Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Discuss everything related to production, recording, composition, etc.

Moderators: lisa, luketeaford, Kent, Joe.

Rupert the not so great
Common Wiggler
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Rupert the not so great » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:57 am

Hello, anyone have any insight on how to do this? I hear so much music with such a nice attack on their kicks, whether it be an 808, 909, analog rytm, whatever.

I guess these are all profession artists that do it as a living but would be good too know some techniques, tried compression it seems it only makes it stick out more.. for me anyway, never have I had the joy of it being 'thick' from compression. (hope that term makes sense). Layering is an option but for me I don't do much post production, in fact, never really. The attack on my 808 always sounds pathetic tbh, never sounds like it fits with my track. My room is untreated which doesn't help but always refrerencing that way just so I know that when it sounds similar to the mastered stuff then I know im on the right track (never, it seems)

Anyway, if anyone has an ideas it would be cool too hear.

User avatar
Red Electric Rainbow
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:48 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:53 am

Layering always helps. If your using a DAW adding Saturation, Drum Buss, Compression and EQ can go a long way.
TOO FAR GONE

User avatar
slumberjack
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:27 am
Location: 44G
Contact:

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by slumberjack » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:13 am

---slight overdrive with an effect, compression and/or clipping on the mixer channel.
> WTB ADDAC502 <

www.stefanrudin.bandcamp.com / www.soundcloud.com/stefan_rudin / www.youtube.com/user/slumberknut



Carefully crafted dj set meandering between deep house, minimal and electro.

User avatar
wuff_miggler
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:11 pm
Location: Disney, Australia

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by wuff_miggler » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:06 pm

try to use a spectral display. what frequencies are going on in your mix at the same time the kick is going?
sometimes the arrangement has as much to do with your sound as much as the processing you do to it.

Transient Processors like Stillwell's Transient Monster are GREAT at doctoring wimpy sounds.
I also like saturating EQs like Soundtoys Sie-Q (this one is amazing)

Rupert the not so great
Common Wiggler
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Rupert the not so great » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:17 pm

Cool, thanks for the tips. i'll try them out asap. If anyone has any more Id love too hear :)

User avatar
wuff_miggler
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:11 pm
Location: Disney, Australia

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by wuff_miggler » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:22 pm

try sidechaining too - but not the ducking style.
If you're doing thinsg in the box - take a multiband EQ and link the volume of the midbass band to your kick drum.
Every time your kick sounds - then the buss with the rest of your mix will dip lower - but only in the freq range of the kick drum.

Now - when you compress the master mix after doing this - your kick SHOULD be loud as fuck.

Also - it should be mentioned - make sure you're kick sample is clean and good - pref 24 bit. I like/love Gold Baby samples for 808 and 909 duties. Can get them in 3 flavours - unprocessed/tape/overdrive tape. Very handy.

User avatar
Navs
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 4170
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:49 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Navs » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:29 pm

Kicks are really not something I use much but I made two discoveries recently: one deals with the transient, the other with the body (and I guess mix).

- I'm rarely happy with the envelope/FM/pitch arrangement offered on, e.g. 909 emulators, but you can take a sampled kick and pitch it to taste using something like NI Battery to give it the 'pock' you want.

- Try radical EQing: not something I would have done using a plugin, but on my mixer I cut 15dB @ 400Hz from an 808 kick and then just compensated for the overall gain. Worked in the context.

User avatar
wuff_miggler
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:11 pm
Location: Disney, Australia

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by wuff_miggler » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:31 pm

challenge yourself to make drums out of pure white noise.
It's an excellent way to learn ALL the tools at your disposal - and which do the most.
EQ is a SERIOUSLY under-rated processing tool. It's not sexy - but dagnnamit is it powerful

User avatar
naturligfunktion
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:07 am
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by naturligfunktion » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:05 am

Red Electric Rainbow wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:53 am
Layering always helps. If your using a DAW adding Saturation, Drum Buss, Compression and EQ can go a long way.
I agree to this 100 %. Layering your drum sounds make them sound much, much better, thicker, stronger, something that is essential if your techno tracks aim to summon a demon.

