MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART > Music Gearheads Tech Talk

Tools for rhythm-making

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There are so many ways to make rhythmic sounds electronically, with drum machines and Reason probably being the two most popular.  I think another common tool is the "sort of a beatbox, sort of a sequencer, sort of a beat-sound synth/sampler" like the Akai MPC series or Korg Electribe series.

I've been starting to work on a couple of projects along these lines and the tools I've been using so far include:

1. Reaktor
Not so much for traditional beats, as for pulsing or surging rhythmic/ambient atmospheres

2. Impulse
This is a simple drum synth built into Ableton Live, which isn't the best rhythm-building tool I've found but I spend so much time in Live anyway, I can't help tinkering with this

3. Ultrabeat
This is the percussion module built into Logic Studio, and it's quite good, really very powerful and probably something I will concentrate on using more

I'm curious what people here are using to create their rhythmic sounds, or rhythmic patterns, or both.

I've used mostly hardware drum boxes in the past, including the Elektron Drummachine, Jomox Xbase08, Quasimidi 309 and a Korg Electribe, not so much for the sounds themselves but more for the Roland-like XOX interface for constructing drum lines, which I find a lot of fun. Right now I have no drum box so over the last year I've been trying out the step sequencer in Reason to trigger synthetic percussion sounds. I've also got a copy of Logic Express on the way and it also has the Ultrabeat app Mike mentions so look forward to trying that out.

I mostly use the Roland HPD-15 Handsonic for creating percussion parts. I will sometimes pull out my old Sequential TOM to lay down a basic rhythm and then lay down percussion parts over that. I don't use the TOM part in the end. I just use it to keep me from trying to fill in everything with my first percussion part. Sort of a reference point. I tend to play to much when I first start laying down percussion.     Harry

My hands, I record myself playing my drums and gamelan instruments and edit out the best parts, then I make Apple loops out of them. Sometimes I will process them first to make them sound more synthetic if that's the sound I am after. Feed them into logic and start working on the rest.

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le):
I probably spend more time making music as a percussionist than anything else, my current set up consists of a selection of Remo drums (Tubanos, Djembe, Dumbek & Klong Ya) as well as tablas, box drums, tamborra, and anything else I can rattles, shake or hit.

On the electronic side, I too use a Roland HPD-15 and a Korg Wavedrum.

For sequenced beats I use Reaktor, Stylus and BFD, but as my set-up moves more and more outside of the computer I am looking for a good drum machine/groove box. I would love a machine drum, but they are $$$ and the new Linn Drum 2 looks promising, but seeing the prototype at NAMM, the thing is freakin huge...last choice, but most probale would be an electribe like everyone else.



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