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Replacing and Controlling Kick Drums with Trigger 2 + Reference Tracks

Replacing and Controlling Kick Drums with Slate Digital Trigger 2
Replacing and Controlling Kick Drums with Slate Digital Trigger 2
Hey guys, David Glenn of and Today we’re gonna be talking about kicks and samples and why I chose in mixing the song chosen, to use Slate’s Trigger, Trigger 2, instead of using the well recorded live kick.

This isn’t how I mix every single song, I’m not using samples on every single song. Most of the time I’m using samples to blend or add something. In this case I completely replaced it and I’m gonna tell you why. So we’re gonna look at the kick but let’s first go ahead and hit play. You guys can hear the drums the way they sound.

[drum mix with live acoustic kick drum]

The reason I went with Trigger is for the fact that, one, I was on an extremely tight time crunch for this song. So I pulled in my trusty — one of the trusty kicks that I have from That Sound — you can check out I rave about those all the time. But after i pick this kick, Tighty Natural, what I did is, you can come up here you can mess with the tuning. You can see I dropped that down a little bit. But in the curves I’ve got the attack, sustain and release controls and I absolutely love this. The ability to go in and tighten up this kick. Let’s see if this is it, 06 and 07, let’s put this back to where it was originally and let’s take a listen to the kick drum, the sample.

[kick drum sample]

You can hear the extra oomph in the room noise. So in the mix.

[drum mix with sample replaced kick drum]


It’s not that bad to our ear like that. Now watch what happens whenever I come over here. And I do this a lot when I’m checking my low end. I’ll take a FabFilter Pro-Q 2 and I’ll take a high cut, low pass, and I’ll put that band all the way down to say, 140 or so. I usually go a lot lower, but let’s hit 135 and let’s take a listen to what it’s doing now.

[kick drum sample with low pass filter]

Now we can really feel and hear the low end and how that low end is sustaining. Well whenever I referenced the Jason Mraz track mixed by Tony Maserati, produced by Joe Chiccarelli, this is The Woman I Love from his last record, Love Is A Four Letter Word. Take a listen to what their low end is doing in the kick.

[reference track kick drum low end]

Do you feel how it’s pretty tight before I do the — it’s tight, it’s punchy, it’s got just the right bit of stuff we’ll call it. The kick that I’m working with sounds like this again.

[kick drum with high cut]

It’s a little bit messier and I like that Tony’s was tight, I like that it was punchy and we’re gonna try to get that same sound by coming in here and simply tightening up this kick. Sustain and release.

[Slate Trigger 2 + Kick Drum + ASR adjustments]

Moral of the story: Look at this sustain and this release to help you tighten up your kick sounds and when you think about it, when you hear this kick kind of be squished a little bit, when you boost the low end, it’s gonna kick of fluff it out a little bit more and then when you add the bass guitar and you’re mixing against the bass, the bass is gonna add some fullness, add some body to the low end — and for me, I prefer to have tighter kicks. If you go and you go what I taught you with the high cut/low pass filter against reference tracks I think you’re gonna find that a lot of the tracks you’re gonna reference are gonna have way tighter gated kicks than you might first think.

So reference some tracks, use this technique for tracks where you really love your natural sounds. Go ahead and sample them, create your own Trigger presets with the sounds that you love and take advantage of the flexibility that these tools give us with being able to control the envelope, the shaping, the dynamics.


A tutorial on replacing and controlling kick drums using Slate Digital Trigger 2 plus a reference track.

– Avid Pro Tools
– Slate Digital Trigger 2
– THAT SOUND Drum Samples


David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at