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How to create a minimal kick/bass pattern in your DAW

(Image credit: Future)

Interplay between percussive low-end elements is important in minimal genres. Here’s how it's done...

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Here’s a minimal synth bassline that plays between each beat. The bass plays between the kick of our 4/4 kick part but its tail is so long the sounds overlap. And the kick isn’t tuned to the same note as the bass, which makes the overlapping sound worse.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Setting the kick’s sampler patch to -2 semitones makes it sound much better, but it will be improved further if we prevent the sounds from overlapping. Using an envelope to control volume of the kick will help.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: We turn the sampler patch’s Sustain and Decay down. Here we’ve opted for a Sustain level of -inf dB, and a Decay of 206ms. Despite curtailing the kick’s subby tail, there’s still a lot of low-end energy, so we use an EQ Eight to hi-pass the signal at 40Hz.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 4: The kick sound uses up a lot of headroom; we can scrape a bit back with a little saturation. Add Live’s Saturator effect and set its Drive to 1dB. Set the mode to Waveshaper, and click the triangle at the right-hand top of the effect’s interface to bring up the waveshaper’s parameters. 

(Image credit: Future)

Step 5: Set the waveshaper’s Lin parameter to 80% – this gives us around the same perceived volume at the raw signal, but it doesn’t peak so loudly. The left and right sides of the signal peak at different levels – this kick is stereo. To make it mono, add a Utility effect and turn its Width down to 0%.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 6: We can squeeze more headroom out of our mix by compressing the bassline with a sidechaining input fed from the kick. This will imperceptibly duck the bass volume when the kick plays. We’ve used a Ratio of 4:1, a Threshold of -22dB and a Release time of 20ms.