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How to Mix Huge Kick Drums with Waves SSL and CLA-76

Hey guys. What’s up? Welcome to a new video this week.

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about drums. How do I get my kick drums big, how do I get them knocking, how to I get them banging, how do I get them bigger sounding? 

I wanted to walk through what I did in this mix. It’s kind of a House/Electronic thing. It sounds like this.


So let’s just listen to drums here. Solo them.


Alright. So first off, there’s two kick drums in this track. There’s this main one.

[kick 1]

That’s the one I’m really going to be talking about, and then there’s also a small one here.

[kick 2]

So there is kind of two fighting. They’re offset a little bit. The second one is a little more syncopated to the first, but the first one, let’s just solo it. I’m going to mute the parallel compression track as well.

So if I take off EQ and compression, it sounds like this.

[kick 1, dry]

This is what it sounded like when I first got it.

[kick 1, dry]

It’s not bad. It’s a good sample. I used an SSL EQ from Waves.

[kick 1 with EQ]

This kind of had some weird boxiness that I took out around 450, which typically, a lot of guys, you’re going to see a lot of kick drums, people are going to notch stuff out between 300 and even up to 500Hz. It’s not always one thing. Fish around in there and you’re going to find something that you can kind of tuck down.

Some guys will tuck it down — use pretty narrow Q. I like these SSL EQs because the curves are just great for this stuff, but this is like — I tucked this down to minus seven, almost eight dB.

Boosted a little 60 — well, 72 Hz.

[kick 1 with EQ]

Just to kind of give them a little more fluff on the bottom.

[kick 1 with EQ]

Right. Then we went to a CLA-76 compressor.

[kick 1 with compression]

Which kind of brings out the attack a little more, which is an important part of the kick drum.

[kick 1]

It’s not all bump.

And then this is going to a drum buss, which is all the way down here, and we’re using this UBK-1 plug-in.

[kick 1 with UBK-1]


Which kind of has it’s own thing. But also, this Studer tape plug does a lot to the bottom end as well.

[kick 1 with Studer tape]

It’s subtle, but it just kind of tightens up things. Makes things a little bit fatter. Just one more tiny move to the bottom end. So that helps a lot.

And then — but we want density. We want it just to get more presence, more mass in the mix, I guess you can think. So I send it to this mono parallel compression track, and this send is set at 100%, right? We’re at unity there.

So it’s going to the CLA-76…

[kick 1]

You know. Here’s the settings on the compressor. We’re going 12 to one.

[kick 1]


This is without it.

[kick 1, no CLA-76, then with]

It just gets it a little bigger. Just a little bit more, right?

The other part of having the kick drum sitting nicely is just — you kind of leave room for it. I’ve got a sub bass here.

[sub bass and kick]

So I have this thing low passed to like, 300Hz, and then I’m ducking out some boxiness there too.

[sub bass and kick]

And then — is this thing high passed? Yeah, I’ve got a high pass filter in here to 50. So a lot of the sub, sub stuff, this sub bass is taking care of.

Then there’s another bass synth on top.

[sub bass, kick, and bass synth]

Which I’m using Cambridge EQ, high passing that to 65 and then ducking out like, 350ish 10dB or so, which is kind of a lot.

[sub bass, kick, and bass synth]

And then I use this short stereo delay to kind of kick it out to the sides and make it stereo so it gets out of the center.

[sub bass, kick, and bass synth with delay]

So anyways, that’s what I did to the kick drum. Here it is in the track again.


And that’s that guys. I hope this clues you in on some stuff.

Again, kind of take some screenshots as I go through this and you can kind of see the settings. Keep in mind, parallel compression on the kick drum itself, not the whole kit. Keep in mind what I did on the drum buss as well when you try this, as far as tape saturation.

But anyways, that’s what I’ve got for you. Hit me with your questions, subscribe to the channel, like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, I’m on the internet. Give me a shout anytime, and I will see you next week.

Thanks a lot. Bye.




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