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Mixing Pop with David Glenn [Kick Drum Excerpt]

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Mixing Pop with David Glenn [Kick Drum Excerpt]
Mixing Pop with David Glenn [Kick Drum Excerpt] - youtube Video
Alright, you’ll see some stock plugins in this mix, but they are not — it’s not something where I’m like, doing this to feature stock plugins and avoid paid plugins, so that out of the way, there are some plugins in here that if you fall in love with them, they are for purchase, but I will do my best to keep it from being a drool-fest and just kind of show you what I’m doing with them.

So anyways, original kick. Let’s take a listen to that, you can see I gained it up 10 dB.


Okay. And I chose to replace that. I went to Kick 2. This is from — I get them confused — this is from Sonic Academy. There was Kick 1. It was amazing. Kick 2 is just — blows it out of the water. I love it and I’ve been using this on anything Pop. Even Hip Hop. Definitely EDM. And actually, even layers on live drum type things. I’ll layer some stuff with the kick.

The presets are incredible. I think when I bought it, it included a couple of bonus packages or bundles, or whatever, but I don’t really even use those. I typically create my own, and I’ll go in and look at the tuning here of the notes and just kind of match that up to whatever track I’m working on. I’ll hit the bass, play the kick and the bass together and kind of feel that out. The bass is obviously in the melody. The tune of the track — the tuning — and then I’ll take the kick and solo it up against the bass and find what works, but for here, you can see the settings.

I used Kick 2. I really don’t remember it being a default kick, but nonetheless, if you purchase this, you can see that you can draw this in exactly as — one of my favorite things about this plugin — I love the adding the multiple clicks. You can really tone that up. You can — you’ve got the EQ, you’ve got the drive knobs. My favorite thing about this though is the ability to control the length. Right here, you can click and drag that left and right.

I’ve got it at 389 milliseconds. That just worked for the tempo of this song for me. For the tightness that I was going for — I thought I heard a little one coming in. Anyways, so the length, 389 milliseconds. That to me, that’s amazing. Let’s take a listen to again the original.

[original kick]

And then what I chose to replace it with.

[new kick]

Okay. And you can see, if I increase this…

[new kick, adjusting length]

And everything in between. Come on, that’s just nasty, right? Almost a different kick sound.

So that was my starting place, was I just clicked through, tried to find something that worked, I found it, I loved it. I tweaked the settings to taste, and then moving on from that, I used some EQ.

Let’s go ahead and get rid of this original kick and let’s go through the parameters here. Next up, we’ve got the Pultec. It’s my favorite EQ to start with for a kick drum, especially for the lows. I don’t — I’ll use it for 60Hz and 100Hz, but I really like subs in the kick, and I like the 30Hz and the 20Hz here on the Pultec, so you can see, I’ve boosted a little bit. It already does a little bit by just putting it on. They’ve got a little bit of a volume boost, but let’s hear it with and without this.

[kick, without Pultec]

That’s without it.

[kick, with Pultec]

Yeah, it’s pretty subtle.

There’s a little more fluff down there in the bottom end, and that was that. No top end in this particular case. We’ve got the Pro-Q 2. I was looking for a little 1kHz, 2dB at 1kHz.

[kick with Pro-Q 2]

You can hear that.

[kick, filtered]

Just a tiny bit of mid-range. Very small move there. Again, we’ve got a great sounding source sound from Kick 2. Not really that much that we have to do to it. A little bit of compression here from the — a little parallel compression, excuse me, from the Slate FG-116, the 1176. Here’s without it.

[kick, no FG-116, then with]

A little more attack. Again, pretty darn subtle. And again, that’s a low percentage there. If I remember, I was experimenting with, do I want to crush it or do I want to back it off? So just a little bit goes a long way. And then I’ve got the attacker plugin, which if I would’ve had Neutron from iZotope at this point, that transient designer is amazing. The fact that you’ve got the three separate shapes, the sharp, the medium, whatever they are, and the three bands, I absolutely love that thing.

I used to use Alloy 2 a lot. It would mess with phase quite a bit, so I started to be careful with how much I used it, but absolutely love the iZotope Neutron transient designer. It’s the best, in my opinion.

This guy right here, just adding a little bit of attack. You can hear without it.


[kick, without SPL Attacker and with]

Pretty big difference there. Driving quite a bit of signal into it, but definitely gave it some point and gave it the attack that I wanted, and man, that was it.

Alright, so there’s the main kick for the choruses. We’ve got the next track up, not in any particular order there. We’re going to go look at this down lift and — have I said that I love low end and I love generating more low end to elements? Low Ender is a great plugin. I love this thing. Refuse. Refuse Low Ender.

