Join J. Scott Giaquinta for an in-depth discussion in this video Shaping your kick, part of EDM Production Techniques: Drums.
Once you pick a few samples and get them loaded into the drum rack, you'll be ready to start shaping the sound of your kick drum. As you can see, I've placed kicks 1, 2, and 3 into their respective cells in the drum rack. I'm going to play this loop for you to show you what I've done and I'm going to recreate it and explain to you along the way. sss Firstly, you might have noticed in your version of the exercise file that I have two plugins on the master channel which are the Brainworx BX Control and Ableton's limiter.
I'll get into both of these in greater detail later on in the course so just ignore them for now. Next, I'm going to show you how to sculpture kick by using filters and envelopes, but first I'm going to program the loop myself. So, I'm going to create a new track, insert MIDI track, let me mute this, and I want to take a loop off. Start at the beginning. Double-click on the square button which will rewind to the beginning. I'm going to turn the metronome on, and you'll notice that my tempo's at 130 right now, which is an appropriate tempo for this genre. Obviously dubstep is slower and side trance would be faster but for break beats I think 130 is a pretty appropriate tempo.
So, we're at 130 right now. So the first thing that we are going to do is we're going to go over to drums and we're going to drag drum rack over to the channel. I'm going to go through, I'm going to add my samples to the cells. So we've got kick 1, 2 and 3. I drag kick 1 over to C# 2, and by the way you can drag these samples anywhere you want. I just happened to be using C# 2 D 2, D# 2. So you can put them anywhere you want bbb. You'll notice each of them plays now sss. Actualy play those with the keyboard as well sss.
So I'm going to program this with the MIDI keyboard. sss So we do is going to double-click on the bar, and it opens up the clip and piano role, and zoom in here. You can do command A or control A on a Windows computer, which is the select all, and right click on one of the notes, and go to Quantum Settings. I'm going to be using 16th notes here.
Let's click okay. Let's play that and see what it sounds like. sss I got it right the first time. Fantastic. You will notice that I got one of these velocities wrong here and actually I'm going to flip this around and one of the reasons why I like to change the velocities on kick is because it gives it a little bit more of a human feel. If every single note were at 127, it start to sound not very human-like. So I'll go in and change velocities to do that. So I want to change this one to 127. And I'm going to change this to a little bit quieter.
So one more thing before adjusting velocities is that I want to point out this headphone icon, which when it's on will allow you to hear what the note is playing when it's clicked on. sss When it's off you can't hear it. So when you're editing, it's always good to have this on if you want to hear what you're doing. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to select everyone of these except for, this quieter one down here so I can turn them down in tandem. sss And I'm going to unselect this one by holding Shift, and selecting it.
Then I'm going to turn these down, sss to about 100. All right, so now this is what it sounds like. sss As you've noticed this is a little bit quieter. I will probably turn it just a little bit but probably not much sss. sss I actually kind of liked it before. sss Great. Now I'm going to trim off the beginning of this clip. Put it over to the left.
Extend that out. sss Okay. So next what I'm going to do is I'm going to use the other layers of this instrument. So what I'm going to do is copy these two different notes here sss. sss Do the same on the bottom. sss Now the sub I only want to happen one time, so I'm going to erase the rest of these. Let me play that. sss Awesome.
Now, you'll notice that there's a little bit too much sound happening right now. You're hearing the full frequency range of all of the sounds, so what needs to happen next is we need to go through and we need to start sculpting it using envelopes and filters so I'm going to show you how to do that next. I'm going to double click on this instrument and you'll notice that in kick 1, that's the sound that I want to use for my high end thwap alright? So the first thing we're going to do is we're going to take kick number 1, we're going to solo this because really I only want the high end of this sound, and I'm going to put a high pass filter on it. So I'm play it and then I'm going to start sweeping it, so we can see what we want. All right, so then you're not hearing anything because it's obviously set to 22.
But I wanted to start sweeping this down. Oops, I'm going to put this on loop. sss Right about there. Great. Now for kick number 2, I'm actually going to use just the bottom end of that. So let's filter that and see what that sounds like by itself. sss Right about there.
Now, let's see what they sound like together. I'm actually going to mute the sub-channel, so that we only hear kick 1 and kick 2 together. sss Cool. Next, what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to tune down kick 1, because I want it to be just a little bit lower to negative 3. There we go. It seems to sit a little bit better with kick number 2. sss And, what I'm going to do now is, I'm actually going to put a saturator plugin on kick number 1 because I want to get a little bit more bite out at that top end kick.
So l let me show you how that works. The great thing about Drum Rack is that you can actually put plug-ins on each individual cell and affect them individually, or you can put them after the entire chain and affect the group. So what I like to do, sometimes, is to put plug-ins individually on the cells so that I get a little bit more control out of each one. So we're going to go through here, we're going to go to audio effects and we're going to find saturator and I'm going to drag that right into that cell. So what that's doing is effecting only that sound. sss There we go.
sss Turn that down just a little bit sss. All right. So, next we are going to add in the sub track and again this is only going to happen on the first one but, I am going to filter the top end of that out so, that you only hear the sub. sss Perfect, now we have all three tracks running at the same time.
So you'll probably notice that the whole track is a little bitey, so what I'm going to do is I'm a actually going to put a compressor on this now so we can get the entire group of these kicks under control. So next I'm going to click on the drum rack track. I'm going to drag the glue compressor which I like a lot because it seems to be a smooth compressor that gets, groups of sounds to essentially glue together, like the, like the name of the compressor. Let's see. I'm going to play this, and let's see what sounds good.
sss Here we go. kind of takes the attack out just a little bit. sss Let me take it off so you can hear before. It's very subtle, and after. Especially when the sub happens, all the energy, like, seems to absorb into the compressor when the sub happens. sss Next, what I'm going to do is I'm going to put a little bit of an EQ on there. I feel like it's a little bit some thumpy and some frequencies that are not pleasant to my ears.
So, I'm going to drag an EQ Eight over. And let's put this on loop again. sss It takes a little bit of the mud out there. Let's do. sss So this is good for now, but we'll definitely want to make more adjustments to our EQ as we add more sounds later on.
This course features Ableton Live and Native Instruments' Battery drum sampler, but you can use these techniques in any DAW of your choice.