Kick drum synthesis has been a hot topic now for many years. It is such a simple process, yet it can take a fair amount of time and skill to really master the art. As with most types of sound design, Absynth is a wonderful tool to use because it is so easy to transform and customize sounds in unique and original ways. With so many options at hand, it is one of the best synths available to produce percussive sounds. Especially once you delve into the custom waveform features. So after you finish following along with this lesson, take some time and experiment with different waveforms and try drawing your very own to come up with new and interesting kick drum patches. The sound featured in this tutorial can make for a nice template to base many new sounds off of for years to come.
This particular sound starts off with setting up all three oscillator modules on the Patch window. All three are running FM (Frequency Modulation) mode, but are driven by different waveforms. Oscillator A has a basic Sine wave loaded, Oscillator B has a Triangle wave loaded and Oscillator C has a Hybrid 1 wave loaded. Oscillator A is the core sound, while Oscillator B adds a subtle click to the transient and Oscillator C imparts a nice tonal quality. As you can see in the image below, Oscillator C also outputs to a Bandpass Filter before meeting up with the other two sounds in the main output strip. Notice that the volume levels has been carefully balanced to help ensure the right mix of characteristic to make this drum more believable. This is a typical approach to kick drum synthesis, regardless of the synth being used.
Here on the Envelope window you can see that there are the three main oscillator amp envelopes, but there are also two pitch envelopes in play as well. The amp envelopes shape the sound, providing us with the proper delivery. The pitch envelopes are used to manage the tone of the drum. The curves are incredibly simple, but much like the volume mix of the oscillators themselves, balance is everything. Kick drum synthesis is a simple science, yet it is also an artform that can take years to fully master. This drum that we have just made is very basic and can now be shaped to meet the needs of your current project.
Here is a short sample of the the kick drum in action. Once on its own, and then again being played alongside some other drums to give you a better idea of what it sound like in a mix. No processing of any kind has been applied.[audio:https://www.absynthtutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Absynth-Kick-Drum-Solo.mp3|titles=Absynth Kick Drum Solo] [audio:https://www.absynthtutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Absynth-Kick-Drum-Full.mp3|titles=Absynth Kick Drum Full]