Right now many of us producers have way more time to make music than usual. At this point you think about maybe spending a bit on gear, plugins or sample packs to support your favourite artists. Especially sample packs are a great way to support your community and show your appreciation for the artists.
But if you wanna create your own samples I got a hot tip for you. It costs around 50 bucks and I swear it’s worth every penny.
It’s Kick 2 by Sonic Academy. This VST is made solely for creating kick samples. It’s your gateway to unlimited, unique self-made samples you can use in your tracks.
Why you should consider making your own kicks
Especially in modern electronic music kicks contribute a lot to the characteristics of a song and also the signature sound of a whole artist. Think of Hardcore music. Everything is centered around the kick. There’s no way to copy a kick sound and have a unique style at the same time. But this is the case with other music too. I can think of many experimental trap and all-around bass music artists you recognize partly by their kicks.
So again. If you wanna work on your very own, remarkable style, kicks are a great and easy way to achieve a signature sound. Even if the samples themselves are not standout sounds, 10 different of your own kicks are enough to make many many tracks. Just reuse them or alter them a bit to fit the mood of your track. It will still be your sound. And in case none of your samples fit the track at all, that’s where Sonic Academy’s Kick 2 steps in.
So what is Sonic Academy Kick 2?
The concept is pretty simple. It’s a synthesizer. But instead of giving you uncountable numbers of oscillators and wavetables and LFO’s to work with, Sonic Academy Kick 2 gives you a basic sine waveform with a snappy attack and a bit of release. That’s where every synthesized kick begins. You start from there and change the sound of the kick by changing certain parameters. On top there’s an EQ and a distortion effect, but we’ll come to that later.
How do you do this exactly?
As you can see in this picture, Kick 2 displays a graphic representation of the current waveform. Below that window you can chang the length of the one-shot note. This is a pretty handy tool to adapt your kick to different tempos. You can make it more snappy or extend it’s tail just by changing this value. On the left side you can change the overall pitch of the kick. But that’s not all of course.
Right on top of the waveform you can change the pitch and amplification at all points throughout the sound in detail. This means you could let the kick go down in pitch towards the end to add more dynamic to the sound. It’s also a great way to control which frequency ranges are most present at different times. You will definitely to work with this section if you wanna make substantial changes to the sample.
The in-depth volume modulation works the same. You can add and remove points and set the individual levels to for example create a little thump by letting the level go up right in the middle of the kick sound. Or you can cut it off really roughly for a snappy sound. The best thing is that you get direct feedback to your changes when you let the kick trigger over and over via MIDI.
So that’s the basics. Where’s the sauce?
Now comes the sauce. With Sonic Academy Kick 2 you can up to three different ‘clicks’ as they’re called in the VST. I’d rather call them attack/top-end layers because that’s what they are really. These are separate samples you can layer on top of the kick to give it more unique and organic characteristics, especially in the attack part of the sound. You can lowpass or highpass each of the layers individually. You can pitch them and change the volume. And if you don’t wanna use them all, you can of course also mute them if needed. Fortunately there’s a wide variety of ‘click’ samples you can choose from right out of the box.
More sauce please
The built-in equalizer is another cool tool to control your kick sounds. If it lacks bass, add some with the EQ. Sounds too muddy because of unnecessary mids? Lower them with the EQ.
Modern electronic music is often distorted and so are the kicks (at least a bit). And because of that Sonic Academy Kick 2 comes with distortion effect too! There are three different types of distortion to choose from with knobs for Drive, Mix and another filter just for the distortion.
Man that’s a lot. Does Sonic Academy Kick 2 have anything else to offer?
There are still some features I haven’t talked about because I don’t use them as much but they’re worth checking out as well if you’re interested in this VST.
What I can say is that there is a limiter to tame your sound if the craziness gets out of hand.
Kick 2 even has an export feature so if you’re done working on your kick, just render yourself a file from within the plugin.
All these features make for top quality sound you really want if you want to take your sample creation to the next level.
Is Sonic Academy Kick 2 really worth it?
You might think that 50 bucks is a bit much just for kicks and that’s why hesitated at first as well. But it really isn’t. When I think of how almost all of my songs now use my self-made kick sounds I’m very happy and I can only say it again. Kick 2 is worth every penny.
I hope you got a good impression of this VST-plugin. It’s easily in my top five plugins, so I had to present it to you at some point. Are you considering buying Kick 2 or do you already have it? Feel free to let me know! Thank you for reading this episode of the NIHIL MUSIC blog and until next time.