XSSR Academy

Академия электронной музыки

How to make Drum & Bass and Dubstep drums: Kick

You can easily identify a track from a rookie musician. They don’t have that punch to their drums. The kick and snare are too soft in the overall mix, and they are almost inaudible. When i started to produce, i was looking for a long time for the secret to "making fat drums".

Today I will tell you the way to make punchy kick. We'll look at how to layer the kick drum and then how to process it with compressor and EQ.

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First of all, let's talk about the layering. In sound layering, we take the best part from every component sound until we are completely satisfied with our overall sound.

Today we look at layering as if it’s a bunch of flowers you might give to your girlfriends.


As I mentioned earlier, we are now layering a kick drum. To do this we need several different one shot kick samples. In every kick i use here there is something i want to hear in the resultant sound. In one of them I liked the attack of the kick, in another the body of the kick drum, in a third, the bass tail. You will need to collect the parts you like to make the resulting kick.

All one shot samples I put in Drumrack - my favourite drum machine. Let's listen to the samples I chose.

Once the samples are selected, we only need the part of the sample that we like. So we cut everything except these parts.

  • In Kick1 I liked the attack. So i leave only the attack of the kick.
  • In Kick2 I removed the attack.
  • In Kick3 i remove the attack and remove the bass a little bit and cleaned the tail.
  • Kick4 i leave unchanged.
  • I added a hihat on top, for a more pleasant attack in the resulting sound.

Now let's listen to what we have. Not too bad.

Let’s talk about the example I mentioned earlier. Kick shot samples are like flowers. If you just pick the samples, it’s like picking flowers. If you give these flowers to your girlfriend - it will not look like a nice bouquet. Just a bunch of flowers.

So to make our resulting kick sound like one sample, we need to EQ it (wrapping paper for our flowers). Then add compression (tying a bouquet with a ribbon around them). So this is what we get as a result!

Applying EQ trimmed the unwanted frequency buzzing. This makes the kick smooth in a more holistic way.

The objective of the compressor is to pick out the attack and make the kick body thicker. When you add attack time in the compressor, you’ll get the click sound coming through more bright and clearly.

The second compressor makes the kick even more tight and loud. The main thing is not to overdo the compression. You can get a distortion effect which is not good.

Let’s listen to the difference before and after processing. After you spend some time on the kick you can get this kind of drum sound!

Thanks for watching. My name is Alex Mars and this was my tutorial on "How to make Drum & Bass and Dubstep kick".

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