I keep getting asked all the time, what do I need to get started if I want to write Drum n Bass? The answer is never simple but I’ll try my best to explain to you some of the pros and cons of certain setups. There is probably one crucial factor if when your starting out and ask the same question all the time, are you using a Mac or a PC? This question has become important since Apple took over the reigns of Logic back at version 6 making the software available to Mac users exclusively. This meant that if you were a PC user and Logic was your sequencer of choice you either had to buy a Mac or put up with v5.5 on the PC for ever. Not a good situation of PC users you would agree. Some would argue a great move on Apple’s behalf but that’s another blog post. In the meantime whilst all that craziness was going down Steinberg (creates of the hugely Cubase) was getting taken over by Yamaha but unlike Apple, Yamaha decided to keep the dual platform sequencer the way it is and not divide the camps so to speak. So, if you got a Mac probably stick with a Mac and if you got a PC stick with Cubase. Now this is a very broad generalization here so don’t bite my head off.
So now that we have divided you into Logic users and Cubase users. Let us continue on. Oh, I’m going to stick with the main sequencers here so if you are using Sonar or Ableton please don’t send me hate mail and that you think I should die. I just stuck with what i believe are the main sequencers. Ableton and Sonar are both excellent music producing tools in there onright. Cubase just happens to be my sequencer of choice because i’ve used it for so many years. Infact I started to use it way back when there was Cubase VST then Cubase SX etc.
Okay, so what next for making cutting edge classic drum n bass? Well, your probably going to have to get a soft synth or two and here you most definitely spoilt for choices. To start with I would probably recommend a versatile synth like Rob Papen’s Albino 3 and the lovely sounding Arturia‘s minimoog. When it comes to sampling the choices narrower but the clear favourite here is Native Instruments Kontakt. Hands down Kontakt is a superb sampler and Kontakt 3 is no exception even if the filters are a bit on the naf side of things. I totally stay away from the Kontakt Player, I just don’t see the use for it especially if your using Kontakt already. Native Instruments have been leading the way in making some of the most breathtaking plugins for a long time now so do yourself a favour and check all their plugins out.
So there’s a few instruments there to get you going but what about equalizers and compressors? Well for years it was all about the Waves bundles. Then Waves came out with the SSL and API bundle and this catapulted them into “must have plugins” status. Things have changed somewhat now as major companies have jumped on board and started to make plugins themselves Sony Oxford, SPL and Abbey Roads and Focusrite to name a few. The Sonnox Plugins are exceptionally brilliant! I really rate the Dynamics and EQ plugins. Other companies like Voxengo and Sonalksis produce a variety of plugins for all occasions so make sure you check them out, some are even for free! Like Span which I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs.
One more thing i should mention to you when concerning writing dnb. Don’t go to crazy with adding plugin after plugin to your plugins folder. Get to really know what each plugin does and how it works. Play around with them, automate them learn them inside out. It can take years to fully understand what each and every plugin does. Take the time and start slowly, drum n bass ain’t going nowhere. Believe me.