Jim Hoekstra


5 Essential Tips For Making Hardstyle Kicks

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Making kicks is something every Harder-Style producer needs to do. While a lot of producers can easily put together some samples, actually making the whole kick sound professional is often much harder to do. In this article we will lay down 5 essential tips you need to consider when making Harder-Style kicks!

1. Use layering and sample chopping:

Layering and chopping various samples, like the ones in our Kick Sample Packs, is one of the best techniques to produce a distinctive hardstyle kick.

By doing this, you can produce a kick that has a powerful low-end, a sharp midrange, and a crisp high-end.

In order to prevent phasing problems while stacking samples, it's critical to pay attention to the samples' phase.

Additionally, make an effort to use samples from other sources, such as recordings of live drumming or samples from other genres.

Individual samples stacked on eachother

2. Play around with synthesis:

Since hardstyle kicks are frequently produced using synthesis, you may come up with your own distinctive sounds by playing with various synthesis methods.

For instance, you may use a wavetable synthesis to produce a complex and developing sound or a subtractive synthesis to produce a snappy and punchy sound.

Serum, Massive, and Spire are a few of the well-known synthesizers used in hardstyle creation.

In the video linked below, you can see us making a kick, starting from scratch in Serum!

 Watch Synthesis Tutorial
Vital VST UI Screenshots stacked on eachother

3. Use effects to provide variation:

Use effects like delay, reverb, and distortion to produce a more dynamic and captivating sound.

In fact, we recently launched a Hardstyle Kick FX patcher for FL Studio… and you can get it for free!

You may vary the sound of your kick and make it stand out in the mix by adding those effects.

For instance, you may use a long reverb to get a more ethereal sound or a brief delay to produce a staccato effect.

Free Patcher Preset
Multiple screenshots of samples & sample libraries

4. Utilize modulation to give your kick movement:

Modulation is a strong tool that you may use to give your kick movement and intrigue.

You might use an envelope follower to regulate the distortion or loudness of your kick, or an LFO to modify the pitch or filter cutoff of your kick.

A kick may sound more alive and sensitive to the music by applying modulation.

Fruity Peak Controller for Modulation

5. Use sidechain compression to produce pump: 

In hardstyle, sidechain compression is a common method to produce a pumping effect on the kick. Compressing the kick drum in respect to the other track components produces this effect.

Use a sidechain compressor plugin, like the Fruity Limiter or Fruity Compressor, to get this effect.

The threshold, ratio, and attack parameters allow you to customize the kick's level of compression and provide a special pumping effect.

It's important to keep in mind that making hardstyle kicks is an iterative process, and it's not something you can achieve in one go. That means you have to keep practicing, and make kicks everyday! Seriously, work on 1 kick for 30 minutes everyday, and you'll be blown away by your progress.

Experiment with different settings, samples, and techniques to find the perfect sound for your track.

Additionally, don't be afraid to use other instruments such as basses, synths, or even vocals to achieve the sound you want.

Kickstart 2 by Cable Guys VST

What's the take-away?

Just. make. a. lot. of. kicks. Yes! Work on 1 kick everyday for half an hour, and you'll be surprised how much your kicks will improve.

Mastery comes with practice and consistency. 

Obviously, there are ways to get to that mastery level faster. For example, just watch a lot of tutorials, and compare your kick to professional ones. 

Down below is a video where we create a multiple kicks 100% from scratch:

Watch Tutorial

Don't forget to download the essential plugins for Harder-Style production here:

You'll see that these will come in very clutch!

Drop element here!

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