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Below is a basic step by step tutorial, how to process kick drums correctly. This may be a process you follow and is common sense to you but for producers first starting out will really help. The first few tutorials I will be posting will be covering the basics that even the top producers I’m mixing for forget some times.

Step 1:

Analyse your sample. Do not assume the sample has been correctly cut and shut. First check the sample is spliced at the beginning of the sample.

How To Process Kick Drums Correctly Tutorial Image A

Step 2:

After splicing a file always fade in and out to avoid pops and clicks. Get into this habit from the get go and never again have pops and clicks in your tracks through lazy splicing.

How To Process Kick Drums Correctly Tutorial Image B

Step 3:

Play your kick sample and analyse the tail. Most samples have unwanted noise in them that will only mud up your mix and conflict with frequencies. Remove these unwanted frequencies.

How To Process Kick Drums Correctly Tutorial Image C

Step 4:

Shape your tail to allow for a clean release off your kick.

How To Process Kick Drums Correctly Tutorial Image D

Step 5:

Once you have your kick perfectly shaped consolidate your clip and begin using this as your new kick throughout your track.

How To Process Kick Drums Correctly Tutorial Image E

Summary:

By processing your kick correctly you will reduce the amount of unwanted low end frequencies in your mix. This process applies for all samples. I’m sent a lot of tracks to mix down where if only this process was applied to the kick, the use of precise gating would be greatly reduced. A lot of producers complain about not being able to get their kick punching through the mix. Although this is partly down to your eq and compression settings being correct, using a well processed sample is key. You can’t polish a turd as they say. Never trust a sample to be right always analyse the waveform and set your sample up to work well with your track.

Written By Paul Ashmore
Mixing And Mastering Engineer At Audio Animals Studios

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