I am trying to recreate something similar to the big techno kick found in the track below, which I find is really exquisite for this genre. It is impactful yet has what I perceive to be a rough tonality to it.

How would one go about to accomplish this, basically from scratch using a recorded kick sample? Any ideas on the type of kick used, compression, and other processing?

1 Answer 1


Well, the first reading when you make a kick rumble is to just add some reverb to the low end of the kick.. now the tricky part is that there are so many ways to do it and so many outcomes in the end.

The kick I'm listening to in this track you're posting, is definately a reverberated Kick Drum.

There are many ways to add reverb to a kick, someone could layer a natural kick drum recorded in a lively environment with some RT, because the reverb would actually be in a very good tune with the kick drum, or just add some reverb to your kick..

Where the magic really happens is when you manipulate the envelope of the reverb to act as a synthesized Kick Drum DSR and that's of course the hard part as well.

I will describe the process I would go through in order to create a Kick like that and see if that helps you because really .. this is a very YMMV topic.. prepare for some ADSR stuff as well..

Pick a Kick Drum sample, the kick in the song doesn't have a very fast Attack (500Hz-20KHz), it has a very strong Decay (90KHz-150KHz) and that's about as much as we care about for now.

So I probably would end up Low-Passing the Kick Drum, up to a point where i don't mess up the punch, and then probably add some 90-150 bump to have some chest hit.

Now I would create a send channel with probably a chain like Filter -> Reverb -> Filter -> Dynamic processing

I would first set the Reverb decay to roughly 3sec? and then start sending the kick. It's extremely important for the reverb decay to go by the BPM of the track, otherwise you might end up having too much rumble created from the aggregated reverberation (we'll see ways to fight that later). So start sending the kick and find the sweetspot of the decay. Then start shaping the Filter before the reverb, to "excite" the Reverb in a nice way, we aim for a natural sound, not too many bells and constants. Afterwards start shaping the Reverberated sound with the Filter after the Reverb. You now have a "tuned" reverb to your taste..

Now probably, the reverb will be too fast, meaning that it gets very excited when the kick hits, and as the kick dies, the reverb has nothing to work with and just adds some noisy algorithmical blabber, if this happens you might want to insert a compressor or a Transient designer before the reverb (and/or filter ymmv) and shave a bit of the attack, or even completely smash it with the compressor and give the reverb a lot of sonic information but not dynamic information to work with.

Supposedly, we have reached a stage where the reverb doesn't sound like crap but still the timing is not the best. If the reverb is way too big you have 2 ways to fight it, one even less Decay (careful about density as well here) and two, expansion. An expander will kill the reverb after a certain threshold with the given Attack speed, so it's like a gate but softer, this way you can control the S and R of your tail. The example you've posted has very high DS values and medium to low A(attack) and medium to low R(Release).. so it's like aDSr. If your reverb is too "Attacky" you can of course compress it with maybe leveling settings so it gets nice and flat (in dynamics) regardless of high release times since you can control it with the expander.

In case you don't want all these happening live, you can leave the expansion out of the equation, record the sample internally and then shape the tail with classic digital editing.

Reverb is somewhat formless so you really have to put some shaping and sculpting here.

Some notes: When you do this kind of work, you might want to work with some M/S techniques as well, like maybe cut the rumble (High-Pass) from the Sides (also needed for vinyl), or add some frequencies to the Sides, or compress the Middle more than the Sides to have a very dramatic effect.. with all these, you can easily make a kick sound like an explosion .. so have something in your mind before it gets out of hand..! Also check phase in all the steps, flip and re-flip and find the best. IF you end up having full mix Reverb you can play with pre-delay times to find the best phase for your kick.

I know it's a lot, and a rather unstructured answer on my end, but I couldn't find a better way to describe this with words.. think as i type kind of.. Also there are a lot of tutorials for kicks like these in youtube, but I've share some valuable small tips that can make a big difference and haven't seen too many people mentioning them! Good luck :)

PS: There are a ton of ways to do this, I did not cover sample layering as I don't think its a tool where you have 100% control, also don't forget YMMV, as well as this, would be my personal way of making a kick like this.

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