When our first Dubstep blog was setup in 2009, we immediately started receiving emails from visitors, with questions regarding recommended Dubstep software downloads.
Originally, we were advocating software such as Reason, FL Studio and Pro Tools, which are great Dubstep programs, should you hold extensive experience in music production (and a bigger budget). These programs were only available in hardware packages on DVD data.
However, the market has since changed and the best Dubstep making software available is a downloadable program called “DUBturbo”.
Check out their homepage at: http://www.dubturbo.com
First Choice Dubstep Software: BTV Solo
For anyone who has not studied music production, this Desktop application is the most suitable place to commence your original music.
Anyone can get started immediately by Downloading it from the official website, as above.
Do not choose the web-based (online) version – It is just as capable, however like any online music maker, the latency (delay in real-time reaction) can make it very difficult to efficiently create music. Download the software to your computer.
Since version 2.0 was released and new versions in the pipeline, this Dubstep maker has exploded in popularity.
Those with extensive experience are still downloading it, as a user-friendly sequencer and for the wicked range of free drum kits and instruments that come as standard.
For the best experience with this software, we recommend:
1. Downloading the add-on options when you first get your software
2. Being patient and persisting to learn all the features of Dubturbo
So many newcomers to Dubstep creation simply give up due to the difficult nature of programming such a sound. Be persistent and explore the software to its limits. If you do outgrow it, become a real producer and get a Pro Tools setup, as detailed further in this article.
+ Cost of Download: $39.95
+ Fastest and most efficient sequencer
+ Render broadcast quality, finished tracks
+ Hundreds of samples & instruments
+ Hand triggered drum machine
+ No other hardware needed
Download location: http://www.dubturbo.com (click link)
Second Choice Dubstep Software: Pro Tools
Pro Tools is the industry standard music production and recording software and is the second choice, as you must be an experienced engineer to operate it. Formerly Digidesign, developers Avid have now provided a wide range of hardware for beginners, to those with professional studios.
Such software must accompany the hardware, otherwise it simply will not function. The basic “M-Box” setup is probably the smallest hardware interface for music available anywhere, with 2 midi inputs, run by firewire to your computer with USB input.
A seriously powerful little package starting at around $490, it is still great value. If you just want to start making beats and electronic music, then most people will opt for Dubturbo.
Dubstep on Pro Tools:
Learning the sequencing is certainly not easy, and back in the day, took me a week just to sequence my first basic hip-hop beat. Creating a Dubstep wobble bass is a whole new ball game.
However, the standard plugins that come with the software are extremely capable and leave you in a great position to make some insane sounds, without spending any more money or time on additional effects.
For producers who want to work with creating their own samples (note Dubturbo has an array of samples included) Pro Tools is great in this regard. Another thing that sways people to the Avid software is recording live vocals and real instruments.
+ Cost of package: $490.00
+ Powerful CPU recommended
+ Learning can take a long time
+ Amazing sounds included
+ Highly powerful software
+ Professional grade application
The Dubstep Invasion:
Dubstep is now so popular that it is hard to find even commercial radio hits that do not include a Dubstep or similar sounding break somewhere in the track. There are heavy metal bands, RnB artists and traditional house DJs turning to the production methods of original bangers like Benga, and new heavyweights like NoiseStorm and Skrillex.
This is a strong indication of how prominent and important dubstep music and production techniques are becoming in the modern music ecosystem.
Think about the Dubstep DJs who have emerged in the last twelve months, let alone the ones who will surface over the next few years. The Dubstep love has spread wide from the UK where it originated, to massive festivals in the USA, to small clubs in Australia and New Zealand.
The importance of honing your Dubstep making abilities is obvious: quite simply, without including at least a taste of this genre in your original track, you will most likely get left behind.
Resident Advisors 299th podcast comes storming in with Agoria. There are some crickets, some strings, and then The Streets come in to tell a story, and you’re already hooked. It’s eight minutes in, and you’ve already felt happy, sad, confused, wanted to dance, and wanted to sit down and sedate yourself with as much alcohol as you can afford. That’s what music is all about, eh?!
The rest of the hour take you through funk, filtered soul, jazz, techno, and deep house, all with supreme technical know-how that is the hallmark of the Agoria sound. You won’t hear ‘progressive’ stuff, no dubstep, no trance, and no electro. If you’d hear it on a current music video or in a current pop artists shady attempt at crossing over, it’s not here. Which makes the attentive techno head breath a little easier, knowing that the whole world hasn’t gone mad. The roots are still there for people will to look for them.
