Mixing Kicks and 808s
These tips are meant as a guide, every mix decision depends on what you currently have in front of you. Not all Kicks and 808s are the same, with that said, there are no Magic Compression or EQ settings so please, take these tips with a grain of salt and always use your EARS. Mixing kicks and 808s isn’t difficult when you know what to do.
6 Quick Tips For Mixing Kicks and 808s
1. Distort your 808 and apply a low pass filter. Additionally, you can add a high pass as well removing anything between 25 & 30hz. Give a little dip where the kick hits, this helps avoid artifacts when the kick and 808 hit together.
2. Use a plugin like MAnalyzer (Free). Find the fundamental of your 808. Once you’ve found that, boost 808’s harmonics. The analyzer, when used correctly will also let you see how all instruments sit in the mix and what is or isn’t clashing.
3. Make your 808s wider! This can be accomplished by isolating the upper frequencies and spreading them out. Be sure to keep the low-end mono. Keeping the 808 mono is common practice, but ‘t be afraid to experiment, we’ll save that for another post.
4. Find your Kick’s sweet spot. Some are at 60hz others can range between 100hz and 300hz. Boost the sweet spot then take that same frequency and carve a small hole in the 808, this way the kick sits nicely in the pocket.
5. Side-chain compression! Every time the Kick hits make the 808 duck a little bit to make room. This can be done manually or with a dedicated plugin.
6. Dynamic EQ. Similar to side chain compression, but done with an EQ, and there is no compression occurring. With a Dynamic EQ, you’re lowering the volume of ‘specific problematic frequencies’.
With side chaining, you’ll lower the entire 808. Another option is multi-band compression, which allows you to compress specific frequencies.
7. Invert the polarity of your Kick or 808. Sometimes this works beautifully without needing to compress or EQ.
Mixing Kicks and 808s: Few More Tips Stick With Us
8. Choose the right 808 for the job. A lot of people find that they have a kick and 808 that sound good by themselves, but are a mess when used together. Pick the right Kick and 808, but take it one step further and make sure they don’t clash.
Here’s a good example. Tiny kick, with a big sounding 808. The kick can take care of the click, while the bass carries the boom!
9. Make sure the transients aren’t clashing. A simple way to fix this is by using a transient designer (or shaper). Place a transient designer on the 808’s channel and pull the attack down. If you only want the attack to be affected when the 808 and kick hit together, then automate this event when both sounds hit together.
10. ADSR! Another way to stop the clashing of transients is adjusting the 808’s attack so fades in a bit giving the Kick the room it needs and as a result, you’ll avoid clashing (of transients).
11. Automate Haas FX on your bass, but limit it to specific frequencies. By doing this, you’ll retain the mono compatibility within your mix.
12. Focus your saturation and distortion. Meaning, don’t just toss the effects on the entire spectrum. Instead, focus them on specific frequency ranges this will give you more control over your 808. Multi-band plugins are perfect for this technique.
13. Layer multiple saturators on your 808. Not all saturators sound the same. Some are fuzzy, warm, glitchy, beefy, etc. Take a couple and layer them and see what you get.
14. Upwards compression, is an overlooked GEM. Take something like Ott and focus it on the midway of the 808 preferably after a little saturation.
808 Mixing Guide
Here’s a simple guide for EQ-ing 808s. Use it as a starting guide.
Favorite 808 Chain
- Stock EQ: Use high and low pass filtering to cut what you don’t need
- Renaissance Bass: Add harmonics, but only if the 808 needs it
- Stock EQ: Cut unwanted harmonics if needed
- Color EQ: Some type of analog emulation EQ to boost the areas of the 808 you like
Here’s my chain for the above: Stock EQ, Rbass and EQPG
Add Sauce To Your 808s With These Plugins
Now you know we couldn’t do all that talking about 808s and leave you without some good go-to plugins in no particular order.
Msaturator (Free & Multi-band Version)
FabFilter Saturn 2
SoundToys Micro Shift
Melda MAutoPan (MB)
XLN Audio DS10
Waves Smack Attack
Oek Sound Spiff
Check this post out for a list of good Transient Shapers
Sound Packs With Good Kicks and 808 (again, in no order)
I’m all about getting your money’s worth so I’ll mention sound packs that are both affordable and contain a lot of material for you to move through. In no order, here’s what you should pick up.
1. Money Grave Bundle:
This a ‘3 Volume Pack’ bundled into one. It comes Fl Studio Project files, loops, one-shots, and midi. So, if you don’t use Fl Studio you can load the MIDI into whatever daw you use. Great bang for the buck, grab it here.
2. Trap Year Bundle:
These packs are inspired by music by London, Lil Baby, Metro Boomin, Lil Pump, and many others. All the sounds are ready to go. Load and level, that’s pretty much all you need to do. 12 sound packs for than less $15.00 grab it here before the sale ends.
3. Cyber Trap Bundle:
Sounds inspired by Murda Beats, Travis Scott, anything that’s pretty much on the charts right now. Aside from good kicks and 808s you’re 13 well-crafted construction kits, check it out here.
Now if you have some extra money on hand, I’d suggest looking into the following titles. These are what I also have in my personal stash.
5. Inner City Trap:
6. Savage Trap: