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Kicks created in no time

Drum sound design with Ableton: The ultimate hardtek kick

Published 8:33 am on Thursday 5th November 2020 by Beat Magazine

1 Let it do the click
Load an instance of the Wavetable and switch on Osc 2, leaving Osc 1‘s waveform on the Sine for now. This will give us the click of the kick. Osc 2, in turn, will give us the characteristic boom. The former is easily generated: Connect Env 2 with Pitch at +30 intensity and set Env 2 Decay to 150 ms.

2 Sub-Oscillator
Attack and Sustain are reduced to zero. This already creates a nice base for the kick. For amplification, we switch on the Sub-Oscillator on Octave -1. We also set the Amp Release to the minimum value and switch to Mono mode. With Osc 2, we now bring the second part of the bass drum into play.

3 Oscillator 2
Set its waveform to Triangle and reduce Gain to -11 dB because we can let the Oscillator thicken the Kick with Env 3. Set its Attack to 45 ms, Decay to 660 ms and Sustain to 78%. In the Modmatrix Env 3 should modulate Osc 1 Gain with -100 and Osc 2 Gain with +100, so that both alternate.

4 Filter for the main job
The second part of the work is done by the filters: Set the circuit to OSR for both. Filter 1 to Bandpass or Notch, Frequency to 90 Hz and Resonance to 50%. Filter 2 becomes a Highpass at 90 Hz and adds some Drive. The filter settings have the biggest influence on the sound; you can fine-tune here later to your heart‘s content.

5 Now let‘s get rough
Connect Env 3 to Filter 1 Res(onance) at an intensity of 45, which gives the kick even more flavor. To make it boom properly, you can turn up Filter 2 Drive further. For Hardtek, this should probably be enough. For harder kicks, we‘ll load the Ableton Amp with the Heavy setting and set Dry/Wet to 43%.

6 Kick fine-tuning
As a second effect, we load a Limiter with Gain -6 dB. As already mentioned, you should now play with the filter settings to find the exact sound you want. And automating the filter parameters brings life to the tracks. Tip: For an even more brutal kick click, set the Osc-1 Waveform to Rectangle.

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