Tags: posts polarity-music Track from Scratch Bitwig FM8 Native Instruments

Creating Drum and Bass: An Intro to Making Music

Tutorial | Apr 07, 2022

I am creating a drum and bass track and I am starting with the bass. I am using FM8 and mixing in two oscillators and adding a bit of noise and distortion. I'm then moving on to the drums, using a kick and snare, and then a shaker and ride. I'm using the transient shaper and hard clip to level out the sounds and then I'm creating a sidechain with the kick, so that it removes the bass when the kick plays. Lastly I'm creating a step sound with a Polysynth and adding in a crash sound.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What plugins are used to create the drum and bass sound in the video?

The plugins used to create the drum and bass sound in the video are the FM8 and the FMH. The FM8 is used to create the bass sound, while the FMH is used to create the step sound.

What is the tempo of the drum and bass track?

The tempo of the drum and bass track is 172 BPM.

How is the side chain modulator used to create the drum and bass track?

The side chain modulator is used to filter out the notes in the bass track that are outside of the kick drum's range (C1 to C1). This allows for the kick drum to be isolated and used as a sidechain to modulate the bass track, creating a pumping effect.

How is distortion used to shape the drum and bass track?

Distortion is used to add texture and drive to the bass track. This is done by using the internal effects such as amp, VHQ, and hard clip. The distortion is used to subtly shape the sound of the bass track and add character


