Ultrakick – The Ultimate MaxforLive Device for Kick Drums (Interview)

Today we want to share with you one of the most powerful and in-depth plugins we have ever seen for creating Kick drum sounds – Ultrakick. Ultrakick’s developer Daan Pothvaen reached out to us at Beat Lab so we checked out the plugin and were thoroughly impressed with what he created. A quick list of features is below; below that, we have a more in-depth review; finally, we had an opportunity to ask Daan some questions so check our interview too!

  • 100% synthesis: no samples involved.
  • 8 partials per oscillator with unprecedented options for sound design.
  • Tuning: move all frequency-related envelopes up or down with a single click.
  • Spread settings for frequency envelopes: create organic sounds with no effort.
  • Action menus for quick actions like envelope randomization and osc partial presets.
  • Accurate waveform image rendering.
  • Numerical envelope point programming for high precision sound design.
  • Robust preset system with easily interchangeable preset files.

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Tabs Overview


The first tab features a pitch envelope so you can tune your kick to your liking, and once you’ve dialed in a precise envelope you can even use the quicktune button in the upper right to change the overall key

The second tab features a two oscillator synth to specify the harmonic overtones of your drum!

Add some noise to get a disco-sounding drum or drop the noise out for a club-ready kick.

Internal 4-band EQ, you can make it an 808 or a more classic wood thumper sound

Holy moly talk about control-y! There’s even an audio flow chain for deep diving. There is no doubt that this plugin allows for an insane amount of control, it is extremely helpful to have everything you could think of in the same place for designing the sound of your kick drum. If you’re someone who obsesses over every detail of your kick then this is the plugin for you. But, even if you aren’t this is an amazing plugin, there are presets available for places to start and then you can fine tune to any degree from there. Make 808s, snappy kicks, subtle subs, or nonsensical sound experiments. With the two oscillator synth included in this plugin, you’re guaranteed hours of experimentation beyond shaping kick drums.

Download the device here on the Isotonik Studios website. If you want to see the device in action then check out this video for some demoing and continue below to read our interview with the man behind the magic!


[su_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/246272343″ width=”780″]https://player.vimeo.com/video/173960913[/su_vimeo]


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Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into MaxforLive development
My name is Daan Pothoven, I was born in The Netherlands and studied Industrial Design in Eindhoven. Out of a passion for music and sound, next to my studies I’ve been running a music/sound production company with my brother. Eventually, I became part of an interactive sound design team where I became a MAX professional. A couple of years later I started developing Max for Live devices.
Are you also a music producer?
At the moment I am not producing myself, but I used to, even professionally (my brother and I had a sound/music production company, for television commercials/web video etc).
When did you get into programming/Max?
My first encounter with programming was during my studies, Industrial Design in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. I learned the basics of JAVA and Arduino programming. After that, I was part of an interactive sound design team where I became a MAX professional.
What made you so interested in developing Ultrakick? It’s such an in-depth tool you must have been extremely motivated.
I have been extremely motived indeed! I have enjoyed countless amazing house/techno parties in Germany, where I lived for 6 years and I felt I wanted to do something back for the music producers. Most dance music relies heavily on the kick drum, and I know how hard it can be to get the kick right, so developing the ultimate kick drum synth was a no-brainer for me. (ULTRAKICK has been co-developed with German and Dutch music producers btw).
Any tips for beginning developers?
I do. Watch videos of “dude837” on YouTube. Read these books: “https://cycling74.com/articles/book-review-electronic-music-and-sound-design“. Read the tutorials included in MAX. Go build stuff and whenever you are stuck, post in the “Max/MSP” group on Facebook, which has more than 15k members now.
What’s your top 3 favorite M4L devices?
– Granulator II by Robert Henke
– Dub Machines by Surreal Machines

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