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Dub / Digital Reggae / Dancehall Production Tips
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Dub / Digital Reggae / Dancehall Production Tips
High Wolf
Following a different thread it's been decided to create a new topic dedicated to Dub studio techniques, Digital Reggae and Dancehall as well, either Jamaican style or On U-Sound style, anything.

Let's talk about the stuff they do

Let's talk about the machines / instruments

Let's talk about the effects

Let's talk the mixing, EQ, compression

anything.

It's one of the most studio oriented genre out there and the quest for sound is very nerdy so I figured it belongs perfectly here.

I hope this thread will be successful. I know topic is a little vague / vast but so then it's hard to be off topic.

So, what do you know? Do you know things? Let's find out!
poppinger
Well, if dancehall is included then you have to start with Casio MT40 = Sleng Teng.
High Wolf
poppinger wrote:
Well, if dancehall is included then you have to start with Casio MT40 = Sleng Teng.


Yeah great, I wonder what kind of synths / drum machines are used in digital reggae
rauch
sleng teng! love that tune!

i think they just used whatever they could get their hands on. certainly no gear snobs.

the most important instrument is the mixer + delay and reverb. digital or analog fx? doesn't matter.
High Wolf
rauch wrote:
sleng teng! love that tune!

i think they just used whatever they could get their hands on. certainly no gear snobs.


Right, no gear snobs I guess, but probably when music genre comes from such a specific time and place for some reason some gear will be popular and used by a lot of people.
rauch
typical dancehall drum machines are the early 8 and 12 bit dgital machines. dx, rx5, r50, 707, etc
High Wolf
Loving the rx5 myself
rauch
yamaha cs01 was used a lot
rauch
i was actually at a dancehall party yesterday but i really don't dig the new stuff. too much autotune and shit for my taste. they played a cover of sleng teng but the original mt40 preset is sooo much better hihi
damn this has to be the best preset song ever! besides the casio vl1 dadada preset SlayerBadger!
High Wolf
rauch wrote:
yamaha cs01 was used a lot


Didn't know that, thanks for the tip, it does sound great for sure!
poppinger
Lee Scratch Perry used a bunch of things back in the day, but apparently the big 3 effects were Roland Space Echo, Mutron Biphase, and a Grampian spring reverb.

I think one of the keys is to bring the sends/auxes back into the the desk on their own channels rather than on the returns that way you can eq the effects as well as send effects into each other without having to repatch.

If you're into dub it can be fun to spend an afternoon watching Al Breadwinner's youtube videos - they're all fucking great. He's definitely got the sound and vibe.




The website interruptor.ch comes up a lot as a resource for dub info as well.
High Wolf
Ah great man, thanks! Funny I found this video from the same guy http://youtu.be/QcvIeacjzgE He does have a great sound for sure, the holy trinity Space Echo + Biphase + Grampian Spring Reverb. Now those are quite expensive / hard to find now, what would you replace them with? Especially the spring reverb, what's good? I have my eyes on the Knas Moisturizer now, looks great...And as far as dark analog delay I should get the minifooger delay soon, (although it's BBD and not tape).
High Wolf
Also, that link interruptor.ch = thumbs up
rauch
yeah have my eyes on a moisturizer too. vermona retroverb lancet is what i'm using at the moment. it's a great tool with spring, filter, lfo, eg and drive. also a boss rx100 (spring from the space echo). but still looking for something with a little more twangy wet sound.

for tape delay there are some good emulations out there like re20, el capistan, belle epoch, etc
authorless
Jam 2 and I'm sure many others have used the MPC 2000.
rauch
it really depends on the era. 70s dub all analog because there was nothing else, 80s dancehall mostly digital because it was new (and less expensive), modern stuff probably daw because its for "free" hihi
Soy Sos
Old school reggae/roots/dub/dancehall head here.
The tricky thing in my opinion is so much of it is based on taste and vibe.
So much of the gear choice is the innovative use of what was at hand.
King Tubby used Brand X spring reverb but Scratch had Brand Z.
It's pushing the sound until you like what you hear.
I'd love to read up more on the early establishment of the 60's and 70's studios
in Jamaica and how the gear choices and setups came about.
What was available as imports from what distributors from which countries?
Really fascinating how the recording industries of various countries developed.
Here's something I produced severally years ago with Indigenous Resistance
I recorded everything but the vocals at my studio and did the mix.
More of a mid 70's sound I was trying to create, probably too clean.
Quote:
The roots reggae track "Luana" is sung totally in an indigenous language from the Solomon's and features singers Tohununo and Dublikkle One in a song dedicated to all children whose rights are being disrespected. This track was mixed and produced by Herman Soy Sos Pearl at his Tuff Sounds Studio.
www.dubreality.com

