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Makin' Those Beats, Ya' Dig?


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Though you'd never be able to tell, I'm a huge lover of meaningful Hip Hop. I love many types of music, but there's nothing better than a good dose of [B][PLUG]Sweatshop Union[/End PLUG][/B] when you just want to chill. (By the way, do check them out. They're Canadian guys who really deserve all the success they can get. Plus one of them's a long distance friend.)

Anyway, though lyrics are very important to enjoy the music depending on the moment (or not so important, in the case of Soulja Boy) I feel a beat really carries the song. It really sticks with you.

Anyway, I don't really expect a discussion, and I'm not sure if this thread should even be here, but what's the best tool to use for making beats? Do any of you know of any good computer programs at all?

Thanks for the help.

*Record Scratch*
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1 Akai MPC2500 Sampler/Sequencer/Drum Machine
2 Sennheiser E604 Mics
1 AKG D112 Mic
4 AKG C1000 Mics
All necessary Cables
1 Onyx 1620 16-Channel Mixer
1 Drum Set (Pearl or Ludwig should do)
& Drum Lessons

Hook everything up, record to your heart's content, and then mix, chop, sequence, and produce.

Never fails.

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[font=franklin gothic medium]In terms of software, I can only recommend a couple.

One is GarageBand on the Mac. I don't think it's available on other platforms and I've only experimented with it a little bit...but it's quite good. And I think it could have a lot more depth than first thought. It's also ridiculously easy to use.

Other than that, there's SoundForge by Sony. That's a meatier program but it's a bit more difficult to use. It's great for basic cuts though.

One other program I worked with ages ago is called Flux, I believe. I worked with an early version that wasn't terribly good; it didn't allow you to really layer your samples, in the way more advanced programs do. Still, it's an interesting tool to play around with.[/font]
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I'm in a hip hop group, and our producers and DJ use Fruity Loops Studio and Magix Music Maker, if that's any help.

Magix is pretty good for laying down vocals from what I gather, and Fruity Loops has awesome tools to actually make beats. So I think a combo of the two would be best. From what I've seen, Fruity Loops is really, really complicated because it has so many different effects and you have to use your keyboard as an actual musical keyboard to make the beats, so you'd have to get a midi to actual make any great stuff with it. Magix is more than less drag and drop stuff, much more simple interface, but less tools to actually work with, thoug the voice modulation tools are great and it really helps when composing tracks with vocals after the beats are made.

But I'm just an MC, I don't know a whole lot about making beats.[/color][/size]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I actually fiddled around with GarageBand a bit more today and I went through some of the tutorials. The new version especially is really well worth trying if you have access to a Mac.

The whole thing is quite a lot more sophisticated than I first thought - there are a myriad of editing options and you can do some auto-edits that make life a lot easier (such as fades, auto-key adjustments and so on). That way you can just focus on your sampling.

One of the cool features that I haven't really tried to use is the virtual instrument system in GarageBand. You can basically bring up any instrument you like (out of however many hundred are in the program) and you can use your keyboard to "play" the instrument. So different keys are obviously different notes, with various keys providing additional real-time effects.

I could see this program being very powerful if used properly. You can even plug an electric guitar (and other instruments) directly into your Mac and record riffs with GarageBand. It's very cool.

But I think I must have to buy the full version of iLife '08. Right now I'm just using the standard version on Leopard, which I think is a trial version or something.

One of the most interesting things is the podcast feature, actually. I want to do postcasting on OtakuBoards, so this would be interesting to play around with. Unfortunately there's no way to do "real-time" podcasts unless the other podcasters are sitting in the same room with you. So you'd have to have different people recording different programs and then someone would have to edit it all in GarageBand.

Still, it's quite interesting. I wonder if there is any way for GarageBand to record from Skype or something. Does anyone know if this is possible at all?[/font]
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  • 4 weeks later...
Madtracker is a good shareware program. I don't think the free version leaves much out. Search google for that and a VST called drummatic. If you don't know what a VST is you should look at some tutorials for Madtracker to get started (i'm pretty sure it explains the basics of virtual instruments).

If you like that there's a much better program called Renoise for $60. Same concept, more features, lots of built in stuff. It has a great community and the program is updated all the time.

You could also look into Reason. It has a few virtual synthesizers and drum machines with some built in effects. That's more on the expensive side though, it's about $300 last time I checked. The upside of reason is it's a lot easier to use. If you have a midi keyboard you can just play the synths and/or drums then quantize everything.

There's always fruity loops. That's a pretty good place to start from what I hear. I hate the interface though so I've barley used it.

There's another free program called buzz. You can get that one at [url]www.buzzmachines.com[/url] . It's not that stable though because the creator lost the source code and hasn't updated it in years. There are some buzz clones out there now though that play instruments made for buzz. Fruity Loops is also capable of playing buzz instruments.

hope that helps

Edit: If you have a little cash and a way to record stuff I'd check out the deals on drum machines. You can get a good drum machine index at [url]www.vintagesynth.com[/url] . I got an old korg drum machine for like $20 on ebay.
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