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Why You Should Use Saturation on Your Kick Drum

We got a great comment from Joao Bem, member, about saturation on the kick drum:

Kick: After setting the right volume, before inserting a compressor, try using first saturation, and then work with the compressor. Most of the time, if you first try saturation, it can give an already nice definition/separation in the overall mix!

I chimed in and said:

Agreed. Saturation will inevitably add additional harmonic content that “juices” up the kick so it’ll react nicely to further processing. I would also add it before additive EQ, but possibly after any subtractive EQ repair because you don’t want to add extra harmonics to frequencies you don’t want.

I always have a combination of a saturation plug-in, like the Kramer Tape from Waves or the Fabfilter Saturn on my tracks to add extra harmonic content to my tracks to add warmth and harmonic depth. It’s something I show you in-depth inside the Drum Mix Toolkit.

If you’ve stayed away from saturation because you’re worried that you’re going to damage your mix, you have less to worry about than you think.

Saturation is not distortion. You can use saturation to distort, but by default, or dirties up your sounds.

When you use tape saturation or tube warmth instead of high-gain distortion it can be used to warm and thicken things up, add some grit (but not distortion) to your sound and generally give you some added depth by adding harmonics to your tracks.

Saturation is such an important part of getting that extra 10% out of your mixes that I devote an entire module of my Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course to teaching you how to use it properly.

If you want to learn more about using saturation, in addition to EQ, compression, reverb, and delay, to make amazing mixes, click here to head on over and learn more.

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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