Compression is a technique used by many producers and engineers. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to use a compressor; however, there should always be a reason when using one. In this tutorial I will be discussing the use of compression with a kick drum.
Although the kick is one sound, it contains three 3 elements: boom, smack and the click.
- Boom is the low end thud of the kick drum.
- Smack is the initial attack of the kick drum.
- Click is exactly what you think it is. Its the actually “click” sound in the kick sample. You might not attribute the click as something desired in a kick, but you should. Having a click in the kick will help bring out the kick to shine in a rather full mix.
As you use compression, you will notice a trend and things tend to be the same from session to session. Here are two example’s of compression on your kick drum: one, a more subtle effect and the other is more of a in your face hard hitting kick.
I will be using Logic’s stock compressor but this can translate to any compressor:
Example # 1 – More subtle approach to compressing the kick:
Ratio: 3:1 or 4:1 – Attack: 4ms – Release: 200ms – Threshold: adjust for about 3-6dB gain reduction
Example # 2 – More “in your face” approach:
Ratio: 6:1 – Attack: 3ms – Release: 200ms – Threshold: adjust for about 8-10dB gain reduction
Here is a video demonstrating the two compression setting live on a kick drum. You won’t believe how compression can dramatically change the sounds of your kick (for the better).
Comment with your compression recipes for your kick drum.