On The Buses

Pic 10a copyOnce you’re happy with the sound it’s usually a good idea to combine your layered kicks into a more manageable single track of audio. This is easily achieved by routing the samples to a shared kick drum bus (or group).

Routing the separate tracks of audio into one mixer channel allows us to EQ and compress the layered kick as if it were one sound. It also makes it much easier to balance the levels of your individual drum elements – you’ll only need to adjust one fader to control the level of the layered kick drum, rather than adjusting each layer separately.

Finally, once you’re happy with the sound and processing you may find it more convenient (and slightly more efficient in terms of CPU and RAM usage) if you bounce the kick drum layers to a single audio track or resample the layered kick as a single sound:

Pic 11a copy

As a final point, at this point you may also want to edit your bounced kick drum into a single sound to add to your personal sample bank. Doing so is a nice way of growing your sound bank over time – you can then simply dip into it whenever you need a similar kick sound in future.

3rd January, 2013


  • Thanks for sharing this. Is it common to use stereo kick samples? I always track my kicks out of my drum machine in mono.

  • Hi Joel. Generally speaking, it’s best to keep lower frequencies in mono for a variety of reasons (we find it very difficult to perceive the stereo position of low frequencies and keeping low frequencies in mono allows you to use the full bandwidth of each stereo channel for maximum impact – very important for kicks).

    Keeping your kicks in mono is definitely the safest approach, although there are cases where including some stereo information in the higher frequencies of the kick can also work well. Try experimenting with layering stereo sounds to add the ‘click’ on top of a mono kick, for example.

  • that inverting phase thing is genious. thanks for the tip. i just tried it. wow!

  • Hi, how to inverting phase in Ableto Live? tnx in advance

  • Merzad,

    Phase cancellation in Ableton Live can be found in the Utility plugin, which also features gain control, a mono-stereo mixer and the voice of god.

  • i think in a club or in a crowd ,there will be no mono_stereo difference,someone answer me if i’am wrong,i’am just a trance listener

  • This is great information for beginners in kick drum design and will save them alot of time and pain !
    I am having trouble finding additional layers to add size, thickness, texture and character in the mids. For example, a classic TR707 top kick is brilliant for its punchy characteristics but even with various mix processing, it can still sound quite small and thin compared to modern layered kicks by top producers.
    Where would you go from this point ? (sub and hi freq layer is done)


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