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Building a kick drum

Building a kick drum provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Brian Trifon as… Show More

Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro

with Brian Trifon

Video: Building a kick drum

Building a kick drum provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Brian Trifon as part of the Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro
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  1. 6m 59s
    1. Welcome
      2m 21s
    2. Setting up Logic Pro for using virtual instruments and configuring MIDI controllers
      4m 5s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 21m 50s
    1. Getting started with the ES M
      1m 13s
    2. Understanding the signal flow of the ES M
      2m 18s
    3. Using the oscillator
      3m 4s
    4. Tone shaping with the lowpass filter
      2m 59s
    5. Using the volume controls
      3m 5s
    6. Using the Filter envelope to adjust cutoff
      3m 22s
    7. Composing with the ES M
      5m 49s
  3. 26m 16s
    1. Getting started with the ES E
      1m 15s
    2. Understanding the signal flow of the ES E
      2m 5s
    3. Selecting a waveform
      2m 9s
    4. Using the Vibrato/PWM dial
      2m 15s
    5. Using the ES E lowpass filter
      2m 43s
    6. Shaping the amplitude with the Attack and Release envelope
      3m 10s
    7. Shaping the filter with the Attack and Release envelope
      3m 55s
    8. Using the Chorus and Ensemble settings
      2m 1s
    9. Composing with the ES E
      6m 43s
  4. 39m 0s
    1. Getting started with the ES P
      1m 54s
    2. Understanding the signal flow of the ES P
      2m 22s
    3. Balancing the oscillator levels
      4m 7s
    4. Enabling key follow on the filter
      6m 9s
    5. Shaping the volume with the ADSR
      6m 20s
    6. Modulating the cutoff with the ADSR
      3m 48s
    7. Using the Vibrato/Wah control
      3m 23s
    8. Tweaking the Overdrive and Chorus settings
      2m 34s
    9. Composing with the ES P
      8m 23s
  5. 1h 19m
    1. Getting started with the ES1
      2m 8s
    2. Exploring the signal flow of the ES1
      3m 31s
    3. Using the oscillator and sub-oscillator
      3m 58s
    4. Tweaking the filter
      6m 36s
    5. Using key follow on the cutoff
      5m 25s
    6. Exploring the amplifier section and ADSR
      7m 42s
    7. Modulating the cutoff with ADSR
      4m 9s
    8. Creating movement with the LFO
      14m 18s
    9. Using the Modulation envelope to add contour
      13m 31s
    10. Using the Glide and the Global Voices settings
      4m 30s
    11. Using the side chain input and LFO external feature
      4m 34s
    12. Composing with the ES1
      9m 21s
  6. 48m 10s
    1. Getting started with EFM1
      1m 52s
    2. FM synthesis basics and signal flow
      3m 21s
    3. Setting the carrier pitch
      2m 56s
    4. Changing timbre with the modulator
      6m 2s
    5. Using the volume and modulation envelope to shape the sound
      9m 55s
    6. Adding movement with the LFO
      3m 0s
    7. Using unison, detune and sub osc for thick sounds
      3m 22s
    8. Randomize, do you feel lucky today?
      3m 47s
    9. Assigning MIDI controls to FM
      3m 38s
    10. Composing with the EFM1
      10m 17s
  7. 46m 5s
    1. Getting Started with EVOC 20
      2m 9s
    2. Vocoding Basics: Making your synth sing!
      3m 14s
    3. Exploring the synthesis section
      4m 48s
    4. Managing the Global voice settings
      4m 39s
    5. Using the filterbank section to shape the vocoded sounds
      5m 34s
    6. Tweaking the formants and adding movement with the LFO's
      5m 26s
    7. Getting more intelligible results with U/V detection
      3m 52s
    8. Making your beats melodic: vocoding drums
      3m 38s
    9. Composing with the EVOC 20
      12m 45s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Getting Started with ES2
      3m 33s
    2. Exploring the ES2 Oscillators and Mix Triangle
      9m 8s
    3. Tweaking the ES2 filters to shape expressive sounds
      7m 11s
    4. Series or Parallel?
      6m 34s
    5. Understanding the amplifier effects
      3m 45s
    6. Bringing life to ES2 with the modulation router
      4m 50s
    7. Creating rhythmic movement with the LFO's
      10m 8s
    8. Using the 3 envelopes to give shape to your sounds
