Last week we reviewed the KICK Synth plugin by Nicky Romero and Sonic Academy. Earlier this year Nicky released his first plugin called Kickstart. This plugin will be looked at today. Kickstart by Nicky Romero & The Cableguys is a plugin that can emulate the sidechain effect that is so populair in dance music styles for years now. The key to this whole proces is called volume ducking, through different volumeshapes you get different swings in the sidechain effect.
When you first open the plugin you see a clearly layed out GUI thats easy to understand. On the left side there’s the Nicky Romero brand logo and a mixknob, more on that later. Filling the right side of the GUI is the volumeshaper with a measure box going from 1/8 till 1/1 and underneath that are the different curves that are made as presets by Nicky Romero.
Also there is a star button that takes you to the back of the plugin. There you can select if the plugin is synced to your DAWs tempo. The other options are retrigger and one shot if you are gonna use Kickstart as a midi plugin.
The whole point to this plugin is quickly and easy setting up the so called sidechain effect. Just pick some of the presets and a measure you want and away you go. With the arrow keys on the gui you can slide the preset in small increments so you can lock it tightly to your groove.
What makes this plugin also very easy to use is the big mixknob. Lots of times when setting up a sidechain effect you get a sucking effect that is too abrupt, but when you dial the mixknob anti clockwise you can ease into the original effect and apply a kind of blend between the sidechain effect full on and the dry effect.
This gives a much more polished result. Its like a new york compression technique for sidechaining. New york compression is making an extra buschannel with heavy compression and a dry channel, then slowly easing in the heavy compressed signal to make a blend of the channels to give it more robustness and body.
Some other things you can do with this plugin is to shape a kickdrum for instance. You take a shape that is at full volume at the start and rolls off later. This way you can make a kickdrum thats exactly how you want it. When you take another instance of Kickstart on the bass channel you can shape your kickdrum and bass to work perfectly together. Another creative use for it is to shape Reverb or Delay channels so they roll off exactly how you want it.
One small critique is that it is not yet possible to draw in your own curves, I can imagine people would like to do that. But other then that Kickstart is a very cool and easy plugin to use and fun to work with.
Related: KICK Synth review by Rob Fabrie