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Kick compression w/PT plugins
Old 8th March 2003
Gear Maniac
nbutter's Avatar

Kick compression w/PT plugins

With great respect for the community here, and a little newbie trepidation, I ask the following question...aware that I know little and hoping to learn a bit more...

Which of the following plugins would you recommend for kick drum compression -- and what settings (roughly) would you recommend trying for a start?

I ask because I have access to a friend's PT HD system with a great plugin library...but I will have limited time so any headstart is welcome.

He has:

- Bombfactory LA2A
- Bombfactory 1176
- MacDSP Compressorbank
- Waves Renaissance

I am producing dance music (house)...the kick is the star!

Any recommendations for the creation of a massive club-friendly low end?

Hoping to "fall in love" and figure out which plugin to get for myself...thanks in advance for replies
Old 8th March 2003
- Bombfactory 1176
- MacDSP Compressorbank

On the compressorbank - play carefully with "attack" and the "bite" setings.

The BF1176 is very good.

Dont forget the 'copy tracks' technique:

Copy SEVERAL versions of the kick
Smash them with various compressors and distortions
Blend them to taste - with the original uncompressed signal
(keep all plug in delays the same with "time adjuster")

Myself, I usually use analog outboard these days.

Old 8th March 2003
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

I've gotten surprisingly good results by simply using a ren compresser's or Ren Channel's output peak limiting with the compression ratio left on 1:1. You just crank it up and let it overload to taste!
Old 8th March 2003
Gear Addict
CrazyBeast's Avatar

What Jules says! I also like the BF Fairchild on kick sometimes if the tune isn't too fast. Outboard is usually the way I go though.
Old 8th March 2003
Gear Nut

i gave up on plug in comps for kick till the Sony comp came... now, it's a different world... I'm very pleased with the sony comp on kick and snare (with side chain of the snare ).. I"ve never found much to use the BF 1176 and La2a, but I like the Fairchild on some things...
Old 8th March 2003
Gear Maniac
nbutter's Avatar

this is great - thanks so much - gives me a real headstart. Jules' suggestion to mix/match a lot of different versions makes a lot of sense!

Gearslutz is great....
Old 8th March 2003
Lives for gear

nbutter, you might try upward compression with RenComp while you're at it. You just put the ratio into the blue section and the more you lower the threshold, the louder it gets. I usually don't go above a ratio of 1.5 or 2 with upward compression. Try setting the warm control on, and ARC engaged, and watch that the limiting light doesn't go into the red. If it does, it's gone into clipping instead of limiting. Also, for dance stuff, Smooth might be better (than Warm)... more predictable and stable constant pounding. I also like some Aphex Big Bottom without Tracking engaged, with the drive setting tweaked so that the plug is doing as little of its compression as possible, and then cranking the mix output to the max. 50, 60, 70, or 80 hz as the Tune range are very fun to play with, but it depends what frequency works best with the song in question. I don't know if your friend has this plug, but if so, it really works for thumping kick drum.
Old 10th March 2003
Lives for gear


Would go with Compressorbank, following Jules' recommendations. However:

Since you're doing House music, you're using sampled kicks, yes? If so, why in the world would you want to compress the kick track by itself? Seems like a BAD idea to me.

If you're actually doing house with live drums, then rock on, brother. tres cool!
Old 11th March 2003
Gear Maniac
nbutter's Avatar

i'm using a combination of samples and live drum machine synths but not live acoustic drums. what i'm looking for from compression is more "punch" within each drum hit, not so much evening levels between different hits. uncompressed, the electronic kick is kind of all over the place...

i do have some plans to track some live percussion later this year... but i think live kicks in dance music aren't the best idea ; )
Old 11th March 2003
Lives for gear
Nutmeg II.'s Avatar

Doing sample based music and using comps on it is totaly legal!
BUT you should always use the ADSR envelops to shape the sound it could do compresor like efx and even more!
Old 12th March 2003
Lives for gear
jazzius's Avatar

i also don't really understand why you'd compress the (sampled) kick by itself unless you're unhappy with the sound........if so, why not get a different sound or edit the one you've got?............compressing individual drums very often only makes 'em smaller...........i think the sound you're after (house) is the way the kick relates to the rest of the music...this is because of compression,,,,,, on groups.........everytime the kick bangs it ducks the rest of the music down, giving a pumping, bouncing feel to the music.........careful tweaking of the compression settings and the level of the kick (in relation to everything else) will be required.......a good trick is to compress the instrumental hard with a stereo comp' to get that bounce, then add the vocal on afterwards so it isn't smashed too much by the kick.
Old 12th March 2003
Gear Maniac
nbutter's Avatar

great ideas, i said i think some compression can improve the sound of my drum-machine as well as some sampled drums... but your comment about the overall dynamics of the drums is very interesting. i confess that i had not thought about compressing everything minus vocals and then adding vocals after, that makes tons of sense.
Old 13th March 2003
Gear Nut

Also try compressing the bass using the kick as a trigger, So the attack of the kick ducks the bass attack ( just a little) you will find a nice 'gelling' effect happens as a result.
Old 17th March 2003
Gear Maniac
Chae Ham's Avatar


One of the most practical ways to get a kick(or any percussion inst.) to "pop" is to set a slow attack(as slow as tolerable) and a fast release(as fast as tolerable)... This way you let the transients through without the compressor being able to smooth it out and it closes fast enough to give it a pumping feel.
Old 18th March 2003
Gear Addict

Remember that you'll need to correct the timing of the kick due to processing delays with whichever compressor you choose to use. You may find it advantageous to bounce the track with compression and align them to minimize processing delays.

Old 18th March 2003
Gear Nut
heartsoffire's Avatar

Two things:

1) If you use Audiosuite after you get the sound on the indivdual track, there is no plugin latency.

2) I've used RenBass on the kick to get a nice round sound out of the bass - adjusting the frequency and intensity to control the "boom."
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