Balancing & Gain Staging Multiple Kicks

Hey everyone,

Mixing Foundations 1 explains clearly how I should approach my mix by using the kick as an anchor and balancing it against my mix bus.

Does this approach change when using multiple kicks - such as a high, mid, and sub kicks? Throughout the track they do not always play simultaneously but when they are playing simultaneously - that’s the real Tom Cruise right there.

I’d like to know how you recommend we approach a mixdown using this production method!


Use the entire layered kick as the anchor, I am assuming this will be in the chorus. You should output the individual kick layers to a aux/group for processing as a single unit.

So you do not perform any processing whatsoever to the individual channels in these cases, only on the “Kick Bus” ?

Thank you, other Paul F! :smiley:

Process and gain stage the individual kicks so they meld together as one cohesive unit. You can then do additional processing to the combined kick and then use the fader to gain stage the kick, as it you change the gain of one layer for a section of the track, it will then be unbalanced in another section.

Paul Fleetwood welcome to the forum! Paul pretty much covered it. We often will have instruments like bass or even synth parts that are multi-layered but play, typically as a cohesive single sound. There may be sections were you drop a part out but each element as, Paul stated, should be processed individually with the idea of making it fit into the single over all sound of that instrument and then processed as a single sound against other elements in the mix (bass etc).

For example I want to make sure the sub element of the kick isn’t conflicting with the sub element of the bass. They will be EQ’d and processed so that they aren’t. My mid kick sound will be adjusted to not mask the sub part of the kick and to provide the proper body I am looking for. My upper kick is going to be the click or attack that will cut through the mix and be heard on small speakers. I want to make sure it is dialed in just right and also not be conflicting with my mid kick sound. After those individual parts are dialed in I will process the sound further, if needed, as a single kick.

This is helpful. Thank you both!