a two layer construction, with some air space in between the layers, for the iso booth walls, floor, and ceiling, ideally.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Best solution is to reamp the guitars and bass.
Bass and guitar go direct and the guitar gets sent to two channels in the daw. One channel uses a vst amp for monitoring the performance and the other channel is the clean guitar signal. After everything is recorded, you re-amp the clean guitar with an actual amplifier and mic.
It's the best way to get a proper sound without bleed, and the performance is still with everybody playing at the same time. The guitarist can also change the amp sounds at any later time instead of being locked into one sound.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Sympathetic from the instruments or the other drums mostly?

Like Wave, I've had the most luck with simply tuning around the problem. Going a bit higher or lower can eliminate the sympathetic vibrations that effect the snare reso.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by WallyY View Post
Best solution is to reamp the guitars and bass.
Bass and guitar go direct and the guitar gets sent to two channels in the daw. One channel uses a vst amp for monitoring the performance and the other channel is the clean guitar signal. After everything is recorded, you re-amp the clean guitar with an actual amplifier and mic.
It's the best way to get a proper sound without bleed, and the performance is still with everybody playing at the same time. The guitarist can also change the amp sounds at any later time instead of being locked into one sound.
It will sound different from everyone playing into the room and lots of bleed, though... And some folks really want that sound.

Another similar method I've used is to simply put the amps in other rooms and mic them there while everyone plays live. I think you're saying to just play back the signal recording through an amp after the fact?
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyY View Post
Best solution is to reamp the guitars and bass.
Bass and guitar go direct and the guitar gets sent to two channels in the daw. One channel uses a vst amp for monitoring the performance and the other channel is the clean guitar signal. After everything is recorded, you re-amp the clean guitar with an actual amplifier and mic.
It's the best way to get a proper sound without bleed, and the performance is still with everybody playing at the same time. The guitarist can also change the amp sounds at any later time instead of being locked into one sound.
Sounds like a great solution!
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:37 PM
WallyY WallyY is offline
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
... I think you're saying to just play back the signal recording through an amp after the fact?
Yep, but it won't sound any different from playing with everyone in the room because you re-amp the amplifier in the same room.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Yep, but it won't sound any different from playing with everyone in the room because you re-amp the amplifier in the same room.
Right, that one tone will be the same, however, I mean that the overall sound will be "cleaner" and that sometimes the compressed all-together bleed through to the mics in the same room is part of the sound people are going after. Not sure if that's the case here, but could be. Some folks think a lot of isolation kills vibe.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:08 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Sounds like a great solution!
The only drawback is that the everyone will be monitoring the signal that has gone into the computer and back, which creates some latency. A computer with a fast processor, together with a fast hard drive, will shorten the latency so much that it's not an issue. You'll want an i7 processor (speed somewhere around 2 GHz), and a hard drive speed of 7600 rpm, or a solid state drive. The interface should connect via Thunderbolt or USB 3.0.

The re-amping solution is a very good one, but it assumes you have a recording rig that is up the task. The average home PC and recording interface are usually not.

MJ, hope this helps. Let us know how it turns out!
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  #13  
Old 07-11-2017, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Thanks for the feedback. We have a dry run on Wednesday, then the recording on the Friday. I will try some of the solutions posted here.

The buzz is primarily coming from the bass guitar. Bleed isn't an issue really. It's a live recording and we are doing it that way intentionally. The buzz isn't too much of an issue for the most part either, but a few key notes in parts of the tracks illicit a very strong and noticeable snare buzz. If we can minimise that, that'd be great.

How much of an effect would isolation have? I have some covered rockwool panels that we can case the bass cabs in with, but would that really eliminate or reduce the suspect frequencies?
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  #14  
Old 07-11-2017, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

One trick to try, and only a suggestion, and has helped in my snares at times, is to detune the four lugs, two on either side of the snares on the reso side. Just a bit, experiment.
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Last edited by GruntersDad; 07-11-2017 at 11:04 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-11-2017, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Presumably the buzz is coming from the reso head. When you're talking about changing the tuning, which head, and which way?
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by GruntersDad View Post
One trick to try, and only a suggestion, and has helped in my snares at times, is to detune the four lugs, two on either side of the snares on the batter side. Just a bit, experiment.
I think you mean the reso side. Never heard of that on the top head.
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I think you mean the reso side. Never heard of that on the top head.
Yeah. Original post edited for correctness and info shaming relief
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

wikkid, thanks. Will report back results.
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  #19  
Old 07-11-2017, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
If you want less snare buzz, the only way to accomplish this is to reduce the volume of the guitar and bass amps.
Exactly.







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  #20  
Old 07-12-2017, 04:37 AM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by Mighty_Joker View Post

How much of an effect would isolation have? I have some covered rockwool panels that we can case the bass cabs in with, but would that really eliminate or reduce the suspect frequencies?
Hard to say, but possibly! It would help if you could cover the bass amp with two layers, and seal the gaps, maybe even float it off the ground with boards.

Another idea is to have the bass player (gasp!) turn down the low end on the amp. It's not a live gig -- the amp doesn't need to fill the room. But bass players are used to hearing their amps this way.

