KICK Synth Review

The kick drum is arguably the most important element of any dance track. It’s a sound that has to fit perfectly with the bass and other instruments, and will likely be repeated many times – often with little variation – so it’s vitally important to get it right….



Manufacturer Sonic Academy
Price £24.95

Although most producers will likely have a vast library of drum hits, this new, highly tweakable plug-in from Sonic Academy could mean the end of the sampled kick.

KICK is available as either a 32-bit or 64-bit VST or AU instrument and essentially comprises a sine wave generator with envelope control over amplitude/pitch and a sample player, also with an envelope.

These two elements of the sub and the top click sound can be combined in many different ways to form a near-endless number of kick drum sounds, alongside more percussive snares, toms and pings.

This versatility is evident in the 175 presets, which cover house, techno, D&B, trap, live and more, with the option to load in your own click samples only adding to the possibilities. Sonic Academy has also teamed up with producer Nicky Romero, who contributes his own personal collection of click samples alongside a signature distortion section with controls for amount, tone, mix and whether the click comes pre or post.


The main section of KICK is taken up by the large envelopes that allow you to click to add points, with useful Hz and frequency readouts plus sliders to control the overall length and pitch height. Other key features include gate on/off and keytrack to control how the plug-in reacts to incoming MIDI, individual pitch and volume control for the click sample, an EQ with boost and gain set to the most useful frequencies, and an overall drive and output limiter.

Although the two distortions aren’t exactly mind-blowing, they help to bring an extra dimension to the sound-design possibilities. We also found ourselves wanting a dial to control the stereo width of the click sample and an oscilloscope to help craft the shape of the kick.

However, these are minor issues, and given the low price tag, overall this is an exceptionally useful and well thought-out plug-in that allows you to be much more precise in fine-tuning a kick for your track.