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How to make powerful 808s (pt 1)

Alright first off you are going to need two things. You need a good punchy kick, and a bass sub/808 that you can manipulate. I usually use either Kontakt (808 warfare) or an 808 patch out of massive. You could also use serum, another synth or even samplers (I've seen a few of my friends use this also.) If you aren't sure where to start, I would probably suggest picking the kick first, although there is no right answer.

Play your kick and 808 patterns, they don't have to be the same, but basically what we are aiming to do is layer the sounds, so the more similar the patterns are, the better. You don't have to quantize your sounds either, but it can really help make it easier to get them lined up. It isn't really a wrong thing to do either if you do it only on the 1/4th notes. It won't effect your swing if you played properly to the metronome.

Once you have your kicks and 808s lined up to overlap, set up a sidechain compressor with the kick compressing the 808. I usually use a metronome set to at least 4/8 in order to set the compression attack and release. The ratio the compressor hits can be anything from 7 to infinite, and the threshold is signal dependent so that will always be different. It's smart to layer your 808s like this to avoid an overload of low frequencies at a single time.

You may need to do some EQ, you may not, definitely depends on the sounds you picked. Hopefully this tutorial helped some beginners who were wondering how to make punchier 808s. Definitely much better than using just an 808 sample by itself.

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