The most important thing to remember when starting to write a drum and bass track is to start in the right key, I use 'F' mostly. This is the difference in your bass hitting hard or a weak track. Incidentally, if you want an more in depth understanding about how sub bass and frequencies really work, I cover this is great detail in my online Ableton courses.
A useful resource is to visit Beatport and look at the top 100 and you will see a player that lets you see the key each track is written in, so useful!
These are sub friendly keys, and they are:
To me, it's all about layering that sub and processing your bass sounds with resampling and distortion. I use so many methods, one is utilizing audio effect racks and doubling up my synths cutting off the lows in one, then the highs in another, utilizing the multiband dynamics method simply, which gives me greater control over the sound, especially If I'm creating a Reece baseline.
Layering your bass
The other is layering my sub with synths basses, making sure to remove the low end from the synth bass and letting the sub do all the work. Sub is all about the lows but using distortion techniques like the saturator plugin in Ableton and combining it with Izatope trash will pull out some amazing mid range artifact frequencies within that.
My go to is the Fabfilter Saturn plug, especially for 808 jungle sounds.
Another important part is LFO oscillation to create movement. You can achieve this simply with the Auto filter adjusting the LFO parameters and Rate and a million other ways in Ableton. You can learn each and every way in the Ableton Courses I provide.
We already created a blog on resampling, so please do check that out on my blog page! Pitch sliding is also extremely useful in making your bass notes more audible, and add an interesting dynamic to your baseline.
When mixing your drums and bass, The main issue is space. Each sound in your track needs their own frequency and place to live.
It is crucial to tuning your drums as well, I know it sounds obvious but so many people forget to do this and on a loud system you can really tell if it's out of tune.
Every kick drum is different, but I like my kicks to live around 80-110Hz, while the sub is taking on the lower frequencies. You don't want your kick to overtake your bass, this is why I tend to look for kicks that have less bottom and more mid-range.
I always side-chain using compression my sub bass with a ghost kick created on another track, to allow it to punch through. You can also use a notch EQ to remove unwanted low to mid range frequencies.
When it comes to snares there are some amazing sample packs out there like vengeance, but if you want to create your own, layer. layer layer. Most likely you'll need 3 layers, bottom, mid and top combined.
There are multiple ways to sculpt your bass/drums in minor detail, an easy way is to add a low-pass (high-cut) filter across the master channel. Bring the cutoff frequency to around 120-200Hz will help you focus on the bass frequencies alone.
You can reverse this process too for the opposite detailing, just low-cut the kick and bass. don't forget to remove this when done!