There are a few truly amazing energy shifts throughout the mix, so although if you want, you can bop through with it on it the background, I highly recommend at some point really listening to the transitions to hear the masterful balance changes. They are extraordinary.
In an interview about the mix, Agoria said that he used all of the tools available to him, which means Ableton tracks, software comps, hardware loops, CD decks and turntables, all in the mix. He even said that you could hear his ‘mistakes’. That’s quite a breath of fresh air, and with someone as clinical as him, you’d be hard pressed to hear which mistakes he’s actually talking about. In case you didn’t know: http://www.residentadvisor.net/
Agoria (ne Sebastien Devaud) is rad, by the way. Minimalist and experimental, his productions and mixes are typically on the dark side of the force, and that might be a little bit more comfortable for people who get a little syruped out with the pop scene.
Agoria has been busy in the last year, if you haven’t seen any of his mixes floating around. He’s done mix-work for At the Controls, Fabric, and Balance, three of the top compilation series in the techno world, and each of them was received enthusiastically inside a community bombarded with dozens if not hundreds of mixes every day.
As you listen to his music, you can hear his early influences, house masters like Kevin Saunderson and Jeff mills, bleeding through the sounds, although in a wonderfully deepend, updated presentation. His first international recognitioin came right around 2001, and since then he has been consistently developing his reputation of a leader in style and sensibility, as well as work ethic. He tours constantly as a DJ, but higher-end producers are constantly hitting him up for remix and collaborative work.
Devaud founded label InFine in 2006 and has been working on it tirelessly since then, and it is known for its dislike of whatever might be trendy and its roster of young and experimental artists. With artists like Agoria, the future is already here.
For any aspiring DJ the sheer amount of software out there can be baffling. Thus in order to satisfy the need to clarify which programs are good and which ones are “not so good” we have gone and done a complete review of Ableton Live and how well it works for Dubstep.
When it comes to music software there are a lot of similarities between them all as they all operate on the same basic principles. There are some music programs out there that will be more user friendly than others, but in the case of DJs the complexity of a program can be beneficial in order to create unique sounds to put into your mix.
Regarding Ableton Live the program mixes the “stationary aspects” of recording and the dynamics of live shows, hence the name “Live”. Whether you are a DJ or a performing artist the software truly lives up to its reputation. With real-time effects, sequencers and loop-machines, any DJ can excel on stage when performing a live set.
What can I expect to get from the software?
Some of the more stand out features that Ableton Live provides are:
- Drum Rack Streamline Beat Production
- Multiple time signatures within your live set
- The ability to Export Video
- Tempo nudge to synchronize with DJ’s or live musicians
- Groove Engines
- Support for most Midi and External Soundcards
Operating the software
The best part of Ableton Live is the fact that it is designed for live performance, meaning that the interface of the software is really light on your computer. Unlike programs such as Logic or Pro Tools (which are more for stationary recording) the program is fairly light and requires very little RAM to run seamlessly. Thus for anyone who do not have access to the best gear out there, and still wishes to break into the industry, this program is definitely a stellar choice.
Almost as any other program out there you will have a general mixer, recording area, track separation, effects bars and a lot of post production tools at your disposal. If you are familiar with any other editing software out there the learning curve for Ableton will be very small.
If you wish to add in any external hardware you will find that Ableton quickly synchronizes itself with the instrument and will give you a seamless real-time playback , making it one of the top choices for DJ’s and Musicians all over the world.
What about Dubstep?
Ableton was almost created to make Dubstep, as the presets within the software give you a lot of flexibility when creating a baseline or a beat line. You would have no problem creating your own Wobble Bass or broken beats at all, and with a simple search in Youtube you should have access to hundreds of “Dubstep Tutorials using Live”.
For anyone starting off a career as a professional musician this program is a great first step. We all know that programs such as Logic or Pro Tools can cost a hefty sum of money, where as Ableton only costs you $329 USD making it affordable for anyone with a serious conviction. It is no surprise that this program is one of the highest rated music related software in the world.
The Brainfeeder music label is on the cutting edge of both music production and music performance in the electronic music community, and they have recently released a free 2012 sampler to give out a little taste of what they are all about.
Featuring single tracks by each of 12 artists, a wide range of sounds and vibes are represented, but the idea of experimentation is what gives that sampler the feeling of the compilation being a single effort by a coordinated group.
Each of the artist on it have their own cult following, so collectively it truly is an enjoyable listen both for people who are familiar with the respectively bodies of work and for people who have never heard any of it before.
