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Mixing Kick Drum with Samples

Hi, it’s Warren Huart. I hope you’re doing marvelously well.

What I’d like to talk about today is mixing drums.

I’ve got a very simple setup here. It’s essentially, you know, just kick, snare, overheads, and toms with one room mic. On this particular track, at least.

So what I’ll do is I’ll supplant it by adding some additional samples. I like to use Addictive Drums. There’s plenty of other ones out there, but that’s the one I’m going to use. Please subscribe, please go to where you can download exclusive content, and let’s get started.

So let’s go to Chase’s session, “Gone,” which we’ve been using quite a lot because it’s got a lot of elements to it.

So the drums were recorded here. It’s pretty simple setup, as I was talking about before. We’ve got a kick in here.

[kick mic]

We’ve got a kick out here, which gives us more of the oomph. That’s one of the Lewitt mics on the outside head.

[kick out mic]

What we’ve actually done on this kick out is there’s a little bit too much, “oom” going on, so we actually dipped something around 60 where it was kind of crazy going on.

There’s a master, which these are both going through. So on here, with this little McDSP plugin, I am pulling out some 300, and somewhere in between 300 and 350, I pull out a lot on drums. It’s kind of mushy and muddy, and it gives me definition for bass, it gives me the low mids on the guitars, you know, and you can pull it out quite a lot on drums without really affecting how you hear that drum kit.

Anyway, so I’m pulling out some 300, a little boost, you know. A tiny bit of boost at about 60, and some 7kHz and above just for the extra super highs. Then my API here, I’ve got some 10kHz, believe it or not, and some extra 50.

And to be honest, they’re small amounts, I just like the sound of API EQs. Just doing something with them is really quite tasty.

So here’s the two things together.

[kick in and out with API EQ]

Now, the kick is also feeding — if you notice, the kick in is also feeding just a D-Verb here, just for room. It’s similar to 50 milliseconds is like, kind of a medium, small to medium size room, so it’s, you know, sort of medium there.

It’s — it just gives it a bit of ambience.

[kick with D-Verb]

Because my drum room is fairly small.

And then what we’ve added is two different Addictive kicks. So these are Addictive drum kicks. This first one here is a metal kick, believe it or not. It’s all definition.

[Addictive kick]

Just for some extra definition. The one below it is a kick that I used for a different band. That’s why it’s called that. I just liked it.

[Addictive kick 2]

It also has a lot of ambience on there.

So all four together with the EQ and a bit of verb gives us this.

[all kicks and reverb]

Now, they’ve all got Time Adjuster on them, and you know, as we’ve talked about before in previous videos, I used the Time Adjuster to bring everything in phase. So on these here, these two Addictive and this one here, all the Time Adjuster is doing is just flipping the polarity so they’re in phase.

This one it’s knocking back in phase, so it’s bringing it back a few samples, as you can see there.

So that gives us a nice in phase sound. The metal kick, Addictive, a lot of 5kHz boost, a bit of 400 dipped, the other Addictive sample, 5kHz boost, 400 dipped. Again, I like the sound of the EQs, the API ones. So I will either use them or the McDSPs, because they’re the most analog sounding EQs that I have, and then I’m also using an SPL here. Transient Designer to just shape the kick a little bit.

So if you hear…

[kick without and with SPL Transient Designer]

It’s a little floppy.

A little tighter.

Transient Designer is a really, really, really good plug-in for shaping drums. You know, especially if you’re using a lot of compression and EQ. By the end of it, you can tie yourselves in knots if you’ve got a lot of stuff happening like that. You may well find that all the definition of your drum starts to go, and you can bring that back in. There’s a quick fix and a really nice little tool to get that snap back in the drums.

Cool, so let’s drop our kick sound. Our newly minted kick sound into the drums.


Cool. So it’s delivering everything that we like there. It’s got some nice low end. It’s also got some definition. And the live kick itself, you know, the inside and the outside one, provided I think a lot of great tonality, but you know, adding those Addictive elements — and they’re not super loud, as you can see. Ones at -19.5dB, and the other one is at -9, and the main element is the inside kick, but blending that together gives us a really, really cool kick sound, and you know, a little ambience from there, and you know. We’ve got great drums.

Well thanks for watching. I hope that really helped. Please leave some questions and some comments below, and I’d love to get into more detail. This is a relatively open, organic sounding track, so it doesn’t have big, huge, heavy guitars, so we don’t have to as EQ and compress maybe the drums as much as you would with that. We can do further videos showing how to EQ and compress drums in that way.

Please leave me some questions and comments below, and I’ll endeavor to do my best to answer them, and also if there’s anything else you’d like to see in future videos, I’d love to do those for you as well.

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So please subscribe, and thank you ever so much for watching!

Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at

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