In the first video of this series, Jonny walked us through the steps of making a custom hi-hat instrument and programming a sequence using the flexible envelopes inside of FM8. This time he shows us how to go about making our own kick drums. Kicks can be both incredibly simple, and very complex. It is completely dependent upon the music and your own personal tastes which dictate just how easy they are to design.
This first kick drum is based off of a simple sine wave running inside of Operator F. Operator E is set up to modulate F, and F is fed back into itself to generate just a touch of grittiness. As mentioned in the video, this is a nice touch to add for tech and house music, as well as many other modern music genres. The Pitch Envelope is where all the real magic happens and is also what shapes the bulk of the delivery. This is not, however, the only envelope you need to set up. The operator envelopes also need to be shaped to ensure the proper delivery. A small amount of noise can be added to the mix to help it cut through the mix. And for a finishing touch, a Tube Amp and a Peak EQ can be used to really bring out the bass and introduce a touch of drive to the sound. This is where that grittiness we added earlier comes into play.
As an added bonus, Jonny also shares how to design your own moombahton kick drum. This is a thumpier percussive sound with a longer release. Luckily, you can save some time by using the first kick drum patch made in this tutorial as a template for this new sound! Decreasing the number of Unison voices from 4 to 1 is a good place to begin. Removing the Tube Amp unit and tweaking the EQ to include more mid-range frequencies and boost the low end is the next step. Swapping out the Sine waves for Triangle waves in the FM Matrix will help change up the overall character. In this instance Operator now plays a supporting role, while Operator E takes the lead. Fine tuning the operator envelopes and the pitch envelope, and making a small bump in the Envelope Follow parameter on the Pitch window is all that’s left. And now you know how to make your own Moonbahton kicks, too!