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Augmenting Kick & Snare Drum with United Pop from XLN Audio

Augmenting Kick & Snare Drum with United Pop from XLN Audio
Augmenting Kick & Snare Drum with United Pop from XLN Audio
Hey there, Ian Vargo here from The Pro Audio Files.

Today, I wanted to introduce you to the United Pop AD Pad from XLN Audio and Addictive Drums. I’ll be showing you guys how I use this Virtual Instrument within the context of a mix. So let’s get into this Pro Tools session and check it out.

So as I cover in my new mixing Pop Course, what we do a lot in modern music mixing is drum augmentation and replacement. So if you have drums that are perhaps missing punch, or snap, or low end, or room, whatever, it depends on the song and the drum, we use samples and virtual instruments to replace those missing qualities, and so that’s what I did with the kick drum and the snare drum with this particular track.

So there are a couple of different ways to go about this, so let’s show you them. The first thing you can do is use third-party software that will analyze your audio clip, in this case, it’s kick drum. Then you can very simply click and drag onto an instrument track, and it creates these MIDI On notes. You then use these MIDI notes to trigger sound from a Virtual Instrument. In this case, I am using United Pop from Addictive Drums.

So let’s have a listen to the original kick drum.


So it’s a good sound, but within the context of a really dense arrangement, it was sort of lacking in clarity and punch, and wasn’t cutting through. So let’s play now the sample on top of that, and then I’ll combine them and then we’ll hear it in the context of a mix.

[kick sample]


So we have the nice full low end of the original kick, and then we have this really nice roomy punch from the kick that I added on top. Let’s hear it now in the context of the entire mix, and let’s start by muting the augmented drum.


So I started out with that sample muted, and then I brought it in so you could hear the difference. I did have it mixed a little bit hot, just for the sake of this tutorial. So no matter what your drum is missing — in this case, the kick drum had nice low end, but needed some punch and a little bit of room — you can bring that in depending on how you manipulate the different settings.

Now these presets, what they do is as you switch through the different presets, they change sometimes the kit pieces, how they’re edited, and the effects that are applied to them. And these are of course, fully editable after the fact. So if you don’t like the pitch of a drum, you can turn it up or down. Really allows for a great level of customization. So you can get the exact sound that you want.

Let’s try it now on snare. So we have a similar situation here, I have my original snare drum. I created my instrument track, I’ve got my MIDI triggers setup, and Addictive Drums inserted on that instrument track. So let’s take a listen within the mix. I’m going to mute the augmented sound.


I really like that relaxed and solid preset. Did a really good job on both kick and snare for this particular track.

Alright, let me show you a different way of going about this. I am going to open up Addictive Trigger, which is also from XLN Audio. What this does is it gets rid of the need for another piece of software to create these MIDI triggers for you, and you can do it in one convenient window. It’s pretty amazing.


So what happens is I’m going to hit play, it’s going to read the transient information, and I am then going to toggle through some of the different snare drums. Here we go.


Okay, so not all of these are included in United Pop, just so you know, but as you could hear, I have the original, the source, and then I can blend with the Addictive Drums augmented sound, and it’s just a really quick, helpful way, to if your drums are lacking in something, adding those qualities back in.

So what you can do, if you want to hear what just United Pop brings to the table, is select this preset browser, and I’m now going to toggle through these presets. Let’s hit play and audition some different preset sounds of the snare drum.

[snare samples]

So this is a super helpful piece of software if you’re a mix engineer and need help beefing up your drums, which in the case of Pop music, you definitely want your drums to cut through.

So United Pop itself was recorded in a famous Hollywood studio, excellent engineering, professional drummer in a beautiful room, doesn’t get much better than that, so I definitely suggest checking that out.

So great job, XLN Audio on Addictive Trigger and United Pop. Make sure to check out my new Mixing Pop course, and Pushing Static, Stargazing, which is the track that I used for the purpose of this tutorial.

Again, this has been Ian Vargo with The Pro Audio Files. Thanks.


Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo is a Producer, Mixer and Audio Professor based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Get in touch and learn more on his website.