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I'm trying to add a finger snapping effect to a song that sounds like the one used by Oh Land on her song Rainbow

I would like to know your ideas on recording and mixing these, by answering these specific questions:

  • What kind of mic (dynamic/condenser/ribbon) would you use, and at what distance from it would you have the finger snapping going on (in terms of the reverb radius)?

  • How many players/layers would you have going on at the same time?

  • Would you use some sort of quantization (with or without swing)?

  • Would you consider recording only a bar and then looping?

  • Would you consider using samples or synthesized snaps, and what tricks would make these sound natural?

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1) Not sure about the mic. If I were to try to recreate this sound I'd just use existing samples you can find on the web. I have tried to record snaps and claps and ended up pitching them down to get longer bassier sounds. Wasn't exactly a success. I guess try for a mic that will record the bass-ier frequencies in the snap well.

2) A lot. Especially if you're going to record the snaps yourself. Offsetting the different layers by tiny amounts of time is also crucial when aiming for a thick/sloppy clap/snap. Recording a single snap will likely have a very thin sound.

3) I wouldn't say this track is particularly swingy... not sure what else to say.

4) The longer your loop the more variation and movement there will be in each snap, which is generally a good thing in my book. I'm sure one bar would be fine though.

5) I have a fair degree of knowledge about synthesis and in my experience, synthesizing a convincing snap/clap is quite difficult. One defining characteristic of these kinds of sounds is their volume envelope which has several short rises and falls... if you're not sure what your doing I'd stick to sampling/recording.

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so many questions! i can answer the 2nd, 4th and 5th one. Definitely more than one layer. its hard to tell just by listening so youll have to experiment. but def more than 1. They all sound the same so just record that "snap hit" once and use it over and over. in terms of synthesized or sampling, def sample this one. it sounds like the shot was in a very quiet, padded room (studio foam, etc).

  • thanks! I'm not too sure about all of them sounding the same, though, some of them seem very slightly more high pitched than others. – jimijazz Jun 2 '15 at 20:59
  • it could just be the harmony making them sound slightly off pitch so try to hear the bass and whatever else is playing when the snaps come in and make sure it really is the snaps themselves changing. and yea, np. – Daniel Jun 3 '15 at 11:38

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