DNB Mastering

Producing drum and bass music can be an exciting and challenging task, but it’s important to have a good understanding of the genre and the production techniques involved. In this article, we will explore the top 10 pieces of knowledge you need to know before starting a new track in your DAW.

  1. Understand the Basics of Drum and Bass:

Drum and bass music, also known as DnB, is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the UK in the early 1990s. It is characterised by fast tempo, breakbeat rhythms and heavy basslines. To produce high-quality DnB music, you need to have a good understanding of the genre’s characteristics and structure.

One of the best ways to understand the structure of DnB is to listen to popular tracks from artists such as Goldie, LTJ Bukem, Roni Size and Noisia. Pay attention to the tempo, drum patterns, basslines and the overall energy of the track.

  1. Get to Know the Amen Break:

The Amen Break is a six-second drum loop from the song “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons, and it is one of the most widely used samples in drum and bass music. This sample has been used in countless tracks, from early jungle tracks to modern-day DnB.

The Amen Break is characterised by its fast-paced, choppy drum pattern, and it’s usually layered with other drum samples to create complex and interesting drum patterns. To use the Amen Break in your tracks, you can either sample it directly from the original recording or download it from sample libraries such as Splice or Loopmasters.

  1. Learn How to Use Samples:

Samples are an essential part of producing DnB music, as they can be used to create unique drum patterns and sound effects. It’s important to know how to use samples properly, including how to manipulate them with effects and layer them to create complex sounds.

One popular technique used in DnB is the use of re-sampling, where you take a sample, apply effects and then record the output to a new audio track. This process can be repeated multiple times to create unique and complex sounds. To get started with sampling, you can use free sample packs available online or purchase sample packs from websites such as Loopmasters or Splice.

  1. Get to Grips with Sub Bass:

Sub bass is an essential component of DnB music, and it’s important to understand how to create and manipulate it in your tracks. Sub bass is a low-frequency sound that is felt more than heard, and it’s usually played at a lower volume than other elements in the mix.

To create sub bass, you can use a synthesizer or a sampled bass sound. It’s important to choose the right waveform, such as a sine or triangle wave, to get the desired sub bass sound. It’s also important to EQ the sub bass to remove any unwanted frequencies and ensure it sits well in the mix.

One example of a DnB track with a prominent sub bass is “Wormhole” by Ed Rush and Optical. The track features a powerful sub bassline that drives the energy of the track.

  1. Study Sound Design:

Sound design is an essential aspect of producing any type of electronic music, and DnB is no exception. To create unique and interesting sounds, you need to know how to program synthesizers and manipulate effects.

One popular technique used in DnB is the use of FM synthesis, which involves using one oscillator to modulate the frequency of another oscillator. This technique can create complex and interesting sounds that fit well with the genre.

Another popular technique is the use of distortion and saturation to add grit and character to sounds. This technique is often used on basslines and drums to

create a more aggressive and edgy sound.

To study sound design, you can watch tutorials on YouTube or take online courses. Some popular synthesizers used in DnB production include Serum, Massive, and FM8.

  1. Get to Know Your DAW:

Your DAW, or digital audio workstation, is the software you use to produce your music. It’s important to have a good understanding of your DAW’s features and workflow to produce high-quality DnB tracks.

Some popular DAWs used in DnB production include Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Logic Pro. To get started with your DAW, you can watch tutorials on YouTube or take online courses.

  1. Use Automation:

Automation is an essential part of producing electronic music, and it’s particularly important in DnB. Automation involves changing the parameters of a sound over time, such as the filter cutoff or the level of an effect.

In DnB, automation can be used to create build-ups, breakdowns and other dynamic elements. For example, you can automate the filter cutoff of a bassline to create a build-up before a drop.

  1. Work on Your Arrangement:

Arrangement is the process of structuring your track into sections, such as an intro, verse, chorus and breakdown. In DnB, arrangement is particularly important, as the genre is known for its fast-paced, energetic tracks.

To create a strong arrangement, it’s important to have a clear idea of the energy and structure of the track. One popular arrangement in DnB is the “double drop,” where two drops are combined to create a more intense and energetic section.

  1. Mix and Master Your Tracks:

Mixing and mastering are essential processes in producing high-quality DnB tracks. Mixing involves balancing the levels of different elements in the mix, while mastering involves preparing the track for distribution, such as adding compression and EQ.

To mix and master your tracks, it’s important to have a good understanding of mixing and mastering techniques. Some popular techniques used in DnB production include parallel compression, stereo widening, and multiband compression.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice:

Finally, the most important aspect of producing DnB music is practice. Producing high-quality DnB tracks takes time and dedication, and the more you practice, the better you will become.

To practice, set yourself goals and challenges, such as creating a track with a certain tempo or using a new synthesis technique. Share your tracks with other producers and get feedback to help you improve.

In conclusion, producing drum and bass music is a rewarding and challenging task, but it’s important to have a good understanding of the genre and the production techniques involved. By understanding the basics of DnB, getting to grips with sub bass, learning sound design and automation, and mastering your tracks, you can create high-quality DnB tracks that stand out from the crowd.