Choosing the Right Kick Drum Sample for your Song
First off for all of those who don't already know a kick drum is
simply a sine wave that shifts down in pitch over the length of
the sample this create the bass that follows the initial attack
of the kick. A common characteristic of a kick is also to have a
short spike at the beginning to give more punch to the attack of
the kick drum sample.
Now you know the basics lets go over some of the most common problems
with kick drums in a song. The first and most important rule is
that when your kick is at full amplitude it should read either 0db
on you channel fader if using a software mixer, or +3db on an analogue
mixer. Now if you render out your kick drum and base line you'll
notice that its starting to sound as powerful as some of the mp3's
you download from your favorite professional artists.
There are still a few more things we can do to improve the kick.
Eqing the sample is very important many believe that this should
be the last thing done in the mix but I like to hear the kick as
close as it will be to the final product, and then make a few last
final adjustments at the end.
Mixing Tip: A Kick drum can also be reversed and trim the end spike
with a vol envelope, this will give you that whoomph sub sound found
in many popular electronic tracks today.
Layering kicks can be a very tricky thing to do. This is done
by layering two kicks and using the the prominent complimenting
characteristics of each kick with proper equing to assemble a new
fresh sound. The trouble with doing this is if you don't know what
your doing you can end up having one kick cancel frequencies out
of the other, leaving you with a very dull sounding piece of unusable
sound. You can always use a spectrum analyzer to see the end result
of the combined kicks to ensure you still have a good strong sample
filling in the frequency range you are trying to achieve.
If at the end of the mix you cant get the kick drum to sit right,
change it. This may seem like a lot of work especially in the final
stages of the song, You would be surprised how much lift a new kick
can give a slightly lacking track.