As with most modern electronic music genres, the emphasis at Techno genre is in the low frequencies. In addition to bass, Techno is famous for its huge and ground shaking kick drums with lots of low-end frequencies. Producers are usually dedicating lots of their attention in order to create these solid kick drum sounds. In most cases, one kick drum sample is simply not enough to achieve the desired sound, so further layering is required. In the next tutorial, I will show you how to easily create a Techno kick drum by using a number of layers. Furthermore, we will go thru some additional processing with the effects which are required.
Mid-Range Kick Drum
I like to start by choosing a mid range kick drum sound that will be the body of our final kick drum. The sound you can hear as an example is adequate for this since it possesses a well-balanced body in the low-mid frequency range as well as some frequency content that is spanning up to high frequencies. Generally, it could be labeled as the kick drum that was used frequently in the Electro Pop music of the 1980`s.
~Mid range kick drum – unprocessed
Low Range Kick Drum
The base of every good sounding kick drum starts with careful tuning of the sub frequencies. Moreover, one of the best and easiest approaches would be to generate the desired sound by tuning and processing of the simple sine wave. The tool for this task, which interface is really straightforward and easy, is KICK 2 by Sonic Academy. After creating a new midi track within Soundbridge we will start by selecting a preset from the upper menu which is essentially a common sounding 808 kick drum, or a tuned sine wave. Hearing it together with the mid range kick drum we can clearly see that those two sounds are fighting for the dominance in the frequency spectrum and they sound quite hollow together.
~Mid and Low range kick drum – unprocessed
In order to fix that, I’ll open the amp section of the KICK 2 plugin which contains classic envelope parameters. Then, I will reduce the attack as well as shorten the release. Processed like this we can hear that our two layers already sounds better.
~Low range kick drum with altered Amp envelope
After this, I will switch to the pitch section of the KICK 2. Here we can see similar curves as in the Amp section. Now I will further tune the sub part of the low-end kick drum in order to glue it better with the other layer.
Mid-High Range Kick Drum
The next step would be to add our 3rd and final layer to the kick drum sound. Alongside low-end base, KICK 2 has the ability to add 3 more layers are called “Clicks“. I will browse thru the presets and find a suitable one. In the first click layer, we can see global pitch, length, start position and low and high pass parameters. After tweaking the parameters of the mentioned layer our kick drum now sounds like this.
~Layered kick drum without additional effects
Compressor and distortion units found within KICK 2 plugin are highly useful tools which you can use in order to further shape up the Techno kick drum. Finally, by processing the kick drum with some additional EQ-ing, here is the end result.
~Final layered kick drum with additional effects
Download project here.