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A Quick Trick To Give Your Kick And Snare More Punch Using Transient Design

Last updated: January 4, 2023
Written by Randor Lin
A diagram of a XY drum overhead miking technique on Velveteen Music's blog

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Reading time: 5-6 minutes

Hey everyone,

This is Randor from Velveteen Music. Today, I did a quick little video regarding kick and snare transient design through editing. The point of this video was to share a little technique to help our drums sound a little punchier and poke through the mix a bit more.

This can be done in a number of different ways such as drum replacements, using midi, or using transient design plugins. I find that all of theses are good tools and all have their positives and negatives. Depending on the context of what you are doing, this is hopefully another tool to add to your toolbox.

I find that all of theses are good tools and all have their positives and negatives. Depending on the context of what you are doing, this is hopefully another tool to add to your toolbox.

Thanks for watching!

More on using transient design for punchy kick and snares

Punchy kick and snare drums are the driving force behind many modern music tracks, and they really provide a solid foundation for the rest of the mix. So let's look at how transient design can be used to create punchy, impactful drums that will cut through the mix and hold their own in any production.

So what is transient design?

Well, transients are the initial attack of a sound, such as the initial "click" of a kick drum or the sharp attack of a snare drum. When people say "transient design", they are referring to the process of shaping and manipulating these transients to create a desired effect. In the case of punchy drums, we want to enhance the initial attack to give the drums more impact and power.

How is it done?

One way to achieve this is with the use of a transient shaper. A transient shaper is a type of audio processor that allows you to adjust the attack and sustain of a sound. By boosting the attack and decreasing the sustain of the kick and snare drums, you can create a punchier, more defined sound.

One of our favorite plugins that does this is the SPL Transient Designer plugin, which comes as a part of the Plugin Alliance mega bundle.

Another option is to use EQ to shape the transients. By boosting the frequencies where the transient lives (such as the upper mid-range for snare drums and the low end for kick drums), you can add definition and clarity to the attack of the drums.

Additional Tips

It's important to be careful when using transient design techniques, as overdoing it can result in drums that sound unnatural, over-processed, or worst of all, just physically painful to listen to. Experiment with small adjustments and listen to how it affects the overall sound of the drums in the mix.

Now this isn't the only way to get drums to be super punchy. Here are a few additional ways to get there:

  • Don't cheap out on drum samples, make sure they sound great. Better yet, record your own drums for a more real sound

  • Don't be afraid to experiment with different drum heads, sticks, or even just different drums entirely until you find the sound you want.

  • Layering different drum sounds can help you shape the sound to where you need it to go

  • Use parallel compression to add sustain and punch to the drums. We've got a post on that here: Effective Ways To Setup Parallel Compression In Your Mixes

  • Thanks for reading and happy producing!

    Edmonton based music producer and recording engineer Randor Lin, also known as MADEINTAIWAN

    Randor Lin

    Randor is a Juno nominated producer, working with the likes of Ten Second Epic, Stereos and Kaeley Jade.
    Person tweaking eq settings on a Neve 1073 DPX at Velveteen Music's Edmonton recording studio

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