808 Snares

The Roland TR-808 is most famous for its deep kick drums, which have been shaped into basslines in most modern music. But the 808 snares are equally notorious and have been stalwards in early hip hop productions, dirty south rap and current trap music.

I always loved the snare sound on Three 6 Mafia records – it instantly gets your attention. Another producer with really thick 808 snares is DJ Toomp. Both artists don’t just use vanilla 808 snares, but they layer them with other hits for a fuller sound.

Layer your 808 snares with other snares, claps, snaps, rimshots and whatever else. Blend them until you find the sound you want. Depending on your choice of samples, you probably need to bump up your EQ in the low mid range, between 250hz-400hz. Then play with compression or transient shapers to make it hit harder and don’t be afraid to play with time stretching. a slowed down snare is real thick! Add harmonic saturation via real hardware…blend to taste! The list is endless.

And remember that a lot of that also falls on the mixing engineer… When you hear these records they already have been mixed and mastered by real engineers, so you comparing apples to oranges anyway…

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