Perfect Gabber Kicks

Sure I can sample it. But for some reason I want to create my own. We all know the sound and we may love it or hate it. The gabber kick. The huge distorted tonal kick drum you hear in hardcore, breakcore, and gabber.

I’ve been able to get good sounds using multi-samples and highly distorted drums. But does anybody have any specific formula for a good heavy gabber kick?

There are few ways coming to my mind about gabber kick:

  1. Cheap and cheesy solution:
    load a square wave as a sample, loop it and play in track with pitch slide down 02xx in Renoise

  2. Cheap solution:
    expand dynamically acoustic kick (treshold about -6dB and ratio 1:30 - vote for implementing this feature in Renoise here)and overdrive it with distortion or wave shaper.

  3. expensive solution:
    buy Fruity Loops and Drumaxx plugin and play with self oscillating filter.

  4. even more expensive solution:
    Buy some hardware synthesizers. Don’t know exactly which (as far as I know some oldschool Roland units).

Choose one way or try them all :) . Have a nice stomp.

If I’m not mistaken, the original gabber kick is just a 909 kick sample amped really hard through a mixer so that it distorts.

So basically, 909 kick sample + distortion.

Getting a decent kick is not that easy as just 909 kick + distortion, it’s much more complex than that. There are plenty of those formulas on the net, also try searching these forums. Sunjammer for example posted one cool chain some time ago.

yes, gabber music sounds a lot easier than it actually is, mainly because you have to constantly balance your song by watching out for the high amounts of distortion wrecking everything else. the kicks are so present they tend to push everything to the background.

if i’d try my hand at these kicks, i’d indeed use a 909 kick, add reverb, distortion, litte bitcrushing, good EQ-ing, a compressor and then some more.

interesting how such a brutal sound needs such a delicate setup to get right.

If you’re having a hard time getting your kick fit in the mix, the signal follower is your friend!

yep, idd… distorted sounds like tight chugs on a guitar need a lot of twiddling and gearwhoring to sound great which is kind of sad. getting a decent high gain rhtyhm tone is a fucking quest these days!

Any softsynth that has a pitch envelope and an amp envelope will do the job… You can pick any waveform really (just the simple ones; square, sine, saw, triangle, etc ofc) depends on what feel your going for… You can always DSP it through some tube (Cabinet Sim does an awfully good job at that) a distortion effect (Distortion 2 does it), and optionally some bit-crushing (Lofimat 2), reverberation (mpReverb) and some filtering and/or eq’ing (filter3 and/or eq5/10)… :D

Doing this all on a sampled kick is a possibility too as talked about above.
But adjusting that pitch and amp envelope just to your needs will be a blessing.

(As softsynth I can advise you to take a look at the free Voyager by Arguru. It has all you need for a good pumping kick… There is a third party GUI available, if your not pleased with the original one.)

Well if you check out the schematic for the 909 kick circuitry - it consists of a sawtooth wave which runs immediately runs through a waveshaper thatleaves it looking more like a sine wave. It then enters an envelope generator which controls very fast pitch enveloper (high to low in a fraction of a second) and an equally fast volume envelope.

This should give you the basic kick and from there the distortion, amp, eq, compressor / limiter, stuff is up to you. Here’s an example but not sure if it’s exactly what you’re looking for…

PS. You might want a gate in there too, couldn’t be arsed to upload it again with this added!

My variation of classic gabber kick

My link

I’ve been searching for something like this (ultimate gabber kick recipe) long time myself. In the end i just accepted the fact that there is none. :D

But there are some essentials, which in the right mix should lead to good results:
EQ + Overdrive (in Renoise i use EQ for that, too B)) + Distortion (in Renoise, all 4 modes of Distortion2 are useful).
These three can and should be used multiple instances of! ;) 
Layering (=using Sends, e.g.) helps keeping the kick kick and still let the buzz buzz.
Then, here and there some Compression does a good job.
A resonant filter is nearly essential (for the “tone”).
And the Cabinet Simulator somewhere at the end of the “raw” layer also seems to be a good choice.


I have recently created some raw gabbery kick out of a single dry kick that came with Renoise (not the downloadable Sample Library):
[Renoise Program Dir]/Samples/Kicks/Kick 05.flac

Here’s a preview, all done using Kick 05.flac and Renoise native FX (except for the snares and claps  ;)):…e-bolacha/009-1
It’s still not the “perfect” gabber kick, but i’m quite satisfied with the result, and i’m looking to make a track out of it.    :drummer:

not an expert myself with gabber music, i have listend to a few gabber tracks recently, and the kicks sound pretty straightforward, just a big kick with plenty of distortion but i think the key ingredient is getting the kick to sit in the ( or overpower the mix ) look into getting a decent sidechain compressor so as the kick drum hits other elements of the tracks will duck in volume, i know this isnt all that is involved in making a good gabber track but from what i hear, its a key element.

Both of these links are broken.

Sorry, I didn’t realise the downloads were limited to 10 and I’ve deleted the original file. I’ve done it again quickly, but not sure if it’s as good as the previous one but should give you the general idea:

Can’t be arsed to open an account so get in there quick!

EDIT: Jesus, just bothered to go and get my headphones and realised the file above sounded like shit. This one’s a bit better:

pfgabberkick.xrns - 168.7 Kb


Just use MediaFire. Lots of ads, but unlimited storage…

Microtonic VSTi tutorial:

Open the synth on the Init patch…

Find MIDI config in the menu and select, then highlight Pitched MIDI Mode

Move the Mix slider to OSC (all the way to the left)

Increase the Decay on the OSC section three quarters of the way up

Set the Pitchmod amount to about +30 and the Rate to about 580 ms

Set OSC frequency to between 100 - 130 Hz (this affects the pitch of the kick if you want it to match melodies etc…

Now whack the Distort knob to full and the Eq gain to about +20 (these settings can be played with later)

Ok, that’s your basic starting point, now to really make it rock you need to add some external distortion (I recommend Ohmboyz Ohmicide)

You can also mess with the three different OSC waveforms, add some noise and alter the eq frequency…

The best thing about this being made on a synth instead of samples is you can edit it on the fly with automation…

i’m always using dist+eq+dist+eq+dist+eq+dist+eq+…+ cabinet simulator. gives really good sounds :)

RAD. This thread turned out to be more awesome than I expected.

Thanks for all the helpful tips from everybody.

I’m gonna try a few of these and make track to post what I come up with.

I was also thinking about running my little Roland dr-550 through some distortion pedals and miking it from an amp. It might not turn out gabber but it might grant me some other surprises.