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Mix Tip 4

The Lowest of Low End

Welcome to part 4 in a series of mix tips with examples taken from an album I was pleased to mix for Autohypnosis. We previously examined re-amping (Mix Tips 1, 2, 3).

I’m a sucker for kick drums and bottom octaves. I always try to make sure a song will translate okay in crappy playback environments, but I like to reward listeners with full range systems. There were several songs on the album where it seemed appropriate to employ a shiny little box I bought to add depth and sustain to the existing kick tracks. It’s called The Kicker. Like an 808 or an NS-10 cone used in reverse on a kick drum, The Kicker isn’t used because it sounds “real”. Far from it! The Kicker is a bass-drop fantasy come true.

shiny synth box kicker low end


The brooding song “Years” plods along in misery. Treatments were used to make elements seem distant, indistinct and moody. In other situations I think one might reach for a box like The Kicker to add boom to a club song. But here we used it like a kick reverb, adding weight and sustain to the downbeat as the song lumbers. The sound is relatively subtle here — not drawing attention to itself – for just a hint of those “bowel shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse.”

Be warned that your playback system will need full range speakers and/or a subwoofer to get the complete effect. Laptop speakers will seem very quiet when The Kicker is isolated.

The Kicker

Feel free to download this example at full bandwidth (24bit, 44.1k Hz, stereo interleaved WAV).

Thanks for reading and listening. I hope these tips have prompted you to develop your own mixing strategies and techniques.

Up: Brain Candy

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