In the world of kick drums nothing is more famous than the legendary Roland TR 808 kick drum and explaining how to manipulate it would take a book.........and it just so happens that I wrote an entire book on the subject of Low End. But this tutorial is about the all famous 808 'bounce' . When you hear a really well produced Hip Hop track where the 808 sits beautifully amongst all the other sounds you imagine yourself creating that mix....but then the damn bounce hits you from nowhere and you're left weeping for the rest of the year.
I am like any other Hip Hop lover, I love the 808 and what it does to an entire mix. It doesn't just sit there and come for the journey. No, the 808 can take over a whole mix and still not sound intrusive.
I don't think there is a more iconic drum sound than the Roland TR 808 and not just because it sounds gorgeous.....it is how it behaves in a mix context and the producers who are crafting 808s are truly talented. Processing 808s is an art and science.
How do we define bounce? Bounce is a dynamic event. It is the movement from zero to the peak, sustain, and the release. Although it is correct to regard bounce as an envelope, it is actually more than that. An envelope denotes a shape but the speed at which the envelope is triggered, velocity, is integral to bounce. This means we can have a velocity envelope that denotes how the amplitude envelope is triggered.
Time is also a factor when considering bounce. You can create the perception of bounce by using late or early notes, but this would require more than one note in order to provide a reference. Automation can lend itself to creating bounces by using bump automation but there are better broadband techniques that yield equally good results.
The best approach for creating bounce is manipulation of the velocity envelope and the best way to achieve this is by using a compressor or limiter. If you can throw EQ into the equation too, then all the better. I think a single EQ followed by a really good compressor/limiter is more than enough to create different bounce textures.
Let me show you step by step how you can get that famous 808 bounce!
Topics covered in this video are:
How to use a Dynamic EQ
How to Use an Exciter
How to use a Limiter in Dynamic Mode
Tips and Tricks