A few weeks ago I got a request to rebuild an acoustic kickdrum chain in Zebra, explained in an Sound on Sound article. Let’s dive into it!
The patch that is shown looks a little tricky, with some terminology that might not be familiar to you, but it’s actually pretty simple!
The most important thing to notice right away is that the kickdrum consists of 2 sounds that we need to synthesize.
Off course in a real kickdrum with a real drummer there are a lot more things involved, but these two sounds can get us pretty close.
The first one is the click, the high end of the sound, caused by the beater of the kickdrum pedal hitting the membrane. You can easily recreate this part using a noise module, but a more advanced way is using a FM oscillator, this gives us a little more harmonics to work with.
This click is very important for us musicians, because it helps pulling the kickdrum through the mix, causing it to be upfront and loud.
The second part is, you guessed it, the low thump off the kick, just as important! We typically make this with either a triangle wave or a filtered saw, this has to to with the harmonics and their amplitudes in these specific waves.
When you don’t want a realistic kickdrum feel free to experiment with some different waves!
After that we mix the sound, we use a high quality compressor and a lot of tweaking.
Small changes can really alter the sound, so don’t be afraid to spend some time on this.