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Enhance a kick using a triggered sample in Reaper

If the kick drum is lacking that chest thumping punch and it doesn’t seem to have much depth to it, chances are it just hasn’t been recorded well enough. No matter how many plug-ins you throw at it, or how long you spend trying to fix it, you’re probably not going to be happy with the result.

Don’t give up yet though, there’s still hope. By blending the kick track with a triggered sample, you can give the kick that warmth, punch and depth you’re after, without loosing the drummer’s feel and style.

For this tutorial, we’re going to use Reaper’s Jesusonic plugin JS: Audio To MIDI Drum Trigger to trigger a kick sample in EZDrummer.

The same principle would apply in most DAW’s. All you need is a trigger plug-in and some form of kick drum sample.

Here’s how to set it up

  1. Rename the Kick track to Kick Live and add an instance of JS: Audio To MIDI Drum Trigger to the Kick Live track.
  2. Create a new track called Kick Sample and add an instance of EZDrummer to the Kick Sample track.
  3. In the Drums tab of EZDrummer, click the Instrument properties button ▾ for the kick drum.
  4. Select the kick drum you’d like to blend your original kick with. I’ve chosen the 20″ Ludwig because I love the depth and liveliness of this kick.
  5. Click Details (bottom-right) then click Key to display the MIDI note for the kick drum. Mine is set to 36.
  6. Open JS: Audio To MIDI Drum Trigger on the Kick Live track, set the MIDI Chanel to 10 and the MIDI Note to the note of your kick drum in EZDrummer. In my case 36.
  7. Set the input of your Kick Sample track to Input: MIDIAll MIDI InputsChannel 10.
  8. In the track routing for your Kick Live track, add a new send to your Kick Sample track.
  9. If you click Play, you should now hear the triggered kick drum sample, in place of your original kick.
    You can blend the two using the Original Signal Mix (%) slider in Audio To MIDI Drum Trigger.

If you’re finding that the triggered kick doesn’t have much velocity

You can add an instance of JS: MIDI Velocity Control after MIDI Drum Trigger on your Kick Live track. You’ll probably want to boost it by around 40-60.

If there’s kicks when there shouldn’t be or the timing of the kicks are out

There’s another couple of controls in JS: MIDI Velocity Control to be aware of, Open Threshold and Trigger Align. You’ll most likely need to adjust each of these values slightly.

If you want to give the kick just a little more depth

You can add a touch of reverb or delay to the Kick Sample track. I already had a Reverb track in my session with an instance of Voxengo’s OldSkoolVerb inserted. I’m using the Drum Room preset and I’m sending around –40dB of the sample track to it.

Result

Before

After

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