Dnb and dubstep question...Is simple the best


Whenever i try to make dubstep…or dnb…

I usually have the habit of trying to fit as many synths in there as possible…

But as a result of having the lead and the pads going at the same time as the drums and the bass…the mix sounds bad and some sounds get sacrificed…im noticing that for some dnb…and dubstep…it has the melodies in one section and the drums and the bass in another…

Am i making the mistake of having to much going on all at once composition wise?

Being that some songs ive listened to just have sections where the beat and bass modulation is just going on…like broken note

I probably answered my own question…

But curious to know others take on this…


Yeah, I would say you answered your own question. There are some exceptions, for instance some melodic liquid stuff, but then you usually have very finetuned arrangements with stuff not overlapping on a note-to-note basis. Other than that, most DNB tracks I love have way less elements than I want to put into my own tracks… Sometimes it’s just the beat, a bassline and a few melodic hits or FX sounds.


See for instance here, a classic and one of my favs from the last few years (both have vocals but that doesn’t change that much imho) - even in the melodic sections there is not that much going on:


DnB sounds pretty bare (to me) in its construction.

In the music I make, I have lots of synths and layers at all times. I found out that the mix essentially sounds bad if you don’t EQ all those synths/cut where needed, so they don’t overlap too much. Also, I usually end up “cleaning up” some parts that don’t really need to be there or just put them at the back of the stereo field, somewhere left or right.

What helps me clean up a song is listening track by track around final mix time and ask myself:

  • Does this track bring anything more to the song?

  • Could this track stand on its own?

If there’s a “not really” as an answer, I’ll either re-work said track or kill it entirely.



those tracks are pretty basic wow ive been overdoing all along lol


i try to do the same… :slight_smile:


I also use a lot of frequency-specific sidechaining, dyanmic EQing or multiband compression (similar to what Trackspacer does) in tracks overloaded with synths. But cleaning up unnecessary parts like you wrote is usually the better way. I often get the feeling of “sunk costs” though, like when I spent a löot of time on a single track that objectively doesn’t fit that well or contribute that much, but it would often be better to just get rid of it… ^^


If you listen to some more liquid stuff for instance by Camo & Krooked or Fred V you can hear many synth layers, but often either the beat is way more in the background than in usual DNB and you don’t get that extremely driving feeling or you have lots of sidechaning/volume automation (also to get some of the driving feeling back), finetuned arrangements or call/response-type stuff and so on going on. Others like Etherwood or Netsky often have very full melodies, but also not too many completely different layers at the same time.


Edit 2: I was more thinking about this remix:


Lol i just hear drums with different bass patches


Seems kind of simple


@metaside - I didn’t know Fred V & Grafix. I really like their songs with Amy J Pryce. She has a bit of a Dido thing going. “Ignite” is absolutely fantastic… Makes me feel this sort of young exhilaration that is mostly long gone nowadays. A thing of beauty. Thanks for posting them!


I really like early Tech-Step style DnB (Think Ed Rush and Optical Wormhole) and DMZ (Dubstep label) style Dubstep. Then again I love Nosia, Spor etc… I also really like very early Jungle like Bay B Kane.

Even with House and Techno I only really want like percussion, bass, a synth and a piece of ear candy or a vocal in each 15-30 second section of the song. As a dancer when shit gets to complicated I’m out. As a listener if things get to chaotic I’m out.


Love those tracks with Amy J Pryce, too! Maybe also check out this stuff if you like DNB with female vocals:

This one has male vocals but one of my favs:


When I think DnB, this is more or less what I’m looking for: Drums, bass, the occasional synth, maybe a vocal snippet. Melodic DnB is gonna be along the lines of Goldie and LTJ Bukem but even their stuff is fairly simple.


I’m also more or less an old-school purist when it comes to Dubstep. I can’t get with that harsh, super abrasive sounding stuff that’s been passing for dubstep.

Every time I play this Kromestar joint in the ride I gotta crank it up and nod out too it.


It’s easy to hear how old dubstep tracks were so “minimalistic” by the usage of number of sounds, maybe that’s why they sounded so clear.

Well, the brostep tunes are the opposite, they are heavily filled with sounds.


Examples please :slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face::+1:



Yea that’s all the good shit


Even with this all i hear is the bassline and the lead being blended together as one sound…

And of course theres this

Tbh it seems simplistic in arrangement…the bass and the drum sounds are seperate from the other elements…so…that mean ive been doing dubstep wrong…by trying to do to much all at once…lol


That’s what Ive always loved about really good minimal dubstep. Its better on a proper sound system when the bass is like just fucking your whole body and youve got that simple, tasty drum groove on top to jam to.