Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Tutorial Beginners

Drum and Bass - Simpler is better

Tutorial | Nov 14, 2023

In this video, I demonstrate how I prefer to use simple envelopes and LFOs instead of complex shapes for creating kick drums and bass lines in Bitwig Studio 5.1. By combining multiple simple modulators with slight variations in timing settings, I find that it produces a much richer and more satisfying sound. I believe that using this approach allows for more flexibility and experimentation, resulting in interesting and dynamic compositions.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

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

What is the main concept in this video?

The main concept in this video is the idea of combining simple envelopes and LFOs to create richer and more interesting sounds, rather than relying on complex shapes or segments.

How are kick drums created using this approach?

Kick drums are created by starting with a pulse oscillator to generate overtones, then using simple AD envelopes to shape the volume and pitch of the kick drum. Multiple envelopes are used to define different aspects of the kick drum, such as the body and attack phase.

What other elements are included in the drum bass creation?

Other elements in the drum bass creation include pitched snares or rim shots, hi-hats, and the use of noise. Envelopes and filtering are also utilized to shape and manipulate these elements, creating a more dynamic and organic sound.

What is the overall benefit of using this approach?

By combining simple envelopes and LFOs, there is a greater level of control and flexibility over the sound design process. This approach allows for easy modifications and tweaks to create a variety of drum sounds, resulting in a richer and more interesting end result.


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.

