By Mark Rubel
Here is a method for using a chain of three Plugin Alliance plugins to help a bass drum to punch more, and sit consistently in the mix.
I took a bass drum track recorded during one of our Blackbird Academy Summer Recording Workshops, and duplicated it in Pro Tools. As you see, on the duplicated bass drum there is a chain of three Plugin Alliance plugs.
First up is the Mäag EQ4, adjusting the tone quality by slightly boosting the sub frequencies and cutting the “boxiness” at around 160hz.
Next is a Brainworx bx_limiter, keeping the level of the duplicated bass drum even. It also adds some harmonic content with its Saturator, to widen the frequency area the bass drum occupies so that it is more audible.
Finally an SPL Transient Designer, greatly accentuating the attack of the bass drum while making the note very short since the Sustain control is set low. The resulting sound is a punchy and consistent bass drum stab, which sounds almost electronic by itself. But, mixed in with the unprocessed bass drum, it makes for a more aggressive and driving foundation on which the rhythmic structure of the song can be built.