How to Add Weight to a Kick Drum with Parallel Processing

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Instant access to every in-depth mixing course from Matthew Weiss: // // Tips for using parallel compression to add weight to a kick drum.

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I’m working on a record here, and I came across a little situation with a kick drum, and I wanted to extend the depth and weight of the kick drum, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it, so I concocted a little formula, and it’s something that I think you can learn from and take for yourself.

So here’s where I’m at with the bass and the kick.

[bass and kick drum]

And then there’s also a layer kick on top of that.

[bass and kick drum]

Which gives it some good presence and some good body, and some depth, but I wanted the low end to extend further. I wanted the speakers to push out more. So I concocted a couple of ways that I could do that.

They’re based on the same ideas. A parallel processing technique where I compressed the kick drum, and then boost from the very, very lowest depths of the sub to really give it a lot of weight, and the way a kick drum works is when it releases in an acoustic kick drum, the pitch actually slightly descends, so if you compress it and you also boost from the low end, you really emphasize that descension of pitch, which gives it a lot of weight, which gives it a lot of depth, which gives it an interesting texture, and because I’m compressing it, that adds a little bit of harmonic complexity as well.

So the first way that I did it was using some outboard gear. A compressor, as well as a Tube-Tech Pultec clone, and it sounds like this. Before.


One more time, before.

[bass and kick drum]


[bass and kick drum]

So, I’m going to take it away and bring it back in one more time, but what I want you to listen to is not just the weight of the kick drum, which will become – it will feel a lot less heavy, but also the depth. Like, the front to back imaging in a way.

So listen for that. It’s going to sound a lot flatter when I take away this sub kick.

[bass and kick]

So, that one was done using really expensive outboard equipment, so I want to show you one that you can do in the box using significantly cheaper equipment.

This is the CLA-76. I have the attack set very, very fast, and the release set a little bit slow, and then I’m actually using the FabFilter Pro-G to shave off the leading edge of the attack so that I can focus more on the sustain and release of the drum, which is what I’m really trying to emphasize here, and lastly, I have the Hoser XT, and I have from 25Hz, I’m boosting up 15 decibels, which seems extreme because it is.

Here’s the before and after on that.

[synth bass and kick]

One more time. Before.

[synth bass and kick]


[synth bass and kick drum]

So you can hear that it’s creating a very similar effect, where it’s adding a bit of extra descent. It’s adding a little bit more weight. It’s adding a little bit more of an image to it.

In this particular case, I do prefer the stuff that I came up with using my outboard gear, however, if I wanted a cleaner take on things, I actually think the in-the-box version that I came up with is a little bit cleaner, and ultimately, I believe preserves the total headroom a little bit more, but I think of that as a very secondary importance.

Anyway, so the key to this is that I’ve formulated what I wanted to hear and what I wanted to target. I wanted that extra bit of sustain and release to come forward, and that’s so – I figured out a way very quickly where I could target that and bring it out.


Diogeness Beats says:

Is it also with 808 Kick ?

H - MusicLab says:

Very very subtle, not sure of what it adds…

Lloyd Richards says:

Good tutorial but I could barely hear the difference 🙁

Nate Krüg says:

i usually use a subbass plug in but i also use logic pro 9, not this.

Buddy Pearson says:

This sounds like the music from Fletch.

Walshy the musician says:

Great video Matthew. Thank you. I have one question for you.

Is the general idea here that you are using the 2 compressors to mainly compress the initial attack of the kick so that you can allow the release of the kick to be bigger? Usually this is followed up by increasing the makeup gain on the compressor to bring the overall level of the kick up. I didn't see this being done on the settings of the compressors here. Were you increasing the makeup gain somehow?


ryan schwabe says:

What software do you use to do your screen captures and video capture?

Diego Milazzo says:

Two questions:
1) How many dB reduction on CLA-76 ?
2) If I add the parallel channel do I have to reduce gain on main kick? Or better… which the gain relation for main kick with the parallel version?

Drasko Popovic says:

Fantastic 🙂

Only God Can Judge Me says:

Your always so helpful! Thanks for sharing!!

Mr PapaS says:

Nice One Thank you!

44numskull says:

Descension of pitch. Good band name.

stewsim says:

Another option is MOTU's "Subkick" plugin in Digital Performer…;-)

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