Tokimonsta, Thundercat, Austin Peralta, Taylor McFerrin, Teebs, Jeremiah Jae, Mathewdavid, Lapalux, Martyn, The Gaslamp Killer, Mono/Poly, and Samiyam all have tracks on it, and if you aren’t familiar with all of the names, each one of them has music that will take you down into their heads one beat and one melody at a time.
Even though it is considered electronic, tracks like “Place In My Heart” have a very acoustic feel, with a trap drum kit pushing through the rhythm, and unprocessed guitar chords giving the song it’s backbone.
“Gutter Glitter” is in a world of its own, where spacey synth hits mix with super-effected rhythmic stabs and some outer space vocals won’t do much to calm your busy mind, but they might intrigue your sense of what constitutes music in the first place. Headphone listening is a must on that track, if you’re willing to really try to dig in and feel what’s happening. The scraping bassline isn’t pleasant on raw nerves, but at the least it might remind you that you’re still breathing.
Mono/Poly’s track “Needs Deoderant” is a nice little funk exercise full of stereo-wide drums, creepy synth lines and a breakbeat that will keep you guessing. The analog melody lines rub up against each other and give the feeling of lukewarm soup on a lukewarm day, so let your mind wander and pick up any imagery that the individual instruments are giving you to play with. Don’t be scared – it’s just music.
The Brainfeeder label has been around since 2008, founded by Flying Lotus and based in LA, where the artists on the label make regular appearances at the niche but world-famous Low End Theory nights on Wednesdays. If you’re in the neighborhood, give those guys a visit, it’s worth the trip.
You can download the sampler for free at brainfeeder.com, and the more times you listen to it, the more you will get out of it, as each breeze through unwraps another layer of textural or rhythmic intrigue. And promise me, if you don’t like it or don’t understand it the first time through, you have to try again. Like many great types of music, it takes a certain audio vocabulary to start picking apart the nuances of a tune, so don’t sell yourself short by giving up.
When it comes to professional music production one might require to invest in some seriously awesome studio monitors. You might think; “I have some pretty decent headphones, why would I need studio monitors?” Well the answer is simple; you always need to test your mix-downs on many different sound devices. Many times a mix might sound completely out of this world in your headphones, but the moment you pop the tune into your car…the bass is either too loud or something just doesn’t fit.
Studio monitors, or at least good studio monitors will allow you to be able to mix and hear each instrument “naturally”, meaning it won’t be stuck to your ear. This means that with ambient sound you will be able to see how well the music mixes with the ambient, and what is lost or amplified in the mix, which in the end will give you a better final product. So now that you know that studio monitors are indeed a need, let’s go and check out a low range, mid range and a “I’m going to bleed your pockets dry” end monitor set up.
When we talk about the low end of studio monitors the Behringer B2031’s come to mind. Costing roughly $500, but on E-Bay I’m sure you’ll find them for a lot cheaper, these monitors might seem like the ideal starter kit for any producer, once you have decided on your dubstep software. The only problem is that when you keep on growing in your production value you might find that these monitors don’t live up to the challenge. With this baby you’ll be covered in all your low end and high end frequencies and enjoy the bass line with 8.75” woofers.
For anyone who is a sound buff, don’t buy these, but for everyone else who is working on a shoe string budget, the Behringer B2031’s are an ideal choice to start with. Decent highs, decent mids and decent lows; a good price for a decent monitor
You can find these babies on Amazon for about $450, which in essence makes them a bit more desirable than the Behringer’s. These Biamplified active studio monitors will give you definite value for your money as the sound quality of the monitors is quite impressive. The powerful amp and active fourth-order cross over delivers an outstanding sound quality with its 8” woofer. If you are starting out or are planning on adding to your collection you should definitely have the Event TR8’s in mind.
And to now break the shoe string barrier let’s talk about the Adam A7 studio monitors. Even though this isn’t the high end yet, these studio monitors will give you the closest thing for roughly $1000 USD. Perfect mix of low-end to high-end frequencies will give you that clear sound to distinguish all your instruments in a way that will make you smile from the moment you turn them on…till the moment you die.
By far if you have the money to spend, get your grubby little DJ hands on these babies and really push yourself to the next level. Perfect for Dubstep due to the clarity in base and mids.
It is essential that we always continue to push ourselves to new levels. If you are truly serious about your production value…spend enough money to make use of them for a long time. If you lack funds, anything will do that at least have some bass and mids, but always try to go that extra mile to make it work for you.