Processing a Kick Drum in Parallel

Sound design tutorial - creating a monster kick drum using tone modules.

Drum Design



Layering drum sounds is an art form and a science in its own right. I will show you how to design a monster kick drum using tone modules for layering and triggering.

The technique I am going to share with you here is a little advanced in that you would have to wear both the sound designer and producer hats. However, once you have watched the video and started to use this technique in your productions you will be amazed at how simple yet powerful it is.

The process involves using a noise gate to shape a tone that is generated by a tone module. This tone is then used as a layer with a kick drum sound. The noise gate is triggered via its side-chain by the kick drum sound that is being layered. This ensures both the kick drum and the tone are played in sync. The tone that is selected for layering with the kick drum is a sine wave. The tone generator is used to output the sine wave and this is shaped with both the noise gate’s parameters and the tone modules parameters. The frequency range of the kick sound is isolated using the noise gate’s side-chain filtering so only a specific range of the kick drum’s frequencies trigger the noise gate. This ensures that you do not get frequency clashing and masking between the kick drum sound and the noise or sine wave being used.

In the video I show you how to use a noise gate and how to set it up for external triggering. I show you how to generate tones using a synthesize vsti and explain why certain tones are better suited to drum sound layering that others. I explain how to set up the noise gate for side-chain filtering and show you how to shape the sound running through the gate. I show you how to extract the drum sound from an existing drum beat and use it for triggering the noise gate. I end by showing you how each tone affects the layer for the kick drum sound.

Plugins used in this video:

FabFilter Pro G

FXPansion Strobe

FabFilter Pro Q2

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Layering Kicks
  • Using and Understanding Tone Modules
  • Understanding Frequencies
  • Understanding and using Oscillators
  • Modulators
  • Envelopes
  • Filters
  • Driving Inputs
  • Using LFOs
  • Parallel and Triggering Processing
  • Using the Mod Env to reshape Kicks
  • Tips and Tricks