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

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[00:27.460] Let's get started!
[00:29.700] Okay, let's create some drum bass, I would say.
[00:33.460] So we start here with the BPM, of course.
[00:36.020] So I set it to 172, should be enough, drum bass, I think.
[00:42.860] And maybe we start this time with the bass.
[00:46.580] And I thought maybe it's a good idea to use
[00:49.540] some older plugins going for FM8.
[00:52.900] And maybe, yeah, we use the range of that.
[01:01.220] So I'm going for some lower notes here, let's see.
[01:09.340] Oh, yeah, this is a nice deep bass here, let's put this to loop.
[01:24.940] Okay, so the init preset of the FM8 is of course just a sign here, set this to 1.
[01:35.940] So we go up to 100 here, so we mix into the sign,
[01:42.100] actually, I'm mixing a second sign part, so we have to enable it by right clicking here.
[01:51.460] So now we have two signs, one is frequency modulating the other one.
[01:56.900] Maybe take a different ratio here, maybe set here.
[02:13.460] Okay, so basically the second one here has an envelope.
[02:19.060] And yeah, the envelope changes the volume of this oscillator or this operator.
[02:24.660] And then so you decide basically with this, when do you frequency modulate the first one?
[02:30.980] So exactly here, we get this nice wobble.
[02:37.380] So we use the third one here, we mix in this one to the other one.
[02:41.060] I need to select a different wave shape here.
[03:03.140] Okay, we put the same here.
[03:05.060] Maybe use a tempo sync, so we can sync this a bit.
[03:17.700] Can we move this over here now?
[03:19.060] I have a tempo check to see, maybe you mix it into the first one because this one is only here active.
[03:40.420] Oh yeah, this is nice. So maybe a bit of noise here.
[03:50.900] So we use the same trick as in the phase 4, basically frequency modulate here,
[03:58.900] the operator with itself, or C into C, then we bring it here.
[04:04.500] That's too much.
[04:14.740] That's a bit of noise.
[04:15.700] So maybe we need some distortion over drive, I'll just use here the internal effects.
[04:46.580] Do we have distortion here? Let me see, you amp,
[04:53.140] VHQ, let's see how this sounds.
[05:02.020] Oh, it's only the Q, okay.
[05:03.300] I can't see which frequency this is here, but not that bad actually.
[05:33.300] Let's try the distortion here via VHQ.
[06:03.300] I have a note, it's okay.
[06:30.340] Okay, so off to some drums, XO, so I need a high pitched or nice kick on the nox in the middle.
[06:50.980] It's pretty short.
[06:51.940] So if I like this, nice high pitched snare, let's start with this one.
[07:10.980] Oh, it's a little...
[07:23.460] And this is how we're going to do it.
[07:46.460] And this is how we're going to do it.
[07:51.460] Hmm, maybe something like this.
[08:01.460] Okay, so this is nice.
[08:30.460] Maybe a shaker here.
[08:36.460] And the second one.
[09:05.460] Maybe we'll also get a ride in here.
[09:25.460] Hmm, I don't know.
[09:49.460] I guess the ring is too much in there for now.
[10:09.460] Uh, for now it's okay.
[10:19.460] So now what I do now is in this old zone, the balanced drums out a bit.
[10:26.460] Uh, matching, capturing, maybe I go for 60p.
[10:40.460] Okay, transient shaper, transient control.
[10:49.460] I'm going to get this, you know, this, doing kind of a pump.
[10:56.460] It is in there.
[10:57.460] We bring basically everything between the kick and the snare.
[11:00.460] We bring up loudness.
[11:04.460] And I use a hard clip here.
[11:08.460] I can see every peak, not even at zero dB, right?
[11:12.460] So I can import here until we hit zero, something like this.
[11:19.460] So I get all the peaks, not too much.
[11:26.460] But basically listen here, when I distort, I listen for the bass drum.
[11:32.460] When I add too much color to the bass drum, then it's probably too much.
[11:36.460] I want to have a clean, still untouched, extra.
[11:42.460] I just want to get the peaks away.
[12:04.460] Okay.
[12:06.460] So what we can do now is probably to export your the screw because I want to use the kick drum trigger at some point.
[12:15.460] So we put this out here and stop here this internal sequencer.
[12:24.460] So we can double here, content.
[12:30.460] And maybe here, bring in a small.
[12:37.460] Let's see how the sounds here with those snare.
[13:06.460] And maybe we duplicate this here again, double content.
[13:18.460] And here we remove this.
[13:21.460] We do it only here and maybe we see first kick drum remove this.
[13:34.460] So I feel like this.
[13:54.460] All we need to do now is to at least find some pattern here.
[14:01.460] I use E. But I think it's not that important what kind of scale you use in drum bass.
[14:07.460] At least it's more important that it sounds cool.
[14:12.460] And obviously you want to sound it dark.
[14:15.460] So we have probably, or I use probably E, then I use this one.
[14:20.460] And maybe this one.
[14:21.460] So only half tone steps.
[14:34.460] Let's tune.
[15:03.460] So I try to find basically a nice groove.
[15:15.460] And the groove is not only defined by the notes of course.
[15:18.460] And more like from the modulation how you modulate the bass.
[15:23.460] And so I try to find some sweet spots.
[15:50.460] Maybe too wobbly.
[16:10.460] We also can split this in half now.
[16:22.460] And we try some reverb here.
[16:41.460] And we also can use distortion at the end just slightly.
[16:53.460] Just for the visuals here.
[16:56.460] Then we use the tool device.
[16:59.460] And we use the side chain modulator here.
[17:01.460] And we use the kick drum.
[17:03.460] Or I actually have the kick drum not separated.
[17:14.460] That's a preset here.
[17:17.460] Kick only filter here.
