Native Instruments' flagship hardware and software provide sound designers with limitless possibilities for inspiration. Maschine 2.0 is one of their most powerful programs as this update includes a drum synthesizer. Maschine's user friendly interface makes it easy to design custom kicks, snares, hi hats, percs, and sound effects within the DAW. Today we will focus on creating 808 style kick drums with the Maschine Drumsynth.
Let's get started! I opened a new project in Maschine and loaded the kick drumsynth. I have the engine set to SUB because it is going to produce the deep bass frequencies we've grown to love. I adjusted the TUNING to 36 which is a low C. You can analyze the pitch using any tuner plugin. I chose the GTR Tuner from Waves.
The long DECAY is what gives the 808 its signature sound. DECAY is the time it takes for the sound to reach silence. You can adjust the DECAY to whatever fits your style. I would suggest staying between 70% and 100%.
The BEND function effects how far the pitch bends high to low before hitting the intended pitch. The TIME function effects how fast this pitch bend takes place. I like to keep both knobs below 40%.
The ATTACK function creates a small thud for the beginning of the kick sound. I like to keep the setting on THIN so it doesn't stand out very much. I keep the intensity of the ATTACK at 50% or less.
Since we've designed our subby 808, it's time to add some effects to make it stand out! The first effect I added to the chain is DISTORTION.
DISTORTION is the addition of harmonic frequencies to the original signal. We're basically making it easier to notice the pitch of the 808. The settings above are the same ones I used to make one of my 808's.
The DRIVE function is basically the intensity of the distortion. The COLOR knob adjusts the timbre of distortion.
FEEDBACK, TONE, and TONE MOD are related to the distortion feedback. You don't necessarily want feedback on a deep sound like an 808. Feedback can be extremely difficult to mix and manage, when it's on low frequencies. Turn the feedback to ZERO and leave these knobs alone!
Finally, we have our OUTPUT controls: GATE, RELEASE, and MIX. For the 808 kick, you don't need to adjust the GATE or RELEASE. You can change the MIX to your liking. If you want an over the top distorted 808, you should have a high mix value. I like the MIX setting to be around 35% or lower.
You can also experiment with the SATURATION and LO-FI effects that come with Maschine. Combine multiple effects together and make 808's that are completely unique! When you make a sound you like, be sure to bounce it for future use!
I hope this tutorial helped you get started making your own 808's using Maschine! If you have any questions or suggestions, hit me on Twitter! Check the Tips & Tricks section for more tips like these!
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