How to make an 808 kick with Z3TA+2


How to make an 808 kick drum with Z3TA+2


Z3TA+2 from Cakewalk is an excellent synth to make 808 style drums with. It’s pitch envelope allows for the 808 to hit a lot harder. Z3TA also has great effects and processors built in to add flavor to 808s.

Let’s get started.

Load up Z3TA+2 and Initialize the patch.

How to make 808s with Cakewalk Z3TA+2
Turn on OSC #1
turn on osc1


Select the generated sine wave for OSC1.

z3ta sine selection

This is what the default sine wave sounds like..


In Z3TA the ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release) settings are somewhat different than other synths.
The AMP ENVELOPE section will be used to adjust the ADSR
To start off let’s turn all the knobs down

ADSR Knobs turned down
z3ta adsr knobs down

In Z3TA the TIME1 knob will adjust the DECAY. Turn the Decay knob to taste. (the Decay will determine the length of the 808 kick).

Decay adjustment

z3ta decay adj

Z3TA 808 Short Decay example

Z3TA 808 Long Decay example

As always adjust the Release to get rid of any clicking sounds.

Release adjustment.

release adj

Listen the examples below of adjusting the release to get rid of clicking sound


Adjust the POLYPHONY/VOICES to 1 OR 2, to avoid more than one note playing at a time.

How to make 808s with Cakewalk Z3TA+2


As with all 808s adding a lowpass filter can eliminate high frequencies.
Add a High Pass filter and adjust to taste.

z3ta filter

Listen to examples below with and without Lowpass Filter.

Z3TA 808 Without filter

Z3TA 808 With Filter


Z3TA’s pitch envelope can work wonders when extra punch needs to be added to the 808.┬áThe modulation and routing capabilities of this synth are un-mached.

Adjust the pitch envelope to look similar to the screenshot below.

z3ta pitch env

In order to hear the effect you need to set the source and destination in the modulation matrix
Set the modulation source to Pitch EG
Set the destination to OSC #1 Pitch
You can experiment with different curves on your own but PITCH 4 OCT works best.

How to make 808 kick drum with Z3TA+2

Adjust the AMOUNT slider to taste. Turning the slider up or down will change the pitch shift from up to down. Turning the Time1 knob up a tad bit will add extra punch.
Listen to the examples of what is possible below. Adjusting the decay will shorten or lengthen the effect.

Z3TA Pitched 808 examples


Z3TA+2 has some fairly decent built in effects that are perfect for 808 sounds.
You will see how to add them to the 808. Click on the effects tab as show in the screenshot below.

Z3TA+2 Effects
z3ta fx tab


Adding distortion to your 808 sounds to gives them an analog style overdrive effect. Experiment with the different distortion modes that Z3TA has to offer, and adjust the amount to taste.
Listen to the different Distortion examples below.
How to make an 808 kick drum with Z3TA+2

Distorted Z3TA 808s


Z3TA also has a compressor to automate gain control.

Z3TA 808 Production

With and Without Z3TA Compressor examples

Other Waveforms (non-Sine)

A sine wave is usually used to program 808 sounds with most synthesizers in existence. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Z3TA has the capability to make custom waveforms and also has built in waveforms suitable for 808 sounds. It is possible to make various 808 sounds with character without effects. The sky is the limit. experiment for yourself and unlock the full potential of this excellent softsynth.

Z3TA+2 was used extensively in one of our feature soundsets “Subfinity”

Purchase Z3TA from Cakewalk here

If you are looking for Z3TA 808 presets you can find them here.

Synthfinity offers various 808 samples and 808 synth presets, download them here.

In this tutorial you learned how to make 808s with Cakewalk Z3TA+2
Stay tuned for more tutorials in the 808 secrets series from


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