      8m 13s
    9. Create evolving sounds with basic vector modulation
      5m 37s
    10. Looping with the vector envelope
      8m 17s
    11. Voice parameters and global settings
      7m 15s
    12. Making changes to your macro and MIDI controls
      3m 29s
    13. Composing with the ES2
      10m 26s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Getting Started with EXS24
      3m 29s
    2. Create your own sample instruments the easy way
      5m 4s
    3. Exploring single zone sample instruments
      4m 29s
    4. Creating multiple zone instruments
      5m 9s
    5. Adding dynamics with velocity layers
      5m 46s
    6. Organizing zones with groups
      7m 4s
    7. Advanced zone editing and looping
      5m 21s
    8. Using the filter section to shape your sampled sounds
      7m 3s
    9. Using transpose and glide to add expression to EXS24
      5m 22s
    10. Adding life and expression with the modulation
      7m 34s
    11. Further shaping with the envelopes
      6m 35s
    12. Adjusting Global voice settings
      3m 14s
    13. Composing with the EXS24
      9m 5s
  10. 59m 45s
    1. Getting started with EVB3
      3m 59s
    2. Synthesizing with the Drawbars
      3m 10s
    3. Utilizing the Preset Keys and Morph Wheel
      4m 31s
    4. Adding Vibrato and Percussion Parameters
      4m 43s
    5. Customizing the Pitch and Condition Parameters
      7m 0s
    6. Adjusting the Organ and Sustain Parameters
      6m 6s
    7. Using the EVB3 effects
      5m 43s
    8. Modulating sound with the Leslie Rotor Cabinet
      7m 49s
    9. Setting the extended parameters
      5m 17s
    10. Composing with the EVB3
      11m 27s
  11. 19m 52s
    1. Getting Started with EVP88
      2m 46s
    2. Selecting a piano model
      1m 17s
    3. Adjusting the model parameters
      2m 38s
    4. Setting the tuning parameters
      1m 54s
    5. Adding effects to thicken the sound
      4m 40s
    6. Musical example
      6m 37s
  12. 29m 15s
    1. Getting Started with EVD6
      2m 29s
    2. Choosing the instrument model
      3m 41s
    3. Customizing the string parameters
      4m 25s
    4. Adjusting pickup configuration and position
      3m 49s
    5. Using the EVD6 Effects
      5m 24s
    6. Composing with the EVD6
      9m 27s
  13. 1h 57m
    1. Getting Started with Sculpture
      4m 53s
    2. Setting the string characteristics with the Material Pad
      8m 26s
    3. Exciting the string with objects
      8m 52s
    4. Adjusting the Pickups and Global Voice Settings
      8m 10s
    5. Shaping sound with the Amp Envelope
      4m 24s
    6. Saturating sound with the Wave Shaper
      3m 42s
    7. Sculpting with the filter
      7m 37s
    8. Adding depth to the stereo delay
      5m 18s
    9. Understanding the Body EQ
      6m 34s
    10. Modulating with the LFO's
      8m 9s
    11. Using the Vibrato, Velocity and Controllers
      6m 40s
    12. Introducing the Control Envelope
      6m 15s
    13. Recording the Envelope Shape with a MIDI Controller
      5m 57s
    14. Looping with the Control Envelopes
      5m 46s
    15. Transitioning between settings the Morph Pad
      6m 10s
    16. Employing the Morph Envelope
      9m 48s
    17. Composing with Sculpture
      10m 52s
  14. 2h 4m
    1. Getting started with Ultrabeat
      2m 54s
    2. Exploring the Assignment section
      6m 22s
    3. Importing settings into Ultrabeat
      4m 19s
    4. Synthesizing with Oscillator 2
      7m 42s
    5. Using Oscillator 1 and the noise generator
      4m 36s
    6. Shaping with the envelopes
      7m 21s
    7. Filtering and setting distortion
      8m 36s
    8. Adding movement with the LFOs
      8m 23s
    9. Refining the sound with EQ in the Output section
      6m 10s
    10. Building a kick drum
      8m 18s
    11. Synthesizing a snare drum
      8m 31s
    12. Creating a hi-hat
      4m 34s
    13. Introduction to the step sequencer
      5m 54s
    14. Sequencing in the step sequencer
      7m 18s
    15. Working with the playback options
      5m 1s
    16. Sequencing automation in Step Edit mode
      5m 3s
    17. Utilizing the side chain
      9m 2s
    18. Composing with Ultrabeat
      14m 13s
  15. 7m 24s
    1. Introducing and composing with the Klopfgeist
      7m 24s
  16. 1m 12s
    1. What's next?
      1m 12s

