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Drums have always been largely sample based. Sure, you can make your own, but for the most part, and outside of traditional genres such as techno – producers generally use pre-existing drum sounds as the basis for their track.
As we all know, your track is only as good as your kick drum. It’s the most important piece of audio in your track. If it doesn’t work, nothing does. Up until recently, most of us would trawl through hundreds of samples, searching for the perfect kick drum. Sometimes there’d be a streak of luck, and you’d find a kick drum that works straight away, but typically frustration would ensue as you start to seriously consider pivoting towards creating ambient music without any kick drums at all.
Fortunately, there are like-minded software developers out there who experience the same problems. As a result, professionally developed and designed kick synthesizers have entered the market.
Drum machines and synthesizers have been around for decades, but only recently have they been made with the versatility and functionality that electronic music producers in the 21st century expect. Kick synthesizers that are made properly, that are intuitive, and that allow you to get past the frustration to the most important aspect of all – creating good music.
In this post I’m going to review one of the best kick synthesizers on the market today. Not only is it well designed, engineered, and thought-out, it’s also one of the most versatile kick plugins. Regardless of whether you produce trap, trance, or anything in between; BigKick from Credland Audio will find a comfortable place right at home in your digital studio.
What Makes BigKick Stand Out?
You and I both know that BigKick isn’t the only kick synthesizer out there. It doesn’t take long to find countless others, some of which are a lot cheaper, or even free. So why should you buy BigKick? What sets it apart? Is it even worth the money?
At first sight, BigKick can look a little complicated, especially to new producers. However, once spending a few minutes with it and taking a quite look at the manual, you’ll find just how easy this plugin is to use.
It’s laid out as a kick plugin should be: attack/click section at the top, body/amp section in the middle, and the pitch section below that followed by master settings. This top-to-bottom layout coupled with a logical design makes kick drum design a breeze.
You can literally get the kick drum you want in seconds, even if you’ve never touched a drum synthesizer before. Put simply, BigKick makes sense.
One of the standout features of BigKick is the waveform display located underneath the attack/click section. I can’t say I’ve seen this on any other kick drum plugin, which not only makes BigKick unique, but also makes it an incredible educational tool.
Users can easily compare their kick drums to professionally made ones in sample packs, and find out where they’re going wrong. New producers can scroll through the vast collection of kick presets that come packs with BigKick and get a visual understanding of how a properly made kick drum looks.
It’s true, the waveform display may not be a dealmaker, but it’s incredibly nice to have.
Processing and Effects
Unlike most kick synthesizers, BigKick goes one step further offering a distortion feature as well as an onboard EQ.
Users can distort kick drums with one of the five different distortion types: Dist, Dirty, WT-C, Hum, and Clipper. In addition to adding subtle or heavy distortion, the phase of the kick drum can also be changed, allowing users to fix up phase problems that arise in combination with other elements in the production, or simple to change the dynamic of the sound.
Additional onboard settings that can’t be see on BigKick’s front panel include a mid-high shelf EQ which comes in handy when you just need a little extra (or less) high-end and mid, a transient shaper, and various options such as velocity sensitivity and fixed or MIDI pitch playback.
I’ve noted three features that really stand out to me, but there are many more. It’s worth downloading the demo and trying it out for yourself if you’re truly skeptical.
Points Worth Mentioning
There are few other things that are worth mentioning about BigKick. These are by no means selling points or life-changing features, but they do offer a bit of extra value.
Large Preset Library
BigKick’s preset library consists of over 100 full kick presets and 300 attack types, most of which are made by well-known artists such as Cutline, Jamie Anderson, and many others.
A large preset library isn’t everything, but it certainly helps if you’re feeling uninspired, or just want to get started with a solid kick drum when needed.
While many of the attack samples included are very well made, it’s often nice to be able to use your own. Many kick synthesizers are "closed” in this aspect as they only allow you to use what the plugin contains and no more. BigKick, on the other hand, allows you to drag in your own kick drums or attack samples and use them in combination with the synthesized body of the kick drum made by the plugin.
I stated earlier that BigKick is incredibly versatile. It doesn’t matter which genre you produce, how much skill or knowledge you have, or what kind of kick drums you like – BigKick will provide you with immense value, and then some.
It’s perfect for those who want to learn more about kick synthesis, due to its simple design and helpful waveform display. But it’s also great for those who spend far too much time scrolling through different kick samples only having to compromise and pick one that they’re not overly satisfied with when it really matters.
If anything, though, it’s great for those who want to get creative with their kicks. Maybe you want to add subtle distortion, create a kick-like bass sound, or make a bass drop? If so, BigKick allows you to do it.
For a more in-depth explanation of BigKick’s features, check out this video I recorded:
You can purchase BigKick here. Or, if you’re not convinced yet, download the demo from the same page.
Have any questions about the plugin? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
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