Producer Ben Lindell uses the Plug&Mix Clarisonix plugin to add punch, fat and clarity to an electronic kick drum.
The Clarisonix has 3 main controls:
- EQ Focus
- Sub Level & Mode
Tweaking them quickly adds size, weight and presence to the kick drum’s original sound and helps the kick cut through the mix.
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Hey! How's it going? I'm Ben Lindell.
Today, I'm gonna show you how to add more depth and clarity to your kick drums.
I've got a track here already sounding pretty good, but my kick drum seems to be lacking a little something.
Before we get started, let's take a listen to the chorus of the song and see if you notice anything missing with the kick drum, and then we'll dive in and start working on it.
Here we go! It's a pretty good sounding track, right? The mix is pretty far along, but I'm listening on pretty good speakers, and I can tell there's a kick drum, but I can't really feel it yet.
So let's listen to the kick drum in solo and see what it sounds like.
Here in that kick, I feel like it's all head, and no chest or body yet.
I could try and use an EQ but there just might not be a lot of low-end information there to pull up.
Instead, I'm gonna use the Plug & Mix Clarisonix plug-in to add bottom and weight to my kick. Let's check it out.
I'm gonna start by tweaking the Lo Focus knob.
It doesn't tell you what frequency it is, but I can tell you that you can feel it right here.
As I turn that up, I'm gonna turn the output down just a little bit.
Now, let's check out what it's doing.
So as you can hear, as I turn the Lo Focus up more, the kick drum just suddenly becomes more bassy.
It does lose a little bit of definition towards the higher numbers, but that's probably a function a little bit of my parallel compression, and my 2-bus processing working harder as I turn up the kick drum.
Let's check this out, before and after, at roughly the same level.
So as you can hear, when I turn up the Lo focus, I'm losing a little bit of the attack, which is basically all that kick drum was to begin with, but I'm adding a lot of chest, a lot of meat to my kick drum, which is great.
Let's see what adding some Sub Level to my kick drum will do.
I wanna make sure that everyone's listening to this on either good headphones, or speakers that can reproduce these low frequencies.
If you're listening to this on earbuds, or laptop speakers, it's all just gonna sound the same to you.
So let's check it out.
I turn the output down a little bit more.
As you can hear when I'm playing with the Sub Mode buttons, just, it sounds slightly different. Some sound lower, some sound higher, and once again, they're not labelled, so you just go with what your ears tell you, which one sounds the best.
In this case, I think I like how Sub 3 sounds.
So let's check this out before and after again.
First, without the Sub.
And now, with some Sub.
It's not just for fun. Let's listen to the kick without the plug-in completely, and then with it again. First, without.
And now, with.
It's hard to believe that that's the same kick drum sample, isn't it? Now, if you look at my kick, it has a lot of weight to it, a lot of bottom end, which I was really looking for, but we've got to see how this sounds with the rest of the mix in.
Let's check out the before and after in the context of the mix.
And now, without.
And again with the Clarisonix.
It feels like I accomplished exactly what I set out to do with my kick drum, adding a lot more meat to its bones.
But I think in doing so, I may have slowed it down a little too much with all that weight.
I need to add some presence back to it, to bring it forward in the mix, and allow it to be heard on your small speakers and earbuds.
So I'm gonna reach for the Clarity knob just turn it up a little bit, and that should do just the trick.
I'm gonna play back the chorus one more time, and as it's playing back, I'm gonna crank up the Clarity knob, and you'll hear the kick drum just sort of move forward, and become more present as I do so.
So as I showed you today, it is possible to add more meat, punch, and clarity to your kick drums, without even using an EQ, or a compressor.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Until next time! I'm Ben Lindell.
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Ben is a NYC based producer/engineer who has worked with artists from MGMT to Soulja Boy, Bebel Giberto to Lloyd Banks, Ryan Leslie, Olivia, Tony Yayo, Red Cafe, Edie Brickell, Carole Pope and hundreds of other artists from around the world. He grew up in Iowa and then attended the University of Miami.
In addition to being a fantastic musician he is also a tremendous geek when it comes to anything technical, be it software, plug-ins, microphones or outboard gear. It's this marriage of musical creativity and technical know-how that makes him an in demand producer/engineer.
Ben is also the Director of Marketing at pureMix.net, feel free to reach out to him directly, firstname.lastname@example.org