With its knack for making you wonder if a sewer-reared version of godzilla stepped into the DJ’s booth, the distressed, dirty rhythms of dubstep are making a deep footprint in not only dance music culture but pop culture in general.
Which has you wondering, “is producing dubstep a monstrous task?”
While the dissonant and often dark sounds of dubstep may be all in the details, these details are largely software driven and with the right dubstep beat maker and sample library, you can start creating your own dance crowd devastating dub’ mixes in minutes.
The first dubstep element your music production software (AKA a Digital Audio Workstation or DAW) will have to help you produce is a drum beat.
If you’re not an advanced digital audio designer capable of sampling drum hits from other electronic music tracks, you’ll want your dubstep beat maker to offer, or allow you to import, ready made drum kits (sets of drum sounds), including some designed for house and hip hop music, if not for dubstep itself.
A new school, non-technical type of urban and dubstep beat maker like DUBturbo will give you dozens of drum kits, all of the same broadcast WAV quality that is demanded by top dubstep producers, and all panned and tweaked to make for a lot of added character when layering snares or kicks – a crucial dubstep production technique.
Top-end DAWs, such as Reason, also often include enough drum kits but are likely to be painstakingly complicated for the average dubstep enthusiast or aspiring dubstep producer. They also cost hundreds more.
Once you’ve set your tempo (140 Beats Per Minute is recommended), the first part of the dubstep drum beat you’ll want to punch into the sequencer or drum machine of your dubstep beat maker is an offbeat kick drum pattern. Next you’ll want to add snare hit layers, including one fat and cracking, and a couple thin and mainly complimentary.
Hi hat hits are also usually included in dubstep backbeats. A nice touch is to add a reverbed cymbal on the offbeat.
Once you’ve got your drum beat arranged (or while you’re arranging it) you’re going to want to muck around with effects, such as rises and embellishments to create that gritty dubstep feel. A good dubstep beat maker should allow you to cut-out low frequencies, to emphasize sub bass, and raise high frequencies with an equalizer (AKA EQ).
You also want a tool for adding reverb, especially to your snare hits. Be careful not to drown out the punch in your dubstep beat when incorporating reverb.
The most pronounced feature of a prototypical dubstep track is probably that grinding, even grimey, bassline. While the top producers in this genre rely on VST synth plugins (for their DAW) to achieve this, there is nothing to stop you from creating a riff with the bass sounds that you get with a dubstep beat maker or a dubstep sample pack, if they feature the dirty timbre and modulation you need.
Now that you have the bass and drum patterns that hold a dubstep track together, your next task in a dubstep beat maker is adding a melody into the mix. If you have a good set of studio quality WAV samples from a variety of instruments you shouldn’t have any problem with this, as there aren’t any firm rules for dubstep riffs except that they should compliment the bassline.
Have some fun composing your melodic elements with a MIDI keyboard or, in an all-in-one dubstep beat maker like DUBturbo, the keyboard you type on.
Just about every dubstep hit features some memorable and timely FX or voxes. You can create your own but if you want to save yourself hours and still attain the authentic urban vibe that these musical interjections have to offer, you can find loads of edgy vocal samples and startling FX in your better beginner-friendly dubstep music maker or in a dubstep sample pack.
No matter your level of interest in the nuances that make a dubstep mix something more than just another dance track, with a dubstep beat maker and an ear for what you want to hear, your dirty dream beat is only a few clicks and taps away. Spend enough time capturing dubstep’s unmistakable qualities and you may just find that dream being shared with dance clubbers all around the world.