[00:00:00] Hey folks, welcome back to another video.
[00:00:03] In Bitwig Studio 5.1 we got new MSEX modulators in Bitwig Studio and I showed you in some
[00:00:10] of the videos how to create basically a kick drum synthesizer from that.
[00:00:15] But I don't see myself using that too much.
[00:00:18] I always fall back to simple envelopes and combine multiple simple envelopes.
[00:00:28] It's also the same for bass lines.
[00:00:29] I never actually paint in a complex shape into a segment and then use that for the bass
[00:00:36] line.
[00:00:37] I always like to combine simple LFOs, multiple simple LFOs with kind of slightly different
[00:00:45] timing settings and then combine these.
[00:00:49] In my opinion it makes it better and much richer result in the end for some reason.
[00:00:56] So I want to show you this here with kick drums.
[00:00:58] So let's create some kick drums in the grid for drum bass.
[00:01:06] So I start here with the pulse oscillator and I like the pulse because it gives you
[00:01:11] all the overtones so you don't need to add distortion in the end.
[00:01:14] You just have to start with all the overtones and then you maybe add a filter to it and
[00:01:20] then it sounds like a kick drum in the end.
[00:01:25] So I'm using AD.
[00:01:26] You can see the AD is basically the most simple envelope you can get.
[00:01:30] It has an attack and a decay phase.
[00:01:33] It's tailored for plug sounds or for kick drum sounds.
[00:01:38] So here I'm using it just for the volume shape.
[00:01:42] Using an audio out here.
[00:01:45] I want to trigger this here with my keyboard.
[00:01:49] Then I want to use pitch here.
[00:01:53] Static pitch because the kick drum should be on the same pitch all the time.
[00:01:58] So G0.
[00:01:59] This is how it sounds.
[00:02:02] Then we need of course a bit of filtering here.
[00:02:06] We use an low pass.
[00:02:13] We have an envelope here which is pretty simple.
[00:02:16] I don't want to use your segments and then let's say paint in here a very complex shape
[00:02:25] and fiddle around here basically for an hour to find a sweet spot for this shape.
[00:02:32] I don't like to do that.
[00:02:34] So I always fall back here to an AD.
[00:02:36] Keep it simple and then duplicate this here and use the second one for the pitch.
[00:02:43] So I'm using an plus at this basically to the pitch itself which sounds like this.
[00:02:53] So the pitch goes obviously too high.
[00:02:55] We have to limit the range here.
[00:03:01] I'm using an attenuate for that here at the end.
[00:03:03] So with this I can limit the range.
[00:03:15] So with this I basically can define the body, the mid body of the kick drum.
[00:03:22] So there I can duplicate this here again and do the same thing again.
[00:03:30] Add this here.
[00:03:31] Here I use a different shape and maybe a different limit range.
[00:03:46] So something like this.
[00:03:47] So here we basically define more like the attack phase, the high end of the attack phase.
[00:03:57] So you get this knock in the beginning.
[00:04:00] So here I'm using a very, very short decay time but the limit is much higher than here.
[00:04:12] So this is more like the body and this defines here the attack phase a bit better.
[00:04:17] Then we use here a third one and we can use the third one for let's say the filter.
[00:04:22] So we open up the filter here.
[00:04:52] So you can define just with these four simple envelopes combining them.
[00:04:58] You get a much, much richer result because they kind of add up in different ways.
[00:05:06] Instead of using just one segment or two segments and then painting in, you know, instinctively
[00:05:12] precise the right shape.
[00:05:15] And here you just tweak a few knobs and then you get the right sound.
[00:05:18] And you already can hear you can tweak this kick drum in all kinds of different directions,
[00:05:23] right?
[00:05:32] That's also something you can modify.
[00:05:35] And you set the modulator out.
[00:05:49] Maybe this one here.
[00:05:57] So this is a nice kick drum in my opinion.
[00:06:00] Instead of using segments, I use just your four simple ADs.
[00:06:04] Okay, so let's paint in here.
[00:06:09] Let's say kick drum pattern.
[00:06:11] So we have drum base one on seven here.
[00:06:14] One on 72.
[00:06:18] Kick drum one.
[00:06:20] Kick drum two.
[00:06:29] Oh, we could also here mix in a bit of noise.
[00:06:43] So let's say noise here.
[00:06:49] And then use another AD.
[00:06:53] And then maybe blend us here.
[00:06:56] I don't know.
[00:06:58] Maybe mixer should be fine.
[00:07:02] Stereo is in.
[00:07:20] Actually dial in the noise and then use basically the envelope of the kick drum to duck the
[00:07:32] bass.
[00:07:51] Maybe that needs to be a bit of filtering here.
[00:07:53] So high pass, low pass.
[00:08:12] If you want to have this kind of noise in the end, but there's a bit of snare rattle
[00:08:17] always in real drums.
[00:08:19] If you hit the kick drum, right, you hear the rattle on the snare all the time.
[00:08:24] So you can try to simulate this here with this kind of noise.
[00:08:34] Just a bit.
[00:08:35] Okay, so this is the kick drum here.
[00:08:40] Then we want to use some kind of pitched snare or rim shot.
[00:08:49] Then we do the same here.
[00:08:50] Actually, let's move this over here.
[00:08:55] And here.
[00:09:00] And in here, we also use the pools.
[00:09:05] Use pitch.
[00:09:06] There's a different pitch, of course.
[00:09:12] Simple AD.
[00:09:16] Out.
[00:09:17] Again, also filter here.
[00:09:35] So we have here, yeah, not really a snare drum yet, but we will have it soon.
[00:09:45] So we actually also do the same thing basically.
[00:09:48] It's just a different pitch.
[00:09:53] New edge here.
[00:10:05] Then we want to open up the filter here.
[00:10:19] Then we need probably a bit of distortion here at the end.
[00:10:43] We also need noise, AD and stereo noise.
[00:10:53] Then we mix this together here.
[00:11:03] And here also, we can use just this AD here for the body and just duck basically the noise
[00:11:17] away.
