I always had problems with crafting an awesome punchy snare.
Recently I’ve been using a following method:
- start a track,
- put in random place holder drums (using the drum rack of Ableton),
- after done with sound design & stuff find samples that fit better,
- put in like 3-5 snare samples,
- EQ them: 1 transient, 1 tail and the rest is to craft a custom body for the snare,
- compress them together,
- slight EQ if needed,
- snare done.
Than I use multi-band sidechaining on the pre-master track to make the drums fit much better.
- have a track with a short white noise audio file where the (kick and) snare hits and mute it,
- put in an effect rack,
- put 3 multi-band compressors solod on the high, mid and low frequencies,
- put in Abletons compressor after every one of them and turn on sidechaning,
- have the white noise as the input for the sidechain.
After that you can add how much you want each frequency ranges to be sidechained by the noise making the snare/drums much louder and fit for the track the way you want it. This is great because you can also customize the frequency ranges.
If you don’t want to use compression do the same thing but instead of compressors use a volume shaper like Xfers LFOTool and have them triggered by a midi note on every (kick and) snare hit.
(Also use slight panning on the body of the snare to make the it sound more stereo.)
I hope this helps.