Hardcore Kick Drum

Hello everyone,
I was watching this youtube video (link) and I was wondering if this is possible with free vsts and renoise and the 909 kick.
Ive tried double distortion in the dsp chain and lofimat and stuff, but its not that full and distorted.
Oh, and I am pretty sure that someone can help me out on this one :D
Thank you,

i had more success doing this specific kind of thing with reason and sampling it into renoise, purely because i haven’t found any distortion vsts i get on with really. maybe i just need to look harder though. i know people seem to rate predatOhm and camelphat and stuff, but they just don’t sound that great to my ears. the reason scream unit and the malstrom + equaliser in reason are pretty solid for this kind of thing and straightforward to use. i think guitar pedals like the boss metal zone work better than most distortion vsts ive used, but then you have to route it back through and/or sample it and so forth, it’ll be way more of a hassle although you could get some great sounds. if this is the EXACT sound you want then the reason setup might be the way to go, but obviously you want to automate the changes ideally, not just have a couple of pre-sampled kicks with different filters and stuff. also you can get a sound which isn’t quite like everyone else doing with with reason if you get it going in renoise ;-D

they key is probably to do this, roughly:

  1. get any vst synth which allows you to have a pitch bent note such as a basic sine wave (where the pitch bend goes down quite quickly from the beginning of the note), and possibly you want to modulate that with another waveform. pretty much any old vst synth will do this. or you can use a 909 sample or something, but if you generate your own kick sound you may get a more unique interesting sound.
  2. find a distortion plugin(s?) you like the sound of and play around with it.
  3. add some filters and EQ, experiment with different settings.
  4. try sending the kick sound to one or more seperate effects channels, and keeping the clean or cleaner kick drum there in the mix, that way you keep the pure bass sound so it still sounds deep in the bass department. music with this kind of kick drum invariably uses it also as a bassline so you need to approach it in a similar way to designing bass sounds. try EQing the different layers differently until it sounds good.
  5. you could resample and repeat the above, layering sounds multiple times if needs be.
  6. also consider the speed at which the note is pitch bent, you may want it faster depending on the bpm of the music you are producing. slow pitch bend is probably more appropriate for slower music, for example, faster beats will probably necessitate a faster ‘snap’.
  7. play around with compression, maximisers and stuff.

Ive tried to put several kicks on different and same channels, but I did not have the normal 909 kick in the mix for the bass,
also I will check out the reason demo, but I think there is a siiiiick plugin that is free, but I cant tell for sure ;D
Maybe someone can give me some advice by hearing a little example.
Ive got it on my myspace site (the last track), simply because you can stream it there instead of downloading it (which I think is a bit annoying just for an example to show).

909 kick + Guitar Rig or Izotope Trash = pwnage

you might want to try cyanide too. ive been messing around and this is what i produced. im not sure it came out quite right, bit too noisy, but whatever. this was done mostly with the native renoise effects and cyanide and a sine wave pitch bent in an audio editor for the kick sound. there’s a pitch bent ymvst sound in there too.


I’d also try using the Velocity metadevice with the LFO custom One-shot to envelope distortion parameters ;)

A dummy’s guide to hardcore kick:

909 kick ->
highpass filter around 110 Hz ->
razor distortion, 100% filter ->
10 band EQ, boost low-end and hi-end ->
compress, low attack, high release

This is one of the MANY MANY MANY ways to pull it off. Half of it depends
on the rest of your track tho, the place of the kick in your mix. It’s ALL and
ONLY about the IMPACT. Getting something sound fucked up is the easy part.

okay, Im gonna try that out, thanks so far :D
Gonna report it later on.

I’m pretty bad at this stuff myself, but the few things i’ve come across that have helped me are mostly to limit your lowend before distortion, gaining up again post distortion, and to fuck around with the midrange bands, possibly pre and post another distortion unit. Also, like with drum&bass bass sounds, you can make a “high kick” just fine with very little lowend and double that up with a kick designed for lowend punch.

As for distortion, i’d have a quick look at MDA Bandisto as well, which is a pretty “okay” multiband distortion unit that i find myself using a hell of a lot, especially for 808 distortion.

Compression is really a doubleedged sword here. If you take a step back and look at a distorted kick, what you’re doing is just create a big square wave synth stab where the bass of it is pretty much incidental to how you modulate it. Compressing it pre or post can add click or pump to it that actually just wrecks any real sense of impact it has. You’ll often find that ducking sounds under a kick will make the kick seem harder than just ducking the kick itself.

I’m personally a big fan of finding a good point midway through and loop it so you sustain the “peak” of the tail end of the kick, and then modulate the amplitude or filter with instrument envelopes to really model it down.

It needs to be said that i’m not very good at this at all, so this is hardly like OH WOW. But still, here’s a test i just threw together.


The secret of HC kick is simple. Compressor + Distortion. And most important part: Let the dry signal through aswell. Add phaser and other cool effects on higher frequencies according to your taste. You can easily pull it off with renoise internal effects.

Horrible advice there Suva. Horrible, horrible advice. I’m deeply disappointed in you.

OH WOW … seriously sunjammer, that kicks ass … DUDE … oh fuck I just came

grabs that XRNS and runs with it

so good so far,
Ive tried to install the izotope trash but it didn work, dunno why, cause I installed it into my vst collection and nothing happened.
Also I tried the guitar rig and it seems to be the right direction where I will go to.

well, its clear as vodka for me, that a hardcore kick is a (mostly 909) kick with distortion and maybe compression on it, but as you all know there is a biiiiiig difference between oldschool hardcore like this:
and newschool

oh and yes, I know that there is no oldschool and newschool hardcore or something, I use these terms just to make clear the difference :D so plz dont be upset or something.

it’s sweet, and useful to examine, thanks. interestingly altering any of the settings here seems to return the sound to the not-quite-there sounds i always seem to end up with.

i don’t quite get how cutting the bass before distortion increases the bass response… how does that work exactly? is the point to balance the higher frequencies with the low so that when it distorts you don’t swamp the high with the low… a bass kick is mainly bass so you need to reduce the low frequencies to get it to sound ‘full’?

also, apologise if im missing something obvious, but how is that first filter 3 in the chain triggered to do those fast sweeps in time with the rhythm?

oh… automation. who’d of thought. :blink:

Automation is nice ;)
Actually it’s more about how lowend messes with the other frequencies when you distort really. Lowend just doesn’t distort nice, but is quite easy to gain back up.

It needs to be said that i didn’t really apply any “science” here. This was just a case of adjusting a lot. As it typically is.

It’s funny that you note that changing any of the settings wrecks the sound. This is why i requested a restore state button earlier, and also why i put a filter at the beginning of the chain for most of the modulation. The things you do in the beginning matters more than what you do near the end; sometimes just making distortion->eq->distortion->eq->maximizer chains and dropping a resonant highpass at the front of it will do miracles

The xrns is trikky stuff :D
the loop in the sample is a nice thing :D

okay that makes sense. good.

interesting stuff! haven’t seen a chain before like you posted sunjammer :blink:
i just worked with distortion + eq on my drums (check out at 0:55 min) and i thought it’s okay… til now ;)

you need an amiga 500 & protracker for the best gabber kicks, Dark Raver once said.

hmmm interesting stuff… So it seems that its more or less about getting the high end to sound slightly dominant but also keeping the thump of the low end? Because its the highend that creates that trademark rrrrrrrrr sound when distorted. Use of tape saturation/distortion plugins is highly recommened? I was making my kicks from scratch using Albino. Creating a stabby sound by using a pitch envelope and messing around with the ADSR parameters.