The kind folks at Wavesfactory recently offered up the free SK10 plug-in, which simulates having a speaker-based mic as an extra low frequency kick drum track. Insert it on your kick track, dial in the amount of sub frequency desired via the Mix knob and set the Lowpass frequency (200 Hz down to 10 Hz). It's simple and will add some bump to thin kick tones. I use this plug-in slightly differently than some might. I'll duplicate my existing kick drum track, insert the SK10, dial Mix to 100% effect, tune the Lowpass knob down to 50 Hz, and then blend in under the original kick track to add just the right amount of bump. This way I can decide if these extra lows go into any drum bus compression, and if they need to be compressed differently than the main kick. If the low end "hangs out" too long I can even put an SPL Transient Designer [Tape Op #21] on to shorten the decay.

I've created this same effect with lowpass EQ filters before, but sometimes that can throw the phase relationship with the original track awry. I only had issues with this happening on the SK10 when I tried to Commit the Subkick track in Pro Tools and then found the waveform to be about 170 degrees out of phase, and I think it is user error or the DAW's fault. Don't do this, or at least check your polarity!

I have been using this plug-in a lot on my mixes, especially on home-recorded songs where the kick drum usually needs a bit of sculpting. It gets my jobs done faster and feels musical. I love it!

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More