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How to Make Drum and Bass with an Online DAW

May 8, 2024 - Craft pounding dnb beats in your browser! Learn how to use an online DAW to build slamming drums, rollin' basslines & infectious DnB anthems.

Person creating drum beats in a DAW

Drum and Bass, also known as DnB, is a genre of music characterized by fast, pounding beats, heavy basslines and a spacious, enveloping atmosphere. Since its emergence on the music scene in the early 1990s, DnB has found its way into clubs, festivals and playlists all over the world. In this guide, we'll explain the vibrant history behind the genre and provide practical tips for creating your own Drum and Bass beat

Easiest Way to Make Liquid Drum and Bass (Soundtrap Tutorial)

History of Drum and Bass

Drum and Bass has its roots in the UK in the early 1990s, during the rise of rave parties and the emergence of underground culture. With influences from Jungle and Hardcore, this musical genre emerged as a natural evolution of the electronic scene, fusing frenetic rhythms with deep bass to create a unique sonic experience.

Rave parties, characterized by their spirit of freedom and experimentation, provided the perfect setting for the birth of Drum and Bass. In abandoned warehouses, remote fields and other clandestine locations, young people gathered to dance to electronic music, escaping from reality and immersing themselves in collective ecstasy.

One of the key elements in the evolution of Drum and Bass was the use of sampled breakbeats. These fragments of drum beats, taken from funk, soul and jazz recordings, became the backbone of many DnB productions, providing a distinctive rhythmic base and an unrivaled energy. Artists such as DJ Zinc, LTJ Bukem and Roni Size pioneered the creative use of breakbeats, taking the genre to new heights of innovation and sophistication.

The genre took shape in the hands of these pioneers, who took Drum and Bass from the dark corners of the underground scene to the world stage. With their innovative vision and unbridled passion, these artists not only defined the sound of the genre, but also laid the foundations for its future expansion and evolution.

Development and evolution

The introduction of new technologies, such as samplers and digital audio workstations (DAWs), allowed Drum and Bass musicians to take their creativity to new levels, resulting in a wave of groundbreaking tracks and iconic albums. 

As it entered the new millennium, Drum and Bass began to diversify even further, giving rise to a wide range of sub-genres and styles within the genre. 

Subgenres such as Liquid Funk, Neurofunk, and Jump-up emerged to cater to different audience preferences and tastes, each with its own distinctive aesthetic and approach. 

This diversification was driven in part by increasing access to music production tools and online distribution platforms, which allowed a new generation of producers to explore and experiment with the sound of Drum and Bass in ways never before possible.

Today, Drum and Bass continues its constant evolution, adapting to changes in technology, culture, and musical trends. From the influence of dubstep and trap to the integration of elements of experimental electronic music, the genre remains a fertile ground for creativity and innovation.

With a global community of dedicated artists, producers and fans, Drum and Bass is poised to continue challenging conventions and exploring new sonic territories in the years to come.

Make your own Drum and Bass tracks with Soundtrap’s Fluid Sound Pack

Technical Aspects Specific to Drum and Bass

Each style is characterized by the qualities of its sonorities, all have a unique aesthetic that sets them apart from the others.

  • Kick: In Drum and Bass, the kick is usually powerful and focused in the lower frequency ranges, providing a distinctive punch that drives the track forward.

  • Snare: Snare in DnB is often sharp and crisp, with a strong emphasis on the midrange to cut through the mix and provide a rhythmic counterpoint to the kick.

  • Breakbeats: Drum samples cut from Funk, jazz, soul, etc. drums.

  • Hi-hats: Hi-hats in Drum and Bass are usually fast and rhythmic, adding texture and movement to the percussion of the track.

  • Bass: Deep and punchy, with a variety of textures ranging from sub-bass to modulated and resonant basses.

Generally, certain techniques are used that with practice you will begin to master and use to your advantage, starting to experiment with the sonorities, textures and grooves you can get with these.

  • Layering: A common technique in Drum and Bass is layering, which involves layering multiple samples or sounds to create a richer and more complex sound. For example, you can combine several kick samples to get a fuller and more powerful punch.

  • Sidechain Compression: Sidechain compression is often used in DnB to create space in the mix and bring out the groove. It is typically applied to bass and other elements in the mix so that they momentarily “stand back” when the kick sounds, creating a distinctive pumping effect.

  • Automation: Automation is a key tool in Drum and Bass production, allowing producers to create dynamic changes in the mix over time. It can be used to control parameters such as filtering, panning and volume to add interest and variety to the track.

Keep in mind that these techniques can be applied to any genre; each tool you learn and master will enrich the way you create music. 

And, also remember that as a producer you must have a critical eye towards every decision you make regarding your production, analyze if you really need each element you add to your beat, and if it really makes a positive contribution to your sound.

