How To EQ Snare in Studio One
Hey there. I'm Nic Rollo, a singer and producer from Perth, Western Australia. I've recently started making tutorials on YouTube for writing, mixing and producing songs and thought I'd also make blog posts to accompany them.
Are you looking to EQ snare? This works in Studio One (my personal DAW of choice) but can also be used in any other DAW, assuming it has an EQ in it.
The MOST important aspect of EQing a snare is... snare choice. I'm using predominantly snare samples as the genre is pop, so I find a lot of my snares either from other producers or on splice. If you start with a good sample that both does what you want it do (tone wise) and also is solid in its sound (no weird stuff happening in the low end or other frequencies), then the rest of your job is going to be so much easier. Like SO much easier.
Once you've selected the right sample (or recorded the snare of your choice) it's time to start EQing it. I start by rolling off the low end with a high-pass filter up to sometimes as high as 150-200hz depending on the sample. The more you roll off the slappier the snare becomes (in my experience). Sometimes you want to have more of a thud from the snare, other times you want it to be less obnoxious and fill more of a clap like space in the frequency band. Like all things, this is down to preference and what you're working with will very much dictate these decisions (i.e is the snare super thuddy or is it fairly mid-heavy).
Next, I look for notes in the snare. I'm not personally a fan of having the notes in my percussion super loud - I prefer more of a noteless whack. In saying that, there are times for a nice note to come out (assuming it's in the key of the song) as that can add a lot to the track. Usually the fundamental note occupies the low-mids, in the video linked to this article the note is around 300hz. I only reduced this frequency by around 3b, but I find that you don't need a lot of reduction to deal with it. Often less is more.
I'll then see if I can hear any other frequencies that bother me (or hunt for them, if I'm feeling an adventure) which often results in a high-mid frequency getting removed. In the video I reduce a note around 4k by 2.6db. I found this frequency a bit bite-y and not particularly pleasing to my ears. Again, do this to taste - maybe you want it to have that painful ring to it.
Finally I'll decide whether I want more top-end or less. I find this is dependent on the genre, lo-fi is likely going to have a very muffled snare, and pop a very bright one. It'll also depend on the snare sample itself and if it feels like it needs more or less treble.
Obviously there's a lot more that you can do in terms of EQ, but I thought I'd keep this simple. If the sample choice is good you don't generally need to make too many cuts/boosts.
You can watch the full video here: