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Matt's Signature Snare

Lesson 4 from: Studio Pass: Periphery

Adam "Nolly" Getgood, Matt Halpern

Matt's Signature Snare

Lesson 4 from: Studio Pass: Periphery

Adam "Nolly" Getgood, Matt Halpern

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Lesson Info

4. Matt's Signature Snare

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

In this lesson, Matt Halpern discusses his signature snare drum, the Mapex Black Panther Wraith. He explains that he designed it to have a specific sound that can cut through in live settings and the studio, while still being flexible. The snare drum is 6 inches in depth and has 9 vents to create a dry, quick sound. It was used extensively in the recording of the album Juggernaut. Nolly then discusses the advantages of brass and metal snare drums for recording, as they tend to be louder and produce a more direct sound. He also explains the differences between metal and wood snare drums in terms of sound characteristics. The lesson concludes with a discussion on drum terminology, such as the difference between a dry sound and an open sound, and the benefits of using a vented snare drum for a tight sound without excessive muffling.


  1. What is the name of Matt Halpern's signature snare drum?

    The snare drum is called the Mapex Black Panther Wraith.

  2. What size is the snare drum?

    It is 6 inches in depth and 14 inches in diameter.

  3. Why did Matt choose a 6-inch depth for the snare drum?

    He prefers this depth as it feels more comfortable and allows for flexibility in positioning the snare drum stand.

  4. How many vents does the snare drum have?

    The snare drum has 9 vents in total.

  5. What is the advantage of using a vented snare drum?

    It creates a dry, quick sound while still maintaining the overtone of the brass material. It is also controllable and can be adjusted to be more or less damp depending on the desired sound.

  6. Why are brass and metal snare drums preferred by engineers for recording?

    They tend to be louder, which helps to capture a more direct sound in the microphones. This is especially important when dealing with the loudness of cymbals in close proximity to the snare drum.

  7. What are the differences between metal and wood snare drums in terms of sound characteristics?

    Metal snare drums generally have more top-end information and a more scooped sound, while wood snare drums can have more volume and brightness. However, there are exceptions to these generalizations.

  8. What does a "dry" sound refer to in drumming terminology?

    It means a sound that does not have excessive ringing or overtones.

  9. What does an "open" sound refer to?

    An "open" sound tends to be more ringy and is favored by lighter-hitting drummers.

  10. Why is a vented snare drum beneficial in the studio?

    It allows for a tight sound without the need for excessive muffling, producing a burst of information from the drum and a clean sustain.

Next Lesson: Tuning a Snare Drum

Lesson Info

Matt's Signature Snare

So I'll briefly mention the snare here but then it might be actually cool to get into the tuning process. Yeah. So this snare drum in particular is a drum that I helped design and put together just based off a very specific sound that I was going for. Yeah, exactly. A good idea. So, let's bring it around this way. This drum's called the Wraith It's a mapex black panther snare drum and I really kind of in my process of playing drums as long as I have, I've always been a huge fan of brass snare drums. And I've always wanted a sound that specifically and peripherally that can cut through both in a live setting and then can cut through in the studio. And that's flexible. So just by playing a lot of different drums over time and experimenting with different drums, this was sort of the speck that really made sense for me. It's a six inch depth, 14 inch diameter. The reason it's six inches is just that I never really enjoyed snare drums that are just too deep. It feels a little bit funny ...

and the position of the stand.. You have to put it lower or higher, it's just depending on where you sit. But I really like this depth just from a field perspective. And then it has these vents around it here in three different spots. It's nine vents total. To help make a very dry, quick kind of sound. You still get the overtone of the brass and obviously brass is a beautiful sound that resonates but it's not as ringy, or it's not as I don't know.. Resonant? Yeah resonant, in certain ways. Which again is really nice because it's very controllable. You can make it a little bit more damp or depending on the room itself, it can really actually have quite a lot of echo in it almost when you hit it so that kind of adds to the resonance. But it really worked for our sound for recording Juggernaut. We ended up using it on like 14 out of the 16 songs total. Yeah. And it just translated great so one of the things that we're going to do and actually hop into in a second is Nally's going to go through and just actually walk you through and show you his tuning process for both the toms and the snare drum. So actually let me hand this to you now. And just to talk a little bit about snare drums and snare drum materials... Brass and metal snares in general are the favorites among engineers. The reason being that the metal drum just tends to be a lot louder. When you're recording drums, you have really loud pieces of metal that the drum is hitting. Creating a huge amount of noise in the room. And you're also trying to get a reasonably direct signal in the microphones on the shelves. Those two things really don't go together. So the louder the drums themselves can be, the more chance you have of getting a more direct sound in the microphone. The louder it is to get above the level of the cymbal. Especially the high had. The high had is always the nightmare of every recording engineer. It's so loud and positioned so close to the snare in general I will also say that it's very difficult to reduce the sound of a drum just to the material it's made out of. If you take an average snare drum that's made out of metal. Let's say any metal. Generally steel, adminium, brass, sometimes copper and compare that with your average wood drum... Maybe a maple drum, a birch drum.. You'll generally find that a metal snare drum is going to have more top-in information. It's going to be a more scooped sound. With more exaggerated lower than top end. Now there's exceptions. You can get really thick wood drums made out of very dense woods that are super loud, really bright. You can also get metal drums that are really quite round sounding. The rafe drum in particular is actually I would say it's quite dark for a metal drum. But it's got a lot of volume. And just to talk a little bit about drum terminology.. When you're saying a dry sound to a drummer that means not excessive ringing. And not too much in the way of overturns. Yeah you don't get that boing sound when you hit it. Yeah. And when you say open generally, I don't know if you said open. But drummers sometimes refer to a sound as open and that tends to mean it's much ringier. And that tends to be favored by more lighter-hitting drummers, I generally find. In the studio generally what you want is like a burst of information from the drum and then a reasonably clean sustain. So something like having a vented snare drum is really great Again, it means I use less muffling and we still get a tight sound that rule the character of the drum.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Halpern Drum Samples
Micing Guitar Cab
Nolly's Mic List

Ratings and Reviews

Connor Smith

I haven't even finished the course and already my mixes have improved dramatically. Night and day difference. I haven't watched the portions with Matt as I'm using drum samples (GGD specifically), but I have no doubt it's great. Matt is always incredibly helpful and is a brilliant drummer. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Nolly, he's very articulate and his approach to audio engineering is flat out brilliant. I'm so happy I purchased this course. Before my mixes were good (balance and things of that nature) but lacked life and energy. I just wasn't getting the professional level sound I was searching for. Now, I am proud of my mixes and actually think they're getting to the point where they sound professional and don't sound like they were produced by a dude in his bedroom with about half of year of recording and audio engineering experience. The metal genre is difficult to mix as there's a lot going on and the "current metal sound" is very crisp and clear while still being very heavy and punchy. It isn't 80s dad metal where guitars are hissy and flubby. lol I am a huge Periphery fan and it's a privilege to watch Nolly share his knowledge. I really enjoy his approach as its very simple but very effective. He doesn't have insane mixing strategies, he just does what works and it's applicable to any DAW and is helpful for almost any genre of music. Brilliant course!

a Creativelive Student

This was an amazing course! I loved hearing from both Matt and Nolly on their thought process behind drums in general. I love the point they drove home about getting a great source tone. That seems to be forgotten in a lot of recordings and they try to fix it in the mix. Jolly did a fantastic job of making it look "easy" to take already great sounding source tones and making them really shine! Cant wait to put these concepts into practice in my own projects. What a great source of knowledge here. Thanks for this great class!

Adrian Gougov

Best course and overall learning experience I've had in a long long while. Nolly and Matt are superb. Nolly is an astonishing mixing and recording engineer and a great teacher. Not only does he explains his methods carefully and in detail, but also lays down key concepts in an understandable language. Definitely worth the investment if you wanna learn how to mix modern heavy music. Definitely worth the investment if you wanna learn how to track drums properly. Definitely worth the investment if you wanna see one of modern metal's best drummers track a whole song from start to finish. Props to Creative Live for bringing this material to us.

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