Dubspot instructor Raz Mesinai (Badawi) is a composer, sound designer, instructor, and dub visionary. In this tutorial, Raz shows you how to create sub-heavy, 808 style kick drums using Ableton Live’s versatile software instrument Operator.
A common mistake I’ve seen when creating an 808 style kick drums is the immediate attraction towards the envelope for the amplitude of the oscillator and the transpose knob. A real kick drum, i.e. an acoustic one, is a round membrane, it remains round, so the envelope of the amplitude should remain full (sustain up), however a drum head is tuned with a drum key, which makes the sound either sharper or heavier by making it tighter or looser.
The drum key is what the pitch envelope in Operator suggests, and by creating a sharp dip in pitch, you get a heavier kick sound. The amplification of the oscillator is where the sound comes from, so we want that round and untouched. – Raz Mesinai
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