In House music, a way to emphasize the groove is to make a good rhythmic balance and interaction between the kick drum and bassline. In the following tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how to combine your main kick drum pattern with a sub-kick to emphasize the groove and increase the track’s energy.

As usual, we have prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It contains most of the essential elements of a full mix. Let’s have a listen.

This is a screenshot of my mix before I started creating sub-kick drum groove.
~Full Mix – Without Sub Kick Drum Groove

As the audio example above shows, there is room for a more complex groove between the main kick drum and bassline. We’ll fill this void with another kick drum. The first step would be to find a kick sample that is appropriate for this task and place it on a new channel in our sequencer. Here is how that sounds unprocessed.

~Sub Kick Drum – Unprocessed

We don’t want this to sound overbearing, but rather in the background. As a result, we’ll first trim the sample to the appropriate length and apply some fade out. Following that, we’ll place the sub-kick at specific points in relation to the kick and bassline to create some groove, as you can see in the picture below. Let’s take a listen to that.

This is a close-up screenshot of main kick drum, bassline and sub-kick drum channels.
~Main Kick Drum, Bassline & Sub Kick Drum – Unprocessed

Because our newly created sub-kick sequence still sounds too prominent, it’s necessary to process it further. We’ll accomplish this by using a high-cut filter and adjusting the volume. Lastly, some compression will be useful.

Here’s how this sounds solo and with the main kick drum and bassline. We recommend that you listen to this on a pair of studio monitors or high-quality headphones since we are working on the sub-frequencies.

This is a screenshot of effects used to process the sub-kick drum.
~Sub Kick Drum – Processed
~Main Kick Drum, Bassline & Sub Kick Drum – Processed

Now, let’s listen to the full mix, this time with the added sub-kick drum groove.

~Full Mix – Sub Kick Drum (Processed)

If you liked this article on mixing and low-end, here are some more on the same subject: