My brother and me finally made another rap album. We had been planning to make it for our own fun, but I promised myself that I would become a dubstep producer and create a beat for us to drop some phat lyrics over. Dubstep has been around for at least five years since it made a big splash in America and gained popularity.
It took companies about this long to develop tools that made it possible for me to create a high quality dubstep track without spending a week fiddling with 100 automation parameters.
This is a complex and time-consuming task that requires you to adjust every parameter and dial in the perfect sound. This is a difficult task that requires artistic sensibility, technical ability, and patience in the DAW.
It was difficult for someone like me to know how to set up effects and plugins on the mixer, assign them to multi-track automation tracks, and then what to do from there in order to create the sounds I liked.
It makes me think of all the people who have never spent a decade behind a mixer and in a digital audio system trying to figure it out. This would be impossible. That’s what made dubstep so popular. This would intimidate even professional techno and electro mixers, who use other techniques to create similar sounds.
But I wanted to be like Skrillex and Skrux, not those guys! I consider the kings who created and developed this sub-genre heroes. I wanted to be able reproduce some of their work.
My reputation as the computer-nerd music guy who can make anything happen is something I must uphold. Brostep’s robotic fluctuations, and metal-esque aggression at the middle of the frequency spectrum are what I wanted to concentrate on.
As I was telling this story to an online friend, he mentioned a set of software plugins that were recently released for your DAW. They made this genre accessible to anyone but didn’t make it too complicated.
To me authenticity is essential. I was delighted to discover all the tempo syncing options. They helped me find the right path and help me create what I wanted. You can hear my dubstep beat below.
For the purists, like me usually, I will explain the process. Then I will tell you about the software plugin suite and other gear that can help you create your own dubstep creations.
Let me first let you hear the final track that we created for our album. As you read on, this will help you get in the right mindset.
Although beat-makers out there might laugh, I’m proud to have done that. I also tried to incorporate some trap beat patterns. Dubstep is Destiny can be downloaded from the official LedgerNote Soundcloud Page. When it’s ready, we’ll make the complete version with vocals.
Sounds for the Dubstep Maker Purist
It takes a lot of time and effort to pull off authentic, genuine dubstep beats. This is how insane it is.
UNDERSTANDING EFFECTS AND THE SYNTH
It all starts with synthesizers, MIDI data, and a few other things. Your synthesizer or drum machine can be used to create one-shots, or long sustained notes. You decide what you want to achieve. Consider what all the wubs, wobbles sound and how they can be used to manipulate your body.
They aren’t always static. It’s not enough to create the preset you desire in your plugins. It’s not easy to be a legitimate dubstep producer.
Low frequency oscillators, parametric equalizers and parallel compression are not mentioned. Before you can make these synths sound the way you want, you need to get into automation.
AUTOMATING EFFECT PARAMETERS
You’ve now created your beat and set up your synths to act as your lead, bass and any glitches.
Before you can make anything resembling dubstep, you have to cut and screw them as if they were old-school hip hop beat production.
Once you are there, you need to be able to activate automation on the sequencer. Each effect should be accessible, but not all at once. This only increases the difficulty in executing this task properly.
You can switch between effects and draw automation just like in the various DAW’s below: No, Evil Overlord! Please Don’t Make Me Automate Dubstep Parameters for Eternity
You will understand the whole process if you have read the above.
Special Dubstep Software Warning
I was there, searching for something that would help me make dubstep music. I also went through a million websites, full of garbage and false suggestions.
You must have seen the same ridiculous recommendations for stuff like DubTurbo and Dr. Drum, BTV Solo and Wobbleboss are just a few of the many nonsense recommendations.
LedgerNote is my part. This means that I understand how this all works. These guys promote those products to make a big commission by convincing you to purchase them.
All of them are being sold through Clickbank, a marketplace that allows internet marketers to search for products and find those that will give them the most profit. Then they can sell the product as aggressively as they can.
They’re not musicians, and they’re just in it for the money. Even though they are fake 5-star software creators, the software has a high selling gravity and fake 5-star rating. This is a game that everyone is playing.
Don’t misunderstand me. These products are not garbage. They are not for musicians who have mastered DAWs. These software are intended for people who can pay $30 to immediately download the software and then tinker with it for several days before putting it away.
You’ll find a lot real people who will tell you how they turned around and received a refund because of the misleading marketing done by their affiliates.
If you just want to have a little fun and not really care about anything, then grab one of these tools.
A legitimate DAW is essential for musicians who are serious about their craft and not just hobbyists. You should be wary of dubstep software that is too specific. Buy a production suite!
Disclaimer: Clicking on the product links that I recommend here will take you to Amazon.com, which is probably the most secure online marketplace. LedgerNote earns a very small percentage of a sale. It is less than 6%. It’s not 75%, and certainly not enough to make me a fool of myself.
I was in the same shoes as you and even tried DubTurbo. It worked well. It was also slow and limited, so I had to pick from a few loops or one-shots rather than actually creating my own sounds.
Others do the same thing, so I didn’t bother to try them. “Using dubstep-making software” won’t make you a professional anytime soon.
You need a DAW from a trusted company that is built for creating music of all kinds.
What is a DAW?
DAW stands Digital Audio Workstation. You don’t need to know the acronym to understand what I mean. Pro Tools, Logic Pro and FL Studio are all examples.
These suites are fully-featured music production tools with no limitations. As crazy as dubstep may be, you don’t want to limit your creativity.
Dubstep’s biggest winner is the one who creates the most crazy tracks. Remixes of RnB and classical are a common practice among the big men. There are no limits to what you can do!
I’m assuming that you already have some type of DAW, even if it’s Garage Band or Cool Edit Pro. Because the really-good tools that I’m going to show you are plugins for DAWs and not standalone software, it’s obvious that you want one.
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have a DAW, it is essential that you get one if your goal is to make music professionally or as a hobby. You can stick with the biggest names because they do basically the same thing with the exact same features.
Some are more costly than others. Pro Tools and Logic Pro are the most popular DAWs, but they’re extremely expensive and you need to buy their tools and an Apple computer (which can also be quite pricey).
If you plan on sharing and collaborating with other musicians, you will need one of these. Professionals use one of these two.
If you are new to the industry and plan on working alone or bringing in collaborators, have a look at:
Let’s briefly discuss each, then we’ll move onto the plugin downloads or hardware solutions.
I first used FL Studio in its early days, back when it was simply Fruity Loops. It is easy to use for intermediates and beginners, and it has a great user interface. This software can be used to create dubstep. It has seen a remarkable increase in popularity over the past 15 years.
The beat sequencer, also known as the Beat Sequector (or A.K.A. channel rack). This simplifies layering drums and using single-shot sounds, which are both important for your dubstep tracks. You don’t have to deal with the MIDI keyboard roll for tasks that aren’t too complicated. The typical interface view on FL Studio Producer Edition
Heads up: Get FL Studio at the very least the Producer edition. The Fruity Edition does not allow you to record into the software. It only allows you to make instrumentals. The Producer Edition also includes many more plugins that you will find useful. Personally, I don’t believe you should go higher than Producer. You are just buying more plugins.
Ableton is my recommendation because they are focused on electronic music in all forms and can integrate with tools specifically designed for that purpose (the grid of buttons you’ll see below if not sure).
They sync with Ableton automatically to distribute sound fonts across keys and pads in the best possible way. This is a great time-saver if you plan to perform live, or input your MIDI data via a controller. Ableton Live Standard Edition: The interface view
Heads up: Get Ableton Live at the Standard Version. The Intro version has very limited features. The Intro version can only contain 16 tracks, which is not enough for dubstep. There are also only 4 inputs & 4 outputs. You can only have two sends and returns. This will severely limit your mixing abilities.
You’ll be able to make dubstep music your lifelong companion if you get the right version of either one of these.
I am sorry if you have a DAW. I cannot leave newcomers in the dust with too little information. Let’s get on to the plugins! The SONiVOX Dubstep Destruction Tool is now available…
The Dubstep Maker Supreme: SONiVOX
My friend showed me the “Destruction tools” and I was skeptical. I am well-versed in this process. I have always believed that someone who could simplify the creation and production of dubstep should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Write to your congressmen and recommend SONiVOX. They’ve done it. I wish I had known years ago that dubstep production software existed.
UPDATE – It seems that these plugins are experiencing a decline in availability. Amazon stocks varying numbers of these plugins depending on the time you check. You might miss out if you don’t order this set as soon as it becomes available.
Native Instrument’s Complete 10 is an alternative that may be equally as good or better.
WHAT IS IT?