Or make people dance ;)

User avatar
IEC
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by IEC » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:43 am

imo the charm of the 808 is in the decay, not the attack... you dont need to layer in a daw, just trigger something else short and clicky at the same time and mix them together... if you make the 808 huge then gate it short with an envelope that might give you a bit more punch

User avatar
Red Electric Rainbow
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:48 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:04 am

wuff_miggler wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:22 pm
try sidechaining too - but not the ducking style.
If you're doing thinsg in the box - take a multiband EQ and link the volume of the midbass band to your kick drum.
Every time your kick sounds - then the buss with the rest of your mix will dip lower - but only in the freq range of the kick drum.

Now - when you compress the master mix after doing this - your kick SHOULD be loud as fuck.
classic!
TOO FAR GONE

User avatar
Red Electric Rainbow
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:48 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:06 am

you could always turn everything else in the mix down but its not quite the same.

buy a distressor 🤪
TOO FAR GONE

User avatar
Soy Sos
Dub Surgeon
Posts: 4582
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:38 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Soy Sos » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:24 am

When you say you never do post processing, do you mean you only do hardware jams recorded live thru a mixer to 2 track? Honestly if you can get parts into a DAW based environment your options multiply by a ton. And that's what the vast majority of artists you're referencing are doing anyway. My simplest fix for beefing up kicks is Ableton's Saturator. Any saturation plugin with drive, sat style options, and a wet/dry control used pre or post EQ into a light compression can work wonders.
If running the live jam in real time is the way you like to create, is there any way to get at least partial multi track into the system? Maybe at least split out all your bass elements?

User avatar
commodorejohn
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1003
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 4:19 pm
Location: Placerville, CA

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:26 am

wuff_miggler wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:31 pm
challenge yourself to make drums out of pure white noise.
It's an excellent way to learn ALL the tools at your disposal - and which do the most.
I'll second this, but I'd generalize and just say: learn to make drum sounds, period. Drum machines and pre-baked modules are all well and good, but at least 80% of what you can do with them, you can do with a lot of more general synthesizers if you put your mind to it (to say nothing of a modular rig!) and doing so is a great way to expand your thinking on synthesis techniques and tricks. I can't recommend Gordon Reed's "Synth Secrets" series enough, and for the purposes of this discussion the articles on drum synthesis are particularly noteworthy.

As far as the specific question goes, take a hint from the chiptune folks and listen to some nice SID drums (not the sampled ones, but the synthesized ones.) Doing kicks with a (filtered) pulse wave and putting some PWM on the attack phase seems like a good initial strategy to me.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000, Ensoniq SQ-80

"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

cg_funk
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 494
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 12:56 am

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by cg_funk » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:31 am

When I think of 'thick' I think of distortion. I recently started to really overdrive my drums through my Tallin VCA, and that seems to make a big difference, you get more squared-off waveforms, and that adds more harmonic content to the simple waveforms. You can always then compress the drums after overdriving them if you want, but yeah I think the drums need to be really loud in the mix, and if they overdrive the mixer a bit that's even good too. I am not an audio engineer tho!!

Rupert the not so great
Common Wiggler
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Rupert the not so great » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:41 pm

Glad I asked the question, some great answers in here.

And FWIW Soy Sos - I record from mixer into DAW, but my head doesn't work in such a way that I do edits etc. I realise the DAW is a very useful tool but hey ho it's just the way i am.

Gonna try these out tomorrow.

Cheers everyone :)

James_Fredrickson
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 11:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by James_Fredrickson » Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:43 pm

An untreated room will have many bass nodes where the bass frequencies build up. Unless you are referencing each mix in the EXACT same spot every time you won't hear what's going on in the mix.

