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Mixing an 808 Kickdrum Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 22nd October 2008
Gear Addict
Mantik's Avatar

Thread Starter
Mixing an 808 Kickdrum

How do you mix your 808 kicks?
I love the warm character of the 808 and got myself the Tape808-Package (cheap & great stuff btw the samples are tuned in G).

I always do my projects from the scratch and ended up in totally different chains of my 808 kickdrum mixing. Usually the 808 kick is lacking of "snap" on "boom" which means they always need some editing.

some example

3 layers:
1. pitch to key - natural sample, no editing
2. pitch to key - natural sample but a lot of distortion for the "boom"
3. pitch to key - heavy lowcut, heavy compression for the "snap"
- mix to taste all 3 layers into a bus, with EQ some peak around 100 htz (usually 110 for track-key is A)
result: is ok , then it depends on finetuning each layer an eq.

there is a lot more possible i am sure, any suggestions? the method from above is ok so far but it needs some hell of fine-corrections. it also offcourse depends on the bass (which makes me dipping the kick around 60-80hz often to make room for the bass)
Old 23rd October 2008
Gear maniac

IMO, if properly recorded the 808 kick doesn't need very much processing.
just make sure you whole mix has plenty of space for the 808.
only then it will really shine through.
Old 23rd October 2008
Gear maniac

Once or twice I've compressed the 808 for an effect (so the kick "swallows" all the other drums) but the other 500 times I've recorded an 808, the most processing I would do is to roll off a tiny bit of treble.

The reason they are so popular and sought after is that they sound good by themselves.
Old 23rd October 2008
Lives for gear
dlmorley's Avatar
It just needs space so I mix around it. Leave some room and turn it up to the right level. Decent monitoring is more important than tricks....
Old 23rd October 2008
a little eq to give it some attitude, or tighten it up a bit (808 is kinda "loose"), and some compression, to fit the tail in the groove mostly. I'm usually not layering the bassdrum. But I know many ppl. do.
Old 4th November 2008
Gear Maniac
messiahwannabe's Avatar

i almost always layer it with another drum (often just some sort of short clicky sample) to give it a bit of character. if you're going for a strict miami bass sound you might not do this, but otherwise it almost always sounds better this way to me (of course it's a matter of taste)

dave pensado's kick drum method is similar to mantik's post, and works very well for 808's, or any kick at all actually - it's really made a big difference in my mixes.
Old 6th March 2011
Gear interested

power 808

Hi Guys...I need some help. I recently listened to Kanye west's record called Power and was impressed with the kicks and was wondering if anyone knew how that larger life kick effect can be achieved. I'm using sonar 8.5 and has the waves mercury bundle...
Old 6th March 2011
Lives for gear
Xero's Avatar
does he even use an 808? didn't he state in some interview that he like used a 909 on 808s and heartbreak? lol...
Old 6th March 2011
Gear interested

One trick I use with Ableton Live is simply put a EQ3 on it. The EQ3 has extreme crossover frequency artifacts, and simply playing with the crossover points will add both punch and snap to it.
Old 6th March 2011
Lives for gear
Tarkovsky's Avatar

Wow, there is a use for EQ3 then!

808s I proces by dividing them up for transient, punch, and boom and work on them seperately/replace them with bits from others. Frankenstein kicks...
Old 24th June 2013
Lives for gear
ohsnap's Avatar

My 808 kicks never translate well to small speakers.
Any tips on that?

I mean on cans and my main monitors they sound nice but on small speakers they vanish except for the attack.

I've tried boosting harmonics / distortion and other usual stuff but then they sound too much doctored with.
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