Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Tutorial

Exploring E-SNARE Device in Bitwig Studio for Creating Snare Sounds

Tutorial | Jun 20, 2022

In this video, I discussed the E-SNARE device in Bitwig Studio. I showed how to blend between the two oscillators, mix the noise with the envelope, and shape the sound with filters and the output section. I explained how to create snare sounds with the device, such as deep snares, light snares, and rim shots. I also showed how to add room to the sound with the convolution device and how to layer the snare with a sample using the ADSR. Finally, I demonstrated how to use distortion, EQ, and saturation to shape the snare sound and how to use a peak limiter and Valhalla Supermassive to add texture.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What is an E-SNARE device?

The E-SNARE device is a monophonic synthesizer in Bitwig Studio which is mainly used for creating snare sounds. It consists of two oscillators, a mixed section, an envelope, filters, and an output section.

How can I shape the sound of a snare drum with the E-SNARE device?

You can shape the sound of a snare with the E-SNARE device by adjusting the mixed knob to blend between the oscillators, adjusting the envelope, using distortion, adding EQ, using a convolution device to add room to the sound, using the amp device to overdrive the sound, and layering with a sample.

What is the importance of using an EQ for a snare drum?

The EQ is important for a snare drum as it helps to shape the sound and amplify certain parts. It is especially important to use an EQ around 1K as this is where the ear is most sensitive. The EQ can also be used to remove too much low end on the noise and to help improve the random frequencies.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] Hey folks, welcome back to another video.
[00:03.120] Let's talk about the E-SNARE device in Bitwig Studio or SNARE in general in Bitwig Studio.
[00:08.800] So we have this E-SNARE device here, which consists basically of two oscillators, oscillator
[00:13.600] one and two.
[00:15.560] And we have here mixed section where you can mix between oscillator one and two only.
[00:21.320] And also mixed section here we can blend in, can shape the noise here with the envelope
[00:26.400] and also we have here some filters and an output section.
[00:32.000] So it's pretty simple device.
[00:33.560] It's a synthesizer, monophonic synthesizer and it's mainly the aim of the synthesizer
[00:39.960] is creating snare sounds.
[00:41.480] So all these parameters here are in different ranges or have some specific ranges to them.
[00:49.960] So when I have here the mixed knob at 50%, we can hear the two oscillators playing.
[00:58.400] You can also see this here inside this graph or maybe I put this here on two frees.
[01:06.560] You can see we have two frequencies here.
[01:08.680] This is oscillator one and this is oscillator two.
[01:11.880] And oscillator one has a tuning so we can choose between the frequencies pretty freely
[01:19.440] between 50 Hz and 494 Hz.
[01:25.200] So it's a pretty limited range, but it's completely fine for snares.
[01:31.120] And the second one has only an offset.
[01:33.000] So it means it also changes the frequency with the oscillator one.
[01:37.560] So when we put this here back to slow and I change the frequency here, you can see oscillator
[01:46.600] two also changes the frequency.
[01:48.600] But you have an offset here, so we can set this to maybe 12, so it's exactly one octave
[01:53.680] higher than the first oscillator.
[01:58.840] But it's also again getting the main root frequency from the first oscillator.
[02:07.240] And it's the same for the decay I think.
[02:09.800] So when we have here a longer decay, we have only here an offset for the first decay.
[02:21.680] So when the first oscillator has a short decay, also the second oscillator has a short decay.
[02:27.600] You can only modify or offset this decay time here a little bit from the first oscillator.
[02:33.040] So this is important to know.
[02:37.600] So most of the times to make actually snares sounds, you don't need two oscillators.
[02:41.840] You can just freely use the first one here and dial in a bit of noise.
[02:52.880] Make the decay of the noise a bit shorter and you maybe can add some distortion because
[03:00.640] distortion is always nice on snares.
[03:08.880] So most of these deep snares, you know, is around 150 Hertz.
[03:15.600] This old school, yeah, hip hop drums or power drums, I don't know how you want to call it.
[03:27.040] It's also really important how you shape the noise on top of the oscillator.