Balancing the low end and the kick is one of the most challenging aspects of mixing. Downward compression can either increase or decrease your dynamic range. If you are sampling a kick from a drum machine (let's say a long decaying 808) you probably want to compress it with a slow attack 35-40 ms in order to let the transient through. Then clamp it down with 2-4:1 db compression without manual makeup gain to taste. You want the beefy bass tail, but not so much bass that it overwhelms the mix. A little saturation will go a long way. Those added harmonics will also give the psycho acoustic impression that there is way more bass than actually there and you will now have lot of extra headroom because there isn't a fuck ton of low frequencies eating up everything or triggering your bus compressor. Next you want to pull out some 250 Hz because mud, and that's where the thwak of the snare wants to live. Sweep a narrow Q band and find the click and gently emphasize it with a wider Q. Also cut everything below 30Hz and above 16k... unless you're a whale.

Also, if you are getting a sample kick from any top 10 sample pack on Splice you shouldn't have to tweak it at all.

Rupert the not so great
Common Wiggler
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Rupert the not so great » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:04 am

James_Fredrickson wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:43 pm
An untreated room will have many bass nodes where the bass frequencies build up. Unless you are referencing each mix in the EXACT same spot every time you won't hear what's going on in the mix.

Balancing the low end and the kick is one of the most challenging aspects of mixing. Downward compression can either increase or decrease your dynamic range. If you are sampling a kick from a drum machine (let's say a long decaying 808) you probably want to compress it with a slow attack 35-40 ms in order to let the transient through. Then clamp it down with 2-4:1 db compression without manual makeup gain to taste. You want the beefy bass tail, but not so much bass that it overwhelms the mix. A little saturation will go a long way. Those added harmonics will also give the psycho acoustic impression that there is way more bass than actually there and you will now have lot of extra headroom because there isn't a fuck ton of low frequencies eating up everything or triggering your bus compressor. Next you want to pull out some 250 Hz because mud, and that's where the thwak of the snare wants to live. Sweep a narrow Q band and find the click and gently emphasize it with a wider Q. Also cut everything below 30Hz and above 16k... unless you're a whale.

Also, if you are getting a sample kick from any top 10 sample pack on Splice you shouldn't have to tweak it at all.


Hello James,

Thanks for the advice! Yup, i'm always in the same listening position. What you say about compression is exactly what i've been doing lately so thats good! I got a bugbrand stereo compressor cheap and It does a great job of bringing out the attack and making it sound less dull.

Just wondering why you say cut everything below 30hz and above 16k? Isn't 30hz where a lot of oomph comes from on a bigger soundsytem? I always do it because the mix doesnt translate well in the car if I don't. but just something I wonder... Also, you mean just the kick, right?

No sample packs here. :razz:

inoshi
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 321
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:20 pm

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by inoshi » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:46 am

is the solution to this not simply a slightly increased attack time on a compressor?
what do you mean by 'attack'?
which frequencies are you trying to amplify?
what does the pitch envelope look like?
what frequencies does the kick sweep through?

my sounds are garbage so i don't have any input. Just curious what is meant by 'thick' and 'attack'.
'thick' to me means 200 - 30hz, 'attack' means the pop at the beginning, which depending on the kick can include a click sound and a rapid sweep down from +200hz, so the two things seem contradictory.

do you have an example?

Rupert the not so great
Common Wiggler
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Rupert the not so great » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:14 pm

inoshi wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:46 am
is the solution to this not simply a slightly increased attack time on a compressor?
what do you mean by 'attack'?
which frequencies are you trying to amplify?
what does the pitch envelope look like?
what frequencies does the kick sweep through?

my sounds are garbage so i don't have any input. Just curious what is meant by 'thick' and 'attack'.
'thick' to me means 200 - 30hz, 'attack' means the pop at the beginning, which depending on the kick can include a click sound and a rapid sweep down from +200hz, so the two things seem contradictory.

do you have an example?
Hi,

-It may well be.. I don't know.. that's why I'm asking.

-The attack of the kick (clicky sound)

-Upper range really, but again I don't know, whichever makes it sound thicker, the 808 attack sounds puny when I've got a hold of it.. but when I hear this for example .....(one of many) I know he does his production as is, never any post, so too get this sort of 'thickness' he must be using some techniques.. I'm not sure, people may disagree that doesn't sound 'thick' but it's a dam sight thicker and better sounding that what I can do with an 808.

