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How To Perfectly Mix My 808 And Kick Without Clashing?

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

*I use a dedicated trigger aux channel with dedicated send and return I/o. Some plugins have the option to set the side chain filter and therefore a dedicated aux trigger channel won’t be necessary.

*Note: Please make sure the kick is not just a top kick because ducking on the 808 in that case isn’t necessary.

From top left to bottom right:

1. Trigger channel (input pre-fader send from kick, output send to compressor sidechain input): Top left Pro Tools EQ III 1-band rolling off all low-end on the kick send. This way the compressor ducking the 808 will disregard the kick’s low-end (and only use the high-frequencies). This way I can tailor the compression sustain and release more flexible as the full spectrum kick will elongate this compression.

2. Waves C6-Sidechain: Only using the lowest band to trigger compression on the low-end whenever the kick plays. This way it eliminates low-end build-up when both play which will cause internal distortion on the mixbus and excessively trigger the mixbus compressor and limiter(s). Triggering only the low-end we make use of our ears masking effect, tricking our ears in hearing the 808 play smoothly without that famous EDM pumping effect. Quick note on compression: our ears reaction time is .5ms. Any faster attack times will take off the attack onset of sounds and therefor making them hard to distinguish for our brains. 1ms is ideal for a more defined compression sound.

3. Parallel Distortion (aux send from the 808 channel): Using the EQ III 1-Band and Plugin Alliance bx_greenscreamer (emulation of the Ibanez TS-808 Tube stomp box used traditionally on bass guitar). I’m rolling off the low-end as I only want to create upper-harmonics without changing the 808 sound. Upper-harmonics help the 808 cut through on the smallest playback systems such as mobile phones and laptops.

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