The kick drum may be considered as the foundation of club-oriented electronic music. In order to achieve dancefloor success, every producer should learn this instrument’s sound attributes. While our music-making predecessors had no other option but to record actual bass drums to tape, we now have an abundance of professional-quality kick drum samples, specialized kick drum designer instruments, and a plethora of audio effects for processing our kick drums. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use a specific tool that will greatly help you in gluing the kick drum to the rest of the elements of your mix. We believe using a multiband transient shaper as the primary tool for processing the kick drum saves time and produces better results.

As is customary, we prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW containing the majority of the elements of the full mix, including a partially processed kick drum. Let’s hear how that sounds.

This is a picture of my full mix taken before the kick drum processing.
~Full Mix – Unprocessed Kick Drum

We could argue that our kick drum could sound better in the context of the overall mix. To get a better sense of its sonic attributes, we’ll listen to it again. But this time only with the bassline and a few of the rhythm elements.

~Kick Drum – With Bassline & Basic Rhythm Section

The kick drum, as heard in the audio example above, is perhaps too prominent. It has a lot of punch in the mid and high-frequency spectrum. To resolve this, we could use conventional compression or EQ. But we believe that using the multiband transient shaper as the primary tool for processing our kick drum will save us time and produce better results. To begin, let’s insert a multiband transient shaper instance onto the kick drum’s effects rack.

This is a picture of the kick drum channel effect rack with MTransientMB interface and its parameter settings.

Transient shapers and designers are useful tools for more than just drum processing since they provide independent level adjustment of the attack and sustain portions of the transient. When compared to other devices, multi-band characteristics give far greater control. In this example, we’ve chosen MeldaProduction’s  MTransientMB, which is a multiband transient shaper processor with some added functionality. At first, we’ll start with the midsection of its interface. We can see controls for three distinct bands (bass, mid, and high) to increase or decrease the amount of attack. Below that we have a crossover filter section that enables us to separate the signals for each band. A nice addition is the saturation knob. It defines the amount of saturation applied to the attack signal. Moreover, it can be useful if we want to make our transients even warmer.

After adjusting the parameters to our liking, let’s make an A/B test. Finally, we will compare the unprocessed kick drum to the processed version with MTransientMB applied.

~Kick Drum – Unprocessed
~Kick Drum Processed With MTransientMB

We might argue that the processed version sounds considerably better to our ears. So, let’s check how our processed kick drum sounds in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Processed Kick Drum
If you liked this article, here are some more on transient shapers and mixing: