17 Must Know DUB Music Production Tips Brought To You By The Pro's


1- The key to getting that twisted dub sound is all in the details. Get to know what every button and dial on your delay and reverb plug-in does - sometimes a seemingly unimportant function can have a dramatic effect when part of a big effects chain. Delay effects where you can mess with the pitch of the signal work especially well for creating abstract sounds.

2- A big part of traditional dub music is the sweet and flowing sound of thebass guitar. However if you don't have the option of recording real istruments,you could get away with using a monophonic bass synth with reasonably longrelease time and careful use of a MIDI controllers pitchbend wheel for added expression.

3- If your recording live playing for your tracks, using unusual instrumentscan add a unique aspect to your music. Played in the correct style and withthe right processing, any instrument can have that dubbed-our flavour. Likewise 'sampled sounds' put through some delay, reverb and other effectswill always add a unique touch to your songs.

4- The organ is one of the most commonly used instruments in dub, and as its sound is easy to reproduce digitally, you can get away with using a plug-inversion without it sounding too cheesy.

5-Voclas, instruments and effects that have a lot of delay on them can soundgreat when silenced halfway through a word or musical phrase.

6- Most of dubs hard-hitting power comes from its combination of big bass and drum sounds. For maximum impact, sequence your bassline to trigger on thesame notes as your kick drum. Switching it to the offbeat will give it a morelaid-back feel.

7- For some truly authentic dub-style processing, organize your track into groups of instruments, and use aux effect chains tweaked live. This methodwill give you less control than automating each part's effects individually, but is truer to the techniques used by the original dub pioneers.

8- Dynamically used effects are possibly the most important part of the dub sound. For instance, occasionally the snare will get a big hit of reverb forimpact, but this would sound ridiculous on every snare in the track. Automation can be used to apply effects only when needed, though you may findmanually 'riding the faders' gives the mix a more human quality.

9- When using effects chains, it's important to accurately control two parameters at once - for example, a delay unit's feedback level and the cut-off level of a filter. Controlling two parameters at once with your mouseis a nightmare, so if possible, use a MIDI contrloller instead to give you a more hands on approach.

10- Big drum sounds are important if you want dub tracks to hit hard, so try using an overdrive plug-in to warm up your percussion parts.

11- Classic Dub tends to involve a lot of saturation caused by overloading an analogue desk - hard to recreate easily on your computer. However some saturation plug-ins, such as 'Chrissy', available at http://www.zensoundcheck.com/, can add a little of that analogue warmth to your tracks, and as a bonus it'll also filter and alias your sounds.

12- A great free plug-in designed specifically for the creation of Dub is the Wacky Dub Siren (available free at http://www.interruptor.ch/), a tone generator designed to imitate the simple siren and sci-fi sounds that were commonly used in early Dub and are still around today. Stick it through some reverb and delay - keep messing with the dials until you find a sound you like.

13- The order of the effects you use will have a dramatic effect on the shape of the sound produced. Traditionally, reverb and delay are used after any other effects, try using them first to create something a bit more unusual. Processing a delayed signal with other effects can give you that big abstract Dub sound.

14- When creating dub rythm tracks, a great deal of the sound you use comes from the reverb you use. Try experimenting with your reverb unit's pre-delay, time and size values to see what different feels and vibes can be created, but be careful not to drown out the original drum sound, as this still needs to punch through the mix.

15- You can give movement to your track's rythm section by adding effects to the higher pitched sounds such as hats and cymbals. Flanger, filter and Phaser effects work particularly well. Rather than having the effect play constantly throughout the track, try changing the rate and mix controls for more dynamic movement.

16- If your delay unit has a filter control, try using it to dynamically control the shape of the feedback - the same goes for tone and damping controls.

17- When creating those mysterious dub soundscapes, reverb and delay are your best friends. Try out a variety of these effects until you find some that you work well with. For a free, useful delay plug-in, try Echomania downloadable from http://www.audiodamage.com/.

This dub music tutorial has been brought to you by computer music man.

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Anonymous said...

thanks for the helpfull tips!

Matt Jackson said...

Great post on Dub. This is one of my favorite genres. have you heard of a New Zealand band called Salmonella Dub before? They are awesome. I agree with point 2 where you said the bass guitar is key, I always struggled to learn good bass runs for dub, I was much better with rythym guitar.