I've heard a couple anecdotes of a drummer in a studio who wanted a rimshot sound from the snare and was told to not play rimshots- so that the engineer could use compression later to make the normal hits sound like rimshots. The idea is that the result would be more consistent and possibly have more body/low end. However, I've never seen this demonstrated, so I'm skeptical that you could really get the same "crack" and energy out of a normal hit with compression. Is it really possible to do this convincingly, and how exactly is it done?

  • The engineer may have just wanted the drummer to focus on executing the part by pointing out the fact that the sound in the headphones may not be the final drum sound. May 8, 2023 at 19:10
  • Telling a drummer to change their technique would make them focus MORE on technique, and less on the part...
    – Edward
    May 9, 2023 at 2:27
  • Sounds like you’ve already got the answer you want. May 9, 2023 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


I wonder if they mean what I'd call the 'Green Day sound'? Not that they're the only band to ever do it, but just the one I specifically noticed first.

It's a sound I liked when I first noticed them using it, on the American Idiot album. They tweaked it up to be even snappier by 21st Century Breakdown & then 'perfected it' on Uno…
Unfortunately, by the time they'd 'perfected' it I think they'd also killed it. It's fine for one track but if you listen through the entire album it rather rapidly becomes tiresome & you're crying for a little less consistency & bit bit more humanity.
Have a listen to bits of all three albums [the rockier stuff, or course, they don't do it right through every single track] & see if you can hear what I mean.

Lots of compression, leaving a good snap at the front of the strike, but overall very high consistency between strikes. You can get clever with this by using the output of the top mic as a side-chain on the underside mic. You snap the top mic down hard but slow with a relatively long release, but make the bottom mic pretty much eliminate the head of the sound [there's value in playing with the attack on this, similar to the top mic, but you kind of want to tune it in afterwards], then let it breathe a bit sooner. That can really bring up some controllable ring. [I'd be pretty sure Green Day don't do this, but it's an option if you want a bit more life in it.]

  • I’d probably also trigger a sample and mix that in to beef it up a bit, if I wanted to have it created in the mix and not in the room May 7, 2023 at 15:13
  • Those tracks sound like convincing rim shots to me, but do we know that the sounds were achieved as I described? If I didn't know better, I'd guess they were using a sample for that snare tone. I haven't been able to get the compression right to match this, it always sounds like a normal hit that's been heavily compressed (which it is), and not a convincing rimshot.
    – Edward
    May 7, 2023 at 15:40
  • To me they don't really sound like rimshots, but I can imagine someone describing them as such. I learned decades ago to accurately rimshot every time, so if I'm playing, as I'm also an engineer, I often get a lot of say on what the recordist is doing [or at least a healthy input - if I'm just session I do what they ask eventually;) I doubt there's a sample added to that sound. Green Day don't strike me as the kind of band that would put up with that. Bear in mind, this isn't a garage band in a local studio, there's money & expertise went into this.
    – Tetsujin
    May 7, 2023 at 16:44
  • Without knowing anything about the equipment or room used, to me it's the epitome of the Black Beauty in a good room, good mics, good overheads, good engineer. In 2005 compression tech was sufficiently advanced that it would be pure guesswork to try figure out just exactly how it was done. Maybe see if Google can turn up an engineer/producer interview from one of the recording mags.
    – Tetsujin
    May 7, 2023 at 16:47

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