Read more: How To Make Pro Beats: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Drum and Bass Beats in 5 Steps

Drum and Bass beats are characterized by their fast-paced tempo, typically ranging between 160 and 180 BPM. Drums are the heart of any DnB track, with sampled drum breaks providing the distinctive rhythmic foundation of the genre. 

Deep, punchy bass complements the percussion, adding an extra dimension of groove and energy.

Creating a successful Drum and Bass beat involves mastering sample selection, programming complex rhythms and exploring unique sound textures. Experimentation is key, as each producer has the opportunity to leave his or her personal mark on each track.

Fundamental Steps to Creating Drum and Bass

Creating a Drum and Bass beat can be an exciting and challenging process. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you bring your musical ideas to life:

1. Samples Selection:

Choosing the right samples is crucial to building a solid and powerful Drum and Bass beat. Look for drum breaks with crisp, distinctive beats that provide the rhythmic foundation of your track, a deep kick, and a defined snare so that your drums sound groovy and have that defined punch that you'll get with individual sounds. 

Also be sure to select powerful basses and dynamic leads that complement your beat and add depth to the mix. You find everything you need in the drum and bass sound pack “Fluid” in Soundtrap.

2. Creating the Rhythmic Base:

Once you've selected your samples, it's time to start building the rhythmic base of your beat. Use a music production software that you are comfortable with, Soundtrap is a very intuitive online tool that gives you all the tools you will need. 

Start programming your drums with the classic DnB pattern and add Breakbeats, you will start to feel the energy of Drum and bass consuming. Experiment with variations in rhythm and dynamics to keep the energy of the track and give it your own personal touch.

3. Incorporating the Bass:

The bass is a fundamental part of any Drum and Bass track, providing the structure and depth needed for the groove. Design bass lines that complement your beat and add weight to the mix. 

Explore different synthesis and processing techniques for unique and expressive sounds that propel your production forward.

4. Experiment with Textures and Effects:

Once you've established the foundation of your beat, it's time to add layers of texture and effects to enrich your production. Try reverbs, delays and filters to give depth and dimension to your sound. 

Experiment with different combinations and settings to create an immersive atmosphere that keeps the listener immersed in your music.

5. Structure and Arrangement:

Finally, arrange your beat into a coherent structure that guides the listener through the musical story you've created. 

Clearly define sections, use effects like the Risers to support your transitions tie each section together, and add subtle variations in instrumentation and dynamics to keep the listener's interest throughout the track.  

Make sure that every element of your production contributes meaningfully to the musical narrative you are creating.

Master Tips:

  • Inspiration: Listen to your favorite Drum and Bass artists for inspiration and to discover new sounds.

  • Experimentation: Don't be afraid to experiment with different techniques and tools. Experimentation is key to finding your own style.

  • Patience: Creating music takes time and dedication. Don't get discouraged if you don't get it right the first time. Keep practicing and perfecting your technique.

  • Enjoy the process: The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the creative process. Passion for music will take you far.

Final Tips and Additional Resources

The key to mastering Drum and Bass production is constant practice and bold experimentation. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and explore new techniques and sounds. 

Also, take advantage of the resources available online, such as tutorials, forums, and producer communities, where you can learn from others and share your own experiences. With Soundtrap you will find all these tools that will help you improve as a music producer day by day.

Drums and bass today

Drums and bass has undergone a great evolution since its beginnings in the early 1990s. Today, the genre is characterized by a great diversity of subgenres and styles, each with its own unique characteristics.

Some of the most popular subgenres of drums and bass today are:

  • Liquid funk: Smooth, atmospheric melodies and their complex rhythms.

  • Neurofunk: Dark, aggressive sounds and frenetic rhythms.

  • Jump-up: Energetic melodies and danceable rhythms.

  • Techstep: Futuristic sound and its complex rhythms.

  • Drumfunk: Syncopated rhythms and its emphasis on drums.

In addition to these subgenres, there are also a lot of artists who are experimenting with new sounds and styles, which makes the drums and bass scene constantly evolving.

Some of the most prominent artists in drums and bass today are:

  • Aphex Twin: Experimental producer who has incorporated elements of techno and ambient into drums and bass.

  • Noisia: A Dutch trio known for their aggressive neurofunk beats.

  • Skrillex: An American producer who has popularized the genre commercially.

  • Andy C: British DJ and producer known for his melodic and atmospheric style.

  • Dimension: British producer known for his innovative neurofunk beats.


Drum and Bass is a vibrant and constantly evolving genre of music that offers endless creative possibilities for producers. Whether you're just starting out in music production or are a seasoned veteran, we hope this guide has provided you with inspiration and practical knowledge to create your own DnB beats. May the music take you to new horizons!

About the author

Odiseo is a music producer and mixing and mastering engineer with experience ranging from music creation as a session and concert musician, beatmaker, live sound engineer, and recording engineer, to audio production for short films, providing a broad perspective on technical concepts and musical skills to take music to another level.

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