This old DnB chestnut! Right I’m going to get it out of the way early so that i can get onto some more stuff later on. This will probably be a 3 or 4 part series, so i hope that you enjoy!
This age old question has been asked for centuries, since the birth of Christ! Okay, maybe NOT that long ago but you get the picture. I’ve been guilty of asking the question myself maybe like 1,000,000 times to like everybody i know! Even people who don’t produce! What a nut job! Whilst some producers were pretty straight up with me about what they have and use in the studio e.g. Noisia, Phace, Psidream, Misanthrop etc. Others were holding on to “The Secret” like it was the Colonels 13 secret herbs and spices! Ha! I’ll let you in on a little secret that just may astound you.
Its NOT the plugins that make a great DnB producer. It never was. It never will be. It has and always will be what the producer does with it, how he “uses it” if you will. I know that answer is probably NOT what you wanted to hear but let me explain this in abit more detail.
I have quite a lot of studio gear. 2 uad cards with most of the added plugins. 1 x Liquidmix, so right there that’s like 60 quality emulations! I have a Virus TI Snow and Arturia Jupiter and Prophet and the list goes on and on and on. Now i got most of the plugins quite awhile ago but the absolute truth about all that stuff was, I had NO CLUE about how to use them! NOT ONE CLUE!
You see i heard that so and so used this so i had to have it and then Producer X used this plugin so i had to have that but the reality was i clueless about what the hell the plugins were going to do for me. This was a total shock to me and the bottomline on my financial statements! Not to mention my wife!
Well what did i do? How did i turn it all around?
Well it was a down to a couple of critical steps:
1. I got myself educated. I bought a copy of Mixing Audio by Roey Izhaki. Great great book and i would thoroughly recommend this book to anybody serious about making any beats in any genre. Do yourself a favour and do all the examples and read all the chapters. Absolute GOLD!
2. I cut back on the amount of plugins i had available to me at any one time. If i wanted to use a compressor. I didn’t need to have 24 compressors staring up at me from the plugin window. I just needed one! The one that would do the job for me. If the one that i had chosen couldn’t do the job i would replace it with another. I was careful here to make sure that i got to know every plugin back to front. I recommend you do the same.
So yeah, there you have it. The “real” question you should be asking yourself. Probably not quite what you wanted to hear but hey, its all good because know you know the real deal.
For the diehard people that want a list of plugins to use here you are:
1. Drum buss compressor – I love Sonnox Dynamics. Real transparent and great gui. Awesome plug.
2. EQ – I’ll reach for the UAD Cambridge most times. Pretty much exactly like the Sonnox Oxford but doesn’t tax my Computer CPU.
3. Reverb – I’ll use the basic Cubase 4 reverb but when i want to get all flashy i think the UAD Plate140 is bizness. I want a TC VSC3 though as the short room emulation is brilliant!
4. Delay – I’ll use the Audio Damage Dubstation or the Space Echo from UAD as well. The Ohmforce delay is great as
well. To get the most out of delay plugins go crazy with automation!
5. Filter – Kjaerhus Classic filter or Volcano from Fabfilter. Very nice. Easy to use and both have a great sound.
I wont go into Instrument plugins just yet. I’ll leave that for part 2!
Well, hope that helps. Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you want to know anything.