Mixing Kicks: Take A Simple Bland Kick And Give It Some Life!

Today we are going to take a bland, flabby kick and turn it into a fat punchy kick.

In this video Bryan will show you how to take a simple kick and give it some life by using a few simple techniques! Headphones are HIGHLY recommended for this video so you can really hear what you’re doing and what a difference it makes!

Summary from video

1. Add UAD Little Labs VOG Plugin

You can hear in the untreated recording of the kick that it’s lacking a bit of oomf, so we’re going to give it some treatment and make it sound much better. The first thing we’re going to reach for is a great UAD plug-in called Little Labs VOG, but any subharmonic generator will do. We love this plug-in because it really brings some life to your kicks.

mixing kicks Add UAD Plugin

2. Find Frequency

Now take a listen and you can tell immediately that you’re starting to get some of that bass. Find the frequency that gives the kick the low end that you’re looking for.

mixing kicks Find Frequency

3. Adjust Amplitude

Next you’ll want to adjust the amplitude to your liking.

mixing kicks Adjust Amplitude

4. Gain Staging

Next we will do a bit of gain staging. We need to adjust the output after adding some low end to be at an optimal level. -4 to -6dB is typically a good range.

mixing kicks Gain Staging

5. Add UAD SSL E Channel Strip

Now we are going to add a UAD SSL E Channel Strip (or any SSL channel strip plug-in).

mixing kicks Add UAD

6. Add Compression

Next we will want to add a bit of light compression to tighten up the kick.

mixing kicks Add Compression

7. Remove Some Mids

Now we are going to put the EQ in and take out just a little bit of the mids. For this particular kick we took out about 400 Hz.

mixing kicks Remove Mids

8. Add High End Click

Now we are going to add some high end click so it sits better in the mix and is easier to hear on smaller speakers such as phones and laptop speakers.

mixing kicks Add High End Clicks

9. Add Saturation

Last, but not least, we are going to add some saturation with your favorite saturation plugin. We loaded an amazing plug-in called FabFilter Saturn 2 and used the preset Fat Parallel Processing.

mixing kicks add saturation

Viola! You now have a much better sounding kick!

Watch the video in this post to see the entire process in detail.

We hope this was helpful! What do you use to treat your kick drums? Drop up a comment below and we’ll see you on the next blog!

Stay tuned for more video posts like this every Monday. For more great video content, make sure to check out our YouTube channel and remember to visit our blog weekly for more tips and techniques!

With clients ranging from U2 to Blink-182, Akon to T-Pain, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz , Signature Sound has had a role in over 150 million in album sales. The mix engineers at Signature Sound Mixing & Mastering make this heritage available to you, anywhere in the world through our tutorials.

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