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Building a kick drum
Video Duration: 8m 18s 13h 10m Intermediate Updated Mar 14, 2012


Building a kick drum provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Brian Trifon as part of the Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro

View Course Description

Join author Brian Trifon as he shows how to improve music and audio productions using virtual instruments in Logic Pro. This course tours the program's virtual instruments, including the ES2 hybrid synthesizer, Sculpture physical modeling synthesizer, EFM1 FM synthesizer, the EVOC 20 vocoder, the Ultrabeat drum synthesizer, and the EXS24 sampler, and shows how to achieve various effects with each instrument's parameters. The course also covers working with oscillators and filters, understanding signal flow, creating custom synthesizer patches, adding effects, synthesizing speech, creating a library of custom sound samples, and much more.

Virtual Instruments with Logic Pro will be updating on a monthly basis, eventually covering all the virtual instruments in the application. Look for the latest movies here and on the blog.

Topics include:
  • Setting up Logic Pro for using virtual instruments
  • Configuring MIDI controllers
  • Composing with virtual instruments envelopes
  • Tweaking the overdrive and chorus
  • Creating movement with LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators)
  • Understanding FM synthesis basics
  • Changing the timbre and shifting the formants of the vocoder
  • Constructing custom sampler kits
  • Exploring the tonewheel organ, electric piano, and Ultrabeat drum synthesizer
Audio + Music
Logic Pro

Building a kick drum

So let's take a look at how we can build a kick drum from scratch. So the main thing you want to think about when you're synthesizing any sound are what are its components? So a kick drum has a clicky portion, the attack of the sound, and then a boomy portion. We want to recreate both of those elements and then kind of tweak all of the envelopes and parameters and things to get it to sound just right. So the first thing I want to do is load up our initialize patch. So I'll go to the Load Setting Menu here, and then on Desktop/Exercise Files/Ultrabeat, and there in the Preset folder, we'll choose Ultrabeat_EMPTY.

And so I'll build the sound on the voice for C1. So I'll just turn up the volume a little bit, just the voice volume. What I'm going to do first is build the boomy portion of the sound, and then we'll build the click. So we have Oscillator 2 already on, so that's what I'm going to use. So for the boomy portion, it's going to be a pretty low-frequency. So you might actually, if you have headphones, put them on, or if you're listening on a full-range sound system, then that's helpful to you; otherwise it might be a little bit hard to here for a moment. So I'm going to tune this down to A 0. It's a pretty low note. So now we just have this low-sine-wave sound that's happening.

So to give this a little bit more definition and a little bit of punch, what I want to do is to put a pitch envelope on it. So what I'm going to do is use envelope 1 to modulate the pitch of this oscillator. So under this Modulation Menu right here I'm going to choose envelope 1, and first I'll set the range. So I want to set this 2 octaves. And so if you listen, you can hear the pitch dropping. And so to help us emphasize the attack portion of the sound, we want a pitch- change, but we want it much faster than it is right now, because this is a pretty slow pitch-change.

So what we need to do is make this envelope quite a bit shorter. So I'm going to use the Zoom to Fit for envelope 1 (Env1), and I'm going to set the Attack time to 0, and adjust the Decay to something shorter. Right now it's 420 milliseconds. Let's set this to something shorter. Okay. Here we go, around 160 seems good. And then I can tailor it further with the curvature of this here. So I'm going to adjust the Decay, have it bulge more towards the front here. So you can hear each little subtle adjustment in the envelope really makes a difference to the attack of the sound.

So you can spend literally hours tweaking. We won't do that here. (music playing) So that sounds pretty good! So that's going to be our pitch envelope. But still, it's not quite punchy enough, right? So we have the boom portion of the sound okay, but it's not quite there yet. So actually before we move on to making the click, let's adjust the volume setting for this oscillator. So I'm going to put an envelope on that as well. So I'm going to use envelope 4, which is already controlling our voice volume, to modulate the volume of Oscillator 2. So under this Modulation menu here, I'm going to select envelope 4, and what I'm going to do is just give it a little bit more range here.

