Getting that certain knock on your kicks


not really my thing at all, but how are these producers getting so much knock on the kick? i hear it all the time in a lot of newer ‘trap’ songs, almost like a wooden knock that punches nicely even on the laptop speakers. my guess would be lots of compression, clipping, saturation, mixing the kick LOUD, possibly scooped mids/upper mids with a good boost around 100hz for punch, layering etc yet still can’t quite get it sounding like that. i think with a lot of these types of tracks producers are just turning things up and mixing very loudly til it knocks, probably applying too much compression etc and it just kind of works for that style?

any insight appreciated!

ye just sounds really compressed like the rest of the ear rape in that song

1 BigUp

that kick in there is astandard sample pack kick, I think.

you just mixdown the tune nicely and sidechain it to the kick

it’s as much about the general mixdown as it is about adding loads of effects on the kick

Sometimes people mix in a shorter highpassed kick on top of the bass kick but only a little just to reinforce the hit. And don’t highpassed too much or it won’t work.

Like Harkat said, its nearly all in the mixdown being right

How to get good knock in your kicks:
Crack your head against your bedroom wall and layer ad nauseum.


I find that kicks with a natural peak around 150 hz have a decent ‘thock’ to 'em. you talking about that smack in the chest feeling? theoretically most ppl seem to swear by 120 hz, but 150 works better for me.

also adding harmonics (distortion, another sample, additive eq) slightly around 500 hz is dope. but you don’t want freqs between 2-300 hz, then it gets a bit muddy.

Linndrum stick hit pitched down an octave, give or take. Layer. Enjoy.

Also known as the “Prince knock” lol.


Parallel processing can get ou really damn far with the knock sound if you know the frequency range to work in.

1 BigUp

If anything compression would make your kick “knock” less.what’s making it knock is the arrangement.kicks in 2 step knock allot because of the sparsity of the arrangements,also the kick is essentially one massive hold stage with an extremely exponential tail (it releases really quickly)you can have knock at any frequency so talking about specific frequencies for knock is abit retarded.what makes kicks express themselves the way they do is how long it stays at a frequency and how long it takes to get to the,theoretical example a kick that has a lump of frequencies would mean that it was stationary at a given length of time say 150hz and it only descends to about 142ish hz at the end of it’s decay then quickly releases all the way down to 80hz if your fundamental was 40hz for example.all your ear would really clock onto immediately would be the attack and the hold stage (the mass of sustained frequencies)how you interpret the knock is dictated by the attack so you aren’t looking for anything above about 800hz otherwise then you end up in ticky territory and you obviously don’t want that attack to be too long because then it would take away the onset of the hold essence it’s a balancing game between frequency,duration and the curve (volume envelope)

Bothered to listen to your example.that’s a tom or a found sound percussion that has properties similar to that of a tom a tom and that has also had it’s attack and release cut off (start-end points),layered with a very generic synth kick (the kind you could make in matter of seconds in a synth).you can hear when it drops or whatever that he uses the synth kick as an accent and plays the tom thingy on it’s own for offbeats.arranging it this way also adds to the knock,being selective on where the accents lie.


Ramming it into a sampler and turning the sustain down or emulating that effect in automation can give percussion, or anything really, extra snap.

This may have been stated already.

EDIT: Not necessarily about knock but I recently found that vocoding a kick to itself, in particular a synthesised kick, makes it sound even more synthetic, if a synthesised-sounding kick is what you were after. This actually works on anything and I borrowed the idea of self-vocoding from the reese thread I think.

That kick doesn’t sound anything special to me at all. I agree that it sounds like it could have come straight out of a can of samples.

I don’t know if this helps any but i find using a plugin called FerricTDS on any drum helps to add some punch maybe it’ll give the “knock” you’re looking for and its free! Here’s the link


Nice one. Totally agree with this. I haven’t reached for Ferric TDS in long time, but it is top notch considering its price: free.

yeah, no, i’m not denying that it wasn’t just grabbed from a sample pack and smacked into the tune with probably little processing other than unintentional clipping/overcompressed, etc. nothing special about the kick at all really. even still, it is something i hear a lot of these younger producers doing (this probably not the best example), and when done right there seems to be kind’ve this woody knock that is pleasing to my ears, and hard to nail in my mixes.

really good recommendation here, use ferric quite a bit, as well as thrillseekerLA, which has stateful saturation that can sound really good on kicks/808/whatever. can’t go wrong with bootsy/variety of sound, all of their plugins are quality.

1 BigUp

I’m not one of those that can listen to something and dissect how to make the sound, but I feel like if you play with the filter envelope and resonance you could get a nice knocking sound out of a snare maybe or just a mono triangle wave or square maybe. LPF + BPF …try parallel and serial there…see which works best.


Can’t stress how much i love this plugin, i usually use it on the drum bus, it’s nice to glue things together a bit.

get the Composers Desktop Project, install it, and use the command ‘envel attack 2’ on a kick - you’ll get your knock. creates a harder attack on any sound by altering the waveform. it’s better than a transient shaper, and it’s free, but it’s hard and scary

1 BigUp

ndeed it is hard.i’ve heard about this before (from aphex twin i think)so with you recommendation i thought i’d finally give it whirl.i know my way around MAX and Reaktor so i wasn’t expecting it to be too dissimilar to those,i was dead wrong.everything simple has just been made complicated for the sake of it.i’m pretty sure most people here are not going to be able to execute what you suggested (i got as far as preparing it for processing but then the steps after that to just audition the processing or render it became sooo convoluted i just gave up)the documentation is sparse aswell