An approach to the treatment of the kick drum is the subject of this video, and here Brian Malouf discusses some of the techniques he uses to get a solid and compelling kick drum sound. He explains his thoughts on the role the bass drum plays in any musical piece, and covers sound replacement, EQ, special aural enhancements, compression, the different mic placements you will likely encounter, and the marriage between the bass drum and other bass instruments.
- [Voiceover] I think that if you consider…that steel-reinforced concrete is the foundation…of any building, you could also consider that the kick drum,…along with its bass component counterpart…is the foundation of any mix.…So, to demonstrate some techniques…I use for bolstering a kick drum sound,…I've picked a song that really required…a heavy bottom end in the foot.…Let's take a listen to the whole piece.…(slow rock music)…So that is a really juicy, tough bottom end…that really demands your attention…as a listener right away and sets the tone…for everything that follows above it.…
There are three kick drum components here…and this is a typical setup.…Here is the live kick drum.…This microphone plays close to the beater.…Below it is the same drum mic'd from outside…and below that is a drum sample…that was used as drum replacement.…I'll take these on at a time.…(bass drum sound)…Now I've got several things going on here.…I'm gonna take them each off, one at a time.…(drum sound)…So that's what I started with.…
That is not gonna get me where…
Brian starts with the basics of creating a mix template and getting a good raw balance of the instruments in the mix. He then dives deep into signal processing techniques on many types of instruments, including drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, percussion, strings, and brass. He'll pick out and treat individual tracks with compression and EQ, add space with reverb and echo, and modulate the sound with flangers and phase shifters. Pro Tools is used throughout the course, but the techniques will work equally well with the DAW of your choice.
- Customizing a mix template
- Understanding the interplay of volume, panning, EQ, and dynamics
- Processing drums
- Processing lead and background vocals
- Gain processing
- Treating the bass guitar and synth guitar
- Placing piano in the mix
- Treating strings and brass