Whenever mixing a track with a bass amp signal, the first thing any engineer does is turn down the low frequencies with an EQ. They're usually excessive.
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

So we had the session today. Mostly got away with it. I detuned the lugs around the snare wires on the reso head, and we used a lot of rockwool isolation panels. For the most part, the buzz was manageable. I should be able to edit out the worst offenders.

Here's a short clip from the session: https://youtu.be/cusGrOYODGQ
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  #22  
Old 07-12-2017, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

In addition to setting the drum up as well as possible, you could gate your snare mic, maybe others.

Hard to see the room in the vid, some corner bass traps can work wonders for more accurate bass response to the mics. Money well spent, but some will disagree.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

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Originally Posted by Mighty_Joker View Post
So we had the session today. Mostly got away with it. I detuned the lugs around the snare wires on the reso head, and we used a lot of rockwool isolation panels. For the most part, the buzz was manageable. I should be able to edit out the worst offenders.

Here's a short clip from the session: https://youtu.be/cusGrOYODGQ
I didn't hear any buzz... Albeit, on my work-computer speakers...
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

I heard none either. Maybe sitting on top of it u can hear it but it's not projecting.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

I don't know who has noticed this or not. But I find that 2 ply batter heads don't allow as much snare buzz as 1 ply batter heads. I think the sympathetic vibrations between the bottom and top head is stronger with the 2 thinner heads, thus more snare buzz. A thicker batter head has more mass and it takes more "noise" to get the heads moving and vibrating compared to thinner heads, thus less snare buzz.

Another thing to reduce snare buzz is to place some muffling on the batter head. This too slightly reduces the sympathetic vibrations between the top and bottom head. I noticed years ago when I was not playing during certain parts of a song but my snare was buzzing, that if I rested my hand on the top head the snare buzz lessened considerably. Of course that only works if I have a free hand.
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Old 07-14-2017, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty_Joker View Post
So we had the session today. Mostly got away with it. I detuned the lugs around the snare wires on the reso head, and we used a lot of rockwool isolation panels. For the most part, the buzz was manageable. I should be able to edit out the worst offenders.

Here's a short clip from the session: https://youtu.be/cusGrOYODGQ
Nice playing!

It's easy enough to gate the bottom snare mic to reduce bleed, but you've probably noticed that the overheads (and maybe the hi-hat mic) are really the most problematic. Don't try to get rid of the bleed with an EQ -- the cymbals and kit will suffer -- but rather just bring down the overhead faders in the most troublesome spots. Don't automate a 5 dB reduction all at once, instead use your mouse to create smooth, curved fader movements. Gradually lowering and raising the faders is much easier on the ears.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

I'm glad to hear this clip isn't showing any snare buzz. It was definitely present in other parts of the tracks. I like some of the suggestions - there are so many possibilities with gates, eq, automation etc., it's hard to know which to go with.

Of course, some buzz is pivotal for the live sound, that's why we record as a whole band, but I just wanted it to be manageable.
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Old 07-14-2017, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

We had a (drummer) friend that records bands come over the studio and suggest that we put a couple of panels overhead the drums for a better iso-recording.
MJ, I see your soundproofing directly behind the set which is good IMO. We have the room set up with Bass traps, vertical & horizontal louvered panels, but less the overhead. We get decent live recordings, but was told that I (drums) would sit better in the Room mix. It is a process because we will have to move the kit out of the way, set a ladder up, and then TapCon (hammer-drill), or anchor eyelets into the ceiling to strategically hang and position these 2x4 panels at roughly a 22.5 angle. I'm anticipating the recordings when we eventually do this room mod and eagerly wait for these results...

Another thing... I did not understand when I purchased my '72 Suprahonic it was a recording snare (out of N.Y.) and had these roughly 3/16'' thin foam pieces taped at the ends of the snare. I assumed to let the snare breathe, but more as a guitar player that has a "noise gate" in their signal path letting their strings sustain without the unwanted noises; restricting the rattle. I don't know or have figured out the technique yet, but I would like to try this once, because it does make sense. I do not wish to choke my snares so seemingly a trial and error thing...
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Old 07-14-2017, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

I could hear the sympathetic snare buzz for the first few seconds after the video begins. The buzz coincides with the bass line. However, as soon as you start back playing at about 10 second mark the buzz was lost in the music. There are lots of great advice already mentioned to remove the buzz but personally, I didn't mind hearing the sympathetic snare buzz.

Btw, really nice playing from the whole band.
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Reducing Snare Buzz in Small Room

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty_Joker View Post
I'm glad to hear this clip isn't showing any snare buzz. It was definitely present in other parts of the tracks. I like some of the suggestions - there are so many possibilities with gates, eq, automation etc., it's hard to know which to go with.
That clip was short on ambience, which might be exactly what you want. If you're relying on the close mics for the overall drum sound, you'll be able to automate and/or gate the signals to reduce bleed. OTOH, if your drum sound is coming from the overheads and room mics, automation will be your friend here.

It's safe to say that heavy-handed EQ is not a good idea, since any adjustment you make to reduce snare buzz will affect some other aspect of the mic's signal, and probably not in a good way.

The song will tell you if it's appropriate to gate or not. If, after some effort and adjustment, you still hear the gate opening and closing, then probably it's best to just disable it and move on.
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