In the latest instalment of Beat Dissected, we go back to basics with a simple jackin’ house beat with serious attitude.

Beat Dissected is a regular series in which we deconstruct drum patterns, showing you how to recreate them in any DAW. Just copy our grid in your own software to recreate the loop.

Here’s the beat we’re building today:

To download the samples for this beat, click here. The samples are provided on a completely royalty-free basis. They may not be sold or given away, either in whole or in part.

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Spec

Tempo

120-125bpm

Swing

60-65%

Sounds

Mixed drum machine samples

Step 1

For our kick drum, we’re layering a snappy sound with a deeper hit. Good starting points for the snappy sound could include LinnDrum, DMX, TR-707 or TR-505 hits, while a TR-808 or TR-909 sample is always a good starting point for the deeper sound To blend them together, we’ve cut off the low end from the snappier kick below around 150-250 Hz. We don’t need any of this from this kick as the 808 sound will fill these frequencies nicely. We’ve done the opposite with the 808 sample, cutting off the high frequencies sharply above 1 kHz. Next we’ve experimented with adding combinations of vinyl dust sounds, hi-hats and shakers until we’ve added some unique character to the sound. Finally, SSL-style compression (in this case using Ableton’s Glue device) with a fast attack, auto release and around 4dB of gain reduction helps to tie things together and make the layered kick nice and punchy.

The kick plays a four-to-the-floor pattern with added ghost notes to give a bouncy groove.

Step 1

Step 2

There are three hi-hat sounds in this beat. For the first, we’ve taken a sample from the cheap Akai XE8 drum machine. The samples on this drum machine are super gritty and lo-fi. This is a white noise-based hi-hat sound which works well playing this simple offbeat pattern. We’ve tightened up the hat slightly by adjusting the amp envelope to shorten the release.

Step 2

Step 3

The second hat comes from another cheap piece of kit, the Casio MT500 keyboard with its built-in drum sounds. It’s a very lo-fi hat which plays a simple pattern to bolster the first hat on the first two beats of each bar, with a slightly lower velocity when it plays over the top of the ghost kick. You can also try experimenting with other hat samples here to change the overall tone and character of the drum mix.

Step 3

Step 4

The final hat is a more familiar closed 909 hit. This plays a more complex pattern, with ghost hits helping to bring out the swing of the beat.

Step 4

Step 5

We’ve selected a gritty clap sample taken from the Boss DR-202, then edited its envelope for a tight attack and release. We’ve also added a very small amount of reverb to introduce a faint background ambience. This has been achieved by adding a Lexicon reverb plugin on a ‘hall’ setting with a very low ‘wet’ setting (around 10%), then resampling the hit with the reverb included.

The clap plays on the second and fourth beats of each bar, with an additional ghost hit at the end of our second bar as a turnaround variation.

Step 5

Step 6

Finally, to add a little human feel and emphasise the groove of the beat, we add a simple percussion sound – in this case a shaker sample. Use some variation in velocity and note how the interplay of the shaker, hats and clap helps to bring out the swing of the beat. This type of beat can handle quite a lot of 16th-note swing – somewhere in the region of 60-65% works well. You can adjust it at this point to get the exact feel you’re looking for.

All that’s left is to adjust the overall tone and loudness of the drum sub-mix. We’ve used a shelving EQ to roll off frequencies above 7.5 kHz fairly gently, which helps to add a vintage feel to the beat. Then we’ve added a limiter to boost the overall loudness of the beat. We can afford to be quite heavy handed with the limiter here without worrying too much about flattening the dynamics of the drum mix.

Step 6

To download the samples for this beat, click here. The samples are provided on a completely royalty-free basis. They may not be sold or given away, either in whole or in part.

21st November, 2014

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