Besides bass, the kick drum defines the backbone of the rhythm in every musical genre. Today’s electronic music cannot exist without a solid pumping kick drum, so it is safe to say that the kick drum is a critical element of any dance track. After battling with kick drum sounds for years I recently came across an awesome plugin developed by D16 Group.
Punchbox by D16 Group
The “Punchbox“ is a truly an awesome engine with so many sophisticated algorithms which are allowing the user to produce high-quality kick drum sounds. Furthermore, it really saves time and energy spent on making a great kick drum. This is because it possesses everything needed to process the sound. So in the next tutorial, I will try to give you a closer look at this awesome plugin and guide you through some of its main features.
I have previously made a short track in SoundBridge that sounds pretty full already. However, the kick drum from the main drum loop lacks the energy in the frequencies of the low spectrum. For that reason, I will layer it with a new kick drum from the “Punchbox“. Firstly, let’s listen to the full track.
~Full track without Punchbox
Now let’s open a new instance of “Punchbox“ and place it on the new MIDI channel within SoundBridge. The default sound already sounds great but I will process it further in order to fit better with the other elements of the track.
~Punchbox – Default sound
After opening, we can see a truly straightforward interface with lots of sections that can be easily tweaked. The units are set in parallel order. So it is easy to navigate.
In the centre of the interface, there is a “Kick” section. Its purpose is to create a solid low end, or the base of the kick drum if you will. There are multiple modes available, so you can choose between clean sine wave, 606, 808 or 909. You can even load your own sample to start with. In this case, I have chosen the sine wave. Below there are controls for manipulating the signal and the main part for tuning the kick drum is the middle section with start and end frequencies as well as sweep time.
Since I have dealt with the “Kick” section, let’s move to layers. The layers can be found in the left part of the Punchbox interface and there are 3 of them marked as “Click, Tops and Tools“ For this kick drum I will use just one additional layer since I think it is enough. In the bottom part, there is a browser where you can choose a sample to start with. Every single layer possesses controls for tuning, decay time, volume and more and these controls are truly essential for mixing the layers with the base sine wave layer from the “Kick“ section. Now let us hear how all 2 layers sound solo and then all together.
~Punchbox – Kick layer
~Punchbox – Tops layer
~Kick & Tops layers
I feel that this sounds needs a bit more processing so I will do that by using some of the modules found in the right section of Punchbox interface. To start, I will spice the sound a bit with the Bitcrusher. Moving forward, I will cut some mid and high frequencies with its built-in EQ and finally boost it with with the limiter.
~Punchbox – Full processed kick drum
~Full track with Punchbox kick drum
Feel free to download the project here.