Producing dub, beginner question

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frank1985
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Producing dub, beginner question

Post by frank1985 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:13 pm

EDIT: My track: https://soundcloud.com/fc1985/dub-revis ... GvkgeIN5kJ

I’ve just finished writing a reggae track in my DAW and want to create a ‘dub’ version of it. Prior to this I will be adding EQ and some compression.

In terms of time based fx, should I leave everything dry and 'play' the sends, or alternatively place everything into its own space beforehand, so that each track permanently resides there, before adding further live tweaking via the sends? Put another way, should i dub a mixed session - or treat the dub as the mix?
Last edited by frank1985 on Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:49 pm, edited 10 times in total.

djs
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by djs » Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:12 pm

I'm not a dub producer, but my personal opinion is that the further down the signal chain you are looking to "blend it back into the mix" the more work you'll have to do.

I'm interested in hearing the outcome (and the original track)!
"Noise is what the Earth is made of" - David Bowie

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GrantB
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by GrantB » Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:40 pm

frank1985 wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:13 pm
I’ve just finished writing a reggae track in my DAW and want to create a ‘dub’ version of it. Prior to this I will be adding EQ and some compression.

In terms of time based fx, should I leave everything dry and 'play' the sends, or alternatively place everything into its own space beforehand, so that each track permanently resides there, before adding further live tweaking via the sends? Put another way, should i dub a mixed session - or treat the dub as the mix?
In general, treat the dub as the mix. Tear it down and start from scratch, but also understand that in todays terminology a dub mix was more like a remix from stems. The specifics will depend on what type of sound you are trying to emulate, like what era, producer, etc. Tubby is different from Scratch is different from Mad Professor is different from Rhythm & Sound.

It may help to start at the beginning of dub and understand what was happening at Tubbys. Record producers at this time needed to maximize their return on investment in expensive tracking sessions at other studios. This lead to the practice of recording different songs with different vocalists over the same instrumental backing track aka riddim. Tubbys was the mixing room where this went down. He had a 4 track tape machine, which might be set up like so:
track 1: drums mono
track 2: bass mono
track 3: everything else except vocals mono
track 4: vocals mono

As you can imagine, there's not a lot of room here for "putting things in their own space", and personally I find that concept antithetical to the classic 70s dub sound which is very glued together. That said, Tubby would have been stuck with whatever mix and ambience that was recorded on each of those tape stems. Many tracking sessions would have been performed in one take with most or all of the musicians in one room. So you've got some room sound and bleed and noise on those tracks. You might attempt to emulate this with clever submixes and a touch of realistic room verb if the tracks are too dry. In general though they were going for that dry 70s sound, particularly on drums.

Now dub had come a long way from this even by the end of the 70s, but I think it helps to understand the history. Today if you watch some dub mixers on youtube you will see they split the tracks a bit more. They might have a stereo drum track or split kick snare and overhead and split guitar and keys onto their own tracks. But still, they have a low track count coming into the mixer and are returning their effects to the other channels for proper dub mixing feedback with hands-on control.

frank1985
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by frank1985 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:03 pm

^^ Thank you, this information is gold and I’m inspired to seek out more information about the history of dub, and its evolution.

And djs, I’d be happy to share my track once it’s done :)

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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by slumberjack » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:37 pm

...re-re-re record your sounds and dub mix trough a fx chain and don't be afraid of any (white) noise and hiss. mutliple reverbs, using resonators as reverb, filter, echo, reverb, overdrive, echo, filter, reverb, chorus, echo, saturate, filter, reverb, flanger, echo... and so on...and then sample and re sample while doing this.
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whyfarer
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by whyfarer » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:48 pm

My original synth studio motivation was to build up a studio where I could live jam and simultaneously live dub a jam. My interests have grown since then, but this is still something I'd like to work towards
frank1985 wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:13 pm
Put another way, should i dub a mixed session - or treat the dub as the mix?
I think this heavily depends on what sort of mixing capabilities you have. In particular, how many fx/aux sends and returns do you have, do you have good eqs on each channel, and/or do you channel inserts you can tap to customize fx per channel? do you have enough fx? If you find yourself limited in any of the ways you would like to shape your sound, it seems to me like your best bet is to do some mixing/mastering beforehand. Or, if you find yourself always wanting to perform certain processing on certain sounds, you might as record that and start with how you want it.

