Dubstep, is known for it’s super strong kick and snare. The snare in the drop (and usually through out the whole song) is super fat and cuts through the mix. It also has a reverb that is different than the rest of the instruments in the track which sounds more lo-fi.
Recently I have just figured out how to route audio so your snare has that perfect lo-fi sound. With this tip I hope everyone learns how to route audio and parallel channels in Ableton Live.
To start your set up, take a drum rack on a new midi track or a new audio track to place a snare in the arrangement view.. It can be any type of snare, but in this case I’m going to use a dubstep snare (specifically a “brostep” styled snare, not a trap or “riddum” styled snare).
It might be kind of blurry, but above is how I set up my snare in its own channel. I don’t use a drum rack to place all of my drums into because I feel that makes things confusing and I don’t know how you would do this trick I am about to show you to do.
After you have your snare all set up, place a snare hit every 3rd beat on either a MIDI track or in your arrangement view. Either way will work. After doing that create an audio track (Cntrl-t or Command-t) right under your snare
Once you have done this, you are process the snare to be routed into the audio channel. Doing this makes it so the snare has a second channel playing a completely reverbed version, while allowing the original snare still have it’s girth in sound.
Problems with other techniques
- In my experience, having the snare having it’s own reverb placed within original track makes it so my snare is too transparent.
- Using a separate return track for the snare also causes issues because I bus my drums (snare, kick, toms, and weird drum loop breaks) into one group and use a return to send a small room reverb to the whole group to make the whole kit sound like it has similar spatial aspects. When I send a different reverb from a return track to the snare with this set up, once again I get a weird phasing issue because it is filtering the snare through the small room reverb and it’s dedicated reverb. The end result just never lets the snare punch through the mix.
Setting up a parallel reverb track
After setting up the audio track underneath your snare channel, set the routing so the input of the audio track is the snare channel above it. This means that the audio output from the snare is playing through that audio track also; they’re both parallel tracks playing the same thing. Make sure to make the ‘In , Auto, Off’ section is at ‘In’ so this works also or you won’t be hearing anything.
When this is done and set up, place a high pass filter at 400hz and THEN a reverb of your choice. DO THIS IN THIS ORDER SO YOU DON’T GET A BAD REVERBERATION. It’s makes it so only the frequencies above 400hz are the only ones affected by the signal going into the track.
In this case I used Ableton’s built in EQ and a Convolution Reverb by Max for Live (which pumps a lot of CPU out of your computer.)
Once this is all done you should be able to play your track with the snare and hear the difference with reverb. You snare should sound like Must Die! or Barely Alive’s.