Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I recently had a conversation about kicks and 808s so I decided to do a blog post on it. While putting the post together I saw the latest ITL from Dave and his team was on this very same topic. I also came across another video from Pro Audio Files which is a great tutorial site. Both videos give great tips on mixing 808s to make them sit in the mix properly and still be present.
Back when I used to mix all analog my favorite 808 chain was a Pultec EQP-1A and the DBX 165A compressor along with the dynamics and equalizer section on the SSL 4000 console.
The Pultec allowed you to carve the sound of the 808 without making it too muddy or boomy by using Attenuation in conjunction with the Boost knob that gave you a nice solid tone with tons of low end. The DBX 165A's settings were song and tempo dependent but the ratio was usually set to between 4 to 8:1, low threshold, fast attack and medium to slow release. The 165A also has a built in Limiter (Peak Stop knob) along with its compressor section that allowed you to really hit the compressor's circuitry hard (i.e. hardware saturation for tone) without fear of overloading the output. I then used the SSL's onboard Dynamics and EQ to do any necessary tweaking.
These days I often use the UAD emulation of the Pultec and/or a variety of plugins depending on the sounds I'm working with. It's very important that the 808 and kick work together to give you a tight but solid low end. Pay special attention to the timing so that there is no flamming of the kick and 808 as this can ruin the feel of the track.
The first video is from Dave Pensado's assistant Cole Nystrom on Pensado's Place ITL #94
This next video is from Matt Weiss on Pro Audio Files where he shows how to better match the 808 to the bass and kick:
Remember to check on multiple systems including your car, computer speakers, headphones, earbuds, portable radio etc. to make sure that the 808 is properly balanced in the track.