The latest of our step by step drum programming tutorials focuses on main room house. Create a real peak time vibe with this heavy groove.
Beat Dissected is a regular series which deconstructs drum patterns, showing you how to recreate them in any DAW. Just copy the grids in your own software to recreate the loop.
Here’s the complete beat we’ll be making this week:
heavily processed electronic hits
Start with a basic four-to-the-floor kick pattern. Choose a kick with a solid tone and fair amount of punch. If you’re using a long kick, make sure it’s tuned to the key of your track. If the kick is very short, you may get away without tuning it.
Now introduce an open hi-hat so that it doubles the kick drum. This will add more drive/energy to the kick. The sound of the open hi-hat determines how big, wide and spacious your drums are going to be, so it’s crucial to process it correctly. If you’re using reverb, place any compression or limiting after the reverb so that you have full control over the sound of both the hi-hat and the space around it.
Now introduce the closed hi-hats. These mainly come on the offbeats, along with some additional hits as well. We’ve split the closed hat onto two channels – one channel is a slightly lower velocity variation of the same sample. Send the hats through a short room reverb to introduce a little more ambience.
A third ‘wide’ hi-hat is introduced to the groove. It has an edgier, more characterful sound than the previous hats and it’s mixed slightly louder.
More weight is added to the rhythm with the introduction of a percussive tom pattern. To get the right sound, we’ve layered two different samples. The first is a tom sound with a solid low end – preferably tuned to the key of the track (one octave above the kick often works best). The second sample has a more forward midrange and top end. High-passed kicks can work well as an alternative to toms here.
Next, we introduce a clap sample. To give more urgency to the groove we’ve shifted the clap so that it’s triggered just before the beat. Weʼve chosen a fairly short clap and processed it to get a larger, wider, more polished sound. It’s worth layering different sounds together to get the best results here.
Different clap patterns can be tried out at this stage. Many current main room house tracks have a clap on every beat to support the kick, while some donʼt use a clap at all.
The final step is to add a transition effect at the end of the loop using a reverse clap sample. If you don’t have one to hand, add a medium-size reverb to a clap, bounce it as audio and then reverse it. The reverse clap can be pushed way back in the mix for a more subtle sucking, breathing sound.
If you enjoyed this tutorial you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.