[17:18.460] It's basically just a key filter here.
[17:22.460] An old filter FX.
[17:24.460] And the key range is C1 to C1.
[17:27.460] Which is where the kick drum is on C1.
[17:30.460] So after.
[17:33.460] I get all the media notes in here.
[17:35.460] And I filter out all the notes in here.
[17:37.460] But I don't need the notes here.
[17:39.460] So I can call this kick only.
[17:42.460] And then I go to here to the second track.
[17:44.460] Use the side chain input.
[17:47.460] It's only.
[17:48.460] Now I get the kick drum from this bunch of elected media notes here.
[17:53.460] And I can filter it out basically.
[17:55.460] And there's this actually.
[18:08.460] And we just on a normal mode,
[18:10.460] we put this on here.
[18:15.460] But this is not gonna work with everything in here.
[18:17.460] And I'm gonna show you how to fix it to check me.
[18:51.460] I'm not really happy with the pattern at the moment.
[19:02.100] Let me do something like this.
[19:27.580] It's more savvy, it's not so mid-range focused, so I think this is okay.
[19:34.500] So we can go down and volume by 3db here, and maybe we'll also bring down here there.
[19:41.340] This one is a bit too much.
[19:57.540] We can even do two parts now here, the right, so we can kill the right here.
[20:18.980] Let's see how this sounds without the shaker.
[20:28.980] It's a bit longer, it's a bit too shaker, it's a bit too bright.
[20:44.300] Let's see how this sounds without the shaker, let's see how this sounds without the shaker.
[21:03.780] All right, so we have a base here, and we have the drums.
[21:33.340] As you can see, I don't care so much for if it's the right frequencies, or if I'm hitting
[21:41.580] the right love target, or it's the kick drum actually in face.
[21:46.820] I just go straight for the sound, for the patterns, so it sounds good.
[21:52.260] It's just like painting on a white paper, and I don't care if it's correct, or if it
[21:58.780] fits in a specific scale or anything, it's just painting.
[22:03.660] I really enjoy this part, actually, of making music.
[22:08.940] I can fix a lot of these things later on, and I make sure that I have to get a right
[22:15.740] kick drum, I have to write snare, I have to write hi-hats, and all these things work together
[22:21.660] very well.
[22:22.660] This is my focus right now.
[22:28.340] So we have these two together, and of course, we can level this out again with our zone
[22:33.380] a bit, matching 60b.
[22:43.580] Of course, when we mix the drums and the bass together, we get a bit of DP over zero.
[22:56.780] So it's a hot clip, we can cut this all the way, probably only drums.
[23:06.340] And every time the kick drum plays, we still have your sidechain in place, and we remove
[23:11.460] basically the bass, but it's a sidechain, yeah.
[23:41.420] Okay, so now that we have this, we probably saved this track from scratch.
[24:03.380] That's the hardest part, actually, finding the name.
[24:06.420] I don't want to name this, dark, of course, add-ons, let's call it, yeah, give it a generic
[24:19.700] name.
[24:21.820] So now the third thing that's important for drum bass, I think, is the step sound, and
[24:29.500] the quick way of doing this is, in my opinion, just using the bass pattern, just cloning this
[24:36.500] out here, and just filter it differently, or give it a different tone.
[24:42.340] At the moment here, we have this pattern, and I want to give it some, yeah, some kind of
[24:50.380] question and answering pattern, so let's, yeah.
[25:00.500] So now it's a bass, but we want to cut away everything that's down here, so let's go
[25:11.380] here, okay, we go into FMH here, and we probably want to, right, get the mid frequencies
[25:30.420] all at the start, so we get, so we like this, we want to have, of course, reverb, some
[25:45.220] points in.
[26:13.740] Oh, I love the FM8, I love it.
[26:33.820] That's my all-time favorite sound of all times.
[26:52.380] Oh, let's step one.
[27:17.340] Oh, I love the FM8, I love the FM8, I love the FM8, I love it.
[27:37.340] Oh, maybe just don't try to play it.
[28:02.700] Oh, maybe just don't try to play melody at all here, maybe it won't be.
[28:22.700] Oh, maybe just don't try to play melody at all here, maybe it won't be.
[28:42.700] Oh, maybe just don't try to play melody at all here, maybe it won't be.
[29:02.700] Oh, maybe just don't try to play melody at all here, maybe it won't be.
[29:32.700] Okay, so now that you have this, we duplicate this again here and I do another step sound.
[29:52.700] Maybe in the beginning, maybe not that distorted anymore.
[30:12.700] Oh, maybe just don't try to play melody at all here, maybe it won't be.
[30:32.700] Oh, maybe just don't try to play melody at all here, maybe it won't be.
[30:52.700] Okay, so maybe I can create some kind of pad sound to support maybe the intro later on.
[31:12.700] We are at E. Let's try something like this.
[31:32.700] F and E. F and E S are the notes I use the most.
[31:42.700] I can dial down the velocity of this one.
[32:10.700] Let's use a preset here.
[32:30.700] Oh, yeah, we can use this here later on.
[32:50.700] The transition between.
[33:10.700] Okay.
[33:30.700] Okay.
[33:50.700] Oh, okay.
[34:10.700] So we create a crash sound with a Polysynth because I don't want to use a traditional sample for this.
[34:30.700] Okay.
[34:50.700] Okay.
[35:10.700] I should be okay.
[35:28.700] Bounce this.
[35:48.700] A bit of low pass.
[36:08.700] Duplicate reverse, maybe 12 cms down pitch.
[36:28.700] Maybe there needs to be some deep sound here.
[36:48.700] At least it sounds for me this way.
[37:08.700] Wait a second.
[38:08.700] That's awesome.
[39:28.700] Okay, so now we have your multiple parts.
[39:48.700] Here we do some kind of auto trick.
[41:58.700] Maybe a new trick.
[01:15:30.700 --> 01:15:52.700] That's for fun.