The kick is arguably the most important part of any track that one might DJ. If it’s in the wrong key or a bad sample it can ruin a well mixed and composed track. While you can buy incredibly good samples (for some reasonable $) and sample kicks yourself, kick drum synthesizers offer surgical control of this crucial part of dance music. ULTRAKICK (by Daan Pothoven) offers two envelope controlled oscillators as well as a noise oscillator. There are separate easy to use envelopes for the pitch/amp/filter of the oscillators and the amp/filter of the noise oscillator. This robust digital synthesizer can easily be used for kicks in all genres of music. The flexible control in Ultrakick allows you to get live-sounding kick drums, as well as toms and clave hits.
Quick Envelope Editing with Pitch and Time
The GUI of Ultrakick is friendly to new users, and fine-tuning is simple thanks to the easily accessible ‘TUNING’ and ‘LENGTH’ controls. We made our go-to kick sound by editing 707 emulation preset to our liking.
Robust DSP and Mixing Capabilities
The oscillators in Ultrakick are routed 3 separate multimode filters, EQs, and Amps. You can also see the oscillators and their partials in the ‘AUDIO FLOW’ mode. Each OSC is also routed through an Overdrive/HP/LP circuit, which all sounded pleasant and worked well in our tests.
Referencing and Exporting
Having the ability to export your kicks is very useful as running lots of MIDI devices can bog down your computer. You can also see your kick’s length and timing in the device within Ableton, so you can quickly reference the key and timing of new sounds to your kick without opening the Ultrakick window. There are some fun features as well- there’s the ability to quickly randomize the envelopes for some outrageous sounds! This two minute video shows you how easy it is to start sculpting ideal electronic kicks.
How do you make your kicks? Do you use samples, make your own, use a kick synth or something else? Let us know in the comments below!