Waves Lo-Air is also incredible. Waves Lo-Air has more features and parameters. I was just comfortable using Low Ender for a long time. If I’m using it on a kick, I’ll typically use Lo-Air from Waves because I can dial it in a little bit tighter, but I just love the ease of this one.

So anyways, this down lift sound. Let’s play it with no processing. We’ve got the good ol’ sub splash from my template. Let’s hear that just the way it came to us.

[down lift, flat]

Okay. Pretty sweet. Now let’s throw Low Ender on it.

[down lift with Low Ender]

You can hear the extra generated harmonics down there. I boosted some low-mids, which affects the signal coming out of Low Ender. I love what this did.

[down lift]

It gets it on smaller speakers a bit better, and then we’ll talk about this a little bit later. Track Spacer I pulled from buss 30, which if I remember, was the — one of the other low end elements. We had kind of an overload of the low end with this, the kick, and a couple of other things at some spots, so what I did was I sent whatever’s got buss 30, we’ll see it eventually when we go through some of — there it is.

Okay, so the bass bottom, any time this hits and the bass is also playing, the bass is getting sent into Waves Factory Track Spacer to push down the bottom end of this down lift. So the down lift, when it’s by itself, will have all the bottom end that I’ve given it with Low Ender, but if we come out here to any of these instances where you can see the bass is playing out here, what’s going to happen is the bass is going to dominate. The bass is going to win the battle, and it’s going to push down the sub frequency range between 216Hz, all the way down to the bottom 20.

The bass is going to push this out of the way, the bass is going to win the battle, and so that is an incredible plugin. I use it for kicks, low end management, I don’t know that I’ve ever used it for anything top end. Sometimes on a kick to push some things out when the kick is the click, but for the most part, it really is just for low end. Managing my low end.

Next up, we’ve got this going into the sub splash. One of my favorite effects. I’ve done this for years. I’ve had this in my template. I’ve got the Lexicon 224, and you can see here, we’ve got the bass, mid, the crossover point, we have a treble. You have independent control of the decay times for those different bands, the low end, the mid, and the top.

The bass, I’ve got that cranked to 10, and what that does is pretty much sending that low end, the down lift file there, let’s go back to one with no bass in it and just hear this out. Going into the sub splash, you can see I’ve filtered everything above 75Hz. Sometimes it’s 100, sometimes it’s 200, but everything above 75, all the top end is gone. It’s just the sub frequencies, and it’s just going to create this cool splash of sub end — sub bottom end that’s going to resonate once this down lift hits.

So let’s take a listen to that.

[down lift with sub splash]

Some sub reverb. Sub splash. So that was that. Sometimes, I go a little crazy. You can see here, I’ve added 30Hz. I’ve got a clipping tool that even brought it up even more, the cool guys over at Drum Forge. Then we’ve got widening. I wanted this to be wider. I wanted this to have impact on the sides. You got low end, a lot of guys, they just keep it straight down the middle. Totally cool with that, I typically do keep kick and bass down the middle, but that’s where I like to create special sub frequency blasts out on the sides from — it could be an acoustic guitar, it could be other kick drums. This is a sub drop, and that’s that.

Moving on, we’ve got Track Spacer, where we’ve done the same thing. I’ve got the kick. Any time this is going to hit where a kick might hit — I think it only happened once or twice. Okay, so you’ve got one right there. You can see, I automated as well to pull down the tail end of it, but this has got Track Spacer. We’re sending to sub splash, and it’s receiving that signal right here from the kick, so kick SC is going into Track Spacer on the splash.

If the kick hits, it’s going to shove the sub splash down so that the kick dominates the low end, and we don’t get a drop off. You’ve got four on the floor with the kick, and all of a sudden, there’s no bottom end in the kick, or we overload the 2buss. That overload is nasty. I hate that. You hear it all the time.

So I use Track Spacer to go through and manage my bottom end and make sure that only one sub frequency instrument dominates on those single hits, if that makes sense.

So sub splash gets pushed down over here by the kick. Let’s take a look at that and see if you can feel the difference. Here’s no Track Spacer…

[kick with sub splashes, no Track Spacer]

Okay, and then here’s with it.

[kick with sub splashes, with Track Spacer]

Replay that a couple of times. You can really feel that if you tighten it up. Then when the whole mix is in, almost always, I identify the overloads, because you hear some grit and distortion in the mix — the 2buss will be overloaded, and so you go in, go to town with Track Spacer, and we’re moving on, so there is the down lift and the sub splash. We had sub kick next. This is going to be the verse kick, so we’ll go back over here and let’s take a look at this.

So we have two kicks that make this up. We were given just the sub kick, and then I took and created…


David Glenn

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

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