Last summer, Headhunterz announced that he will stop performing. He wants to focus on what really makes him happy: spending all his time in the studio. In…
Workflow Wednesday with Headhunterz: Kicks
Headhunterz is very active on Instagram and he likes treating his fans to daily updates. While he isn’t as active in the Hardstyle scene as he is on Instagram, he has been giving extremely valuable studio-tips for a few weeks now.
‘Workflow Wednesday’ as he calls his tips are something that a lot of our readers will find interesting, because many of them have an interest in pressing buttons and turning knobs. That’s why we’ve decided to publish them on our website whenever he decides to deliver a new one. Yesterday he explained something about ‘Kicks’. Read and learn!
“Last week we talked about low end, and continuing on that I want to talk about Kicks. The kick has to work perfectly together with the bass and the sub, and all three of them are very likely to start fighting each other if not tweaked perfectly. The easiest way to look at a kick is as a pitch envelope. It consists of 3 parts. Attack, body, and tail.
Attack is the first few milliseconds of the kick which gives it’s presence in the mix, mostly mid/high mid frequencies and pitches down very quickly to where the body kicks in, the part that hits you in the stomach. In hardstyle this part is often muted a little bit so that the emphasis is more on the tail part but in progressive house for example, it’s more present. Then comes the tail which is pure sub, and depending on if your track has a chord progression or stays on one note, this part can be long or short. If it’s too long and your drop plays different bass notes, the sub of the kick will clash with the bass.
A lot of people start just layering samples but this can go wrong very easily. And I just don’t think it’s necessary. If the kick is a pitch envelope, then why not just make the envelope yourself? the way the pitch envelope travels is going to determine completely the way your kick sits in the mix. A body that that hits around 250hz will sound much more punchy and less heavy than a body kicking in at 150hz. So just play with it. I always use Sonic Academy Kick by @nickyromero . If you want to know if you’re on the right track, drag a song you like into your project, high cut it to 250 hz and listen to the pressure the kick is giving. Then high cut your kick and tweak the pitch envelope until it feels the same. If you tweak the pitch envelope right, not a lot of eq-ing is needed.
I very rarely use compression on kicks. A compressor is an automatic volume thingy. Why use that when you can have complete control over the volume envelope when you’re designing the kick? If you want a louder punch, gain the punch! lol. Also, but this has been said many times , make sure the tail of the kick is in the key of the song! Good luck!”