Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waveform Wednesday: Beef Up Your Kick Drums

Do you find your kick drum to be weak in the mix, or not as powerful/punchy/full/heavy/[insert other descriptive word here] as you would like? Use your kick drum to trigger a low sub synth sound to fatten up the bottom (or eat a lot of twinkies).

You can do this in any number of DAWs, but I’ll walk through the setup in Logic.
Route your kick drum track out through a bus. I’m using a pattern sequenced in Ultrabeat, so I created a multi-output Ultrabeat and routed the kick through output 3-4 in order to isolate it.

Then create an aux track for output 3-4 from the Ultrabeat (click on the + on the U.B. mixer track). The kick is now isolated on this aux track.

Set up a bus send assignment on the aux track, which in Logic will automatically create another aux.

It becomes very important to name your tracks and stay organized. Get in the habit of doing this now and you’ll save yourself headaches later. I named them Kick and Kick sub

Option-click on the send amount from Kick, which in Logic will move it to the default position (0 db). Now we are sending signal to the kick sub aux. Insert a test oscillator plug-in on the sub synth track. It will immediately play a tone, so make sure the volume is not too loud. Change the frequency to around 60 Hz (very common for this type of application).

This 60 Hz tone will be triggered every time the kick drum plays. To set this up, add a noise gate plug-in after the test oscillator.

Set the side-chain input of the noise gate to bus 1

You are now in business! Adjust the noise gate release accordingly, and mix in with the original kick to your taste. Download my session file here.


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