The and SONiVOX Dubstep Destruction Tool are four digital audio workstation plug-ins that will rid you once and for all of the automation demons. Each of the four plugins can be purchased separately, but their strength lies in their combined capabilities. These are:
They didn’t try to overwhelm you with all that functionality, but they broke them down. However, they don’t recommend that you use just one. Let me explain what each one does below.
HOW IT WORKS
Simply put, the Dubstep Destruction Tools can be described as plugins. VST (Virtual Studio Technology), AU, and RTAS are all terms used to describe plugins. These terms are all the same and are only given different names by different companies.
This is how you would use them as plugins in your DAW. Each has a separate mode for practicing at home or live performance.
Each plugin serves a unique purpose, as we said. Let’s take a look at each one separately.
They call it “Wobble – The Dubstep Grime Generator”. It is basically your bass plugin. There are four interface screens. Here’s the main interface screen: The Dubstep Destruction Tool Suite Wobble Plugin
You have two channels, which can be either stereo or mono and combine to make the bass part of your dubstep track. This produces the low frequency wobbling sounds you know.
Both LFO’s (low-frequency oscillators) can be controlled. These are the parts that cause the wobble and sway. You can also control the parametric equalizer. The Width knob lets you adjust the Q (or width) of your sound design. The filter knobs allow you to choose where to place those Q’s.
The LFO area has smaller knobs that can be used to design the synth wave. You can also adjust the pitch and decide how smooth the glide between notes (portamento), is. Automation can also be used for each parameter, so you can really get in on the details and create every moment of your song.
Although these plugins can reduce automation 100-fold, it’s not impossible to do without them. This is what makes dubstep unique.
You can also set up choruses, delays, and reverbs for a chill effect. Or you can go clear and dry like the more aggressive styles. Zero limitations.
The Best Parts – This whole thing is amazing. Having said that, there are two things I love about this plugin. Pre-built preset synthesizer sounds are available as a jumping off point for you. This way, you don’t start at zero but you still have control over the sound. The second is the pattern generator’s tempo sync. This is the key to unlocking the potential of the pattern generator.
The Pattern Generator section of the Wobble plugin will save you countless hours in tweaking MIDI data or automation parameters. Once you have generated your wobble waveform you can then go in and select the sustain for each note. You can have a whole note and then a quarter, then a set or triplets, etc.
Of course, you won’t want the same wobble every time. SONiVOX completely eliminated the need to create complex rhythms for your wobbles. These rhythms sync automatically to the tempo of your song, which is the best thing I can mention. You can now spend less time in the automation panel and piano roll! https://www.youtube.com/embed/JWJDLahUR3Q?feature=oembed
The official SONiVOX overview of the Wobble plugin is available above. This plugin is amazing! Now imagine it paired with other plugins! Let’s take a look at Twist.
Wobble is the bass part of your track. I use Twist to handle the middle and high frequencies of my dubstep tracks. This is the interface screen for “Twist – The Spectral Morphing Synthesizer.” The Twist plugin of the Dubstep Destruct Tools Suite
This will save you time. The Wobble plugin is similar to this, but the focus is on the upper register of your sound design. This plugin allows you to create your wubs or glitches that get the listener excited.
It includes all the same settings of Wobble, including spatial effects, harmonic tuners and pattern generators, as well as the tempo sync (praise to the gods). Some of the best parts are the other features…
The Best Parts – The filter envelope generators make it easy to shape the core of your music. With a click, you can switch between square, sawtooth and sine. These are the four main synthesizer waveforms. It’s not as difficult to tweak bass sounds than your main melody and harmony sounds. Twist has over 200 presets that you can use as jumping off points. The time savings are amazing!
Every knob and button can be controlled using automation, as always. This video is a good example. Although it’s not as detailed as the first, it gives an overview of the plugin’s capabilities. https://www.youtube.com/embed/sNvjssRuqHM?feature=oembed
For creating your main dubstep sounds, Twist is the best tool. You can combine that with Wobble for your bass, and you will be able to create your own dubstep sounds without having to rely on loops (lame). If SONiVOX isn’t your favorite yet, get a load on Pulse.
We’re now ready to discuss drums with Pulse – Advanced Production Instrument. The Dubstep Destruction Tool Suite’s Pulse Plugin
For me, the main draw of Pulse is the variety of sounds that are specially selected for dubstep makers. It is easy to stop searching through thousands of drum sound fonts in search of the one that works. You can import the fonts you found in the past into Pulse to have your entire collection at one place.
