What does a dubstep music template look like?

First of all, I want to tell you that I don’t create dubstep music. But I’m intrigued to know what a dubstep template vaguely looks like or how producers go about making this music. I’d really appreciate if you could give me some insight.

@ around 1:20 in this set, I’m hearing a lot of different bassy FX sounds. I’m finding it hard to believe that they were all made from scratch for the particular track. This got me assuming there’s some kind of special template in use for creating contemporary dubstep music.

I imagine it looks something like:
20+ resampled bass sounds loaded on separate tracks
10+ wavetable synths loaded with sounds and macros ready
Placeholder tracks after each synth track to resample the synths and create further modulations
Dedicated tracks for kick and percussion
Dedicated track for vocals

I’m just guessing though, is it something like this?

Probably not, to be honest. Some people use presets, and even others are definitely making all of their sounds from scratch. But a template would be an amateur move all across the board IMO, since it’s not really all that difficult to make a full-length track from scratch. Why restrict yourself like that when you can have as many ‘dedicated’ tracks as you need? It just doesn’t add up

Also, if you design your own sounds for weeks or months on end, you can have your own bank to draw from and it’ll seem like you’re doing some kind of wizardry yourself. You can make your own ‘secret weapons’ and even reuse them again, since they’re exclusive to you.

Actually what I guessed is that the producer creates his own template with his own sounds. So for example he needs a bass at a certain point in time to complete a rhythm - I doubt he’s loading up synthesizers because there’s so many different sounds playing. If there’s a pallet of sounds loaded into the DAW I imagine it’s easier.
I’m not talking about third party templates like cymatics offer. I mean custom templates. Another reason why I’m thinking in terms of templates is because these sounds are much more complex than mere synth presets.

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Just make some noise.
Also don’t make dubstep.


Don’t worry I won’t. I’m really not into dubstep production. I’m just interested in new ways of going about creating music rather than starting from blank empty workflow. I feel that my confidence and energy is jeopardised when I see a black sequencer. I generally do disagree with templates but I’m curious if people start creating a project with clever techniques - there’s got to be something going on in dubstep since there’s so many “fitting” sounds in the mix. I bet that people work differently to me, I tend to work in stupid tedious ways because I’m still learning I guess.

Oddly worded question, but I guess what you’re really asking is about workflow. But that’s a personal thing. There’s really nothing strange about starting completely from scratch and building up these sounds as you go. Some people prefer to separate their sound design sessions from their composition sessions. So you can have your own made sample pack when you start and you just chuck these basses into a sampler and pitch them as needed and scrub the waveforms to find sections that make some rhythmic sense. There’s a billion tutorials or screencasts on YT for this, so it’s probably going to be easier for you to satisfy your curiosity by looking those up. I’m sure they are not difficult to find, but you can also look up YT channels of Mr. Bill, SeamlessR, or Virtual Riot.


Well then, it is clear.

A really basic arrangement template probably looks something like Intro A B C B A Outro each section being ~32 bars, maybe C is 64.

Do people work off such a template where there are already markers set up at certain bar lengths? Maybe I should make such a template… and have a few samplers loaded on separate tracks or something.
Talking about samplers… I never use them, but I can see how they’re useful. Normally I would throw audio directly into the DAW, I don’t organize anything, and my projects tend to look like a zoo where the animals won against the humans.
Would people advise on using samplers to organize audio samples? Does anyone throw audio directly into the DAW like I do? I don’t even use step sequencers for making drum beats.
I do create audio busses though…my mixer and audio routing is the only thing which is organized.

I don’t know about all that, but most dance music that DJs are going to mix live follow some pretty hard and fast tropes when it comes to the structure of the track. I write 99% dance music these days, setting up markers in a template doesn’t seem worth the time to me. What I need to do to make a track “dj friendly” is muscle memory at this point. Also, if you are a DJ you likewise know what a track needs to work in the context of other dance tracks.

I see. I understand that a lot of understanding about what works and what doesn’t work comes with experience (and experimentation of course). I guess I’m humbled by some sounds/audio processing that I’m not familiar with, and yet I still don’t have a heartfelt connection with dubstep music. I guess I’ll just respect it for what it is and do what I prefer to do. but I might look into some of the sound design techniques which are being used.

