Author Archives: ChrisWard

How to use VST Pianos in Dubstep

Dubstep VST

A lot of artists are looking to create new and exciting sounds within their Dubstep mixes. Sometimes you even want to make your own Dubstep Samples to use within your mixes and to have a few pre-mixed sounds on standby. A Dubstep sample of this caliber could be used as “fillers” that will allow you to transition to complete new sets.

How to use the VST Piano?

Firstly we need to understand the dynamics of a piano. The classical edge of the piano can create many different sounds. For instance if you were to add a slight echo to a grand piano and play minor progressions you’ll obtain a sweet yet eerie ambiance.

However play funk chords or blues chords you change the entire motif of the arrangement. Thus before you even think of “What type of Piano” you’ll be using you need to understand the type of song you’ll want to make. Do you want to add in the classical edge to your mix or do you want to make it a funky drum and bass mix? These are questions about motif that you should have clear before even starting to produce.

Obviously a lot of the song will evolve during the production phase but nonetheless it is good to have at the very minimal a basic idea of what it is you want to achieve. Based on this you’ll use the correct piano sound to complement the ultimate “feeling” you wish to induce on your listener.

Once you have decided…

Now that you know what it is you want to do with your song you choose the correct VST plugin whether it is a classical or a funk, harpsichord or what have you.

In terms of recording you have two approaches. The first would be to do “live recording” after you have run the plugin through your midi interphase. The second would be “looped recording” which is where you only take a specific section of the track and add in the specific loop for that section.

The second method is more precise but will take longer where the first method would create a more “live” feel to your track. Obviously you require some musical background when implementing the “Life recording” methodology. Live recording makes “irregularities” within the note sequences which is slightly off making it sound more natural since humans aren’t usually 100 on tempo whereas a machine never misses a beat.

For beginner musicians it is recommended to use the second approach to recording since you will have more control over the time selection, note arrangement and if you make a mistake you can always tweak the selection note for note.

vst-piano

 

Get variety

Whether you want to make a dubstep sample or a full on arrangement it’s always a good idea to have a wide variety of VSTs in order to have a bigger selection of sounds that will assist you in inducing the specific emotion behind your song.

Also it is good to experiment; remember that in music there are no mistakes, just experimentation. Push your own boundaries, search for new piano VSTs and listen to good music to find the inspiration needed to flesh out your own songs. In the end it comes out to having a great library in order to produce amazing songs!

Jazz Step VSTi List

jazz-stepThere is a new up and coming subgenre within the Dubstep arena called “Jazz-Step”. If you are wondering what Jazz step is then you are oblivious to the obvious; Jazz + Dubstep!

Firstly Jazz is very similar to Dubstep in the way that it can mold very well with many different genres. When you bring the two together however you create a unique dark but lively mix that plays with your mind in a way that only Jazz and Dubstep can.

We’ll be going through a small list of VST plugins you would want to look for if you are interested in making your very own Jazz Step Tracks.

The List

Drums – When we talk about drums we will continue with the traditional Dubstep drum set up. This is one aspect that you might be able to incorporate a jazz snare or cymbal but in reality want to keep the same in order to provide the “dubstep feel” to the music.

Bass – Similar to drums you don’t want to mess with the foundation of Dubstep if you truly want to create Jazz Step. The Bass will be your typical Wobble bass as is custom in all Dubstep tracks.

piano-vstPiano – You definitely want to get your hands on Jazz piano and even Jazz keyboards if you want to add in accents into the music. I usually would recommend small “solo riffs” sporadically placed all over the track. Use the piano to emphasize certain elements of the mix and to create contrast to the heavy bass.

Trumpet – A Jazz trumpet in the style of Miles Davis is incredibly with Dubstep. Solo the hell out of your song with a few Jazz trumpets. I’d suggest using the trumpet as your “voice” or your “lyrical” aspect of the music. It’s perfect for not making a beat sound redundant and you can have a lot of freedom within the mix when using trumpet.

Guitar – Similar to the piano the guitar can be used to create passive contrast to the bass and if used correctly can provide a lot of depth to your music, depending on your VST preferences and production techniques. Usually the biggest issue with dubstep tracks is the lack of melody…guitar fixes all that!

What next?

Once you have accumulated a lot of jazz sounds and dubstep sounds it’s time to experiment. The first approach would be to “dubbify” a current jazz song while the other approach would be to incorporate jazz elements into a dubstep song.

Whichever your approach I do suggest experimenting with the genres in order to find that sweet middle. Obviously this genre isn’t for those with no experience in the music field since some knowledge of chord progressions, jazz progressions and riffs will be required. It’s very difficult to produce a good Jazzstep song without this knowledge.

For those who wish to attempt JazzStep but do not possess the music knowledge to be able to create it from scratch, try using samples from prominent jazz musicians and try to work it into your dubstep tracks.

The more you experiment in this fashion the quicker you’ll understand the dynamics on making a Jazz Step track. The genre is still fairly new and as time approaches more people will begin to create their own Jazz Step songs. I personally can’t wait

Defining your VST preferences

A lot of musicians these days are in search of more VST plugins to add into their songs, create a Dubstep sample and much more.  The problem however is that there are so many VSTs out there that it becomes difficult to decide which of these VSTs will work best for you or not.

Native Instruments Kontakt can do it all.

Native Instruments Kontakt can do it all.

That is why we have decided to help you, based on your preferences, make up your mind on choosing the best Dubstep VSTs for your music. Please note that we aren’t going to add a specific list of plugins but rather factors you need to consider in order to match the right VST to the general motif of your sound.

What is the “type of music” you wish to make?

Firstly you need to identify the type of dubstep that interests you the most. Obviously you are into dubstep, but what element of dubstep attracts you the most? Is it the bass lines, the drops or the drum beat that makes your heart race faster? By defining what it is that attracts you to the genre will most definitely help you in defining the profile of the sounds that you are going to be searching for. Also know that these “feelings “ will change as you continue through dubstep. You’ll discover other aspects of dubstep that might grab your attention and that’s okay…your VST lists should always be expanding and decreasing; that means you are doing something right.

How much space do you have available?

If you don’t have too much space for an elaborate library then simply find VST plugins that will serve multi purposes. I usually divide them into categories and then start filling them up from there. If I grow tires of a VST I would delete it but keep the URL in a folder where I got it. Obviously this is a reference to free VSTs because paid VSTS come backed up so you can install them when needed.

How Professional do you want to be?

How far do you want to get in your Dubstep career? Are you just producing for the sake of producing, for you and your ears alone or are you planning on hitting clubs, festivals and produce your own album? The level of professionalism will dictate on your preference of Free VSTs and Purchased VSTs. Regardless of your level of profession if you like a certain VST make a Dubstep Sample or a few from thus said VST. Even if you delete the VST you’ll still have those samples backed up ready to be used whenever.

Conclusion

In the end it comes down to the tools you currently have available to properly filter the unneeded VSTs from the much needed ones. An electronic musician needs to rely heavily on the VST library to find new gigs and to expand his or her career.

For those just producing for the fun of it you could always just get your hands on the free VSTs out there but to be 100% honest with you; purchased packs often provide a few “golden nuggets” in terms of sounds. The free VST might be good, at least some, but finding them can cost time and effort which you could have been using to produce and experiment with your music.

Another great NI plugin “Razor” which is great for Dubstep Wobbles. See it in action here: