How to Make a Hardstyle Kick

Written by simon foden Google
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How to Make a Hardstyle Kick
Because hardstyle is electronic, you'll play your own drum sounds using your MIDI controller. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Hardstyle is subgenre of trance music, characterised by a relatively fast tempo of around 140 beats per minute and a distinctive, powerful bass drum sound. The bass drum sound is often the characteristic that distinguishes hardstyle from similar genres, such as hard house, so it's essential to get it right. Typical hardstyle music is composed and arranged using digital audio workstations, such as Pro Tools or Cubase. The electronic nature of the music makes it possible to create all elements of a hardstyle track using just a computer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • USB cable
  • MIDI controller

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Connect a MIDI controller to the computer using an appropriate style of USB cable.

  2. 2

    Open your preferred digital audio workstation (DAW). Either double-click the desktop icon or launch it from the start menu, under the "Programs" submenu. If you are using a Mac, single-click the desktop icon or launch the program from the "Applications" folder.

  3. 3

    Open a blank session. Some programs, such as Logic, automatically launch the last-saved session. If this isn't the correct session, click "File" and select the "New Session" option from the drop-down menu.

  4. 4

    Open two MIDI tracks. (Because you are sequencing the drums, rather than recording a live drummer, MIDI is the appropriate interface.) The process for opening new tracks differs slightly according to which program you are using, but you'll typically select "File," then either "New Track, "New Audio" or "New Channel," and then select a type and a number of channels. When prompted, select "MIDI" and enter "2."

  5. 5

    Double-click on both channels in sequence, naming one "Drum" and the second "Tok." The hardstyle drum sound has two sonic elements --- a low resonance and a high-pitched impact called a "tok."

  6. 6

    Assign your preferred bass drum sound to the first channel. Open the instruments menu, select "Drums" and browse for a sound that has a suitably low resonance. Audition bass drums sounds by clicking on them as they appear in the menu, or by using your MIDI controller.

  7. 7

    Assign a "tok" to the second audio channel. Browse the percussion instruments menu until your find a sound with a suitable impact and resonance, such as a wood block. Using a "tok" sound adds definition to the kick drum sound and enables it to cut through the mix.

  8. 8

    Click "Drum" to highlight it and hit "Record." Use the MIDI controller to play the instrument in once.

  9. 9

    Click "Tok" and record one stroke of that sound as well.

  10. 10

    Click "Drum" and select "Send To." Select "Bus 1" from the menu. (In audio, a bus is a mix channel where you route multiple sounds, putting them together in one place.)

  11. 11

    Route the "Tok" sound to "Bus 1."

  12. 12

    Click "Bus 1" and select "Export as WAV." This renders both the resonant sound of the bass drum and the "tok" sound as one file. You can now import this sound as a sample and use it in your preferred drum sequencing application.

Tips and warnings

  • Use your editing tools to trim the wave (WAV) file to a suitable size once you've imported it into your drum sequencer program.

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