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I've heard things about using compression and changing attack on kicks to make them stand out more. If I already have my kick on a separate track already recorded into pro tools, how can I make it stand out more, (not neccessarily turning it up louder) can somebody be real specific and let me know, compressors sometimes confuse me when it comes to the attack and realease and where I should have them set. thanks so much.

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johnthemiracle Tue, 12/06/2005 - 22:56

a good way to make the kick stand out without being overly dominant is to use a rather slow attack on the compressor, so that the transients can pass uncompressed and the compressor kicks in just afterwards. this way you get a very powerful attack and the kick is present without dominating the mix. it also becomes a lot punchier...

baslotto Tue, 12/06/2005 - 23:18

I know that the best way is to start from the source and have the best sounding kick on tape. Sometimes it doesn't happen for many reasons (the kick doesn't have holes in the front and the band "likes the kick for how it is", mic placement, bad day for the engineer....) and I found a very useful plugin. For how lazy as it sounds "SoundReplacer" is a great tool expecially for drums (what else?). Replaceing the kick or the snare with some of the sounds that we can find from other software or from other recordings that we made before will solve the problem.

Sorry about this laziness but I had great results and I find it useful in some situations.



anonymous Wed, 12/07/2005 - 00:23

well man wht i normally the very first do sound replacement get the best kick sample from the drum kit and when the whole drum session is played then put the best recorded sample on every hit of the its accurately sounding kick all the time... plus for added feature on kick here is wht i do and it works pretty well....for the ncie bottom end of the kick...
send the bus out from the kick.. create an Aux track and put Tone Generator on the put somewhere b/w 50 to its basically low tone generator..and then put Gate on it...set the Gate Input to the Aux send you sent from the kick channel...and don't forget to enable the external key option on it... this is how i do with pro tools don't know which software you are gonna use...and play with the gate settings unless you are comfortable with the length or hold of the sound....try it may be you gonna like has nice clean bottom end..worked good for me

anonymous Wed, 12/07/2005 - 10:07

if you are looking to get the same kick sound with a lot more thump, you need to get that thump in the EQ. Compression is a great tool, but is more used to control the loudness of the kick, not its tone.

I start by killing the bottom 40hz anything down there is just rumble and will take away from the power of the kick. Then boost with a fairly narrow Q setting around 15. Sweep this from about 50hz to 250hz. In that band you should get two distinct tone changes as you sweep. The first one will on the bottom end and the second will be around twice the hz of the bottom (if the first one is at 75hz, the second will be at 150hz).

The bottom tone change is the tonic of the drum. This is the root pitch that it is singing. The top one is the supertonic and is created by the physics of the drum and is exactly one octave above the tonic. Weird huh?

Go ahead and boost the tonic so that you have the same drum/same drum sound, but it will have a lot more thump in it. I would say get rid of the supertonic by cutting its hz, its just going to be playing around jacking up your mix and not really adding anything. Dont do anything to drastic because you will change the sound of the tonic if you cut like 15db off the supertonic. Cut to taste.


Now you have this extra thump coming through your mix and it is causing you to clip. Break out our old friend compression! I would say grab it fast and let it go fast. You could even try to intentionally have the compressor "surge". Have it release the hit right after the transient goes through so that the tone of the drum does not get squashed but let go. you can get a really full body of the bass drum. But hey if you dont have very much experiance with the compression you might just use a preset.

anywho thats all I got.

moonbaby Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:09

Dear Dirty:
You asked what a "transient" is. It is the "attack", or "spike" of the signal you are dealing with. This could be the beater hitting the drumhead, the fingers popping a bass string, the pick hitting a guitar string, a stick hitting the get the idea?
As far as how to set the controls on the processor, that is wholly up to the processor, the program material, and the talent at the instrument. A professional drummer, for example, will require far less compression on the kick than, say, a kid playing 6 months...Why? Because the pro has learned how to control the dynamics (volume changes) of those kicks to be consistent. The kid is still trying to figure out which foot to use!
The recommendation that the "attack" on the compressor be slowed down to let the TRANSIENT through is a good one. How slow is slow? That depends on the compressor...different makes/models can vary as to how they operate. You have to experiment, just like every other schmuck on this forum has had to do. You can also experiment with the release time. Depending on how fast the kicks are going will dictate the speed you set. Try starting with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, don't let the gain reduction dip more than 6dB, and use your ears!

anonymous Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:22

if you want the kick to come through the mix, it is more than just the "thump" that you need, it is also the "click" but not TOO much esp in RNB music. i would use a medium Q on the 4k range, and boost until you are comfortable with the level between the thump and click so that it sounds natural.

also, whoever said that you don't need to eq / compress soundreplaced kicks / snares is wrong. you still need to make these soundreplaced kicks/snares sound natural to mix in with the original kicks / snares otherwise it sounds completely fake.


Pepino Thu, 12/08/2005 - 01:21

Try to add a second track with another kick sound. There will be two tracks. Route them to a submaster bus.Choose carefully the second sound. It has to complete properlly the first one.
Treat them separatelly on their tracks as our colegs professionally mentioned, balance them and set the final level from the submaster"s volume slider.
For knowing exactly what you are doing it's better to use a spectral analyzer.
In this way it's hard to get wrong.
Anyway be aware not to overwhelm the mix with the kick.
Use a lot the spectral analyzer if your name is not Bob Katz.

took-the-red-pill Thu, 12/08/2005 - 22:45

I'm pretty green, but if you tied my hands behind my back, put a gun to my head, and told me I was allowed to run my kick through only one effect, it would definitely be compression.

Spending time getting to know your compressor and it's various capabilities is time very well wasted. I'd say take your kick and loop it, then start messing with compressors dials to see what they do. Even if you don't understand the terminology, you can readily hear the difference in the sound.

As an experiment, I tried to get a snare sounding as many different ways as possible using just compression settings and nothing else, with flat eq. They varied from a short dull thud to a Howitser. It is quite astounding what can be done.

Oh, and I've had good luck adding a bit of distortion to a kick, or even to the whole drum track, as it gives the feel that you've got the bastard jacked to such an insane level that it's overloading. It tricks the ear into thinking it's louder than it really is.

Also along those lines, listen to the latest song by...aww crap, what's Chris Cornell's new band? Yeah that one. You'll have to flip over from hip hop to your local rock station, but it's there.

Anyway it's the song that goes: "...I like gospel music, and blah blah blah...because it doesn't remind me of anything..." When the chorus kicks in, the cymbols begin to dip down a tad every time the kick hits. It's sort of a pumping action. It's a very effective way of making it sound like the whole drum track is taking up so much room there isn't even room for it any more on the 'tape' It sounds huge.

I'm pretty sure it's done with compression. I think it's secret lies in the release time. Is that true? I'll let one of the learned explain it, as I'm not totally versed on that one, but it's worth discussing.

By the way, once, just for yuks, I ran a kick through a limiter and then, in a bout of insanity, another one. It sounded like your stomach just before Montezuma's revenge kicks in. Instead of "thump" it was like a gurgling distorted "tttthhhhuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmppppppp" It was pretty outrageous, but could have a use some day :-?


RecorderMan Fri, 12/09/2005 - 16:10

You're using a With all probability of being compressed. Seriously. Adjust your balance so that it is louder. Bring everything down a little bit to give you some headroom (in relation)..I think you'll be surprised.
This is not to say, that compression (both on an insert, as a sub group, parallel or mix bus) is not useful and should also be incorporated. It's just that many times less is more. And in the case of the question about weather there is enough kick in a mix...well the first place to start with is the balance (imo).