There's no right or wrong, just what works better for you given your goals and your setup.

I think The Bakery Studio was doing some amazing recordings of live dubbing (sometimes with live musicians on horns or vocals), showing their (re)mixing process on classic gear:



here's a nice quick tutorial by someone using more modern tech:


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suboptimal
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by suboptimal » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:18 am

What type of dub sound are you going for? Classic roots stuff, 80's Sold Gold(tm) stuff, Pole-type stuff? So many ways to approach dub.

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FatKingTubby
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by FatKingTubby » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:41 pm

frank1985 wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:13 pm
In terms of time based fx, should I leave everything dry and 'play' the sends, or alternatively place everything into its own space beforehand, so that each track permanently resides there, before adding further live tweaking via the sends? Put another way, should i dub a mixed session - or treat the dub as the mix?
Don't give yourself more live work than you need to. You want things sounding good already so that whatever additional things you do to the mix can be your focus instead of worrying about making things gel on the spot. If you like how things are balanced in the mix you have then choose some groups and bounce them to stems, then work off those stems with live delays, filtering, reverbs, whatever. About 8 groups is as much as I feel comfortable handling and my typical groupings are 1-Kick, 2-Snare, 3-Hats and other percussion (stereo), 4-Bass, 5-Synths (stereo), 6-Guitars/Keys (stereo), 7-Horns or synths 2, 8-Vocals (if any) but this can be flexible based on a song's particular elements. There's definitely no one right way to do it.

Everything GrantB said was all great. I would also add that in addition to producers wanting to maximize their investment on studio time they wanted versions of their songs that could be played live. Tubby's state of the art sound systems and the parties they were throwing every Saturday night were where people heard the newest and hottest shit of the day, and this was essentially the best advertising you could get that would help you get records sold. Live vocalists or MCs at these parties needed vocal-less tracks to sing on top of and so you got the extended and remixed B-side cuts becoming commonplace on every record. Definitely checkout some of the history of dub documentaries that are floating around youtube, it's really interesting how the sound system and MC/DJ rivalries in NYC through the 70s that fueled modern hiphop all stemmed from what they were doing on that tiny island in the Caribbean.

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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by frank1985 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:09 am

Thank you for the tips guys, very helpful

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Breezewax
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by Breezewax » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:12 pm

Dubkasm has a great tutorial series:


Prince Fatty always has words of wisdom, theres a few good vids of him chatting on youtube

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Radiance2021
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by Radiance2021 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:47 pm

Those vids 'r great!

frank1985
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by frank1985 » Sat Nov 07, 2020 6:37 pm

djs wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:12 pm
I'm not a dub producer, but my personal opinion is that the further down the signal chain you are looking to "blend it back into the mix" the more work you'll have to do.

I'm interested in hearing the outcome (and the original track)!
It's been a while since I had to the chance to produce anything but here's my attempt

https://soundcloud.com/fc1985/dub-revis ... GvkgeIN5kJ
Last edited by frank1985 on Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Soy Sos
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by Soy Sos » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:49 am

The Prince Fatty vid is pure gold.
Bruv is extremely knowledgeable.
Somewhere in there he says something like,
"That's your job, to blow the people's mind"

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GrantB
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by GrantB » Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:51 pm

frank1985 wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 6:37 pm
djs wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:12 pm
I'm not a dub producer, but my personal opinion is that the further down the signal chain you are looking to "blend it back into the mix" the more work you'll have to do.

I'm interested in hearing the outcome (and the original track)!
It's been a while since I had to the chance to produce anything but here's my attempt

https://soundcloud.com/fc1985/dub-revised/s-B7fZWwD0a4j
Nice chill vibe on this one!
One thing that stuck out to me is that you're playing a lot of sustained notes on the bass and guitar. If you listen to classic reggae/dub you will hear that the bassist will often play most notes more staccato with neck hand muting and the guitarist will use a lot of muting with either palm or neck hand. Gives a more choppy and rhythmic sound and in the context of dub it gives the effects more room to breathe. Not a hard and fast rule but it stood out to me.

This video on bass is brilliant



frank1985
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Re: Producing dub, beginner question

Post by frank1985 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:53 pm

Brilliant tip grant, re: muting to give the fx more space, makes total sense. Loving these vids.

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