Mixing Kick Drum to be Punchy and Aggressive


Mixing punchy and aggressive kick drum is fairly simple job to do. All you need is an EQ and a compressor. In this video you’ll learn how to use them effectively to achieve desired results. In the end of the video you’ll find a list of adjustments that I usually do when mixing kick drum.

Like I mentioned, all you need is EQ and a compressor. In this video they’re in the same plugin. Use an EQ before a compressor. Use the plugins that you have in your disposal, by all means there’s no need to use the same SSL Channel, I’m using in this video.

Low cut filter is a good starting point to get rid of some of the excess low frequency build up. You don’t really need that below 40 Hz stuff anyway. Set the low cut filter around 40-60 Hz.

Find a muddy frequency around 160-400 Hz and cut that out. Don’t be afraid of cutting even above 10 dBs here. On the other hand if the kick sounds boxy / honky, try cutting around 650-900 Hz.

Usually mixers don’t boost enough high end when it comes to mixing drums. Use your ears instead of eyes, even a 10 dB boost may be necessary here. Use a high shelf from 8 kHz upwards. This will emphasize the attack and the click of the kick.

Another boost around 2,5 to 4,5 kHz might help to bring out the slap of the kick.

With compressor you want to use slow attack and fast release to give that extra punch and aggressiveness to the kick. The higher the ratio, the more obvious the compression is. Experiment with threshold and ratio to get the sound that you’re after.

Kick drum checklist

Hopefully you found this video helpful. If there’s anything you want me to cover in the future videos let me know. Send me an email or leave a comment below. Ask if there’s anything unclear or if I left something out. Cheers!

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