In just a few minutes, you will know exactly how to make a powerful gated hardstyle kick in FL Studio.
If you want to learn how to make gated kicks like the one in the video, pay very close attention until the end. I will give you all the crucial strategies you need to get results fast. As a bonus, which is kind of my trademark, you ONLY need FL Studio plugins to achieve this. So, no excuses, anyone can do this.
How to make a hardstyle gated kick
In a previous video I asked if you wanted to see a tutorial about the hardstyle gated kick from that video. The replies were overwhelmingly positive, so here we are.
In 3 simple steps I will unveil how you can create impressive hardstyle gated kicks yourself. I will share exactly how I did it, but there are probably a gazillion ways to get a similar result. So, find your own way.
By the way, are you already subscribed to Screech House? If you are not, consider jumping onboard right now, because it would be a shame if you miss out on all the eye-opening techniques you never knew existed.
STEP 1: Create the signal for your gated hardstyle kick
To start making a gated kick, sometimes called a reverb kick, you need to have signal to work with. This signal can come from a sample, but it can also come from any synthesizer. In my case, I went with my good old friend the 3x Osc.
On your synthesizer, go to the oscillators area and close all oscillators, but one. On that one oscillator select the sine wave. You could probably also start with a triangle wave. It just depends.
If you don’t know how a synthesizer works, start first with the Sound Design for Beginners guide. The guide has already helped a ton of producers, so don’t miss out and get it now while it’s still available.
Then, give your sine wave a quick pitch drop at the beginning of the sound. This creates the punch of the kick. You can easily do that by going to the envelopes area and select pitch as the target. Then, close all parameters, but open the amount and decay time. Though, how much you open these knobs are purely based on taste. So, just play around and you can always come back to make changes later on.
Lastly, you could also give your sine wave a volume envelope. The volume envelope may help shape the duration and intensity of your kick. But again, this is just a matter of how it ends up sounding.
But if you want to use a volume envelope, select volume as the target. Then, close all envelope parameters except for the hold and/or decay time. The sum of the hold and decay time could very well be one beat. So, around 2 steps each or whatever.
Don’t forget to play a note
Therefore, open the Piano Roll of your synthesizer and draw a note somewhere in the sub bass frequencies. For me, I drew a one-beat long note at G3.
Mind you, you may want to pick the note that fits your melody. For example, if the root note of your melody is F, you may want to draw an F note here as well.
Now, if you have no clue about root notes or music theory stuff, just get my book The Ultimate Melody Guide. Many people have already read it and it will cover everything you need to know about that.
STEP 2: Add mixer effects to shape your gated hardstyle kick
Now it’s time for the juicy part: adding Mixer effects. Therefore, make sure to send your synthesizer to the Mixer first. For example, route it to Mixer track 1. Then, open the Mixer and let’s have some fun.
Okay, to keep it short, I’m not going to explain all effects in detail. What I want you to take away from this are the strategies, not the literal execution. The literal execution will always be different, but the strategies remain very similar from project to project.
But very quickly, if you watch the video I will play the kick and enable each effect one after the other. This way you can see each effect and how they slowly give rise to the finished product.
How to make your own hardstyle gated kick
Once you have seen everything, you may be tempted to copy me. But that’s a big mistake. Copying never leads to success, since you didn’t acquire the skills to produce it yourself. It can only get you so far.
That’s why you must learn how to make your own. Therefore, I am going to share 3 essential strategies you need to succeed, so you don’t have to rely on other people’s work.
STRATEGY 1: Use equalizers to shape your gated kick
Basically, any of the kicks in the harder EDM genres need a bunch of mid frequencies. Therefore, it’s a great idea to use an equalizer and add some early on. In my case, I added them between 700 and 800 Hz. However, you can add them in any mid-range that you prefer.
Furthermore, you may want to add some higher frequencies as well. This will bring clarity and freshness to your kick. It’s hard to give you any particular advice, but just go by ear.
Lastly, you may want to add multiple equalizers to give the kick what it needs at that point. For example, maybe later on in the Mixer chain your kick sounds a bit too hollow. You can simply solve this problem by adding a new equalizer and removing some of the mid frequencies. This way: use equalizers to shape the kick and give it what you think it needs at any moment in time.
STRATEGY 2: Use distortions to shape your gated kick
Next, any of the kicks in the harder EDM genres benefit tremendously from distortion. Distortion gives power, crunch and works together with an equalizer to give your kick a certain shape. However, for gated kicks, you don’t want to distort too aggressively. Find a medium approach.
Thereby, if you want a subtle kick, use less distortion. If you want an aggressive kick, use a little bit more. In my project, I’ve used a little bit more.
Besides, you can use any type, but a basic clip distortion easily gets the job done. In my case, I have used multiple clip distortion plugins and sometimes saturated or desaturated the signal a little bit. It just happened to sound right.
You may definitely want to experiment with multiple distortions in your Mixer chain as well. Thereby, use a distortion plugin after an equalizer or reverb. This way, the equalizer or reverb will dictate how the sound gets distorted.
Also, as a general rule, the more you go down in the mixer chain, the less aggressive you want to distort. Too much distortion, especially later on, will probably overdo it.
STRATEGY 3: Use reverbs to create your gated kick
Clearly, gated kicks are characterized by the sound of reverb. Reverb is like a magical ingredient. It can give your kick a sense of space, melts everything together and can add some extra crunch in the process. So, make sure to add reverb to your kick.
Usually, you want to add a reverb quite early on in the Mixer chain. This makes sure that the reverb gets distorted and shaped together with the original signal, which produces the right kind of effect.
Though, as far as the settings go, it’s simply impossible for me to tell you what to do. But generally speaking, a relatively smaller room size usually works quite well. Moreover, watch out that you don’t go overboard with the decay time. Too long of a decay time will just make your sample longer.
Lastly, you may want to give your reverb a short delay. The delay time dictates when the reverb starts. It’s very typical for a gated kick to have the reverb start about halfway through a full beat, which is usually about 150 to 300 milliseconds or so. Doing this will create a bouncing effect.
Other than that, just go wild with all the reverb settings.
STEP 3: You will never succeed if you focus on replicating sounds
Mind you, the goal is not to set all parameters perfectly from the start. Quite the opposite in fact. You simply start by adding equalizers, distortions and reverb with rough general settings. Then, you just play around between them.
So, your goal is to make curves and slopes in the equalizers and distortions as you play the sound. The same goes for the reverb. Thereby, use your ears to shape the kick into something that sounds more and more like a gated hardstyle kick.
It’s a grooming process, just like cutting a bush. You start by cutting the big chunks to create a rough outline. As you move on, you cut smaller and smaller pieces to give it its final shape.
Copying others will hold you back
However, this seems difficult to understand for many people. You really don’t want to know how often I get comments from people who cannot seem to replicate the sounds in my videos. But they miss the whole point. It is never, and will never be, about the exact settings. The exact settings just happen to be like that and will always be different from project to project.
Therefore, just focus on the underlying strategies and don’t be afraid to play around. It’s a continuous game of going back and forth between all the effects, all the parameters and settings that make up the kick. I simply cannot share that in a tutorial video. It will take up hours.
Nevertheless, if you watch the video to the end, I will play the kick and change some of the effects. This will give you a great impression of the possibilities and how my actions will affect the kick.
Play with all the effects and settings
As you may have seen, each change results in a different outcome. That’s why I invite you to do the same thing. Just start with some basic effects, use the strategies presented herein and keep playing with the parameters. If you can do just that, your kicks will rapidly become awesome.
Once you’re finished, don’t forget to make a sample of your kick, so you can use it in any of your projects.
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