Hardstyle Kick Tips

“1. Analyze other kicks (all kinds you will learn alot), use eq to seperate frequencies (lowcut highcut) and s(M)exoscope to monitor the waveform.

2. First distort 909 kick or FM synth to fill up the spectrum and take out frequencies with eq than added another distortion, and then you can use distortion as parallel effect like you would use NY compression etc to add more harmonics to the sound. But the first 2 distortion plugins and equalizer are setting the foundation so to speak.

3. When you cut the lowend of your kick always use linear phase eq. Best practice is to do the lowcut in your kick project, and bounce the sample.

4. Use s(M)exoscope on masterbus and filter out highs around 100hz. do you hear any rumble. Check if lowend of the punch is overlapping sub, to remove rumble make sure the sub kick isnt too long and use invert phase (ableton’s utility), your sub should go upwards in phase so the speaker pushes it out. If its too long Use fades or volume shaper to shorten it. because the low frequencies have longer waves and they travel longer so the next time the kick hits at 150BPM it just builds up even more energy. You are 3 feet away from the speakers and you dont hear sub properly, stand up and go to the other end of your studio. How you place your lowend will determine drive and the loudness of your track too.

5. Dont design your kick in isolation, have always reference, use lead as a “wall” and see if your kick comes through it, then inside your main production project you can add the other effects, like sidechain etc and fine tune it. you will safe a lot of time.

6. I have seen people using limiters in kick tutorials. Dont over do limiting. Dont use it on whole kick, you will kill the punch, compress only the tail. On the punch you can use clipping/saturation, it will cut the transient without

any hearable changes and safe headroom (use ableton’s saturator or inflator for ex) you dont want your master bus limiter do the whole job, if its hitting over 6db reduction you need to shape that peaks man! When it comes to kicks you can use clippers/saturation on higher frequencies lets say from 300hz. Limiting can be handy to control for ex kick rolls if they go up in volume too much causing limiter to spike, but still best option is clipping/saturation.

7. Make sure the kick doesn’t overlap causing spikes, it happens when you use midi, so bounce it to audio and use fades.

8. If your kick has weird waveform, check if the lowend is out of phase, if it is then use lowcut. Use linear phase eq when layering.

9. The biggest peaks in spectrum analyzer should be lets say its F note then the first peak is F1 43.654 Hz (root) then second harmonic F2, subkick around 100hz and then character around F5 698.46 Hz with overtones and tok. Ofcourse it all depends on what kind of sound you going for. Remember every kick has its own sweetspot.

10. Try to design your kick in the chain. separate it in layers, lowend, character, punch, tok and then start tweaking it. Here Shaperbox or lfo tool are great plugins to shape the layers. This will help you alot, instead of just layering bunch of samples that don’t fit.

11. If you want to create huge sub for your kicks you can use operator inside ableton, choose square 3 or square d, add pitch envelope and use filter to cut off excess harmonics, in Filter tab you can find Shaper if you want to add even more drive.

12. When you use kontakt pitching algorithm, for some notes you will have to adjust the speed knob.

13. Experiment with different pitching algorithms Kontakt, Wavelab, Audition, Melodyne etc

14. Check Misstortion and Wavefloder by MeldaProduction (both are free)

15. To cut unnecessary frequencies, simply use high bell EQ and reduce the gain for ex. -10dB and just sweep trough the spectrum, did you hear any drastic change if not then you just cutted the frequency you dont need. You probably know already the opposite technique with boosting. If you see unnecessary sharp peaks in mids/highs you should lower them, great plugin to do that is Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter.

16. You aded sidechain cutted frequencies of your lead but still your kick doesn’t come through, you can try parallel distortion on your tail to add more harmonics. The best part is it will follow the pitch to.

17. To be continued…”

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