[03:32.600] So for instance, shorter noise sounds like this.
[03:36.760] So you only have noise a bit in the attack phase or you keep it a bit longer and you
[03:45.840] keep the tonal part short.
[03:49.160] So it's more like this.
[03:58.120] So you get this type of drums, right?
[04:00.200] So for hip hop or if you want to have more of this fat type of deep sounding snare sounds.
[04:09.560] And you also get these light snare drums by using, for instance, higher tunings.
[04:19.560] It almost sounds like a, yeah, like a rim shot, not really, but you can also help you
[04:28.080] to improve this.
[04:30.000] So it sounds more like a rim shot because rim shot has frequencies all over the place
[04:34.040] at 1k.
[04:41.640] So it's not really bad that you have not precise frequencies there.
[04:49.960] So something like this.
[04:51.440] Keep the noise short because the rim shot doesn't have that much noise, probably, but
[04:56.840] just a little bit.
[04:57.840] It helps to improve sometimes.
[05:04.000] Also nice to help to improve here the weird or the random frequencies over here by using
[05:11.480] the Q factor, which is basically just an EQ and you improve the quality of the filter.
[05:18.800] So you get some nice additional tonalities out of this too.
[05:40.720] So it helps to shape even more the sound you are going for out of this device here.
[05:48.680] What I usually do sometimes is also that I'm not happy with the limitation of 494 Hz here.
[06:00.200] You can just switch to the second oscillator where you can offset here by, let's say,
[06:06.240] plus 1, 2, plus 19.
[06:10.360] So you get only the second oscillator, which then gets even higher.
[06:15.000] This is the limit of the oscillator 1, that's the limit of the oscillator 2 then.
[06:21.280] So we can just use oscillator 2 with a bit of noise.
[06:35.400] So this is basically making the noise more stereo, so we have a different noise signal
[06:41.760] on the left and the right channel.
[06:44.120] So sometimes it helps to bring this down to mono or just dial it in a little bit.
[07:05.360] Or keep it noise only, and the Q factor needs to go up more here.
[07:11.160] But you can use then here the distortion and shape it to the frequency you want to.
[07:23.240] So this is also possible with the e-snare to make some kind of rim shots or light-headed
[07:28.160] snare sounds.
[07:30.760] But it's all about how you treat these sounds.
[07:33.920] So you can use distortion of course, you can also do the same thing I did with the kick
[07:38.840] drums in the other tutorial, where you split up the frequencies here.
[07:44.320] And maybe we go for oscillator 1, maybe go to 200, something like this.
[07:56.560] And most snares don't have these long tonal things here, right?
[08:02.120] They're more like shorts.
[08:03.120] So if you go for drum bass, you usually go here up to the 200, 300 Hz range, make the
[08:10.720] attack phase pretty short.
[08:13.520] Maybe dial in a bit of oscillator 2 until it sounds nice, a bit of noise.
[08:37.040] So now we can here do something like distortion on the lower part.
[08:43.880] So you can amp up the lower frequencies, everything below 300 Hz, then we have the
[08:53.280] upper frequencies, we kind of treat them a bit differently.
[09:00.680] You can also use an EQ, the Q something out.
[09:15.040] And then if you're not happy with the tuning, you just turn on the tuning knob and everything
[09:19.080] else basically follows the oscillator 1.
[09:29.000] Also important for snare sounds as also for kick drums and the hi-hats or drums in general
[09:34.600] is of course the room sound.
[09:36.920] So we can use the new convolution device here to get a bit of room in there.
[09:44.640] So let's try some studio halls, maybe studio rooms to have something short.
[09:54.720] Small room, something like this.
[09:56.000] Let's try this one.
[09:58.080] So this of course is way too roomy because we have this in front of the distortion device
[10:03.360] but I sometimes like to do that to have reverb or convolution before I put distortion on
[10:09.920] there.
[10:10.920] Maybe use this one here so we fade this out a bit.
[10:27.360] So you can help with the convolution device or with some short reverbs to improve the
[10:32.840] snare sound so it sounds more like a real sound or a drummer plays this actually in
[10:38.160] a real room.
