For everyone from beginners to seasoned professionals, there are countless ways for anyone to create their own beats in today’s technologically driven world. Making music has changed a lot in just the past few decades alone – so much so that the world of audio production is now open to a much wider array of creators. With all these different voices added to the mix, there is all the more creativity and originality in the modern beats that people are creating.
Since there are several ways for a producer to start crafting beats and since each method suits particular purposes, it’s smart for any beginner to start by getting familiar with the different programs that are out there – and then how to leverage them to your maximum beat-making potential.
Decide Which Tools You’ll Need
Inevitably, you’re going to need some kind of program to make your music, no matter how rudimentary of a beat or small of a project. While it might be overwhelming when you start looking at all the options, there are plenty of programs out there with extremely user-friendly interfaces that are geared specifically towards making beats. You’ll want to consider your own musical goals as well as the setup you’re already working with, including whether that’s PC or Mac.
Avid Pro Tools is still the industry standard when it comes to digital audio workstations. Designed by Avid, this is definitely on the heavier end of the software spectrum, so this would probably be overkill for those who have very basic beat designing needs. While the advanced capabilities of this powerful tool may be off-putting at first, many find it to be reflexive and a huge time-saver once they’ve invested the time to learn how to use it.
Image-Line FL Studio
If this name looks new to seasoned production wizards, it might seem a little more familiar under the title it was originally launched as – FruityLoops. People know this program so well that it’s practically become synonymous with DAW in some musician circles. This is what the new generation of producers is using, and it’s likely to only increase in popularity. If you’re crafting hip hop or EDM beats, this is definitely the program for you.
PreSonus Studio One
While this software is technically still in the upstart phase, it’s a program with capabilities and reliability to match the industry standards that have been in the game for years longer. The most recent addition made to their software was harmonic editing, meaning you can shift the tonality of your beats without having to think twice about it. With their powerful editing tools and an excellent assortment of instrument sounds, this is one program that’s worth checking out.
For a more hands-on approach, a drum machine or beat maker can give you the physical aspect of creating rhythms. Many artists feel that when they can physically create the beats, they have more creative freedom. Others simply like the manual aspect of pushing real buttons. Whatever the reason, these devices are a major way that producers and artists create the beats that go straight to the radio – and the top of the charts.
This impressive line of music workstations started in 1988 and has been innovating ever since. Using a combination of sampling and sequencing, producers and performers alike can leverage this tool to both awe crowds and rejuvenate their music. Akai continues to release new MIDI controllers and beat makers that build on their already superior technology.
Korg Volca Beats
The six analog parts make editing easier than ever with the Korg Volca. One knob for every function makes operating the device simple and satisfying. Syncing both in and out of the device is seamless, and an onboard speaker gives you the portability to jam out whenever and wherever you want. Read more at Soundhalo about this device if you are interested in having an analog drum machine.
This follows a classic 24-bit style with stereo output and is more than enough to suit the needs of many creators. Considered one of the original machines of its kind and still ranking as one of the best, the SR16 is undoubtedly a quality piece of equipment. It supports MIDI implementation and has a footswitch input, dynamic articulation that makes it sound as realistic as possible, and user-friendliness that makes it so almost anyone can just pick it up and play it. Read this review to learn more about this popular electronic drum machine.
Make Beats That Stand Out
This is a too-often overlooked area of beat production that is the undoing of so many promising careers. If you can skip to any part of your mix and can’t tell the difference, you’re almost definitely doing something wrong. Variety is key to keeping a song interesting for more than a minute or two, and the way to keep things interesting in the most calculated and exciting way is through structure.
There are plenty of rules about structure that you can follow, but these are really just guidelines to help get you started. Once you’ve learned the basic rules of form, you can start to break them and make up your own rules. However, it is important to learn the accepted conventions of musical form to start so that you won’t be creating something so outlandish that very few people will want to listen to it.
Unfortunately, the thing that kills the career of so many producers or artists is the inability to shift gracefully from genre to genre. It’s hard to keep your passion and creativity flowing when you’re feeling boxed into playing or producing a certain type of music every time. It may be scary, but making a calculated genre flip can be the perfect thing to breathe new life into a musical career.
The best thing to do is tinker around with different genres in the studio, away from the judgmental ears of the masses. Once you’re the only person judging yourself, it’s much easier to overcome whatever personal barriers separate you from playing in whatever genre you choose. It’s amazing what fresh musical ideas a genre-flipping session can lead to.
*As always, we appreciate the support from our partners for helping us continue our work. The views and words expressed here and within the shared links/videos do not necessarily match those of Ear to the Ground Music or it’s editors.