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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr-16 > Building beats in software

Building beats in software

In the previous parts of this tutorial series, we’ve looked at crafting a basic demo using your instrument and also captured a perfect vocal take. Now we’re going to take your rough click track and make it into a beat to be reckoned with. Andy Price sets the pace…

MT Workshop Recording in Cubase Part 3


Our DAW Recording features are illustrated using Cubase, but you can apply the principles to whichever DAW you use.

So, our simple track that we’ve been recording has been bolstered by a nicely produced, meticulously sculpted vocal, but before we add extra instrumentation, fine-tune and mix, we need to take a look at the song’s rhythm. In this tutorial, we’re going to build a decent rhythm section around your track’s simple click completely ‘in the box’, to make it sound more powerful and complete.

There are so many different ways of producing drums these days, from straightforward digital emulation tools such as Logic Pro X’s Drummer, to live drum recording and sampling, to building your own patchwork rhythm section from collected sounds. Ideally, your drum sound should be one of the earliest considerations you make creatively when writing your song. Even if you don’t start sculpting the sound of your beats straight away (though that’s one way to start), when putting together the rhythm of your song, you should have an idea how you envision the end result to sound.

In a previous tutorial, we looked at the importance of rhythm in a songwriting context. Back then, we said that a song’s rhythm can be thought of as the glue that holds the song together and that the entire song-building process should be tethered to a time signature and basic rhythm structure as soon as possible. When I began writing music, I’d record ideas to tape without any rhythmic context (save for my foot tapping). These days, I can’t commit anything to a recording without at least a basic click. This way, I can start to record the finished track pretty much straight away by recording to something on my mobile device, or iPad in my case, begin mixing and later export the worked-on files to software that will work in tandem with them. In Logic’s case, there’s GarageBand; however, as I primarily use Cubase, then I tend to record to Cubasis.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale Thursday, March 17th and this month we’re bringing you a 'Big Beats Special!'; we gathered together as many tutorials (for all levels) to help you provide that all-important backbone to your music productions. Or if you are some kind of ambient maestro, you’ll be pleased with a certain level of synthesis achieved over our 6 Of The Best, DIY Eurorack, Sound Design and Yamaha Montage features. As ever, enjoy the issue and send us some of the resulting beats. We like to Show Off Your Studios and we’ll soon be Showing Off Your Sounds, too, so keep it all coming.