[10:39.160] So you need some room information at least on the drums at some point in your chain.
[10:47.560] Or you can just use it after the distortion which also helps to shape the sound a bit
[11:08.120] more because it sounds more like real sounds.
[11:11.840] We know that it sounds not like a real snare drum so we need more noise here.
[11:27.200] So for most drums or for drum bass drums I look that I have short decay times for the
[11:33.200] tonal part and then play around with the noise a lot to find a sweet spot for the decay settings
[11:40.240] and also for the filter so it doesn't have too much high end in there and you know interferes
[11:46.840] with the hi-hats and also that they remove enough low end on the noise.
[11:54.400] That's also sometimes important.
[11:56.240] And when you do some fat drums or some slower drums then of course I blow up here a bit
[12:01.440] more to oscillator one and go in lower frequencies here and then use distortion a lot.
[12:29.960] That's okay.
[12:34.640] As you can see your EQs do a lot on these snare sounds so don't be afraid to EQ actually
[12:41.480] a lot.
[12:44.200] I really sometimes shape all my snare drums in a lot of ways with the EQ.
[12:52.600] It's not about mixing here it's just basically sound designing so I want to amplify certain
[12:56.840] parts of my snare.
[13:14.120] And then use distortion or you can use the saturator which is also nice and then we bring
[13:26.520] this here down a bit.
[13:29.960] So this is more like a gate effect here when we bring this down.
[13:35.040] So all the quiet parts are getting cut here by this and bring this down here bring the
[13:53.480] drive up so it helps a bit and then we have of course what else yes the amp device so
[14:04.560] we can do a lot with this and you can see I have the amp device here on a special setting
[14:09.480] and this is basically a setting for having how it's called it's an overdrive it's not
[14:21.320] a hard clip it's a soft clip yeah that's what I'm going for.
[14:25.320] So smooth all the input EQs at zero basically on bypass and drive zero this zero or everything
[14:35.560] zero and then you can bring up the drive here and kind of soft clip everything that's
[14:45.280] go in there.
[14:46.280] So the amp device is also nice for this you also get your cabinet which is kind of a room
[14:51.040] simulator but I found this not very satisfying to use maybe there are some tricks in there
[14:58.000] you can do but for me it's I never use this really here and you also have EQs to shape
[15:05.920] the signal before it goes into the overdrive.
[15:13.560] So 1K is almost always important for drum sounds it's where the ear is most sensible
[15:22.720] for so most of the snare drums have something going on with 1K and maybe distortion.
[15:40.800] So let's remove the room here it sounds completely different right so the convolution is it's
[15:47.120] pretty important if you have this in the new update then I use it on snare drums or kick
[15:54.160] drums mostly all of the time maybe exchange the room here or maybe use here something
[16:12.680] I imported from Trash 2, Trash 2 parties that's barely noticeable it gets a bit of texture
[16:36.440] on top not much yeah and also if you want to go for texture then the same applies for
[16:54.320] kick drums is that you actually combine this with the real sample by something from a real
[17:01.440] drum set maybe so it's for snares here these are digital of course yeah let's go for the
[17:12.040] tight one here so something like this so you can combine this here with the sampler so
[17:26.640] you have a layer that plays two instruments one the snare and the second the sampler when
[17:32.880] you hit something on a keyboard play this one and this one so we need to switch off
[17:40.800] here the key tracking maybe need to tune this a bit more maybe you need to low pass here
[17:54.160] just to get the texture on top the meat of the sound is coming from the snare and this
[18:00.680] is maybe way too loud so let's bring this down you put your distortion on that and
[18:19.880] then you mix it together maybe you can also use the ADSI to shorten the sample a bit or
[18:35.160] slow it down and basically fake that's what we do here on the snare with the noise can
[18:44.520] also do with the sample of course we can disable the noise in here and just use a high pass
[18:51.000] real sample in here right so this is this is our e snare and then we layer the sample
[19:00.400] on top and sounds completely different also at a certain point by locating this here it
[19:13.320] doesn't matter which pitch you really use everything that makes noise has no tonality
[19:20.080] so it's not really important to find here with the right tuning or something like this
[19:24.760] I freely combine this another interesting thing is that when we have these two layers
