For the next few tips, we’re going to take a look at kick drum synthesis. What started all of this was a tip submission that came in a week or so ago…

If you’re new to synthesizing drums, today’s tip is a great one to get you started. Once you’ve gotten up to speed with this one, we’ll go quite a bit deeper and look at lots of different techniques. If you’ve got any to contribute, please send them my way!

And now, I turn you over to David D.L. of Montreal, Canada and the Electro-Pop duo PopChoppers

First, drop a default Operator into a MIDI track. Set the algorithm to the last setting on the right : the four little squares side by side. This makes Operator act like a four oscillator subtractive synth.

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Set oscillator A to Sine (the default), crank the release time up to 410ms for a nice big thump, and pull the Sustain all the way down. This will be the main body of the sound.

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You can also set the Velocity sensitivity of the osc (Vel) to 70% for a more dynamic response.

Next Up, dial in the settings for oscillator B. This is the clicky attack (without which the sound would be as dull as a Celine Dion Christmas song!).

Set Wave to Square D and pull the Sustain level all the way down. Set the Decay to anywhere between 1 and 50ms to get just enough click to feel the attack. This oscillator has a very short but quite useful existence…

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OK, these are the first few steps! In the next tip we’ll get this thing to actually sound like a kick drum…


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