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Many people ask the question “how to make dubstep?” It’s quite easy actually. In fact it is now possible to produce professional dubstep music with just a laptop. There is however a great deal of learning involved before you can get to that stage.
This guide focuses on the dubstep half beat. You will know it as Kick Snare Kick Snare. Using syncopated hits along with this half step kick and snare you have a very dubsteppy beat.
For those new to beat sequencing I’ll explain the basics.
Open any DAW(Digital audio workstation for example DubTurbo, Reason, FL Studio etc …). Open your beat sequencer and you should be presented with a window with 16 blocks.
Kick and snare
Each block represents a beat. There are four beats in a bar. An easy way to understand this is count
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4.
With a half step dubstep beat you will need a kick on the first beat of the first bar and place a snare on the first beat of the third bar.
So you would have
Ensure your snare has a tail (doesn’t end abruptly) and has a great deal of reverb and space. Also ensure the kick hits hard. If you can feel a Kick snare head bouncing sort of feel to your track then you’re on the right track. If not play with more and more samples until you get the right feel.
A good tip is to try layering kicks and snares until you get the right sound. Takes a little experimentation at first but once you have a decent kick and snare you can save the setup and use them for multiple tracks. See making dubstep isn’t that hard is it? Let’s continue.
When it comes to beat sequencing and making dubstep in general there are a world of possibilities and options. Taking that into consideration don’t take anything I say as gospel it’s all open to experimentation. Anyway let’s move on to the next element Ill place into a beat, the crash.
You should place the crash on the first beat of the bar. The crash is an important part of any track and signals to the user the start of a new section. It helps the loops curl around on itself. When making dubstep you should always ensure each loop sounds good by itself looped around a few times.
You should add a quite short crash for looping small sections of your beat and a longer more intense crash for bigger sections. For the moment find a short high crash and add it to the start of your four bar loop. Sweet now we have Crash+Kick Snare Kick Snare and so on.
The ride is a very very important element of any dubstep track. In fact I dare you to find a dubstep track that doesn’t have quite a prominent ride. The ride is a high end hit like a very short cymbal that plays continually. The ride adds excitement and energy to a beat, and thats how to make dubstep It’s the thing you hear that makes you want to throw your hands in the air and jump around.
Any decent dubstep sample pack will include a number of rides. Find one that sounds good and add it to the start of every bar So for example
The ride should hit every one in the bar Do you hear that? Do you hear how much energy and excitement your beat has now?
A good tip is to try playing with the rides pitch to create a different sound. Also turn down the volume of the ride as it’s in the high end it may very loud compared to your kick and snare. There should be some more info on the Dubstep Wikipedia
Hats and other sound effects
What you have know is the basic skeleton of a dubstep beat from here the possibilities are literally endless. Try adding random sounds to random parts of the beat to add variety and bounce. For example try adding a random sound to the 3 beat of the last bar.
Find the right sound and this can sound very good. Also try adding your hats in the first and third bar leaving the second and third. This will give a stop start feel to your beat. So you have Kick + Crash hat hat hat Snare Kick Hat Hat Random Sound.
When it comes to how to make dubstep try experimenting as much as you can. It really can be fun to just open up a drum sampler, create a Skelton beat with a kick snare crash and ride and from there try random things until you get something that sounds good!