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3 Ableton Live Tricks for Punchy Snares

In this video, one of Pyramind’s Ableton instructors, Will Marshall gives you three snare drum processing tricks to make them punch and stand out when mixing in Ableton Live. Throughout this tip, he makes sure to bypass his processing so that you can hear exactly how he changes the sound with each technique. These concepts can be applied to any DAW.



The first technique he covers is digital clipping – this is a form of limiting / distortion that ends up squaring off sine waves as they are pushed to a higher volume. He uses Ableton’s built-in Saturator effect and sets it to “Digital Clip”, then gain matches the processed snare to the dry snare.

The next technique Will covers is manually editing waveforms. After zooming in on the snare’s waveform, he notices that the tail of the snare is a little too loud for his taste. He selects that section of the waveform and brings down the volume. Then he checks to make sure there are no clicks and pops as the sound plays. Editing waveforms manually can really tighten up the sound, and doesn’t require any fancy plugins.

Will also covers editing transients with effect devices. He uses Native Instrument’s Transient Maker to get the job done. He mutes the snare he processed with all three techniques, and demonstrates how just using a transient editor can quickly achieve the results he wants. If you don’t own Transient Master, you can apply these concepts to any other transient shaping device.

This is a must watch for those of you looking to make your snares fit better in your mix.

Here at our SF Campus, Will Marshall teaches Mixing & Mastering 301 for Ableton Live as well as DJ 210: Live Performance and Advanced DJing with Ableton Live. He produces music under his Coma Cartel alias and hails originally from New Zealand.

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