Dub Production

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
smoothcriminal
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Dub Production

Post by smoothcriminal » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:48 pm

Anyone feel like dropping some knowledge about Dub production? "Genre" threads are always potential trainwrecks but, why not? My Dub strategy is to sample some old school reggae vinyl and use the multi-outs on my MPC1k to route different tracks into random FX pedals. I'm curious about the history of dub and classic studio methodology if there is such a thing. It seems more about FX and loops than synth-centric, but I did just see Ott absolutely kill a dub set with a laptop and a rack full of gear that I couldn't see/identify. I haven't seen much dub discussion around these parts so hopefully it's appreciated, anyway here's what I'm feeling right now:

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Re: Dub Production

Post by tekkentool » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:03 pm

Did somebody say Dubstep production thread?
Image

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Re: Dub Production

Post by smoothcriminal » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:13 pm

Been there, done that (the thread, still working on the music part). Actually my interest in what the kids are doing these days with Dubstep is partially responsible for rekindling my love of pure Dub.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by Sir Nose » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:14 pm

Tape echo, tape echo, tape echo

I also love, how if you bring up dub to a lot of kids, they immediately say how dubstep is the dopest.
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Re: Dub Production

Post by smoothcriminal » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:19 pm

I was thinking more along the lines of a circuit-bent Fab Echo rather than an analog tape echo... what can I say, I'm on a budget..

The challenge I'm running into aside from obtaining cheap FX is finding reggae records that weren't dubbed up in production already.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by tekkentool » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:37 pm

Sir Nose wrote:Tape echo, tape echo, tape echo

I also love, how if you bring up dub to a lot of kids, they immediately say how dubstep is the dopest.
Funny how all these young people like a younger genre thats peak of popularity is approaching now ;)

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Re: Dub Production

Post by smoothcriminal » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:18 pm

Actually I think from a dubstep fan's perspective, they hear the similarities in dub (drop beats, emphasis on basslines and FX tweakary) which are emphasized to the n'th degree in dubstep. More/louder = better, right? Thats sarcasm, but with an element of truth especially when it comes to dance-oriented music.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:19 pm

The trick to real dub is creative use of a mixing desk. These guys were using the cheapest tools and studios possible in their little third world to create this s**t. If you can't create with modern gear, you should just give up.

Bass guitar, flat wound strings, maybe some tissue to dampen the strings 'til they get old.
Make the bass nice and deep, it's the most important part of the song.
Bass drum should be more boxy, not boomy.
One of the next most important sounds is the snare. You have room to experiment here, lots of times you hear a lot of verb, but snare size can be s**t and tiny or big and snappy or any combination. I don't even use snare samples for my dubs.
Guitar and keys are just icing. Lots of echo, triplets, that riddim, as it were.

And for god's sake, if you're not from Jamaica, don't fake the accent.
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Re: Dub Production

Post by smoothcriminal » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:36 pm

tallowwaters wrote:The trick to real dub is creative use of a mixing desk.
I assume the trick there is to actually have access to the original multi-tracks from whoever was recording in the studio that day. But the principle is important to point out, thanks.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by jeeroj » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:30 am

worth a read...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dub_music

also, get yourself a melodica :)
Debut Album out now jeeroj - Selected Acid Works 08-11
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Re: Dub Production

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:56 am

smoothcriminal wrote:
tallowwaters wrote:The trick to real dub is creative use of a mixing desk.
I assume the trick there is to actually have access to the original multi-tracks from whoever was recording in the studio that day. But the principle is important to point out, thanks.
Well, the trick now is to make yourself some sort of virtual or substitute desk. Be creative with busses and lines and FX.
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by bhrama » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:10 am

tallowwaters wrote:The trick to real dub is creative use of a mixing desk. These guys were using the cheapest tools and studios possible in their little third world to create this s**t. If you can't create with modern gear, you should just give up.
And for god's sake, if you're not from Jamaica, don't fake the accent.
I n' I alone...

If not my favorite genre, close to it. Mix down is where its at. Period. Offbeats, hot snare hits plus +delay, simple, repeating,thick basslines, then mix in cut vocals, organ/synth and/or horn stabs with slow rhythmic delays...etc.etc.

I suggest studying people like Super Ape, a.k.a. The Upsetter, a.k.a. Lee Scratch Perry and his Black Ark genius. Guys like King Tubby, Mad Professor and Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ in DUB) still have me stuck today. If you can score the Trojan series of dub box sets, that is a good place to study. Here are a few gems...just too many to list. enjoy



@ 2:25




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Re: Dub Production

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:08 pm

LKJ was always especially cool for dissin all that Selassie/Jah jive.
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by krushing » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:52 pm

Just got the master tapes for a dub 7" in the vinyl press, so this is somewhat a personally current topic :)

Basically we just played the basic tracks on tape, then set up a shitload of reverbs and delays and dubbed away, live, since this was all going from tape to tape. After the initial setup of having a bunch of different pre-set delay times and timbres, it's just about the creative use of the mute buttons and aux sends and echoing the h**l out of everything. We had a separate submixer for drums, which made it slightly complicated to whizz around in one go, but eventually they turned out pretty good - just cranked out version after version until we felt there's enough to choose from, then sat back and listened through all the takes to pick out the best ones. It's really easy to have way too much going on, so towards the end the dubs got sparser and sparser, often leaving long passages of instrumentation other than bass & drums out completely. Space is the key.

This is the dubbing setup
Image

I can't remember everything that's in there, but at least a Maestro Echoplex, a Hiwatt Tape Echo, RE-201, Danelectro Spring King, AccessIt spring reverb, an Univox Proverb and finally an old Shure PA mixer (on the left) that includes an amazing spring reverb. I can tell you that lugging around that 25kgs of metal on a bus wasn't exactly fun! Anyway, it's now done and probably my first 100% analog recording since the 4-track days.

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Re: Dub Production

Post by skizzle » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:05 pm

krushing just krushed it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Ark_Studios : as soon as i saw this thread title it made me think of this story: "Perry once buried microphones at the base of a palm tree and thumped it rhythmically to produce a mystifying bass drum effect; his drum booth at the Black Ark was for a time surrounded with chicken wire to further his distinctive sound; many of his songs are layered with a variety of subtle effects created from broken glass, ghastly sighs and screeches, crying babies, and a mooing cow children's toy. These and other notable recording techniques helped define the Black Ark sound, as well as Lee Perry's creative legacy."

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