Although it isn’t something I love about Pulse, it does have a second feature. It’s set up in a MPC button grid fashion. You can input each drum using your mouse. However, you can also use a MIDI pad grid to play your beats into Pulse and quantize them.
Boom, you’re done. You’re practicing on your launchpad for live performance, and Pulse can be used when you need it.
The Best Parts – Pulse includes 400 drum kits. These are not just sounds, but complete kits that have been specifically selected for dubstep production. You can modify each sound with the modulation or effects knobs, making it truly unlimited.
It’s great to be able to create a drum pattern from your mind, then bang it on your launchpad. Then you can go back in and edit, add fills, paste it, etc. This saves you time and allows you to spend more time creating custom fills or making new patterns. This is the kind of ear candy that makes Dubstep so great.
You can even mix your drums right in the plugin! This is great for mix engineers and live performers who have to mix entire drum sets on an overhead mic and in a room.
This is a great resource. So far, we’ve covered the drums, lead instruments and bass. Vocals are the only thing missing. Vocalizer is the solution.
A dubstep song cannot be complete without some sung vocals. This is where “Vocalizer PRO – The Vocoder and Re-Synthesis Module”, comes in. The Vocalizer plugin of the Dubstep Destruction Tool Suite
Vocalizer Pro can be used as both an instrument and a synth processor. You can use the filters and effects modules to pump any audio stream, but the main purpose of Vocalizer Pro is to improve your vocal performances.
The Best Parts – Without doubt, the vocoder instrumentity is the best. You can tune your vocals to any note, much like an auto-tuner. You can either play it directly on your keyboard, or program it with MIDI. This means that you don’t just lock into a key; you can also harmonize one take with any inversion or chord you choose. There are many sound options, whether you’re recording in a studio or performing live on stage.
You have a lot of options, as you can see in the above image. You can save a preset you like to use or create one you don’t want to lose to the pad triggers so you can recall it instantly.
The screenshot you see above is just one of many user interfaces that you will have access to. Other effects include chorus, delay, reverb and spatial effects. You also have access to tons more presets that you can use or jump off of. You can’t beat it.
Another video will give you an idea about the possibilities of the Vocalizer. https://www.youtube.com/embed/utI8d1eFgmc?feature=oembed
You have it. These videos show only a fraction of the possibilities. The guy who demoed the software did what he wanted at the time. There are no limits to what is possible. The synthesizer is fully automated and has a voice recorder. There are no limits to what you can do.
These are my favorite plugins right now. There are many more. That doesn’t mean that they can’t do the same job as the other plugins. These four are organized and compact, and I love how they work together.
Along with the update that I made at the beginning of this SONiVOX discussion, I want to mention two other items:
1 These plugins seem to be less available lately. It’s unclear if this is a matter of replenishing distributors or if they are struggling to make a profit. This is a positive for you, as your competitors won’t have access these powerful tools.
You can grab them if you see them on Amazon . They are often gone quickly so don’t delay.
2 I’ve read a lot of negative reviews on Amazon, Musician’s Friend and Guitar Center, despite the positive ones. Amazon’s one guy summarised it perfectly. I paraphrase:
“The people complaining don’t know how to use their DAW, or their computer. This is not the fault plugins.” Take most of the nonsense with a grain salt, folks.
NOTE SONiVOX is no longer available. Native Instrument’s HTMLplete 10 suite plugins and sound fonts will be a great alternative. You can also use it to enhance your dubstep music and open up new genres.
That’s all I have to say! Let’s take a look at some tools that will increase your productivity while creating dubstep instrumentals.
Dubstep Machine for Studio and Stage
Those plugins and others like them have the advantage of bringing all the effects you need together in one place. However, any DAW will have all these effects.
It’s not difficult to find the right plugins and automate them. You can use plugins, or not. However, you can still get the final result if you are willing to work hard.
Dubstep is a genre that allows you to assign different effects to different sounds and keep them consistent throughout the song. If you want to make people’s heads explode, your song will change rapidly and constantly.
This means that you will be taking the time to tweak each sound individually and maybe bouncing them after you have dialed it in exactly how you want. This is something I would do anyways.
