Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to Use MixPad as a Free Virtual Drum Beat Maker

Beat Designer - Free Digital Beat Maker/Drum Kit Software in MixPad

MixPad's Beat Designer is a built in tool that lets users create beat or drum tracks for their songs or any audio project. Users can take any audio file as a source for the Beat Designer (even record your own drums as a source!), but today, we'll cover how to access and use the free drum kit sound pack that comes with our top-rated multitrack recording software.

To open Beat Designer and download the free drum kit:

  1. Open MixPad
  2. Tools -> Beat Designer
  3. In the Beat Designer window, File -> Download Kits and Patterns
  4. A downloader will popup and automatically install the sound pack

This kit includes the following percussion sounds:

  • Kick
  • Snare (Off/On)
  • Flam
  • Hi-Hat (Open/Closed)
  • Pedal Hi-Hat
  • Side Stick
  • Rim Shot
Now you're ready to start creating your drum beat track!

By clicking along the timeline, users can add cues for each instrument - the red bar in each cue is the volume/intensity/velocity of each drum strike that can be dragged up or down.

Tool Panel
The tool panel is located in the bottom-left corner beside the timeline and contains controls for adjusting the tempo (BPM), time signature and length (in bars) of the beat clip you are creating. Changing their value will change the scale of the timeline.

Beat Divisions
You can subdivide each beat in a track to create smaller beat durations. So, for your kick drum you may have a kick every 1/4 quarter note, but for your hi-hat you may have a hit every 1/8 note. To change the beat divisions click on the spanner icon of the track and change the number of divisions.

Adding a Beat
 The sound a track makes is determined by the sound that is assigned to it. You can create and manage sounds using the Sound tab from the main toolbar. You can assign a sound to a track by clicking on the button with the trumpet icon. You add sounds to your track by simply clicking on the division you would like to place a sound.

Adjusting the Volume
 You can change the volume of each individual sound by dragging the small fader control in the center of each beat up or down. If the sound you are using consists of only one file then the volume will be attenuated by processing the audio. You can however configure your sound to use multiple files assigned to different volume ranges. In this case MixPad will choose the file which most closely fits the fader volume and then apply further processing to adjust the volume as required.

Tapping a Rhythm
 If you'd like to tap a rhythm into the Beat Designer while playing back, you can bind a key to each track so that when you hit the key, a sound will be placed in the division at the current cursor position. You can assign a key binding by clicking on the spanner icon of the track.

Loading your Beat Clip Back Into MixPad
 Once you are finished building your beat clip, click the Create Clip button on the toolbar and MixPad will create a new audio clip in the selected track of MixPad's main window.

Pattern Library
 A pattern is just a sequence of events played across the tracks of your beat clip. You can save and load your favorite patterns from the pattern library by using the Save Pattern and Load Pattern buttons. Patterns can be re-used with different sounds and kits. So you may have a standard 4/4 rock pattern that you like to begin with, but you can change it up quickly by assigning different sounds to the tracks.

Enjoy creating! If you'd like to get creative, remember that any sound recording/audio file can be used as a sound source for the Beat Designer.

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