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How to Make a Dubstep Beat

So in this post we’re going to show you the first step in creating a dubstep track from scratch: making the Dubstep beat.

At this point, we’re assuming that you’ve already gotten yourself some type of music production software, and have had a chance to play around with the digital interface to get a feel for the software. If you haven’t, check out this article to help you choose the best software to get started with.

140 BPM!

Once you open up your DAW, the first thing you need to do is set the tempo to right around 140bpm, since this is kind of a major characteristic of Dubstep music. Starting out with the right tempo will help out when you want to add your track to a continuous mix or perform it live, since it’ll match up to most other Dubstep music.

Choose Your Samples

Now you’re ready to pick your samples. If you don’t have any samples already, a great place to start is our very own Dubstep Drum Kit! To get yourself a copy, just sign up for our email newsletter ( in the left-hand sidebar, or at the bottom of this post) and we’ll send the download link to your inbox.

Another great source for samples and loops is over at primeloops.com. You can find tons of dubstep samples along with samples and sounds for pretty much any other genre out there.

Once you’ve got the samples downloaded to a folder on your computer, you can go ahead and load the samples into your DAW. A good array of drum samples to start with is something like: two kicks, a snare or two, a clap, and high-hats. Remember we’re just creating the beat first, so we won’t get into all the fun wobbly bass stuff just yet.

(Note: it’s definitely a good idea to get into the habit of saving all of your sound files on an external hard drive, especially if they’re in the massive .wav format, since after a while they’ll begin to bog down your computer. We covered this in building a production pc.)

Layering the Drums

It’s always a good idea to layer sounds to create a fuller, more robust sound in the end. This just means loading up two of the same sample, and adjusting the volume and tone of one of them so it sounds slightly different. This works really well with your kicks and snares. I added a short video from CraigWilliamsMusic to show you layering in action. It’s a great video and he goes pretty far into detail, but you just need to get the basic concept down for now.


Construct the Beat

Now to combine the kick and snare drum sounds into your basic beat. First, you need to set the number of steps within the bar. This is just the number of tick marks, between each bar. For the kick-snare beat we want to increase this to 32, which will give us plenty of room within the bar.

Now for the actual layout of the steps, it’s easier to show you in a video rather than write it out, so we found this video by Dubspot, where they lay out a basic dubstep beat. In the video they use Ableton Live 8, but don’t worry if you’re using a different program, just pay attention to the way he lays out his drums to get that characteristic dubstep sound:

Alright now you should have a good foundation for your dubstep track that we’ll begin to build off of in our next few articles. You can make sure you catch our updates as soon as they come out by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on twitter.

Until then, keep playing around with your brand new dubstep beat and stay tuned!

 

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