Producing digital dub

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Producing digital dub

Post by killabee » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:42 pm

Hello all :D

I have some good and bad news,

The bad news is that I need some knee operation next month.
The good news, that I will have a lot of time to spend @ home.

I decided to spent that time to make a dive into producing some dubmusic :D

I love to listen to dubmusic, my favorites are:

*the Jahtari label
*Abassi All Stars
*Alpha & Omega
*Dub Syndicate
*King Tubby
*Lee Scratch Perry
*Mad Professor
*Prince Far I
*KoCha :-)

and many more

Now I dont have much knowledge about producing music...
I use Cubase for some years but I never found much time to understand it all so I am still a big amateur. Here a link to some of my experiments:
Its not dub at all :)

I would like to produce it digital, because I have a lot of softwaretools already.

1) For the drums I use battery 3 and FXpansion Guru,
after reading 2 days here in the forum I finally understood that you have to:
*use delay on the single hits
(I dont like to use loops because I cant make them sound dubby till now)
*use spring reverb on the single hits
*use some arpeggiator
*velocity changes is the key to good dubbeat, different HHs and at different volumes
*Some nice info about 2 dub patterns is on here

I love the bionic delay btw.
Can I use that delay and reverb on all hits or is it important to use it most on the snare?

What troubles me is building the right pattern, now I know that I need to listen to even more dub and that it will become easier but do you guys think that this can help me?

"Drum Machine Patterns, A collection of 200 contemporary rhythm patterns to program into your drum machine by rene-pierre Bardet"

I guess there will be no dub patterns in it but maybe just to understand the patterns better?

Some other suggestions about the drums?

2) I would like to make the bassline with TAL-Bassline, a free plugin that Klau5 linked here, it has a nice preset called softbass and I learned here
that I need to cut out the high frequencies.

How can I make the sound warmer and brigther?
Is that where PSP vintagewarmer comes in?
Can I use distortion on it?
Can delay and reverb be used here too?
Comes a bassamp into play here?

The other option is to use Broomstickbass which has some nice bassguitarsounds, like the fenderbass, maybe using Guitar rig on it to get that real dubbass feeling, but too bad I had no succes with it till now, so I am open for any suggestions.

I could ask more questions about horns, trumpet, FX but I think I made this post already way too long.

Last thing I would like to mention is that I use a KorgPadkontrol and an oxygen8 midikeyboard, if that makes any difference.
Does someone has experience with the padkontrol?
Maybe using delay or reverb on the XYpad?

Sorry for my english and all the noobquestions, thats why I posted in the beginnerssection :D

I love the KocHa videos on Youtube btw, what hardware or midicontroller is he using?

Found the link to the open dubfoundation too, great samples and projects there to start with.
I will be happy about any reply and I hope this forum isnt dead

Greetings Jan

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Post by Klaus5 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:13 pm

I am very much an amateur also and have no musical training, basically everyting i know i have got from this site and/or worked out myself, but i will put forwards my ideas if they might help you.

About the pattern, do you mean the general song layout or drum patterns? For general song layout i would suggest listening to (non dub) reggae as that is the "full music" as it were and dub is just taking bits out.

As for drum machine patterns, the basic reggae drums are high hat (closed) on each beat, snare or rimshot on the third beat. The kick is usually on the third beat only, the first and third, or all four, but of course you should experient with various patterns. The high hat is also often on the half beats also (8 times in a bar of 4 beats). Those are some of the most common drum patterns but of course there is alot of variation, listen to reggae/dub/rocksteady/ska for inspiration.

Is that a book or something you have to pay for about drum patterns? To be honest i would personally advise against it, i think its more beneficial to learn yourself. Watching videos of drummers is also incredibly useful as you can see what they are doing and how they are doing it.

As for bass, there is a topic on the dub scrolls (definititly read them if your havnt already! see here: ) which explains how to create a low bass from scratch with a synthesiser, or that tal-bass plugin is pretty cool also. I personally mainly try to go for a old-time roots sound, so ive been recording bass parts on guitar and then lowering them an octave in Ableton Live or Audacity. I have found that using an eq to cut out the higher frequencies, slightly boost around the 100hz area or using a low pass filter with quite a high resonance cut around the 200hz area. Im a big fan of the "mfilter" (high or low) and the "gband" (band pass filter), "glow" and "ghigh" (low and high pass) VSTs.

As for adding warmth, the PSP Vintage Warmer i found works very well with drums, but any slight saturation gives it a slightly more "real" feel (unless your going for the crisp clear digital sound) but adding warmth and realness to virtual insrtuments is something i struggle with alot myself. I use the built in ableton saturation just because it uses less cpu than psp vintage warmer (i using an a old laptop).

As for horn instruments, ive not been too sucessful with that myself but ive found the Reason instruments were easiest to get sounding "ok". The wikipedia article on reggae (worth a read) says:
"the horn section is often arranged around the first horn, playing a simple melody or counter melody. The first horn is usually accompanied by the second horn playing the same melodic phrase in unision, one octave higher. The third horn usually plays the melody an octave and a fifth higher than the first horn."
Horn section is typically sax (alto i think usually, i dont know...?), trombone and trumpet.

As for FX, my current favorite/most used are the ghigh/gband etc filters i mentioned earlier, the GS-201 delay and the SIR1 reverb with spring reverb impulse responses (there is a thread about that somewhere on here).

And yes, open dub foundation is excellent! Its a pity its not more active, but to be honest i am guilty of only posting a few times and not uploading anything ive mixed. I would like to contribute by uploading a track for people to mix in the future but i havnt come up with anything good enough yet, and most of my stuff is loop based at the moment.

There is a thread somewhere on hereabout the hardware KoCha uses i think.

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Post by killabee » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:00 am

I think you cant guess how happy I was with your long answer :)
So much things I have to try out now.
I tried your tipps for the drumpattern and I got some basic dub pattern together :) It soundz fine

The bass is another thing...
Still have a lot of trouble there, but I need to try that synth setting tutorial that is in the scrolls and try those filters you mentioned.
The sound is deep enough, I need to play around with those attack and release knobs but its all new for me and i cant make it warm and bright enough till now...
I would like to produce some very slow dub, with a very slow bass, so with long notes..ow man, I wished I could explain better...

You still use Guitar Rig for your bassline?
Do you have any tipps if I want to play the bass with an Ebass guitar vsti and use Guitar rig on it to get the dubbasssound?

I am not searching for any particular sound, Im too new to it, for now I just try everything :D

I heard about pitching the bass while playing, is that a common taktic?
So I play my notes and play with the pitchwheel?

Dont worry about my knee, I worry to much myself, but it will all be fine after the operation, thx for asking

Thx for the link
I listened to your stuff and found a lot of free sessions to download on that page :eek:

And to end my post I will link you to my first try to make dub music :D
Its made with Battery3, Stylus for the bongos, TALbassline and Peti for the Melodica. I dont know what I was doing there lol, but at least it sounds like dub...
And I made it before I tried your pattern tipps :-) thats why the beat sounds so strange ... t.mp3.html

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Post by Klaus5 » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:54 am

I like that track! Its very spaced out, like meditation trance music.

I think the drums in your track work better than the more traditional "tik tik bom tik" reggae drum pattern, as that wouldnt really suit the mood of the track as well as the drums/bongos that you did use. If someone told Picasso that there was a "right" way he should paint, he would not be famous because his art would be dull and just like everyone elses!

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