ideas to keep kickdrum in the middle

When i add more sounds to the song, it sounds like, that the kick drum sounds more widened more stereo like. Is this normal for you, and how do I get it back in the middle. I already use a stereo to mono plugin, but what else can i do to make it sound more mono?

Hi rumlee,

If you’re not already, make sure you’re using the Stereo Combined Panner (on the track) and not the default Stereo Balance Panner and then move the left and right sides to the centre!

Hope this helps?

Kind regards

James Colah

If your Bassdrum is mono already, then there is no way to make it "more mono. If your Bassdrum is mono, and it does indeed get s stereophonic, then your processing it with some stereo fx. In that case: Stop processing it.

Also, exactly what I need to use to stop a piano spreading all across the spectrum!

Some gentle side-chaining of the other parts of the mix will help, what’s happening is the kick is getting smothered under layers of sound and it’s stopping you from hearing it like you did before. Also try low-passing non-relevant parts as they’re probably adding mud. Maybe a bit of volume automation on the kick to bring the level up where needed.

I like Waves S1 imager for keeping pianos within tight boundaries :smiley:

You could also depending on your VST set the kick on a mono output which might sound more centred than using a plugin to make a stereo source mono (although it might not make a lot of difference, you’d have to check and see what you thought) or use a mono audio track if you’re working with audio file kicks.

So can I create a Group track with a compressor with side chain enabled and then route the tracks through it, and then add it as send on the kick track to trigger the side chain effect?

Yep, exactly

or use a volume shaper, I much prefer them over SC ducking. You get exact control over the release curve, unlike a compressor.

a volume shaper? can you be a little more specific, maybe guide me how to?

I don’t really know what he means, maybe like an envelope shaper, or I found this on google:

An envelope shaper will ‘shape’ the attack and decay of a signal… handy for making a snare snappier or removing ambience by dialling out some of the decay but it won’t level the signal… a compressor can be used to shape the attack and decay of a signal AND control its dynamic range too… slow attack and fast release will add punch, attack and sustain… particularly at higher ratios and gain reduction.

Back to the OP… as has been suggested, if the kick isn’t already mono then either use the dual panner method or route to a mono group and then bounce the output of that.

If you want to pull some of the kick into the stereo field without making it too wide to help it sit in the mix a little better then try using some early reflections if it’s a tight sound you’re after or some kind of plate reverb, on FX sends naturally… to stop the bottom end creeping in to the ERs/reverb have a google for the ‘abbey road reverb trick’ which will help you to only let the frequencies you want through to the reverb keeping the bottom end nice and tight and in mono…

Ducking, aka sidechaining a compressor, is probably done best after this as you’re better off sorting your core kick sound out first, you might not actually need to duck then, although i generally duck the bass via the kick a little on most projects whether they’re ’ traditional’ or more modern styles from rock/funk etc through to electronic stuff…


Of course the other option is to think about the kick sound you’re using at the moment, if you’re struggling with it that might be an indicator to possibly swap it for something that does the job you’re after a little better?

Funnily enough, on the subject of that, recently I’ve been finding that if I high-pass the kick slightly it fits better and I can get more “kick” out of it without it overloading the track

For sure!

Personally, i think that unless you know something is going to be played in a club or a decent system with a decent sub then there’s nothing to gain by not doing it.