Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kick drum EQ

Now we got the boring bits out of the way. Lets start with the fundamentals of dance music. Now this differs with every genre but the kick drum sets the groove of the track. If you write four four tracks, especially house music or electro, the kick drum needs to be dominating the mix. If you are writing break beat, then the snare drum will dominate the mix.
Listen to your favourite tracks and listen to what instruments (just concentrate on the drums for now) are more prominent and how they sound. Listen to the kick and see what frequencies it is filling. Also compare how loud the drums are compared to other instruments (basslines for example).

It is alot easier to know how to get to a place when you know where you have to be.

So the same applies in this situation. Knowing what you want your tracks to sound like will help you get it sounding they way you want. If you don't think about it then your mix may sound uneven and it will take you longer to get it sounding right.
Trust me. It may be subliminal but your brain will work the track to sound like they way you want.

OK. So lets start with the kick drum. Get a frequency analiser out see where your kick drum peaks. You want your kick to peak around 60-110hz (for kick drum heavy tracks).
Put an eq on your kick and cut below 40hz as you do not want the sub of the kick interfering with the sub of your bass. If it needs it, boost around 60-110hz. If you are writing drum and bass, then you should cut below 100 or 80hz as the track is alot faster and sub of the kick will not be important nor will the sub keep up with the speed of the track. It is common for kicks to be muddy around 500hz so you may want to cut around there with a medium q by about 3db.
If your kick lacks top then you could boost between 6000-8000hz but be carefull with boosting. It is better to cut than boost so boost with a grain of salt (about 3db). Not too much!!!!!

OK. You may wish to lyer some kicks together to make a new an better kick!! Be careful with layering kicks though. The bottom end can cause some phasing issues so pick your kicks carefully. Pick a low end kick and a topy kick.
Once you found two kicks that work together, send the outputs of both channels to a group channel and call it kick group.

After your eqing is done, compression is next in line and it will be covered next time.

Eqing is an ongoing battle so stick at it and always compare with your favourite dance music tracks.


  1. awesome bro. This re-freshed my mind. yes stick to the basic aye. good times.
    stay creative!!!

    big ups

    Hide / Rare Shot Blue

  2. So if I use say an 808 kick layered with a 909 kick should I EQ them together, or should I EQ them separately and then layer and send them to a kick channel?

  3. It's hard to say but play around and see which way sounds better. You will get different results doing them both ways. These tips are just guidelines and I still recommend trying other ways. This is just how I do things.
    I normally just cut below 40hz on both kicks then send to group. Then I eq the two kicks then compress. Hope that helps.

  4. i wouldn't layer a 909 and 808 kick as the 909 also has a large bottom end. Try a 707 kick with 808 instead

  5. In this post provide awesome information about fundamentals of dance music and also kick drum sound. Its very useful for professional musician and voice over artist.