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Clipping kick drum intentionally? What is this kick sound?
Old 21st October 2013
Gear Head

Clipping kick drum intentionally? What is this kick sound?

In a lot of songs that I listen to it sounds like the kick drum is almost being purposefully clipped during mixing. Not in a bad way though, it gives it a lot of body and a different kind of sound than the typical scooped sound. I'm wondering what this sound actually is - are the mixers actually clipping the kick, or is it just some clever EQ and compression?

Here's a couple examples, listen to the kicks in the beginning of each song:

Old 22nd October 2013
Gear Nut
Gravit Dinchy's Avatar

What makes you think it's "clipped"?
It sounds "normal" to me, if a bit over compressed.
Old 22nd October 2013
Gear Head

Maybe it's the compression I'm hearing. The click just sounds much "harder" than the sound I'm usually able to get.
Old 22nd October 2013
Lives for gear
KRStudio's Avatar

The both videos sound like the "click" you get with a 1ms attack setting on a gate.
Old 24th October 2013
Gear Head

Okay, I'll mess around with that.
Old 24th October 2013
Gear Maniac

Most of what I'm hearing is compression. But I'm also curious about your mic(s) selection and placement. Are you mic'ing the beater to get that "click"?
Old 24th October 2013
Well this track might have AD clip on the kickdrum in mastering, similar cracking treble.

Getting away with murder

Last edited by OlofBerggren; 24th October 2013 at 10:50 AM.. Reason: Wrong link
Old 13th November 2013
Gear Nut

The kick is so present in that song opposed to so much other 70's rock, I kind of love it.

It sounds good in the right setting, but I could imagine it making a jazz/blues recording sound real funky.
Old 13th November 2013
Lives for gear
travisbrown's Avatar
Probably is more transient shaping than deliberate clipping. Transient Designer and other such tools are employed often on drum hits.

Björk and crew would sometimes go as far as chopping off the lead up to the transient so your ear didn't even have the chance to ramp up to the peak; the onset of the drum hit would be right at the peak and gives it a really aggressive, almost overdriven sound.
Old 13th November 2013
Gear Head

Dammit - Gearslutz ate my post!

OK, I'll try one more time...

Just sounds like a good, modern, well-recoded kick drum to me. At a guess, I'd say you could get close by doing the following:

Start with a modern kit - DW, Pearl, Yamaha etc. A vintage Ludwig or Gretsch will be much more difficult to tune for this sound. If you're going vintage, try Vistalites.

Batter head should be pre-damped - something like a Remo PS3 or Evans EMAD. Reso head should be single ply, with a hole. Tune the batter head nice and low - this will give you more attack, and tune the reso head for most 'moving air' out of the hole (probably a fair bit higher than the batter). Put a pillow inside the drum, and experiment with it's positioning until you get a good balance of attack to resonance. Use a sturdy, modern pedal like a DW or Tama, with a rubber beater.

Mics should be modern - I'd go D112 in (experiment with the position - could be anywhere from just inside the hole to nearly touching the batter head), Shure Beta 91 resting on the pillow, and an NS10 cone out. Balance these for the optimum mix of smack and thud. I'd go easy on the NS10 cone - this kind of modern rock doesn't need a ton of low end in the kick. You shouldn't need to do any radical EQing to these mics.
You'll hopefully get a good amount of snare wire fizz (NOT buzz - if the snare's buzzing, tune it out) in the overheads - this is an important part of the sound. You may need to lift the top end slightly on the OHs - depends on the mics.
Room mics can be anything high quality - usually condensers or ribbons. These are the only mics that will need radical EQ and compression, and what you do will depend largely on the sound of the room itself. Compress until you get a good amount of sustain in the kick and snare. Listen to the balance of cymbals to kick/snare and that will tell you wether you need to lift the top end or roll it off.

Preamps can be anything of a decent quality - most recording studios have a good mixing console, which should be more than adequate.

If you're trying to get that sound on stuff you're mixing which has already been recorded, you'll be fighting a losing battle if you don't have good sounds to work with. In that situation, I'd recommend just replacing the sound with a sample.

Sorry for the long post - hope it helps, and I'm sure others will weigh in with more good info.
Old 13th November 2013
Here for the gear

I'll mess around with that.
Old 10th December 2013
Gear Nut
JoshMoose's Avatar

I think they are right with the compression thing. It's probably being parallel processed and thats probably where that "click" is coming from. I don't know if this would help but I made this vid on EQing a kick drum. How to EQ a kick drum - YouTube

Let me know if you figure anything cool out!
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