https://soundcloud.com/indigenous-resistance/luana-soy-sos-mix
Michael O.
poppinger wrote:
Lee Scratch Perry used a bunch of things back in the day, but apparently the big 3 effects were Roland Space Echo, Mutron Biphase, and a Grampian spring reverb.

I think one of the keys is to bring the sends/auxes back into the the desk on their own channels rather than on the returns that way you can eq the effects as well as send effects into each other without having to repatch


This about covers it, but an additional essential element of the dub mix that this touches on is that you should send the fx returns to their own channels, not just for the aforementioned reasons, but also in order to setup feedback loops, which are particularly nice with fx like tape echo.
rauch
[quote="poppinger"]Lee Scratch Perry used a bunch of things back in the day, but apparently the big 3 effects were Roland Space Echo, Mutron Biphase, and a Grampian spring reverb.[/quote]

always thought the fisher space xpander was his thing.
soup
I remember listening to an interview with steely and clevie years ago where they pointed out that jamaica has different power than anywhere else so a lot of the gear imported to jamaica didn't actually work properly!
nuromantix
The big name studios in Jamaica had absolutely top end equipment, really good tape machines, mics and desks.
Channel One had API, Harry J had a Helios.
Black Ark was not so high end as the others, probably had a Soundcraft.

Apart from that you are listening to amazing musicians playing together and not too many edits or overdubs or retakes.... but sometimes they didn't bother tuning up too much. And then the groundbreaking and imaginative skills of the mixers: King Tubby and all those that followed.

Tubby used the Fisher spring reverb btw.

On a more recent (80s) tip, I love Adrian Sherwood's use of the Eventide Harmonizer.
nuromantix
Oh and recording hot to good tape machines!
dubonaire
Soy Sos wrote:
Here's something I produced severally years ago with Indigenous Resistance
I recorded everything but the vocals at my studio and did the mix.
More of a mid 70's sound I was trying to create, probably too clean.
Quote:
The roots reggae track "Luana" is sung totally in an indigenous language from the Solomon's and features singers Tohununo and Dublikkle One in a song dedicated to all children whose rights are being disrespected. This track was mixed and produced by Herman Soy Sos Pearl at his Tuff Sounds Studio.
www.dubreality.com


That's cool.
dubonaire
nuromantix wrote:
The big name studios in Jamaica had absolutely top end equipment, really good tape machines, mics and desks.
Channel One had API, Harry J had a Helios.
Black Ark was not so high end as the others, probably had a Soundcraft.

Apart from that you are listening to amazing musicians playing together and not too many edits or overdubs or retakes.... but sometimes they didn't bother tuning up too much. And then the groundbreaking and imaginative skills of the mixers: King Tubby and all those that followed.

Tubby used the Fisher spring reverb btw.

On a more recent (80s) tip, I love Adrian Sherwood's use of the Eventide Harmonizer.


Interesting thread. Apparently Black Art first had a cheap Alice mixer which was later replaced by a Soundcraft. Black Art also had Grampian spring reverb, Space Echo RE201, a couple of TEAC tape decks and a Mutron phaser.

I think the most important tip I've heard is constant live action on the desk.
stk
^ agreed re: constant fader/knob action

As mentioned previously, fx brought back in on regular channels

Also, keep it dirty (for my tastes) - hiss and hum are like machine breath, sterile dub is just not a thing.

Nice saturated bass (not distorted, but kind of bled out, filling all the gaps)

Crosstalk/bleed! I love signal sneaking into another track's aux sends
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