Mix Smart Figure 3.6 - Frequency range of spectral landmarks (Snare Drum), pp. 61 (click for full sized image)

Consider dividing the snare sound into two parts. One is the lower-frequency energy coming from the drum itself—the sound the snare would have if it were just a tom, without the snares stretched across the bottom, resonant head. Second is the mid- to high-frequency energy up to 10 kHz and beyond due to those rattling snares. Narrow the spectral possibilities when mixing by looking for power in the drum-based lows and exciting, raucous emotion in the upper mid frequencies of the noisy snares. Vocals, guitars, pianos, strings, and reeds are going to want their own various upper-midrange areas to themselves. The snare, with much to offer in the mids, welcomes a complementary set of gentle cuts to make room for these instruments, balanced by a gentle boost in any midrange area that remains so that it can express itself.

  • Alex Case’s many contributions at Recording Magazine include this classic.