[19:37.680] now in here we trigger the sampler and the e snare with the same note over the note at
[19:43.680] the same key input so I'm using in my MIDI keyboard but when you paint in your notes
[19:49.480] you have of course just one one note right that triggers both of these so we can use
[19:55.680] in here an ADSR which is triggered by the keys and we can use this to duck the transient
[20:05.720] of the snare sound here by just modulating the volume so every time we hit the key we
[20:14.640] hear the transient of the transient of the e snare and then after this phase the texture
[20:21.080] or the sample from the sampler here comes in so we can shape this even more so we can
[20:28.360] make sure that only the transient is coming from the e snare and not the sample so sometimes
[20:35.000] you have samples that are pretty heavy processed with transient shapers and you know the transient
[20:40.680] is blown up all the way and you can help you a bit with this here by ducking just transients
[20:48.480] down every time you trigger the e snare yeah so easy to do easy layering you can of course
[21:06.920] layer multiple sounds sometimes I have two or three sounds when I'm going for clap sound
[21:14.080] so instead of having this I'm I'm wanting to do maybe some future garage stuff so I need
[21:21.680] an I know I need some some higher pitched something like this need a bit of noise so it almost
[21:35.840] sounds like a clap so I can bring in here a clap sound it's way too long and then I do
[21:53.160] something like using here this time machine or time shift and then you can drag or pull
[22:02.400] or push these individual sounds more in the future or even let's use milliseconds here
[22:16.360] so we can kind of simulate some clap sounds that play at different times let's do something
[22:26.600] like this something like this something like this so let's see okay we need to delete here
[22:42.880] all the key trackings and maybe change some of the volumes maybe do this here this clap
[23:04.000] sound so something like this and then we can of course also use here the time shift device
[23:17.720] and change some of the timings here it's even better to use here probably the offset if
[23:24.000] you have room in the beginning here maybe push this even more here it's maybe too much
[23:52.600] it's too too much but you get the idea also interesting is to use some of these sounds
[24:02.080] in different pannings so you get more like a stereo effect of these clap sounds and
[24:14.680] you can shape the meat of your clap or your rim shot or whatever you want to do easily
[24:20.800] here just with the e snare well this sounds nice and then you can also put processing
[24:30.960] here on the FX bus which then applies to all these layers at the same time so we cut it
[24:36.640] at the low end and maybe a peak limiter you can also use FX3 put limiter on each of these
[24:57.120] maybe here there needs to be in the low end in there maybe this doesn't sound that nice
[25:17.360] so I'm just leaving here a peak limiter I think this sounds nice maybe a reverb let's
[25:31.120] see how this sounds
[26:00.960] that's okay and then you maybe create just some kick drums in there I'll just pull this
[26:11.160] down do something like this distortion sometimes it switches to plug in and then you can use
[26:39.560] just a plug in FX to let's put the distortion in there the peak limiter in there so something
[27:05.640] like this hi-hat no it's called e-hat so maybe I do tutorial on the e-hat also at some point
[27:22.040] so let's do here some small hi-hats bring in some groove
[27:41.480] so in this context you can maybe also tweak the snare a bit better when you have a kick
[28:04.360] drum and a hi-hat in there because you get some you know get the the whole scope of it
[28:11.400] so sometimes I find it easier to make snare drums in context to the other drums in the
[28:18.920] drum set and sometimes it's also you get different results basically you get different results
[28:24.920] by doing snare sounds on your own or in combination with your with the rest of the drum kit so
[28:32.680] now that we have this we can tweak you to snare a bit
[28:47.320] maybe try out the convolution
[29:05.240] now what FX maybe just cut your the high end a bit
[29:27.160] so the main benefit or the main thing about snare drums is basically using distortion
[29:34.520] and EQ and also saturation all the distortion effects basically come is a nice way of shaping
[29:44.840] your drum sounds and then using EQs overdrive here distortion splitting the sound into multiple
[29:55.160] pathways here and then shaping then a bit differently of course room adding some room
[30:01.880] with convolution and small short reburbs and then layering with different other sounds is
[30:09.000] really important most of the times to get in that the texture that that feel that it's a real drum
