One of the most effective ways to process your kick drum is using saturation. Saturation, when used correctly, can bring an instrument to life and to the forefront of your mix. We’ll show you how to improve your kick drum with saturation in this tutorial.

As usual, we prepared a short sequence in SoundBridge, including most of the major elements you could find in a full mix. Let’s take a listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix before applying the multiband saturation on the kick drum.

~Full Mix – Kick Drum (Unprocessed)

From the audio example above, we can hear that the kick is pushed too far into the background of the mix. To give you a better perspective, we’ll hear it again, but this time with just the bass.

~Kick Drum & Bass – Kick Drum (Unprocessed)

How to Process Your Kick Drum

Generally, we can create a new return track in SoundBridge and put a multi-band saturation plugin in it. MSaturator MB by Melda Productions is our plugin of choice in this case.

This is a screenshot of my mix and MSaturator MB plugin interface in its default state.

When we open the interface of MSaturator MB, we see that it’s set to only one band by default. Since we want to process the frequencies of the kick drum across multiple bands, a good place to start would be to select the “Full Control” preset from the preset menu on the left side of the plugin’s interface.

This is a screenshot of my mix and MSaturator MB plugin interface with final settings used to process the kick drum.

We now see a different setup. A dry/wet knob at the top, followed by input/output controls. There is also a tab where you can choose the type and intensity of saturation to be applied. Below that are controls for the six bands, where you can adjust the amount of gain and drive for each band. A crossover filter and frequency focus are below this section.

Let’s compare the kick drum before and after processing, now that we’ve set the parameters of the MSaturator MB and adjusted the amount of the overall effect in the mixer.

~Kick Drum (Unprocessed)
~Kick Drum (Processed With MSaturator MB)

Evidently, there’s significant difference now. Finally, let’s hear our processed kick drum in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Kick Drum (Processed With MSaturator MB)

Video Tutorial for Processing The Kick Drum with Saturation

If you liked this article on kick drum processing, here are some more on the same subject: