A lot of producers are asking, “How Do I make My Kick Sound Wider”? The real question is how to make it correctly without any issues and potential damage to your song. I will try to easily explain how you can fix your song by using only two plugins.
Which Tools (Plugins) You Will Need For This?
- Equalizer With M/S Mode (Mid, Side Mode) Built-in
- Stereo Analyzer (In this scenario I will use IXL Stereo Analyzer from RNDigital)
1. How do I make my kick sound wider?
There is nothing wrong with making your kick wider, but you want to make sure that it doesn’t have any common issues like correlation. If you think that your kick sounds excellent, but the low end has a very wide stereo and fluctuating correlation that isn’t stable, solid, and well balanced, you have to make sure that to fix this Sub and Bass Region using Mid/Side Technique with Equalizer.
The other tool you will need to use to make your kick wider correctly is Stereo Analyzer that I mentioned more times in the recent posts, but it’s a beneficial tool to tell you if your stereo is a little off or you are doing just fine. In this example, I will use a tool from IXL Stereo Analyzer From RNDigital, which is pretty good and maybe better than the rest of the analyzers out there as it shows precisely by colors how much your song is off. The more you are in the green, the better the correlation you have.
Here is the picture that explains how you can safely boost your sides and make your kick wider:
So here is the example of kick where Mid and Side mode wasn’t applied yet. You can see in the “Correlation” screen as the colors aren’t ideal, and you want to fix it. On the next screen, which is “Balance,” you want to achieve pure middle for your kick. Also, in the balance, you can see that white dot in the middle – don’t worry if there are colors around (Blue/Red) – It’s a sign that your kick sounds wider!
Besides that, you can also boost the Sides anywhere in the mix if your kick would sound better. The reason why I am working on the low-end part of the spectrum is that this is the crucial region to mix your kick properly and avoid being “off the phase.”
1. Preview And First Look
Here is the Waveform of the Kick Without M/S EQ Mode Applied (with correlation issues):
2. Applying Fix By Using FabFilter Pro Q3 (Fixing Correlation)
Now let’s fix the problem using EQ’s MS Mode. I used 65Hz Side (S) Low Cut by using 72 dB/oct Slope – With the sharp Slope, you can still hear the stereo frequencies from 65Hz and higher, and that’s the key of making your kick more wider, because you just isolating the lower fluctuating frequencies (In this case Under 65Hz).
But to completely fix the correlation, I had to apply also mid boost on the lower frequencies to balance it and make it rock solid. The main point here is to isolate the fluctuating any stereo frequencies from the very low region.
And here is the point. Now, as you can see, you can boost the Side band that will result in your mix to be wider. But at the same time, you want to look at your Stereo Analyzer to determine if your correlation or balance starts messing up. If yes, boost the Mid band in the Sub-region to bring the correlation to acceptable values. Also, read more about stereo imaging and correlation here.
3. Final Result
And here is the kick after Kick After M/S EQ Mode Applied:
And lastly, here is how it looks in the Stereo Analyzer after we fixed the low-end imaging. In the “Balance” strip, you can see that white dot in the middle – that’s the positive sign that stereo imaging of your kick is excellent. Also, don’t worry if there Red or Blue color in the “Balance” screen – It’s a sign that your kick sounds wider!
Lastly, check the video version that will show you how to use FabFilter Pro-Q 3:
2. Is Mixing Kick In The Mono Necessary?
It’s a matter of the song and various circumstances. Anyway, you can’ break your track with mixing your kick in mono. In case you want to make a more punchy and loud track that would make your kick visible and more “In the face” – in that case, you would probably mix your kick in the Mono but also in the fact that you want to have your drums to have same stereo imaging and play consistently.
Anyway, making your kick to sound more stereo is great if you are planning to make your track to be more acoustic, and you want to have your low end just a slightly wider or also if the track sounds very mono and you want to bring the life to your project. That will, of course, make a significant impact on imaging of your track as the kick is playing across the whole track, and your ears will perceive stereo in the long term. In the end, it’s entirely up to you just point is to mix your kick without issues and checking the Stereo Analyzer to be on the safe spot!
Also, don’t remember that there is also another approach. Let’s say that one kick sounds pretty good in the mono, and the second sounds well in stereo. Do this technique in case that they are pretty well balanced with each other and have a proper correlation to avoid the low-end fluctuation.
3. How Do You Mix a Kick And 808?
There are more comprehensive guides on how to make correctly mix 808 with the kick, but I keep this step simple. For 808, I am using Passive EQ SPL Passeq. There is a pre-made preset called “808 Drums LR,” which works pretty cool, especially for the kick. The reason for that is I prefer to make my customized kicks, and then I try to apply this preset from Passeq, and in most cases, it makes the desired result, and I’m pleased with that. This Passive EQ also has its hardware version, which is pretty more expensive than the software version. Anyway, I think the software version sounds perfect. Feel free to get more info about SPL Passeq Plugin here.
However, if you want to learn how to mix 808s with the kick properly check this video that will further explain you the process:
Whether you make the kick in mono or you prefer stereo version, making it mono is the safe option for you to don’t break up your mix. Anyway, you want to pay attention when mixing in stereo as the correlation would really hurt and cause a lot of issues there. As being said, with the simple technique you can fix and make your kicks wider, just make sure you are checking the Stereo Analyzer to make sure that everything is right!