[30:14.520] sound and what else yeah sometimes I really enjoy of using of using here a valhalla so e snare
[30:35.320] that's quite again and then using super massive
[30:39.960] and then using some algorithm here you like
[30:48.040] something like this but you use a short decay time and you amp up the feedback
[30:56.280] maybe modulation rate here maybe use jam in here
[31:00.680] so something like this can help indent distortion
[31:12.600] so you get also some kind of room and it sounds like more like physical because it's
[31:16.920] basically like physical modeling what you do or if you don't want to use valhalla you can also
[31:34.360] use the comp filter here from bitwig studio you have a lot of feedback you can dial in
[31:54.280] so you can add a bit of tonality or texture on top of the comp filter but I prefer to use valhalla
[32:01.560] you can probably also use delay plus for this now you switch this here to this mode
[32:11.960] you put the limiter on here
[32:13.080] make this short
[32:34.040] so you can also use this to bring in some metallic sound or metallic feel if you want to
[32:38.920] do so it's all about shaping the sound bringing noise in bringing room in and maybe metallic
[32:46.440] sounds or textures with layering or with samples or using physical modeling like I did here with
[32:52.360] the delay plus so it's all about that right and I think the hardest part is probably when you are
[32:59.480] beginner is to actually know what makes a snare sound great or it's actually also hard to explain
[33:07.960] what makes a snare sound great because it depends on if it's the right song or all the sounds around
[33:15.480] the snare sounding good or fitting to the snare sound so the context is important and also there
[33:21.720] are a lot of different snare sounds that can work so you have high pitched snares you have rim shots
[33:27.560] you have these deep and fat snares you have short snares long snares so you can you can use everything
[33:34.360] for everything basically that's what I wanted to say so it's not like an you have one answer or one
[33:40.760] way of doing it it's it's multiple ways and everything is right in the right context and
[33:48.360] there is no wrong there are also people like FX Twin maybe they define snare sounds in a completely
[33:55.160] different way and they say this is a snare sound for me this sounds like a snare sound
[33:59.320] or some people just use some vocals as a snare sound or someone coughing or I don't know so it's
[34:09.080] not really that there's one set way of doing things it's all that you have a lot of opportunities
[34:14.680] inside Bitwig studio of creating snare sounds or rim shot sounds shaping them and using them in your
[34:22.040] track so the best advice is probably to look for your track what what do you have in your track
[34:32.520] and then come up with places where you have no frequencies right or like an empty space
[34:41.800] for frequencies and then you can use these frequencies for your snares to fill in the space
[34:48.040] so yeah like I said it's about the context of this of the surroundings of this of every sound
[34:55.640] basically so it needs its place in the frequency spectrum so that's more or less the important
[35:02.920] part so there's also a possibility that you have weak sounding snares snares that sound weak on
[35:12.200] their own but when you blend in the rest of the song with all the different other drums
[35:17.400] and percussion and strings and vocals then it sounds completely perfect this is also possible so
[35:25.000] don't be fooled of you know creating a snare sound on your on its own and making it super beautiful
[35:33.400] and super frequency rich and then it doesn't fit in your track that's also where I had problems
[35:42.040] early on with native instruments presets I used all these native instrument presets for sounds
[35:47.880] and pads and lead sounds and there were also rich and beautiful and everything sounded so nice and
[35:53.960] all the demos and then you actually want to put these sounds into your songs and they never fit
[35:59.400] because you have to cut so many stuff out to make it actually fit in your song so don't be don't be
[36:07.160] fooled by this and don't be shy away from having weak sounding samples or sounds in your song
[36:16.600] when they fit in with the rest of the song it's perfect you have basically find the
[36:23.480] yeah the missing parts to your to your song and put these in with all these instruments
[36:29.160] um I think that's it for this video um thanks for watching if you make it made it to this point
[36:37.000] it's already 36 minutes well okay so thanks for watching please if you like if you like the video
[36:42.680] subscribe to the channel and I see you in the next one thanks for watching and bye