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It goes without saying that kick drums are possibly the most important part of any club track and can be the deciding factor of a good track and an excellent track. Designing the perfect one is an art in itself and is often a key element of an artist's sound. There are many ways to go about crafting your perfect kick but to help you craft great sounds with ease, D16's PunchBox has all the tools you need to do so. In this review, we'll be taking a look at the plugin, highlighting its key features and how I found it useful. 

What Is It? 

PunchBox is a virtual drum synth that allows you to create perfect kickdrums using a combination of synthesis and samples on different parts of the sound. Once you dial in your kick, there are a few signal processing options to really bring it to life. 

Key Features

PunchBox comes with 1100 samples and 800 different presets, which can be used in the four different layers of the kick including click, tops. tools, and kick. There are four synth engines to choose from, including 909, 808, 606, and a sine wave. PunchBox also allows you to import your own kicks and samples. There are five different effects to choose from which can be independently activated and reorganized. Effects include EQ, Bitcrusher, Distortion, Filter, and Limiter. If you're feeling a bit stuck, there's a randomizing feature to help spark interest or inspiration. A much-appreciated feature is the Direct Export function which allows you to export your final kick as WAV file at multiple bit depths and sample rates.

D16 PunchBox FX section

D16 PunchBox FX section

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My Experience

I was turned on to PunchBox by a friend of mine who said he uses it in most of his productions and seeing as his kick drums are deadly, I thought I'd give it a go. While PunchBox is capable of making really amazing kickdrums itself, what I found it most useful for was adding a nice bite and top layer to my analog kicks from my drum machine. Sometimes analog kicks can be a bit too round in the top, so adding that extra top layer can help them really stand out in the mix. When I did you PunchBox as the actual source, I was able to make some really interesting kicks that would normally take much longer to produce due to having to search for the right samples to layer. Using a few other plugins on top of the ones that come in the plugin helped polish the sound off and had them ready for battle.

I also found that this plugin really helps you understand the various pieces that make up a kick and how they each play an important role in getting the kick drum you want. If you're someone who mostly uses samples, this is a great tool to help you wrap your head around sound design. I found that when using the effects, I liked to push them hard, then dial them back with the dry/wet knob. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I'm very pleased with PunchBox. It's a straightforward tool that is both flexible and fun to use and works with any genre. Whether using as a layer or as my main kick, PunchBox delivers on both fronts. The randomize feature can help spark some interest if you're looking to get very unique sounds. I would definitely recommend this plugin to anyone looking to craft their own signature sounds with ease. 


€ 79

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