Drum Loop Tuning?

Over on my bash thread, Michelle @FluteCafe mentioned tuning the snare. It’s not something I have ever worried about honestly. Either the drums “work” for me or they don’t. In this case, I thought I’d give it a try and see if makes a difference. It’s not an isolated snare. So I pitched the whole loop down 44 cents to what I think is approximately a D for the snare. That is the only difference between these 2 snippets.

Do you have a preference? TIA!


Mix 2:

  • Drums in 1
  • Drums in 2
  • No Opinion

0 voters

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2 sounds better to me, it’s interesting how such a small pitch adjustment can make a difference. I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell what was different between the two samples if I hadn’t known.

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I’m listening through my laptop speakers and I tend to prefer #2 but I’m not adamant about it. It seems to fit a little better with the music.

It’s kind of interesting that you just posted this…About an hour ago I was thinking about how great your drums sounded in this song, ESPECIALLY the snare! I know there was someone who commented that the snare bothered them, but I find the snare has a lot of character.

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This was my exact reaction too. Thanks Jean-Marc!

I agree. That is literally what started this song. I was just going through listening to loops one night because I was kind of burned out on just mixing. This one jumped out at me - in a good way. :slightly_smiling_face: Thanks for weighing in!

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At my age, both number one and number two can be a potential problem. ha ha
Seriously I can’t hear a difference. AND I haven’t ever heard a comment like…“this would be an awesome track if you just tuned the snare”??? No sarcasm intended. I do think folks would take that step if they thought it might help

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I can hear a difference, only just… The thing is, when you tune a snare to an exact pitch it loses the sound of being just a snare hit without a defined pitch - if you know what I mean. Now (in version 2) the snare is like a tonal instrument, which I don’t think it should be. So maybe I do prefer 1 tot 2 (I voted that it makes no difference), even if only in principle :innocent:

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In a blind test 2 seems a bit more groovy after listening in a longer loop. Though the changes are definitely subtle but noticeable. Drum pitch tuning is a common practice. Though the practice is more common in EDM/Pop genre than Jazz or Rock.

on a side note, I have not been very active lately here, have been extremely busy but I do have some news! I have a position on the production and mixing team of a major international producer. Contractually I may or may not be able to share music related content. tips and opinions on public sites anymore but I will drop by from time to time to say a harmless hello :slight_smile:


I couldn’t hear a difference on my office computer… I have a 3 ft tall off-brand single column speaker sitting behind my desk to the left. The volume was up a good ways, but I couldn’t get catch any difference between the two. Hope that helps!

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Good one Paul! As I said, I’ve never done this before, and I was thinking I could hear a difference. I think I’ll try a blind test tonight like Michelle did and see if I can tell.

This has kind of been my opinion as well. In fact, I actively liked the snare just as it was which was part of what drew me to that loop. But after thinking about Michelle’s point for awhile I was kind of like, why not? Let’s see if it makes a difference. To me, I thought it made the snare “blend in” more, which I may not want! But I’ll see again tonight after a blind test if I can tell a difference.

But I was solidly “on the fence” last night which is why I thought it would be interesting to have you guys listen.

First off, thanks for the comment! I;m going to try a blind test tonight myself and see how it goes.

That is f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c Michelle!!! Super HUGE congrats and well deserved!

Great info Jonathan, thanks for the listen!

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I would never notice this slight difference without you pointing it out. Two blends in better but one does have a nice character so I might choose it if I didn’t get tired of it after mixing for a while.

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I couldn’t empirically hear the difference. I “think” I can hear a very subtle difference but I reckon if I had them played to me blind, I’d be guessing.


I think I screwed up the poll. I tried to edit it to make the votes show and it wiped them all.

I took a day off the song, then blind tested tonight and got to the point again where I could hear the difference again. Initially I couldn’t. (A quick plug for Hofa’s free bundle. The Blind test is great for things like this and the 4U Meter is great, especially the panning!)

As minor as the difference is, I’m going to go with “character” over “blending” and just leave the loop as is. That snare is what drew me to the loop in the first place and it is one of “sounds” of the piece.

Anyway, thanks for weighing in everyone!

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