Pro-tip: Sidechaining kicks to basses in drum and bass is a fine art…

Pro-tip: Sidechaining kicks to basses in drum and bass is a fine art…

Usually, I split my bass audio into two frequencies: one above 150hz and one below 150hz and I process them that way but lately, I’ve been using bassier, subbier kicks in my tunes.

I’m a big fan of producers who use bigger kicks in drum and bass; I’m not the biggest fan of those small, tappy kicks that sound like low snares (although those have a place).

In order to try and get some bigger, rounder kicks working in my tunes, I’ve been going a step further with the frequency splitting and adding a third bass channel which is lowpassed up to 50hz. The middle track in this picture has the bass isolated to allow only 50hz to 150hz and the top one is everything above 150hz.

This allows you to sidechain your kick to only the 50hz or lowest part of your sub and let your low mids (50-150hz) flow without volume fluctuations from kick sidechaining (although it may need some EQing).

If you have a nice, bassy kick and you sidechain it carefully (see: compressor release times) to your 50hz-only bass channel, you can create a smooth and nicely-flowing marriage of low sub and low kick frequencies which gives you the benefit of allowing your subby kick to breathe a bit but then also lets those low, subby fundamentals of your bass flow out after and in between your kicks.

It takes a bit of tweaking to get things to sit right but it’s a mad tactic.