Today, our good friend Jordan Valeriote is going share his snare mixing trick! This is one of his secret weapons for mixing snare for heavy rock and metal. It is a technique that he discovered that helps him to get a snare that really cuts through a really dense mix and holds it own. It gives the snare a lot of weight, intensity, and character, and still has a ton of aggressive attack, without just being a really spiky transient in the mix.
The plugin that Jordan uses for this snare mixing trick is actually a stock plugin in ProTools! It is the Lo-Fi plugin! The knob that he focuses on is the distortion knob. If you don’t use ProTools, you can also check out a plugin like the Soundtoys Decapitator.
With this trick, it is all about adding a bit of distortion and a little bit of clipping to just give your snare that extra volume and intensity in the mix. If you do this using a brick wall limiter to shave off those transients and bring up the rest, that is going to weaken the attack. By doing it with distortion instead, and even just straight up clipping off the top of that transient, you are maintaining that really aggressive, punchy attack.