Step 1: Designing Snare using a Default DAW/Free Synth Plugin
We need a way to generate a sound in order to shape our snare. Ultimately, the synth plugin you use shouldn’t matter as long as it has a triangle waveform and a noise toggle (which thankfully most DAW default synths do in 2020). Because Presonus’s Studio One (link here) is my native DAW I’m using their native synth, Mai Tai.
First thing you want to do here is ensure all FX are turned off on your synth plugin/VST if they have FX within the synth itself. Secondly, as pictured in the final synth settings below we’re only using 1 oscillator here set as a triangle wave. We’ve also brought the pitch of this triangle waveform down a bit to give it an “oomph” while also messing with the envelope settings a bit. We want an immediate attack so the snare cracks, but I also prefer a nice tail which gives it a smooth ending. Definitely play around with the envelope to find what you enjoy!
Next point is adding some noise to layer onto the oscillator 1 triangle waveform. Again, the goal here is to find something you really like. We’ve given it a bit more noise here as it compliments the feel we were going for. Lastly for the lofi vibe we’re going to want to roll off some of that high end by using a low pass filter and turning the cutoff a bit until we get a sound we like. If your synth plugin/VST does not have a filter in it, any EQ plugin will do as it’s just a simple low pass technique.