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In electronic music production, kick drums are one of the most important elements of any mix,...

Mixing Tutorials

Enhance Your Kick Drums With These 5 Tutorials

In electronic music production, kick drums are one of the most important elements of any mix, serving as the heartbeat that pumps energy into a song. That said, the sound of a kick drum can make or break a track, and they can be quite difficult to perfect!

To help you create the best kick drums possible, we have compiled 5 tutorials that offer various techniques for crafting amazing-sounding kick drums. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to processing kicks, these tips and tricks will surely improve your skills!

1. Anatomy of a Kick Drum
For those that are new to mixing, this video is a great introduction to understanding how waveforms from kick drums are usually constructed. As explained in the video, these waveforms are broken down into three distinct sections, and each of these fragments play a unique role in how the overall kick will sound.

2. Tuning Kick Drums
While kick drums are generally not recognized for their tonal content, the subtle tuning of your kick drums can be very beneficial in making them a cohesive part of the mix. Even if a kick has no tonality whatsoever, it’s frequency range can still be adjusted to fit in a mix by changing its chromatic tuning.

3. Using Accent Kicks
Layering extra kick samples to accentuate your existing kicks can do wonders for spicing up a drum pattern. Not only are accent kicks great for creating interesting rhythmic variations, but they can make your preceding kicks sound more impactful when played at the same time.

4. Add Weight to a Kick Drum with Parallel Processing
Unless you are brand new to producing, chances are that you’ve heard of a technique known as parallel compression – especially with respect to kick drums! Quite simple to implement, this mixing practice can really beef up your kicks and help them cut through a mix.

Parallel processing can take on many forms and does not always have to involve compression. For instance, when you use effects returns/sends, you are simply applying parallel processing to your source track. Experiment with different types of parallel processing the next time you are mixing kick drums!

5. Kick Drum Design with Dynamics Processors
In this video, we explore a unique sound design technique that is shaping a kick drum entirely from dynamics processors. With an inf compressor ratio and -inf dB threshold, the compressor is 100% responsible for the resulting transient and release of the kick sound – a great way to have full reign while dialing in the perfect kick!

We hope that you found these kick drum tutorials to be helpful and have learned something new! If you are looking to expand your kick drum mixing skills even further, we highly recommend Mixing For The Kick, a course that covers everything you need to know for crafting perfect kick drums:
https://www.adsrsounds.com/product/courses/mixing-for-the-kick/

Watch: How To Make Hard-Hitting Drums In Ableton Live

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