The Plugin Boutique BigKick is, as its name suggests, a big, fat, deep drum kick plugin. This might be the only kick you will ever need for any electronic music style you are up to!
This plugin combines two layers: a sample player and a drum synth. Each part can be independently muted and edited. It’s easy and intuitive, but let you design amazing sounds and not only in the kick department!
Let’s get started!
Very straight forward to use. There are 17 factory banks to choose from, each loaded with plenty of samples to use, including samples from classical drum machines such as the Tr 606, Tr 808, Tr 909 and Tr 626 (you don’t usually get 626 samples, so, great addition here!).
Of course, you can load your own samples in both AIFF and Wav formats just by clicking on the load sample button and browsing in your computer, or just by dragging the sample to the sampler area, when you do that, next and prev will move within the selected folder in your computer.
There is a gentle high-pass filter (12 dB/oct?) that goes from 10 Hz to 4 kHz. Very useful when using both sampler and synth layers to avoid any low-end mess and also, to shape the sample for a nice top end attack. Also, there is a decay control that goes from 1 ms to as long as 800 ms which is great for shaping a tight attack with very short decay time and in combination with the HPF, you can get a very sharp and tight top kick part. Finally, there is a gain control that when cranked, it creates some odd harmonic distortion which can add lots of high end to the sound and makes the sample’s low end very beefy!
Finally, there’s a solo switch that disables the synth part and both HPF and Decay controls.
Next, we get to the GUI, which is indeed the drum synth layer. The first thing we find here is an EG for the AMP with Attack, Hold and Decay controls. The attack goes from the very snappy 0 ms, up to 40 ms, which is nice for getting rid of the oscillator’s click attack. Hold, can be as short 0 ms (disabled) to as long as 1500 ms, as we will see later on, the body part, can play notes via midi, so, with long hold times, you can have the BigKick, also act as a sub bass (808 anyone?). Decay goes from 15 ms, which is great for EDM stuff, up to 5000 ms, with some tweaking you can set your kick’s decay time to be in tempo with the song, so the sound of one kick dies just before the next starts, giving some breath to the track.
Then, we get to pitch controls, here, you can set the frequency, from 40 Hz to 70 Hz, or you can just choose the note in the drop down menu below the knob. Here, I’ve found something I don’t quite like: notes, go from E1 to C#2, leaving out the notes D and Eb. They explain in the manual that, anything lower than 40 Hz, just didn’t sound as a kick anymore, so, the solution to have your kick in tune in D or Eb is to play via MIDI notes or just tune it to fifths (A – Bb). No big deal.
You have “start” and “time” knobs. Start, controls the frequency at the beginning of the sound, and time, acts as a decay which decreases the frequency starting point, in other words, this two controls used together, act like a pitch envelope.
Then, there are deep and curve controls. “Deep” sets the amount of pitch envelope and curve controls the curve of the decaying pitch. At above the 12 o’clock position, it will make it sound like a zap or laser, which is great for designing some synth percussion or synth toms.
There are also two body modes: ORIG, which is great for low-end parts and TOUGH, which adds some sort of top click, which comes in handy when working with the sample part disabled, and really good for trance or harder styles.
- One Shot: when enabled, MIDI notes length are ignored, so every kick will have the same duration.
- Autoplay: when enabled it triggers quarter notes when you hit play in your DAW, very clever way for previewing while designing the sound.
- Edit: here you’ll find an EQ with sweepable mids and HF shelf, and also a cut, that acts like a LPF and a punch control, besides, you can change the body part gain, change the sample pitch, and select if pitch is fixed (any midi note will produce the same pitch) or controlled by midi note.
- Wave: provides five different drive types, a drive amount and a phase control which is great for making the sound fatter or thinner.
- File: will let you save, open and manage presets.
Its name doesn’t lie, it’s a fat, big, easy to use and understand kick instrument, that provides lots of options for sound design. It’s very visual due to its waveform display and it will cut through any mix without the need for any external processing, and you won’t need to have dedicated tracks for top kick and low kick. Everything you need is here. Of course, with so much control, it can be used for designing not just kicks, let’s say deep basses or other synth percussion stuff!
I would say this is a must-have for any producer who wants to have full control over kick sounds.
Also, you can check: BigKick Plugin – How To Use Tutorial by Rob Jones