Modern electronic music can’t really be imagined without a solid kick drum. One of the processing techniques that come to mind to most producers when mixing a kick drum is compression, especially when trying to glue the kick to the track. However, unlike common compression, multiband compression sometimes offers more possibilities to that end. That will be the subject of our next tutorial.

In our SoundBridge: DAW, we have made a short sequence including most of the elements of a full mix. It includes a kick drum. Let’s have a quick listen.

SoundBridge sequence for multiband compression
~ SoundBridge sequence for multiband compression

~Full Mix – Unprocessed Kick Drum

As we can hear above, the kick drum is hitting a bit too hard in the full mix. The low-frequency content of it sounds good enough, but the low-mid, mid, and high frequencies, could use some compression. For this reason, we will use a multiband compressor.

The first step would be to add an instance of a multiband compressor to the channel effect rack of the kick drum. For this tutorial, we have chosen the FabFilter Pro-MB. Before we do any processing let’s hear how our kick drum sounds in solo.

~Kick Drum – Unprocessed

Fab MB interface for multiband compression
~ Fab MB interface for multiband compression

Multiband compression on the kick

When we open the FabFilter MB interface we’ll see an empty space with a horizontal yellow line and the spectrum analyzer in the background. As soon as we place our mouse over the yellow line, we’ll see a dot appearing with vertical boundaries to the left and to the right. They represent the band range.

We have clicked somewhere on the low-frequency range. Then we’re presented with a set of well-known compressor parameters below. Since we don’t actually want to compress the low end, we will drag the Ratio slider all the way to the left until it has a 1.00:1 value. Like this, the low end won’t be processed. However, it will make a boundary over the frequency range for other bands where we will actually apply compression.

Fab MB settings band 2 for multiband compression
~ Fab MB settings band 2 for multiband compression

Above you can see we have added another band for compression, set to cover the low-mid, mid, and high frequencies. In this case, the Threshold we will be set to around -18 dB, the Range to about -5 dB, Attack value to 14%, Release to 34 %, and the Output to 0 dB. We will set the Ratio value to around 6.00:1, Knee will be set towards the Hard end and Lookahead at 1 ms. Let’s hear the result.

~Kick Drum – Processed With FabFilter Pro – MB

You can hear how we tamed the harsh sounding frequencies of our kick drum.

Lastly, let’s hear the difference between the unprocessed and processed kick drums in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Unprocessed Kick Drum

~Full Mix – Kick Drum Processed With FabFilter Pro – MB