So I'll adjust the amount here. And I want Velocity to scale that modulation. So basically this means that we'll have a little bit of Velocity control in terms of the volume of this kick drum. Okay. So that sounds all right, but I think I need to adjust this envelope. It's a little bit long right now. So I'm going to make the Attack shorter. And right now it's at 1000 milliseconds, but I think would sound better a little bit shorter. So let's pull this in. So I'm auditioning this. I'm playing the note while I'm dragging this, just to see where it seems right.

So that seems pretty good, close to 500 milliseconds, a little less, and then I'll just shape the Decay a bit. (music playing) Okay. So that sounds all right. So now I definitely need a click portion to this to make the attack stand out further. So there's a couple of different options. One, I could increase the amount of pitch modulation with the pitch envelope. So if I increase that, you can hear, it definitely gets more click, but it certainly sounds more synthetic. And aesthetically, I don't like that as much, so I like this more dull but still punchy pitch envelope that I have right now.

So to help with the click portion of the sound, or the attack, I'm going to use the noise generator. So I'm going to turn on the noise generator. And right now we'll have probably pretty long noisy sounds. So this isn't obviously what we want. I'll worry about the envelope a little bit. First I'm listening for just the color of the noise for this click sound. So I think what I'm going to do is use Band Pass here on this noise. And then I'm going to adjust the cutoff to somewhere where it sounds pretty good. I think that sounds good there. And we'll adjust the resonance as well. (music playing) All right! So that makes a very subtle difference, but good! And then this dirt parameter, which is like distortion on the noise. Maybe a bit of that, because we're going to have a really short envelope, so it's okay to have a pretty dirty sound.

So what I'm going to use is envelope 2 to modulate the volume of the noise generator. So I'll put in envelope 2 here. And I want envelope 2 to be very short, so I'm going to set the Attack time to 0, and we'll set this to something like a couple of milliseconds, like 17 milliseconds. And then we'll set the volume of this all the way at 0, just so that the envelope is fully controlling the volume of this. (music playing) So there we go, a little bit of punch there. And so if I adjust the envelope amount, I can get more or less click.

So that's kind of a lot of click, but for certain contexts of music and certain electronic music and things, sometimes you want a really punchy attack. If you need less, you can bring down the intensity of envelope 2 here, and you can hear I get less click with that. So I kind of like a bit of it. I think it sounds pretty good. I tend to like punchy kicks. So then the next step would be to add a bit of EQ to just get this to be a little bit more focused and bigger. So I think what I'm going to do is we'll use band 1 of EQ, and we're going to use a low shelf. And I'm going to increase the resonance here, and then I'll just pull this down.

So I'm going to be cutting out the lowest frequencies. So I'm going to move this down to actually 32 hertz here. But notice when I adjust this Q here, it creates a little bump right here. So what I'm getting rid of is the lowest, lowest frequencies, basically 32 hertz and below, which is like subsonic sound essentially, and bringing out the upper low end, so 80 hertz and that sort of area, where it's really going to resonate. It's one of those things that's always an issue of taste, and you can adjust to get it just right. (music playing) That sounds pretty good like that, and so I think there we go.

As a kick drum, the last thing I want to do is add a little bit of Velocity control to our voice volume, just so it's a little bit more responsive. So under this Via Menu here, I'm going to select Velocity, and then we'll just bring this down a little bit, so we've got a range with this. And there we go. Now we've got a pretty decent-sounding kick drum. And the last thing I want to show you about this is, once you have sort of a template for your kick drum like this, then you can adjust things like Saturation. So if you want more of an electronic kick, I can increase the Saturation.

Also, even the pitch range makes a huge difference too. So right now I'm at A 0, but if I increase the pitch, so I bring this up, it's more of like a tom drum, like a synthetic tom obviously. And if I bring this even lower, like down to D 0, I get more of a really deep kick. In some ways it sounds a little bit more realistic, especially if I get rid of this Saturation. It sounds like an acoustic kick drum.

So depending on where you have the pitch and things like that, you can make a lot of different changes in the characteristic of your kick drum. So now that we've explored some possibilities of how to make a kick drum. In the next video let's explore how we can synthesize a snare drum from scratch.

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