For those of you who don’t know, Dubstep is known as a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the southern parts of London, England around late 1990’s, although this type of music was mainly an underground scene at the time. We have however seen it being used nowadays in commercial mainstream music from artists such as Britney Spears, Florida and even Pitbull. It features the characteristic of a mainly overwhelming bassline which is normally an extended bass note modulated in a rhythmic way with reverberant drum sound patterns, clipped samples and now and then occasional vocal riffs. The sound of the bassline is produced by using a low frequency oscillator to modulate certain parameters of the sound source (normally a synthesizer), such as volume, distortion, pitching or most commonly used; the filter cutoff.
I have used Protools as my main DAW and Lennar Digital’s SYLENTH1 synthesizer for my bassline although one can use any DAW and any synthesizer that has Low frequency oscillators, is able to modulate the sound source, as well as a cutoff filter and is also able to change its rate (speed).
Let’s start by selecting an empty patch and setting Oscillator 1 to a Saw wave. Notice how the sound is very bland. First start by lowering OSC A1 (top left hand corner) by one octave and detuning it by 2 semi tones. Once we have done that copy and paste the settings to OSC B1 by pressing the square BLACK C button [for copy] in the top right hand corner of OSC A1 then pressing the BLACK P button [for paste] in OSC B1. Doing this will duplicate the settings.
Next, let us move the octave of OSC B1 up by one octave and change the wave sound to a square wave giving it a much more interesting yet unique sound.
Now that we have a more distinct electronic sound we are going to need to run it through the cutoff filter. To do this simply go to filter A and change the filter type to a low pass filter. Both OSCA1 and B1 are running through filter A. I’ve also turned up the drive knob by 1.00 to give it a bit more bite to the sound. Now if we play any note around the bass region on our Midi controller and move the cutoff knob for filter A up and down with our mouse, we get that nice wobble sound. Although we can record and automate this and play around with it we are going to rather use the synthesizer’s LFO 1 to modulate it for us. Let’s keep the setting of the cutoff filter as is.
Now that we have the sound we are after lets modulate it by going to the LFO 1 and just underneath the gain knob left-click the empty menu and change it to “Filters cut off A”.
Next to that turn the little black modulation mixing knob full to the right or left. Now all that is needed is to crank the LFO 1’s gain full and start playing around with the rate setting which is the speed of which the LFO modulates the sound through the cutoff filter. I’ve set this setting to around 1/8D. In most cases this rate setting is automated to give the bassline the rhythmic elements of the song. Feel free to go crazy on this setting. To make the sound even dirtier and interesting I’ve also run it through the synth’s very own bitcrusher, chorus and reverb which can be found in the main centre menu panel of Sylenth1.
And that’s it. Don’t forget that once you’re done creating the wobble sound you are after, to save it as a preset so you don’t have to redo it again and again. To do this just click the dot next to the 4 in the main control panel menu and rename it. It will automatically save the name you give it for the next project.
Stay tuned for the next issue on how to make your very own Rise FX used in Dance Music. Happy Producing!!
This tutorial was brought to you by Donovan Leon from DCL Studios.
DONOVAN LEON is a Producer/ Engineer for DCL Studios and has had the opportunity to work and collaborate with many artists/ producers such as: Crighton Goodwill (Good Noise Studios), Robin C Khol (Jazzworx), L’loyd Cele (2010 Idol Runner up), Jamali (Popstars), CH2, Denim, Thembi Seete (Boom Shaka), Kwesta, Zubz, Sasha P (Nigeria), Jae, Ziyon (Liquid Deep), Verona, 37MPH and many, many more.
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