A common technique in modern music production is the practice of layering multiple drums sounds or samples to achieve a specific sonic goal or texture. For example, taking the sustain and bottom of a nice 808 kick, the fuzziness or grit of an acoustic drum, and layering the top end “snap” of an electronic kick sample can be an affective way of achieving just the right blend of sonic texture to cut through the mix and compliment the rhythm section, many times creating complex layers that could not be achieved with basic EQ or Compression of a single source alone.

However, this increased flexibility often comes at the cost of bandwidth clutter. One of the biggest problems with combining low frequency samples, especially kick drums, is the accumulation of mud and rumble, along with phase coherency issues that can end up helping or hurting your cause. Because of this, you need to be clever in how you choose to blend your sounds, sometimes by removing unnecessary frequencies or altering competing envelopes, fitting each of the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle to achieve the final combined layer.

In my latest Lynda.com course, Mixing a Hip Hop & RnB song in Pro Tools, I discuss the practice of layering kick drum samples to create compelling textures, as well as techniques to ensure sonic compatibility inside your mix. Check out the following free video from the course, be sure to switch over to the HQ stream on youtube and listen on speakers or headphones with a decent amount of bass extension, as I’m working with very low sub frequencies. If you like tutorials and tips like this, be sure to unlock access to the entire course and all my courses over at lynda.com