Tips for synthesizing an EDM kick drum with open source tools?

(elcalen) #1

Hiya! I’m still relatively new to electronic music production, and recently I’ve been looking into what plugin options I have at my disposal in the Free Software realm. While there’s several decent synths and a bunch of effects I can use, making a good kick is still a topic I’m a little hazy on. I’ve used sampled kicks in the past, but I’d like to get a feel for synthesized kicks as well. The kick is, after all, one of the most important parts of a dance track…

So with that in mind, I’m looking for any good synthesizer recommendations, presets, or tutorials that you folks might have, or know of, specifically for making powerful EDM/trance style kick drums!

(Robin Gareus) #2

There’s a relatively new plugin dedicated to this:

other than that, zynaddsubfx/zyn-fusion. Check out some of unfa’s videos e.g.

(elcalen) #3

I hadn’t encountered Geonkick before, it looks interesting… but is it possible to currently make it work as a plugin? The documentation is somewhat lacking, but I tried building the 1.1 release source I downloaded from github with the LV2 option enabled. (It does warn that this isn’t recommended…) Ardour loads the plugin I compiled, but there’s no UI and all I get out of it is a sine wave. I have little experience building LV2 plugins, so not sure if I’m missing something obvious, or if the LV2 support is just broken.

And yeah, I have Zyn installed and have already been checking out some of unfa’s videos… It’s just… a lot to wrap one’s head around :slight_smile:

(Michael Willis) #4

It’s just… a lot to wrap one’s head around :slight_smile:

Ha! No argument there, but if you’re going to do EDM on Linux, you should probably get comfortable using Zyn as one of your primary tools.

(Stijn Dc) #5

Should try zyn also. Haven’t tried yet with the new fusion UI.

(chrisanthropic) #6

I’ll repeat the recommendations for Zyn & Unfa’s tutorials.

In fact, I wrote a quickstart and 3 tutorials for the new Zyn documentation (kick, snare, hi-hat) using Ardour & ZynFusion, loosely based on Unfa’s videos.

I’m still pretty new to all this as well, so the docs probably won’t create a perfect sound but you can hear a small loop here of what the resulting sounds sound like here.

1 Like

Hi! Here I have released the version 1.5 of Geonkick percussion synthesizer that now is based on Redkite GUI toolkit I have developed. It is free software released under GPLv3.

Version 1.5 includes the following new features:

LV2 plugin
multi-layers (3 layers)
oscillators phase modification


using Redkite GUI toolkit instead of Qt, thus, enabling proper LV2 support
non-blocking audio thread, using atomic operations and kind of ring buffers
on modifying parameters no glitches
non blocking GUI when using long kicks, times like 4 seconds

Source code:

Here also a quick track I composed the last two days using Geonkick for percussion:

Now I’ll start the next cycle to continue the development of VST3/Windows, maybe after a month or two to release VST3.
Hope you’ll find it useful… and hope it works for you.


(elcalen) #8

I tested it very briefly, and it does appear to work in Ardour now as a plugin. Thanks for the update!

I’m still terrible at designing drum sounds, though. I wish there were more presets. :smiley:


I have plans to make several videos as a tutorial how to synthesize basic elements like kick, snare, hit-hat, claps with Geonkick, but I have a very little experience in editing videos. Anyway, there are videos made by producers (ex unfa or SeamlessR) from whom I learned how to synthesize these elements, and I would say the principles at the end are the same, so I have tried so summarize some of these tactics in Geonkick. For example, unfa suggested me to implement more noise generators in order to be able to make better snares, I added even layers with one noise per layer… and the result was that I was able to generate a better snare with Geonkick. Now someone suggested to add envelope for filters cut-off, and I think this will improve things more, I’ll release this it in v1.6. If guys with experience have other suggestions, than I’ll be happy to implement.


Also I I’ve forgot to thank Robin that suggested me the right directions regarding some technical things regarding real-time audio and GUI problems for plugins.