The foundation of the drum-kit is the kick drum sound. The kick drum makes your head bob in beat with the music. It’s the sound that you feel in your gut when you’re dancing to extremely loud music at the Jersey Shore. If the kick drum sounds bad then the whole foundation of the track will suck.
Kicks need to be tight and punchy, with thick low end and a powerful snap to cut through the rest of the instruments.
Where Do You Start?
A good starting point is obviously recording your kick drum well to begin with. But in the mixing phase you might want to spice it up a bit to make it sound all that better.
Low End Theory
Emphasize the low thickness with some EQ boosts. If your kick is lacking in low-end add some low shelving around 80 – 100 Hz for a thicker kick. If your kick is more electronic sounding or you need even more thickness then going down towards the 60 Hz will make the kick hit you in the stomach. Which is a good thing. Usually.
For an easy cheat, see my tutorial on using a sine-wave for a better kick drum sound.
A Cloudy Boom
Boominess in kick drums can be a horrible thing. It’s like a cloud on a nice day. One minute the sun is shining, the next a muddy looking cloud has overcast your nice mix. Get rid of muddiness with cuts around the 200 – 250 Hz area.
A Case of the Cardboard Box
Boxiness is the bigger, more annoying brother of boominess. If boominess is a cloud, then boxiness is a thunderstorm. A boxy sound will make your kick sound horrible and your bass drum is suffering from a case of the cardboard then reduce the frequencies around 300 – 600 Hz.
Snap, Crackle and Kick
A thumping bass drum might be great for some songs but for most genres you want the snap of the beater to be audible as well. Depending on the genre you will want to boost different high mids but a general rock beater has a boost around 2.5 kHz but a metal snap has a more pronounced boost around 4 kHz.
Whether you’re struggling with a lack of low-end, too much boominess or a cardboard sound devoid of any snap, using the guidelines above will help you create that awesome kick drum sound you hear in your head.
The Drum Mix Toolkit
If you don’t know all the tools you have at your disposal, I’ve put together a package that includes all the tricks and techniques I’ve learned in the last decade of mixing drums.
It’s called the Drum Mix Toolkit and it’s designed to transform your drums from weak and thin to powerful and punchy.
Here are some techniques you’ll learn discover when you get your copy:
- How to Use Bus Processing and Parallel Compression to Glue Your Drum Sound Together
- How to Blend Multiple Reverbs Together in Your Drum Mix, Making the Drums Sound Larger than Life
- How to Fit the Kick Drum and Bass Guitar Together in the Low End
- How to Take Full Advantage of the Phase Relationship Between Your Tracks to Make Every Track Sound Tighter
- What Processing to Use When You Don’t Have Drum Replacement or Transient Designers at Your Disposal
- Where to EQ Drums to Get Rid of Boxiness, Muddiness, and Harshness
- Your 6 Step Process for Using Drum Compression for Tighter Drums
- A Behind the Scenes Look at How the Ratio of Your Compressor Affects Your Drum Sound
- How to Use Multi-Band Compression for a Tighter, Yet MORE Dynamic Drum Sound
- How to Use Gates to Get a Cleaner Drum Sound
- Why You Should Use Analog Summing and Saturation to Add More Warmth and Depth to Your Drums
- Why Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is the Reason I Use This One Plug-in on ALL My Mixes
- The Difference Between a Drastic and Subtle Overhead EQ (And When to Choose Which)
- Adding Space to Your Drum Mix Without Making Your Drums Sound Distant
- How to Use Gated Reverbs Without Sounding Like You’re an 80’s Cover Band
Plus: 3 Exclusive Bonuses:
Bonus #1 – Drum Mix Toolkit Resource Sheet
- 25 Drum Mixing Resources to Improve Your Mixes Even Further
- An Overview of Popular Sample Replacement Tools
- Where to Find Transient Designer Plug-ins
- Resources for Practice Materials
- Advice on Making Your Mixes Translate to Every Speaker
Bonus #2 – Practice Tracks
- In case you don’t have any multi-tracks to practice your drum mixing, I’ve included a drum recording you can use to try out all the tips and tricks you read about inside the Drum Mix Toolkit.
- Drum tracks include a drum track recorded in a home studio setting, with a kick, snare, under-snare, two tom mics, stereo overheads and a room microphone.
Bonus #3 – Percussion Toolkit – Make Your Percussion Punch Through
- Where to Pan Your Percussion to Make Your Mix Sound Wider
- How to Use EQ and Compression on Shaker, Tambourine and Hand Drums
- Three Easy-to-Use Effect Techniques to Create Depth and Space With Your Percussion and Make it Fit With Your Drum Mix
365 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
As with all of the Audio Issues products, if Drum Mix Toolkit doesn’t live up to your standards I will happily refund your money, no questions asked.
You try all the tricks and even keep the tutorial for a full year before deciding whether you like them or not.
“I take my guarantee very seriously. I am not interested in keeping your money if you do not get any value from what I’m creating for you.
So if you’re not happy, I’m not happy.“
Click the link below to grab your copy.
Image by: cdsessums