[00:11:29] So we have here, yeah, we have here, yeah, we have here, yeah, we have here.
[00:11:53] Yeah, the noise from the kick drum, that's too much.
[00:12:08] Right, so we can also add here a bit of filtering.
[00:12:19] So let's add here a peak.
[00:12:23] A peak is just the EQ peak, so it basically passes or it lets pass all the frequencies,
[00:12:32] but you have some kind of peak at the sort of frequency here with the resonance.
[00:12:47] Right here and then it's the second one.
[00:13:13] But we can maybe also add here a peak in here.
[00:13:21] It's basically like an EQ just to emphasize certain frequencies.
[00:13:38] Add here this frequency and maybe another frequency.
[00:13:50] Okay maybe.
[00:14:17] Okay so with this you basically get easy synthesized drum based tech step drums inside of the
[00:14:26] grid here without using any, you can see there's no compressor involved, there's no distortion
[00:14:31] involved, it's just the pulse and a bit of filtering, some envelopes here.
[00:14:39] For the hi-hats you can just fall back to the E-hat here which is okay enough I would say.
[00:14:49] So let's put in here some hi-hats.
[00:15:04] Let's put this here.
[00:15:17] Okay so we have some easy drums here for that.
[00:15:22] And then I wanted to show you, yeah let's put the transient to control on that.
[00:15:34] Let's go for a sweep here first.
[00:15:53] So the sweep is basically a filter and a bit of distortion right.
[00:16:23] So I'm trying basically to get a bit of tonality overtones in here just by using the shaper
[00:16:33] and the mix knob.
[00:16:54] And maybe we can use in the post FX here convolution regroup but we use a very short one.
[00:17:05] Studio rooms, let me see studio plates, real rooms.
[00:17:30] You could use here maybe a follower and then just duck everything out so we stay with the
[00:17:43] tail but we keep the transients.
[00:18:08] Get different algorithm here.
[00:18:20] Something like that.
[00:18:24] And we use in FX re, G-climber in there.
[00:18:45] Maybe a hard clip at the end.
[00:19:12] Something like that.
[00:19:19] The hats are maybe not the best ones.
[00:19:22] It's probably better to use samples for that.
[00:19:32] Or to layer actually some classic drum loops below that anyways to get a bit of organic
[00:19:38] feel to everything.
[00:19:40] So then for the bass line, it's basically the same.
[00:19:46] I never use segments here when I do bass sounds for some reason.
[00:19:52] I don't like it to paint in here just one shape and then have the same shape repeating
[00:19:56] over and over.
[00:19:57] Yeah, I know you can use multiple shapes, you know.
[00:20:00] But I usually stick to just classic LFOs.
[00:20:08] Let's say classic LFO here and then synchronize that.
[00:20:14] So let's bring in here a lip.
[00:20:26] And then a bit of noise here.
[00:20:44] Let's make this a bit longer.
[00:21:07] So you have this one LFO in that place basically this nice triplet here or dotted.
[00:21:18] And then you bring in here another one and this one is a bit slower.
[00:21:23] Let's say one and this one opens up here the shape.
[00:21:39] Now let's bring in this one here.
[00:22:00] Another idea is basically to make this a bit slower here for and then change the speed
[00:22:05] setting of the first one.
[00:22:08] This could be also interesting.
[00:22:32] And let's something run free.
[00:22:36] So we can trigger this here but we use just hearts, right?
[00:22:40] So let's do this one.
[00:22:49] Let's switch this off here to free.
[00:23:08] In my opinion this sounds more interesting, more alive, more organic than just having
[00:23:24] just one shape.
[00:23:26] It's the same shape and then you trigger it over and over.
[00:23:32] At least for bass lines let's go to minus 5.
[00:23:40] There's a bug there.
[00:23:55] Okay, so here I use FX2 most of the time to cut a notch in the middle.
[00:24:25] And you can see just by using one note and the pitch band and two LFOs you get so much
[00:24:50] movement into that.
[00:24:53] It sounds like it's all over the place but actually it's a nice riff.
[00:24:57] The same here with the drums I showed you with the envelopes.
[00:25:01] Just by using multiple simple shapes here and there and combine them in different ways
[00:25:08] you get much richer results than just painting in one complex thing and then calling it a
[00:25:13] day and then it's static all the time.
[00:25:18] So that's at least how I see it or how I use it.
[00:25:22] So I usually like simple things and then combine multiple simple things to get richer results.
[00:25:38] And I like it.
[00:26:01] Super simple but I like it.
[00:26:05] Now I'll add clip here just to make sure.
[00:26:26] That could be maybe in the beginning.
[00:26:28] Let's go to 24.
[00:26:55] So yeah that's basically the main topic of this video.
[00:27:00] Simple things combining simple things and to get richer results instead of just using
[00:27:06] one complex thing.
[00:27:09] I see this all the time that people basically do on streams then they open up these m-sex
[00:27:14] right and then they paint in basically four or two hours random shapes.
[00:27:21] And the reason why you do this is basically because you get bored with just one shape
[00:27:27] pretty fast you paint in one shape and then you think oh that sounds nice.
[00:27:31] Okay.
[00:27:32] Then you listen to it for maybe two three iterations and then you think hmm there needs to change
[00:27:39] some something needs to change right.
[00:27:42] So then you paint in another shape and it sounds completely different.
[00:27:44] And you say oh well nice now it sounds different for the next two iterations right.
[00:27:52] So all you want to have is basically an interesting shape that morphs over time and combines in
[00:27:57] multiple different ways like here.
[00:28:00] It's more like a pulley rhythm of modulations and then this gets you interested over a longer
[00:28:07] period of time.
[00:28:09] Okay that's it.
[00:28:10] Thanks for watching guys.
[00:28:11] See you in the next video.
[00:28:13] Give a like subscribe to the channel.
[00:28:16] See you next time.
[00:28:17] Bye.
[00:28:17] Bye.