Jump Up DnB Tutorial Day 1: Drum and Bass Beat [7 Day Song]
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to day 1 of the Collaborative 7 day song on Jump Up Drum and Bass, where I’ll teach you how to make a Drum and Bass Beat like this [play beat]
At the end, I’ll post the finished song and you guys can post your completed songs as video responses. This is the 14th 7 day song, so for the mathematically minded among you, you’ll know that’ll be 98 days of song-making after this series. Frickin’ Sweet!
Jump Up DnB covers a few bases stylistically, with some seriously dirty stuff in there, but this tutorial refers to the fantastically uplifting take on the genre with lots of pumping pads, intense melodies and of course, frickin’ awesome Drums and Bass.
You may have noticed I used the word “Collaborative” before the words “7 day song” earlier. That wasn’t just to scare away people with hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, this time round I teamed up with a fantastic up and coming DnB producer called Noisestorm whose production is absolutely top notch and his tracks are frickin’ quality – check out his youtube channel to take a listen to some of his tracks: http://www.youtube.com/user/EoinOBroinMusic
Yes, Eoin O Broin [pronounced owen o brain] is his real name, but I’m going to continue calling him by his producer alias since I think there’s humour to be found in casually referring to someone as “Noisestorm”.
Since his screen capture software wasn’t being co-operative, I’m going to periodically channel Noisestorm’s ghost to explain certain parts of the process that he worked on, temporarily ignoring the fact that he’s alive and well and I think that mediums are blood sucking parasites that prey on the depressed and desperate for their own financial gain.
So let’s start day 1 of the tutorial, where I’ll be teaching you how to make a Drum and Bass beat, with a really useful re-usable combinator patch and some EQing and Compression advice.
Okay! Let’s begin.
Set the track to 175bpm – Drum and bass varies from about 160bpm to 180, but Jump Up DnB tends to be faster to enhance the energetic, upbeat feel. Chuck in a mastering suite and mixer.
Time to channel Noisestorm to do some explanation… queue spooky music… [pop]! Woah… this is weird, hey there guys, Noisestorm here… hang on, Dave must have left on this reverse delay and reverb effect, hang on… there. That would’ve got old fast. So!
Usually when I am making a new Drum and Bass track, I start with the beat. It’s good to have it as a starting point, before you begin playing melodies, and creating other synths.
In this track, we will make a punchy and powerful beat, to really get that pumping jump up feel to the track.
A beat for Jump Up DnB really doesn’t differ that much from regular DnB, but I find if the beat is more hectic, and more fills and variations are added to the beat, it does make it a lot more suited to the genre. I have a method of processing my drums that is time consuming to make, but you can save it as a Combinator patch, and re-use it for all of your beats, using the Cominbator patch as a blank template, and adjusting it for the song.
The advice I would give on how to make good beats, is firstly: always find decent samples, as you won’t get a good sounding beat with bad sounding samples, and secondly: always process your samples with EQ, Reverb, and Compression, as well as layering them with other sounds, eg. if you are looking for a really phat snare, often you won’t find it in just one sample, you’ll have to layer a few snare samples, and EQ them to get the sound your looking for.
Once you keep these things in mind, as well as being aware of the other elements of the track that could interfere with the sound of your beat, you’ll be on the way to making good sounding, clean and punchy drums.
Lets get started!
I’m going to show you how to make the combinator patch that I use to process my drums. First thing you want to do, is create a combinator, and name it creatively “Beat”. Next up create a ReDrum inside it, and initialise. Underneath the ReDrum, holding shift (so they won’t automatically connect to anything) create about six M-Class Equalisers, each with an M-Class Compressor under them.
Then, create a 14:2 mixer once you have done that. Now, press the TAB key to flip the rack, and link up each individual ReDrum channel to an EQ, and then from the EQ into the Compressor, and then from the Compressor, to a spare channel in the Mixer.
This may seem like a lot of work, but this allows you to have a lot of control over each sample in ReDrum, and if you want to apply FX later, you can do so to one sample, instead of it effecting the entire kit.
Once you have linked up each Redrum channel to a channel in the mixer, you can now load your samples(if you didn’t create 10 EQ’s just link the remaining channels in ReDrum directly into the mixer, as these channels can be used for samples that don’t need EQ and Compression).
If you like, you can now save this as a combinator patch *presses the save patch button* This will mean you’ll have a blank drum setup, and you can load this for future tracks.
I’ll load up the samples now.
In this track, I have used 3 different kick samples, the first which has a lot of mid, the second which has a high clicky attack, and the third, which has some low end.
The three kicks combined forms a nice strong punchy kick. I have then loaded in 4 snare samples, each with its own sound, and like the kick, sounds strong when layered.
On the last channel I have loaded in a kick, which will be used for the sidechain compression, which plays a big part in the song, but we will talk about that later.
Lets add in some notes. *Magic transition* I’ll let Dave explain the compression and EQ, so join me… I mean, uh, us… in part 2 where we’ll turn the beat from this… into this… after I vacate this body with an overly dramatic and painful sounding effect.
Phew, that was exhausting. So! That kick.
The first sample has a little compression on it at -13dB and full ratio, as a quick refresher, this means that anything above 13dB in volume is brought down to 13dB in volume, and after that, anything below 13dB is brought up to 13dB for a while. This squashes the sound and evens it out. However, if you listen before and after, you’ll notice there’s a more defined punch to the tone, this is because of the attack and release.
The attack defines how long it is before the compression begins squashing everything down to the threshold level, and the release defines how long before it stops bringing everything up to the threshold level after the initial sound hits.
So on this kick, only about 20ms of sound is let through before the compressor begins squashing, which gives us a nice sharp hit at the start of the sample, making it punchier, then the release is a nice and long 500-ish ms, so it brings up the whole length of the sample to the same level.
Then there’s the EQ, which simply has a little boost down around 70hz with 7dB to bring out that nice low end thud that was tucked away in this sample. Remember though, if the sample didn’t have anything at 70hz, no amount of boosting is going to put it there. This is why we layer samples!
Speaking of which, let’s look at the next kick we’ve layered. No EQ this time, but a nice strong compression with 27dB threshold and 4:1 ratio squashing it nicely. Again, the attack allowing the punchiness to come through. Output volume is up to compensate for the volume squashery of the threshold. This is our mid-range kick, and layered with our low-end, it gives a nice thick tone, only lacking in a bit of high end, so let’s sort that out.
Same compressor settings again, but with some EQ on this sound, a slightly boosted hi shelf to emphasize the clickyness, then around 60hz is another boosted low end, which has a pleasantly warm sub-friendly feel to it, and if we listen to all of these in the beat and I bring them in one at a time, you can see how much more powerful it sounds layered up. This is why it’s definitely worth investing some time into finding complimentary samples to stack up and build powerful drum hits.
Next, that snare. This one is layered from 4 snare samples and a hi hat, which is a useful technique on this kind of intense drum and bass, since a hi hat can add a lot of high frequency content to a snare and make it fill out the mix. These snares each have varying degrees of frequency content – you can kinda hear that they have different pitches to them, and that’s why when they’re combined, it makes a huge, thick sounding snare.
275 – 10
170 – 12
140 – 10
155 – 10
The EQs all have boosts around 150hz to 250hz, which is where you tend to find the Drum and Bass punch in these kinds of samples. They’re boosted quite a lot, around 7-10dB and on that top snare there’s a couple of dB extra high end in there to make it a bit airier. To show you how much of a difference this makes, here are the snares without the punchy EQing… and with them.
Again, vitally important to have samples that contain some of that punch in the first place – if you’re boosting and you only end up reducing the clarity and you don’t feel it punching, look for a new sample pack. There are some decent free snare samples on boyinaband in the resources section if you’re strapped for cash, but here Noisestorm has gone with mainly Vengeance samples which are known for having a lot of punch and power to them.
The compression is the other thing, each snare has slightly different processing – some of them have low thresholds and longer attacks, which give a punchier sound, and others like the last two are being used to really fill out the sound with tiny attacks and releases so it’s not particularly punchy, but since the other samples are providing that punch, these ones just give even more frequency content.
Depending on your samples the EQing and compression will probably be vastly different from these specific values – remember that this is just meant as an example.
So! There are the big, punchy one shots sorted – of course at the moment this beat is seriously sparse, so let’s fill it out with some hats and some loops in part 3.
So, time to fill out this bitch like a cavity wall insulation machine hooked up to an unsuspecting puppy.
Combinator, name it loop and chuck a Dr Octo Rex instance in there. Load up a suitably frickin’ sweet loop, I’m going for one (inertia break) from the Primeloops Drum and Bass Drum loops sample pack which adore for this kinda thing, link to that below, and then it’s a case of matching it up to our loop.
Noisestorm used it purely for the ghost snares, leaving the hi hats to a separate combinator which we’ll go into in just a second. So, copy the loop to the track, then re-arrange it to add a bit of syncopation to the beat. I’m going to do so using magic. Accio syncopation!
Now we just need those hi hats. So Combinator and load up our drum preset that we saved in part 1. This time, fill the redrum instance with hi hats, rides, shakers and crashes.
I’ll add in the samples now.
I’ll quickly run through the ones we’ve got in here, now a few of these have some compression to give the samples that bit of extra punch, but these generally don’t require as much attention as the kicks and snares, since they’re simply there to drive the track along and fill out the top end.
So, I’ll show you how they do that by adding in some notes and explaining their purpose.
Okay, don’t get overwhelmed, it looks complicated, but we’ve simply got a few different alternating samples going on. The hi hat and shaker alternate very fast, every 16th note, which gives a definite driving feel, then there is a slightly slower alternation between this crash and trashy ride with the other, cleaner ride every 8th note.
The crash and trashy ride really drive along the beat on each quarter note, this is a common technique used in DnB, Generally with a nice and prominent, clear ride. The crash here is used to accentuate the drops so they feel more full; we can hear the ride on its own on those quarter notes more clearly in the verses and builds.
So, let’s take a listen to what we’ve got.
And there we have it – a beat more intense and driving than a romantic evening with The Stig. Join me in Day 2 where I’ll me making more heterosexual similes, as well as explaining how to make our all important bassline.