It's all kicking off
Static sampled bass drums are all well and good, with plugin effects and your DAW's editing features giving you endless options when it come to customising them; but when you want full control over your kicks, a dedicated instrument is often the best option.
The five examples we're going to show you here each have samples, synthesis or a combination of the two at their core, and offer a bespoke set of controls that make the process of designing kick drums easy and intuitive. Perhaps most importantly, though, they all sound fantastic.
Without further ado, then, let's get kicking…
Sonic Academy Kick
Sculpt a synthetic sub kick, layer one of the hundreds of preset click samples (or load your own), then shape pitch, click amplitude and sub amplitude via the three breakpoint envelopes, and apply onboard distortion and limiting.
Version 2 has recently been released, and we’re looking forward to reviewing it soon!
FULL REVIEW: Sonic Academy Kick
Plugin Boutique BigKick
Combine a synth sub layer with a click/top/character kick layer, tune the layers to fit, then sculpt the results with built-in EQ, overdrive, hard clipper and “Punch” control.
You can drag and drop between BigKick and your DAW to import and export audio to and from your projects.
FULL REVIEW: Plugin Boutique BigKick
Metrum features a low-end kick synth, plus three - yes, three! - sample layers for blending in the perfect amount of character and attack. It’s crammed with useful features, too: two filters per layer, three distortion models, a two-band EQ, envelopes, drag and drop sample import, a randomiser and an output limiter.
FULL REVIEW: Vengeance-Sound Metrum
Producer's Choice 808 Warfare
The TR-808’s bass drum is a legendary sound, forming the backbone of countless hip-hop, R&B, pop, house and techno tracks. Aimed at the true 808 connoisseur, this Kontakt 5 instrument is full of meticulously recorded and processed 808 kick drum samples.
READ MORE: Producer's Choice 808 Warfare
Many kick generators feature sample layering of some kind, but BazzISM is strictly a bass drum synthesiser. With a number of controls for tailoring the sound, it puts unique and personalised kicks at your fingertips, and can even turn its hand to bass sound synthesis.
READ MORE: ISM BazzISM