Whatever type of dubstep sound design you want to look into, there are loads of YT vids on the subject.

Sometimes I include basslines made up of 5-20 synths playing different parts of the same melody in my tracks, not necessarily with dubstep sounds though. I often first build a melody with just one synth and then just split up the melody over multiple synths. With something like Live, you can even do it in a single track by making a grouped rack with all your synths and using a chain selector to switch through all the different instruments…

With regard to sounds, what relic wrote. Also, just play around with LFO assignments in a good synth. It’s not that hard to make some nice wobbles and similar with any synth with filters and some FM/PM/distortion/waveshaping options, even easier if you have some nice wavetables - just play arund with LFO modulation of the wavetable position.

This might give you a little bit of an idea, possibly! Somehow watching this is more fun than listening to the song itself, everybody needs to release this type of video IMO.

Whoa, this guy shares his template, too. Pretty cool

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This video is like watching a drag queen show. It does takes an insane amount of work to make a pair of fake tits look good, I suppose.

his sequencer screen looks more complex than what can be heard lol. Sounds very simple, it looks like he’s using a lot of recorded samples which is what I expected with dubstep (resampled bass sounds).

I imagine other producers are doing something different though - If you make a pallet of sounds you can make one recording with a whole bunch of takes (different modulations on the sound). And then you can load that into the daw, trim the audio, re-position the waveform. So you have different portions of audio for the purpose of “fitting” the rhythm or the idea. There’s so much processing on one sound (I watched the abelton sound design videos), so it’s only normal that they sample everything.

It’s actually too much processing for my liking - they want to achieve some kind of alien sound, and I’m not really a fan. I do like to listen to what people come up with though… I’m really into sound design, but not dubstep per se.

If you’re also into sound design and cool textures - definitely check out this guy:

I don’t really get why people get so hung up on the track counts. Just because a single human voice can be beautiful and complete by itself doesn’t make a 140-piece orchestra performing a symphony somehow excessive.

Sometimes it’s easier to duplicate a track and change some settings for a section, instead of doing automation. Or to bounce it out. Or putting all the little things that only happen once on their own channel, instead of cramming them on one and dealing with clip volumes. Doing proper and frequent transitions at the end of sections and phrases really jacks up the track count. So does bussing things.

I don’t know, maybe I spent too much time in the psytrance world back in the day, but there 100+ track projects were pretty much the norm and nobody seemed bothered by that. It is what it is. It’s not a competition, but it’s neither a game of track-count reduction. You could do workarounds to reduce the track count, if that was the end goal, but… why? You use just as many tracks as you need to accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.

More tracks makes everything more messy and unclear when you revisit the project again at a later time. Reaper makes everything nice and neat with folder tracks as well as allowing you to create as much new midi pattern variations as you want all on the one track. 60 - 70 tracks is usually all I use. Maybe that’s because I like to resample different parts to make things more refined. I separate sound design projects from the actual track projects, and a sound design project might have 5 - 10 layers.

Yeah, whether things are messy or not is entirely up to you. Between naming things properly, putting things in folders, keeping related things close to each other, and color coding, there’s really no reason for even huge projects to be particularly confusing. Cubase also allows you to search for tracks, hide tracks both in the arranger and the mixer, and save different workspaces (layout of the windows). So between all those, it’s really not that bad dealing with really big projects. I know Reaper also has a robust sub-projects/projects-within-projects type functionality that seems very convenient. I just manually export/import stuff between my sub-projects (which is really not that bad either).

You know how most drivers think that anyone who drives slower than them is an ancient turtle and anyone driving faster than them is a reckless psycho? I think some producers look at the track count the same way: anyone who typically uses fewer than them must be making simplistic and repetitive music and anyone who uses more must be over-complicating their arrangements, throwing everything at the wall, and/or showing off.

That’s probably true. People pay too much attention to what’s on screen when what really matters is what we hear. I agree that there should be no limits with track counts (on condition that it’s coherent to some degree), no limits with anything for that matter. As long as you have sufficient RAM. But I guess if one is serious about music production, a lot of ram is important. I am just on 8GB ram right now, didn’t have any virtual memory problems so far, but I think I’ll look into getting more eventually.