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.
1. Distort your 808 and apply a low pass filter. Additionally, you can add a high pass as well removing anything until 25 or 30hz. Give a little diff 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. When you find the sweet spot, give it a little boost at the same time, 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! Everyone knows this one right. 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, however, this is 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. Very similar to a Dynamic EQ
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 To 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 from the jump. This would be a Kick and 808 that don’t clash.
Here’s a good example. Tiny kick, with a big sounding 808. The kick and take care of the click, while the bass carries the boom! Any combinations of the two where they don’t share much of the same dominant frequency is a benefit as well.
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 (or any other sound) 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 and call it a day. 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 Plugin Sauce
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
XLN Audio DS10
You can find more here ←
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.
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.
Trap Year Bundle:
These packs are inspired from 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.
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.
Inner City Trap: