Friday, November 20, 2009

Make a Kick Drum in TAL BassLine in 4 Easy Steps

Sorry, no Free Sample Friday today. I've been really swamped. What I WILL do however, is to show you how to use the free TAL-BassLine to make your own kick drum to create your own drum samples.

1. Launch your DAW of choice and call up an instance of TAL-BassLine. It defaults to a simple sawtooth sound layered with a sub oscillator to give it some body. We don't need any oscillators for what we're doing, though. Instead, we're going to use the filter's ability to self-oscillate to create the sound. So go ahead and turn down the volume sliders for the sawtooth wave and for the sub-oscillator.

2. The key to a sound created with filter self-oscillation is obviously in the filter section, so let's head over there. The ability of a filter to self-oscillate is a common feature on many vintage synths, but became less common once synths entered the digital age. Thankfully, many software synths have re-introduced this feature which is key to synthesizing many synth drum and percussion sounds. This phenomenon occurs when extremely high resonance combined with a lower cutoff causes the filter to oscillate at an audible frequency. So go ahead and turn the filter all the way down and the resonance all the way up. If you play a note, you should now hear a sinewave slowly sweeping from a high tone to a low one.

3. The sweep is controlled by the envelope, and frankly, as it stands, there's a lot more bright frequencies than we need for a kick drum. To tame this a bit, we want to change the amount of influence the envelope has on cutoff frequency. So in the VCF section, slide the ENV slider all the way down to the second notch from the bottom. If you play a note now, you should hear a fairly nice bass drop.

4. That's a nice sound in itself, but to get something a bit more kick drum-y, change the envelopes D(ecay) slider down to about 1/3. You should now have something not too far removed from your run of the mill club kick drum. Play around with different values for the amount of ENV modulation and the Decay level of the envelope to get a number of different variations. Be sure to try different processing too. Compress it or add some overdrive to toughen it up... send it through a bitcrusher... EQ it to taste and layer it with other drum sounds. TAL BassLine, like the Roland SH-101 that inspired it is a very simple synth, but you don't need anything too terribly complex to make synth drum and percussion sounds. All it takes is patience and a lot of screwing around. Have fun and have a great weekend, everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
Link to SYIKOMS Tal Bassline drums