I agree with part of your assessment. The other part I’m not convinced of and I think you’ll understand why if you read on. Sorry for my endlessly long posts. I have an example track I’ve been fighting with a few hours a day these last couple days. The link is at the bottom. The track is overcooked in the 350hz region of the guitars, has too much snare volume, and is pretty metal. Hopefully you can get past the metal to hear the example. The 350hz and the snare volume are revisions I’m making tonight.
I’ve been using Boz’s Gatey Watey (which is a super simplified version of Big Beautiful Door if I remember correctly) to deal with the crazy amount of bleed into the snare and tom tracks on the song mentioned above. It allows for a really great thing: fast gating/expanding of a portion of the frequency range.
The drummer is a good, technical drummer who was playing fast and hard on a super cramped setup. I knew from the first downbeat cymbal bleed would be an issue.
What I’ve set GW up to do is this: reduce by 12db-ish everything over 500hz whenever the gate is closed. I set both the attack and release as fast as they’ll go. The gate is only open for 25ms-ish at a time. The result is a super fast bit of snare hit plus cymbal wash that is ALMOST passable as a snare drum without too much bleed. You’re right, you’ve still got the constant, continuous bleed that is present over the snare hit.
BUT, I can manage this a little better. I still get to keep the body of my snare, I still get to keep the dynamics of my snare. I still get to keep some nuance, I just have to work around that “psh” in the snare drum.
Enter the one-shot sample of that drummer’s snare.
I was able to use the sample for the brightness and an extra injection of thud but I was able to use plenty of the original snare track (with some eq cuts in the most offensive top end frequencies) so I could keep a lot of the feel and “dynamics” of the original playing to make sure the one-shot sample didn’t sound like a machine gun. There are a lot of snare hits in this song and I was never going to get it to sound natural without a little help from the real playing. “Dynamics” in quotes because it’s metal so I compressed the crap out of it removing most of the dynamics.
Here’s that track: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bzugr8cD5X_Mdms2aGxzSTJNUEE
Sorry for assaulting your ears with that.