Theory of dubstep

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eliash
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Theory of dubstep

Post by eliash » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:13 pm

Hello everyody, I am 15 and I have a couple of question I need to ask:
I am currently using FL Studio, and I am pretty good at it, I know the basic stuff, and some more advenced stuff, like frequencies, filters, mixing, mastering, compresser and all that good stuff :h: . However, I would know technicaly how to make dubstep, which I have, and it was a failure (for those crazy enough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adei7dAKrgM&feature=plcp), and since I have improved and made a couple other tracks, which I haven't uploaded.
So my problem, isn't so much of a technical issue, it's more that I do not theoriticaly know how to make dubstep, I've listen to thousend of tracks, but when I make a song, it just seems like there's something missing.
I would need to know the actual theory about a dubstep track, like how to do a drop, when to use a pad, wether I put the beat after the drop or before, if I should have a sub bass or not, when the lead should go back in, and all that stuff that you need to know that would apply generaly to every track do a dubstep song , so if you could just tell me how to "build" a dubstep track, I would be most grathful :W: .
Many regards, thanks you :z:

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Gunsmoke
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Gunsmoke » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:07 pm

Well, from my experience with producing, also with FL Studio, it just comes down to practice.
There isn't really a "theory" behind dubstep, since the genre varies so much - its more of a personal production style.

As far as your question: I hope I can help with this.

I usually start with the drums. Take your samples and build a nice loop for yourself at 140bpm. In FL Studio rename this to "Drums" or something so you don't forget.
In a new pattern, create a fill. This is pretty important and adds some variety to the tune. You can make as many fills as you want, depending on how much the tune focuses on the drums. If you're going for a more bass heavy, "go hard" track, just maybe make one or two, renaming them "Fill1" and "Fill2", or whatever. Basically make a new 4 bar pattern that isn't the same as the original loop.
Then I go for the bass. For this, I cannot help since I have no idea what VSTs you use. Plus, there's probably threads about Massive, Albino or whatever else.
Pads are up to you man, but I would only use them in the intro before the drop, and only subtly. A pad that's too loud and overrides the drums can sound awful.

A simple way of making a drop is to add a Fruity Filter on the master channel, and create an automation loop for the main control knob - - Tools > Last Tweaked > Create automation clip. Then make it rise to the max filtration before the bass kicks in. Be sure to throw in a fill as well.

Most importantly - EXPERIMENT.
Play with the DAW. See what different sounds you can create, there's so many things that they have to offer. Also, we have a production guide somewhere on the forums.
>implying i would listen to anything but dubstep

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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Brothulhu » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:19 pm

Yes you need sub bass and there is no "theory" of how to make dubstep, you have to work this out for yourself and make what you think sounds good
Last edited by Brothulhu on Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by fragments » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:20 pm

eliash wrote: I would need to know the actual theory about a dubstep track, like how to do a drop, when to use a pad, wether I put the beat after the drop or before, if I should have a sub bass or not, when the lead should go back in, and all that stuff that you need to know that would apply generaly to every track do a dubstep song ,:

I don't see how you can't figure out all that structure stuff from listening to thousands of songs.

Yes. You should have a sub bass. Pads are generally used to fill out the frequency spectrum when not much else is going on so the tune still sounds full. A lead is called a lead because it helps drive the track...but that is really a creative decision on your part (when it's playing and when it isn't). Generally speaking there is a beat somewhere before and after a drop.

Pick out a track you like...actually LISTEN to it...because I refuse to believe you couldn't figure out some of this by sitting, listening and maybe taking notes...copy the structure of that track if you want an idea of how most commercial dance tunes are structured. The biggest decision to make about structure is how DJ friendly you are going to make the track.
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Samuel_L_Damnson
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Samuel_L_Damnson » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:23 pm

As mentioned before the only real rule should be that your track contains sub bass. Even this can be used in a massive variety of ways. dont get stuck in the 140bpm trap that everyone is obsessed with aswell. :D just my personal sligtly high opinions.
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Attila » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:05 pm

^110 is the new 140

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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Mindforce » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:34 pm

You said you've listened to thousands of dubstep songs. If you wanna actually learn from a song you basically have to analyse it. Like, you could look at it on a larger scale like composition: take note of the different sections of the song and what instruments/melodies/rhythm they contain and how it compliments the song. Try following similar techniques in your own producing.

You could look at how they build into the drop: big swish build up? What instruments were present before the drop and "at" the drop? Vocal clip right before the drop, or just straight into it without a vocal clip? Are there drums before the drop or are they only brought in on the drop? I think you get the idea.

You could look at the drums even... Do the kick drums compliment or emphasize the essential rhythms of the bass? Do the actual samples change for the different sections?


I don't know about anyone else, but doing this for songs that I like basically puts ideas or "possibilities" in my head, so when I go to make my own songs I have a tone of possibilities that I can throw in, or change and make them my own. You know what I'm saying?

Anyway that's my "theory" just in case it helps anyone :D
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Coolschmid
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Coolschmid » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:14 am

I listened to the song you posted.

Holy fuck clipping.

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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Brothulhu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:18 am

Coolschmid wrote:I listened to the song you posted.

Holy fuck clipping.
I thought that too but he knows mixing and mastering
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Mindforce » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:44 am

Brothulhu wrote:
Coolschmid wrote:I listened to the song you posted.

Holy fuck clipping.
I thought that too but he knows mixing and mastering
:u: Hahahaha.

I probably don't need to add to this point, but yeah. I wouldn't say I know that much about mixing and "mastering" ...but my mixdowns definitely aren't THAT fucked up :|
I think this guy has absolutely no idea how much there actually is to mixing and compression and whatever other shit he listed.

I thought the song itself was pretty good though. I wouldn't say "theory" is the problem :|
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Eridu
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Eridu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:48 am

you guys just cant wait can you? He`s 15.

Kid you need to balance your levels. You can keep your bass in check with compression.

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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Mindforce » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:21 am

Eridu wrote:you guys just cant wait can you? He`s 15.
And? I'm 16. Age is irrelavent. I was just thinking it was funny how he said he was good at mixing, compression, eq'ing... even "mastering" (like really? If he even knew exactly what mastering was he wouldn't have said he could do it) and his song had major clipping and the levels were like... o.O

Yet the "theory" or composition of his song was actually good IMO.


Not trying to be a dick, I just found it kinda ironic. Anyway :4: on the tune imo.
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eliash
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by eliash » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:40 pm

Dudes, chill, that was the first track I ever made, literraly, and I didn't know shit about mixing or even what it was, I know the track sucks :dunce:. And excuse me if I chose my words unwisely, I know "about" mixing and the basics on how to do it, gee, don't be so tough, peace :U:. But I imagine you don't learn from good experience, so I really do appreciate the fact that you make that sort of remark, but I personaly don't think that my piece of shit work that I posted can really judge the small amount of advenced stuff I "know".
However, thanks for taking the time for answering and for your advice.
As took the kind advice of listening deply to a song :Q: and tried to take notes while listening to it, and this is what i gathered so far:
"kick first note Make a pad with lead (with drums, syncopated), stop drums, louder, low pass filter, repeat part synced with drums and pitch up with sweep.
Drop: sub bass kicks in, try cover all frequencies, 4bar aprox drop 1, go back to lead with drums, small drop, 4 bars drop2, go back to hard lead, then soft lead, then drop with sweep again."
Would you tend to agree?
Thank you all :4:

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NinjaEdit
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by NinjaEdit » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:06 am

Be nice, or you're just demonstrating how much of an arsehole you are. He is being quite polite, and took your criticism on board. From what I see, he is a beginner producer hoping to take it to the next intermediate level, and you had to push him down, appearing to me as though you were threatened.

Anyway, the dubstep wikipedia page may help.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubstep#Characteristics

Accordingly dubstep is characterised by:

Dark
Minor key
Dissonant (eg tritone)
Samples
Sparse rhythm
Sub bass
Eclectic influence
Syncopation, shuffle, tuplets
Half-time 140
Wub bass (modulating low-pass filter cut-off frequency)
Bass drop
Occasional vocals
Reverby drums

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BloomingAudioLife
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by BloomingAudioLife » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:02 pm

Brothulhu wrote:Yes you need sub bass and there is no "theory" of how to make dubstep, you have to work this out for yourself and make what you think sounds good
this. it doesnt need to sound like anything. if you have the basics down of a dubstep track you're good. make it your own.
original track
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Hircine
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Hircine » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:39 pm

137 > 145 > 140 > 110, just saying
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Johnst
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Re: Theory of dubstep

Post by Johnst » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:50 pm

jonahmann wrote:Be nice, or you're just demonstrating how much of an arsehole you are. He is being quite polite, and took your criticism on board. From what I see, he is a beginner producer hoping to take it to the next intermediate level, and you had to push him down, appearing to me as though you were threatened.

Anyway, the dubstep wikipedia page may help.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubstep#Characteristics

Accordingly dubstep is characterised by:

Dark
Minor key
Dissonant (eg tritone)
Samples
Sparse rhythm
Sub bass
Eclectic influence
Syncopation, shuffle, tuplets
Half-time 140
Wub bass (modulating low-pass filter cut-off frequency)
Bass drop
Occasional vocals
Reverby drums
If you were to make a dubstep tune from a number of basic ingredients, I gotta say this is quite a nice little list!

Like a lot of the other guys have been saying, there is no real formula, but obviously (according to your tune) you have a certain mixture of ingredients and a certain "chain of events" that you prefer. Listen to a tune in the style that you like, and break each component down. Find each individual ingredient, and examine how they have been put together to create the tune. Honestly, you could probably just go with the formula that seems to have been created for a lot of "popular dubstep", and to be fair, it's not a very complicated one, although you can bet your ass that no one here is going to bother trying to put together an easy and cohesive manual on the matter.

I learned to play bass by listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and attempting to emulate Flea's basslines. It was the style I liked, and it's now the style I play. Do the same, but for your favorite producers. Pay attention to the individual elements, pay attention to when they come in, when they go out, and how they change in order to create a coherent tune that naturally progresses.

Maybe that was too abstract to be helpful, but to be fair it's sort of a though question to give a solid answer to... Good luck, keep working on it! :)

EDIT:
eliash wrote:As took the kind advice of listening deply to a song :Q: and tried to take notes while listening to it, and this is what i gathered so far:
"kick first note Make a pad with lead (with drums, syncopated), stop drums, louder, low pass filter, repeat part synced with drums and pitch up with sweep.
Drop: sub bass kicks in, try cover all frequencies, 4bar aprox drop 1, go back to lead with drums, small drop, 4 bars drop2, go back to hard lead, then soft lead, then drop with sweep again."
Would you tend to agree?
Thank you all :4:
Be wary of such specific "formulas"... While it can be incredibly helpful to have an overall picture of how it works, if you make every tune the EXACT same, then your artistic value becomes zero and all you are is a moron with a computer. You have to understand WHY the chain of events works, and WHY each element is where it is supposed to be. What does the sweep do? What does cutting out all the high frequencies do? Why do you add the sub here, and take it away there? Once you begin to understand these, you begin to be able to create original and interesting tunes that bring out emotion, which, IMO, is the ultimate goal of music.
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