Kick Drum Hacking

Kick DrumOf course, in the ideal world, we get to spend a lot of time when mic-ing up the drums and try various tunings, microphones, rooms and signal chain so that the kick drum goes to “tape” with as little processing as possible and sounds great.

Then there is the real world. In the real world, the tuning of the drum is so-so, you have one or maybe two mics to choose from, time is running out and it’s time to hit the record button. So you’ll “fix it in the mix”.

In general, the kick drums needs a shit ton of lower mids pulled out — I usually center around 400Hz and I pull out as little as 5db or as much as 20db or even more! Then you need to put some low end back in, generally around 150Hz. But that pulls the sub-lows up too much so you have to roll off stuff below 50 Hz or so. Then, to add a little click and a little air, you want to jack up 2kHz and perhaps boost up a shelf at like 5kHz and above to bring in a little air.

You also have to make sure you’re not getting a lot of that 400Hz coming through the other mics. It tends to make the kick sound boxy. I usually attenuate 400Hz on the toms and the snare, too, for that reason.

I personally like to put the kick “above” the bass. So the kick will take the frequency space at 150Hz or so and the bass will center more down by 100Hz or so. Letting the kick take over the very low lows can be great for dance stuff. But, in general, the kick should hit you in the chest and the bass should rattle your ass.

One Day to Save All Life

Keston and Westdal’s third album titled One Day to Save All Life (ODTSAL) is currently available for pre-ordering through Unearthed Music. The CD package will be printed on 100% recycled paper and the CD tray is made from 100% post consumer waste. All pre-orders will be shipped on, or up to two weeks before the scheduled release date of March 25, 2008.

A CD release party is schedule on March 29, 2008 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA.org). Other artists include Kyle Herskovitz, Cepia (Ghostly International) and Primadonahue. An industry listening party is TBA.

Recent Response to ODTSAL:
A full review of the album has been posted on Properly Chilled, one of the top sites for downtempo reviews, artists interviews, and podcasts.

“This work is quite different than previous and is applauded on every level. [They] have certainly defined a sound that resonates through on this unique work. Westdal’s bass is beautifully morphed and Keston’s keys and digi work have stepped over the horizon with a definable expertise. I think I have listened to it three times already. Bravo!” – Chris Lindsey, Slackline Radio

Use this link to pre-order ODTSAL:
http://unearthedmusic.com/?source=view_release.php?rid=3

Other links:
http://www.kestwest.com
http://www.unearthedmusic.com
http://www.myspace.com/kestwest
http://www.myspace.com/unearthedmusic

Audio Processing

Have you ever put a microphone down the hallway from the studio then cracked the door on the recording booth while recording drums for a bit of natural reverb? Have you ever used the feedback from an open tuned acoustic guitar placed on a stand in front of a speaker? Have you run a vintage mono-synth through a Lesley cabinet? Use the Processing category to tell us what experiments have worked or not worked for you when processing audio in unique ways.

Water Atmosphere

drown thumbRecently I had the pleasure of producing the audio for a short animated piece called “Drown” by Aaron Dabelow. I simply recorded myself blowing bubbles in water with a straw. I captured in it Ableton Live 6 with my AKG c4000b large diaphragm condenser at a distance of about 9 inches, being careful not to splash water on the mic. The processing included down pitching an octave or so, running it through a high pass filter, and then dousing the works with some massive reverb.

Water Atmosphere
– From “Drown”

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