I believe that you will build a collection of sounds over time. To establish your own dubstep style, you’ll create your own arsenal of tools that you can use on different tracks.
Never start at the beginning again. It can be difficult to recall and play all these sounds and effects if you don’t have the right tools.
Ableton live, which we have discussed, is heavily focused on electronic music. Novation, a company that values electronic music, has created tools for it (which also includes dubstep) such as the Novation Launchpad.
I was referring to the ability to bounce your own sounds and create your own mix channel presets for effect. Launchpad has 64 buttons that can be assigned sounds and effects to an 8×8 grid.
You can play any song live, or select any sound from your effect banks and run it through one of the effects banks. This bad boy can be used to practice, improvise, and even play rhythms live in the studio.
A hardware tool like this is a must-have if you are interested in playing Dubstep and creating it.
It’s easy to use, since the Launchpad was specifically designed for Ableton Live. Just plug the USB cable into your computer and you are good to go. Ableton comes with pre-made sound kits, or you can create your own.
You can even choose which trigger pad you want to use, and what color to match it so that they can be grouped together. You can also see what they are doing by the way that they light up when the sound plays.
Although some of us can’t play a song on a grid with pads, others have been taught to play the piano since childhood. If a 64-button grid is too intimidating or doesn’t suit your skill level, you might consider a classic MIDI control instead.
Let me tell you about Novation since we have already spoken about them. They also make MIDI controllers for Ableton Live. Don’t feel restricted to one DAW for controllers. All of them will connect to any DAW.
They only have one goal: to send MIDI data from your computer. This includes information such as the length of the note played, the force with which you hit the keys or pad, and the note it was. This data includes all the data, except the actual sound which you can change and test in your song.
Check out the Akai Professional APC Key 25 . The Akai Professional MIDI Controller
The Launchpad is compatible with this machine. It can sync up to Ableton Live and send its MIDI data to any DAW/sound bank you like. It can be used with FL Studio, Logic Pro and Pro Tools.
It comes with 25 keys or two full octaves. Although this is enough, you can also find controllers that have up to 88 keys. This controller features 40 trigger pads on a 5×8 grid.
Although the pads can be used to kill two birds, they are much smaller and will require more precision and accuracy when you play live. You can combine the keyboard with the Vocalizer plugin to sing your lyrics live. That’s delicious!
You can integrate Ableton Live seamlessly with this feature. 8 knobs allow you to control your lead volume, send volumes, effects, and many other things. You can change octaves as you go, so you can quickly switch between ripping a lead solo and pounding out a killer bass line and everything in-between. This is a great tool for creating original compositions and live remixes under an acapella song.
These are just two suggestions from a multitude of options. These two are very popular and well-received due to their confidence in the community. However, you should look around to see if there is something else that you enjoy just as much or even better when it comes grid controllers and MIDI controls.
You might also like other features, such as a gooseneck microphone built into the controller to allow you to use a hardware voiceoder instead of the DAW. It is difficult to predict what you will like and want. These tools are durable and can be sold to another person later if you decide to upgrade.
The trend in electronic music, and especially dubstep, is moving away from MIDI hardware and towards digital manipulation of human voices and other instruments. These recordings will require a solid microphone, the best audio interface for clarity.
You are now a dubstep maker!
Your number one goal as a dubstep producer is to create the music you love. We don’t recommend the same software that everyone else uses.
These will not allow you to grow as an artist and it’ll make it embarrassing for your music friends and followers to discover it was all loops. Sometimes, someone will ask me if there are any apps that they can use on their iPhone, iPad or iPod. They are encouraged to be real.
These tasks are beyond the scope of Android and iOS. You need OSX or Windows if you want to create professional-level music. To be able to move forward with your work, you need a digital audio system that works properly.
We recommend that you use a specific plugin suite for this purpose. You will be able to save a lot of time when you start creating songs and you can also play live with the hardware recommendations above.
You don’t need to be an expert in order to use a DAW or controllers. There is no shortage of learning curves. But, it’s nothing that a week of experimentation can’t fix. Then you will realize that every other solution is a waste of time.
As my grandpappy used to say: Having the right tools for your job will make it easier, faster, and more enjoyable. If you plan to do the job again, such as making dubstep in this instance, it is a good idea to be able to use the tools correctly.
This is the best advice you can get. You’ll be happy, have eternal happiness, be a master dubstep producer, and even win some Grammy’s.