Synthesising a bass drum

Creating Drum Sequences In Xfer Serum

Drum Rack is a great multi-sampler made for drums as the name suggests. The result of this is being able to find a layer to add to the without tediously dragging and dropping each sample.

Advanced Kick Drum Synthesis with Native Instruments TRK-01

A healthy slab of EQ, tuning and enveloping will be needed on each hit to get it sitting nicely. We can take this sound even further. The kick has a great sub and some character but lacks some thwack and punch. Add a utility plugin to the duplicated track. Click both Phz-L and Phz-R so they are both enabled. Now, if you hit play you can hear the isolated kick.

Create Your Own Drum Sounds In Serum With Our Easy Tutorial!

Now you can hear it with the layer we made earlier. Now we can process the two audio tracks together as well as adjusting their combined level without altering the balance. Multi-band compression uses different compression settings on different bands of frequencies, typically a low-pass, hi-pass and one or two band-pass filters are employed. Bring the compression threshold down by dragging the right-hand rectangle to the left then drag down inside the rectangle.

Un-solo the band to hear the effect this is having on the overall sound, and adjust to taste. It could be resampled with more layers of kicks adding different characteristics: kicks sampled in big rooms, tuned to different pitches, breakbeat kicks etc. Layering kicks with a short hi-hat can add some presence and bite to a kick, too. The amplitude envelope has maximum sustain and minimum values for attack, decay and release, the low-pass filter is completely open and there are no effects enabled. A kick drum sound is made from a beater hitting taut skin and it occupies the lower end of the frequency spectrum.

Now drop the sustain to 0 and dial in the required amount of decay depending on whether you want a long, boomy kick or a short thump. Next we want to simulate the sharp transient caused by the beater smacking the skin. The sound will be unchanged so far.

Punchy Drums with Operator

Turn to Envelope 2, bring all the values to 0 and on the router turn the amount up to full. In a time before audio sampling became affordable or even viable, the only possibility for electronically generated drum sounds was good old analogue subtractive synthesis. Many of the drum sounds on classic electronic tracks of the late 70s, early 80s and even some from more recent years were created from scratch using synths.

The same principles apply if you want to try the techniques out in virtually any other subtractive synth.

The simplest place to start is with non-pitched drum kit elements such as cymbals and hi-hats. Next we need to shape the amplitude. A good rule of thumb for a starting point is to remember that drum sounds have no sustain element and that their attack is invariably fast. Set both decay and release to moderately fast to begin with. Tonally, the sound needs some work. Using a high-pass filter will make the whole thing more convincing. Most analogue synths utilise some kind of ADSR envelope. ES2 also includes two more envelopes. What if we want to create a tuned drum like a kick, snare or tom?

Very nice, and applicable to any analog drum synthesis as well!

Getting Deeper

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