-Not sure what you mean

- Not sure what you mean.

Cheers

James_Fredrickson
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 11:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by James_Fredrickson » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:08 pm

Hi Rupert,

Cutting 30 Hz with an EQ won't eliminate all frequencies below 30 Hz, even if you are using a steep-ass slope. I have found that there is still plenty of oomph even with a high pass 24 db/oct cut at 30. I've referenced this on my hs-10's with sub in a treated room. Also, I's say 30 Hz is more rumbly than anything. Everything below human audible range has nothing to do with melody or harmony anymore, it's all about the feelz at that point. Hell, you can put some rumbly-ass drone (if not too harmonically rich) underneath a florid contrapuntal symphony and it wouldn't create any dissonance if it was sufficiently underneath the audible range. Aphex Twin's 'Strotha Tynhe' off his Drukqs demonstrates this effect beautifully AND effectively transports you to a distant, cold, serene alien planet. Listen with monitors or bass heavy cans tho! It's also a masterpiece in minimalism. The way he fleetingly interrupts the bass at 3:15... god damn.

Your kick will have the most impact around 45-50 Hz because it's around the threshold of human audible range. Most EDM (I dislike the vast majority of the genre) will be in F or G because it can take advantage of that threshold for maximum effect. I sometimes run my BIA through Shakmat's hi-pass 30 Hz input because there is a fuck-ton of low end in the BIA (like seriously, an absolute metric fuck ton) I do this because I don't want my compressor reacting to any of that information down there. I won't always do this though, it depends on what I'm going for. And in the end, the effect may be very subtle. Now some people more educated than myself may complain of pre-ringing when using a steep cutoff on your eq. Personally, I've never heard nor had a problem with this phenomenon. And if I have had an issue with it, I've unknowingly fixed it elsewhere in the mix.

Saturating the bass (adding or emphasizing harmonics) will get your mix to translate better to shitty speakers. If cutting the low end helps translate into your car, it's because there was was way too much info there! Check your current setup again and make sure you are hearing/feeling that information down there. Those bass waves are big. Even when mixing, mastering with my LCD-x cans I always assume more bass than I can hear/feel and I always reference.

Cheers

James_Fredrickson
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 11:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by James_Fredrickson » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:20 pm

Rupert,

Listening to the track you just posted I immediately hear a bassline perfectly blended into the 808. This blended bassline is layered AND further blends into that upward swooshing effect. This gives the impression that everything is way thicker and bigger. There are NO tricks here, this is 100% pure composition. The easiest/best mixes are those that have the best compositions. These tracks have a focus/message and do everything to delivery that message with utmost clarity and purpose.

James_Fredrickson
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 11:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by James_Fredrickson » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:27 pm

On second listen, the drone bassline may not be layered, but it does have some sort of slow PWM or frequency modulation happening in order to give it some extra movement and definition so that is doesn't interfere too much with the kick. Also, hear how the shifting hats blend perfectly well into the higher frequencies of the formant swishes. 100% composition!

Awesome fucking track btw.

James_Fredrickson
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 11:49 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by James_Fredrickson » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:31 pm

Last thing, the kick isn't especially thick. It's how the kick is framed in the overall composition that gives it weight. You're not hearing the kick, you're hearing the mix!

Rupert the not so great
Common Wiggler
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: Thicker sounding attack on kicks (techniques)

Post by Rupert the not so great » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:49 pm

James_Fredrickson wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:31 pm
Last thing, the kick isn't especially thick. It's how the kick is framed in the overall composition that gives it weight. You're not hearing the kick, you're hearing the mix!

Haha, I smiled at reading this one.. Certainly the mix.. BUT.... his attack is huge sounding. Take everything out of the mix and i'm sure it will still sound extremely good. I know what i'm hearing :) or do I......... :roll:

Post Reply

Return to “Production Techniques”