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kick drum in max

October 1, 2010 | 8:38 pm


I’m just looking at ways of making kick sounds better. I can filter phase/saw objects and fiddle with biquads etc but the kick sounds I make always sound muddy and boring. Is there any way to make them sound a bit more professional?


October 1, 2010 | 9:37 pm

This might be useful. There is a patch diagram of a 909 type analogue kick about half way down the page.

Other than that compression, waveshapping and sidechain compression to create rhythmic tension between the kick and other sounds always helps.

October 1, 2010 | 9:42 pm

Here’s a quick fix; but if you’ve been working on this, you’ve probably already done better…..

– Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. –


it sounds complete and utter *&%^$!* on my laptop speakers hehe

October 2, 2010 | 8:36 am

thanks for the replies :). i cant quite get my head around the 909 kick diagram. Any help breaking that diagram down would be cool.

thanks again

October 2, 2010 | 10:19 am

I guess you’re not sure which MSP objects to use, to duplicate the hardware elements described in this article……..well, my wife has just taken little Luca to the pool for a swim, so I’ve got an hour to kill….(passage of time visual)…..


– Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. –

As an exercise, see if you can work out which elements represent which MSP objects….btw I didn’t duplicate the ‘Accent’ element, simply because I don’t know what it is, and I replaced the waveshaper with a simple filter, but it still sounds pretty close to that 80′s synth-drum sound to me


October 2, 2010 | 10:27 am



  1. sos_kick.jpg
October 2, 2010 | 11:46 am

i tried the exercise, the diagram is relatively straight forward in max it seems, although the order is slightly different.

probably got it all wrong though.

cheers :)


  1. Untitled.jpg
October 2, 2010 | 11:53 am

No, not wrong, but I would call the [*~] objects VCA and the [+~] the mixers; using [matrix~] and [matrixctrl] will give you a more graphical mixer.

October 2, 2010 | 2:18 pm

The accent is usually a separate sequencer channel that makes steps that are accented louder to emphasize the downbeat. All hits on that step are made louder. You can see the amp level from the trigger and the accent are mixed and sent to the EG’s controlling VCA 1 and VCA 2. Matrix~ might be useful as you can set different amp levels (not just on/off) going to the output and it includes a ramp.

October 5, 2010 | 5:04 pm

n00b_meister one quick question about your interpretation of the 909 diagram: in the left part of the patch (i.e. just the saw~ part) exactly how would someone make sure that the note coming out of the saw~ object was, in midi terms, a C4 note? would you put a midi message into an mtof~ object which then goes into the right inlet of the [*~] object which goes into the left inlet of the [saw~] object?

cheers :)

October 5, 2010 | 7:10 pm

I think [number] has a property which governs its display status, one which you can set to binary or hex or midi note#. I think.

So, if I’m right, selecting C4 from a number-box with this property should output the correct number, via [mtof]; you may want to convert this to a signal for the [*~] though.

C4 is quite high though and may change the sound of your kick to a rototom or such.


October 5, 2010 | 9:01 pm

ok cool, thanks :)

October 7, 2010 | 2:18 am

A solution someone posted a while back. Can’t remember the author.

– Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. –
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