Sound Design Tutorial: Using Native Instruments Massive to Create Sub-Heavy Kick Drums

In this tutorial, Dubspot’s sound design course designer and instructor Evan Sutton discuss basic kick drum synthesis using Native Instruments’ Massive. This can be a useful production technique for everything from techno to trap. Also, this is a universal technique that can be applied using many other synthesizers.

In this tutorial, we’ll discuss basic kick drum synthesis in Massive. Remember that these techniques are not entirely unique to Massive, and can be used in infinite capacities in many other synthesizers.

To get started, I always find it helpful to sequence the kick part I’m making the sound for. This way, we’re tailoring the sound specifically to its musical part. Many of the parameters, such as envelope times, can be set more precisely and carry the song better. Remember that the pitch you play for the sequence should be the pitch you envision for the tail of the drum. Next, get the amplitude envelope in order. Let your taste, as well as the music dictate how long it takes for the sound to decay, and whether or not you’d like it to sustain. After the drum is fitting rhythmically, we can go buck wild with adding the punchy transient that will help the sound cut through a mix. – Evan Sutton

Evan Sutton a.k.a. Astrolith is an electronic music producer, sound designer, and audio engineer, as well as teaching sound design and electronic music production at Dubspot. He also helped develop Dubspot’s Sound Design program. You can hear Evan’s music and find out more about him at and

Related Dubspot Courses:

Become fluent in the language of sound design with this comprehensive program. This six-level Sound Design program uses Native Instruments’ Komplete as a platform for learning synthesis and sampling techniques. Starting with an introduction to the properties of sound, this comprehensive series of courses covers most common synthesis methods available for music production in the DAW of your choice.

Discovering the right sound is like finding a needle in the digital haystack. Learn the fundamentals to make this easier, and gain the depth of knowledge to make a good sound better. Factory content is great, but everyone has it – your mix needs something special.

Upcoming Sound Design Courses Starting in New York City and ONLINE:

April 30, 2013 in NYC – Tuesdays, Thursdays, 6:15-9pm
May 1, 2013 in NYC – Wednesdays, Fridays, 3:15-6pm
The week of April 21, 2013 ONLINE
The week of July 21, 2013 ONLINE

What’s Included:

  • Sound Design Level 1: Introduction to Komplete 8
  • Sound Design Level 2: Synthesis with Massive, FM8 and Absynth
  • Sound Design Level 3: Sampling with Kontakt and Battery
  • Sound Design Level 4: Advanced Sound Design
  • Sound Design Level 5: Reaktor Ensembles and Instruments
  • Sound Design Level 6: Reaktor Programming

Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

Or if you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.