The kick is one of the fundamental driving forces of most productions. If your kick doesn’t fit perfectly with the other elements in your mix, your sound will suffer. EQing, compression and other effects simply won’t get the job done if the source is not on point.
I’m going to show you my approach to choosing the perfect kick sample when I’m stem-mastering my client's music. It’s super effective and usually takes me about 60 seconds from deciding I need a new sample, to having the new kick in place.
Step One - Generate A Midi File From Your Kick Audio
Select your kick audio and click Control+D in Logic to generate the drum replacement midi file. You’ll need to set the relative threshold to capture what signal generates the midi.
Take a quick look at the midi file and make sure the notes have the same rhythm and timing as the original kick. You can quantize if needed.
Step Two - Jump Through Samples In The Context Of Your Song
I use Big Kick by Plugin Boutique to jump through a selection of great kick samples whilst the track is playing. My favorite kicks are from the Hyperbits creative suite sample pack. They’re super-versatile, it’s quality over quantity, and I always find a kick that works brilliantly with the production I'm working on.
I’ll use a couple of reference tracks here to help me get the kick at a good volume, but also to make sure it has the right low-end weight and character for the track..
These two steps work for any sample, at any stage in the production!
This approach can also be very effective in choosing hi-hats and snares. The sonics of your music evolves so much from the first beat to the final master. Changing the drums to gel better with your other sounds is sometimes necessary and can break down a barrier that’s holding your song back from reaching it’s fullest potential.