May 30, 2024

How to Make Your First Beats with a Drum Machine

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If you’re in the process of developing a home recording studio so you can produce electropop music at home, you’re probably still trying to figure out what equipment you need now and what equipment you can hold off on.

One piece of equipment you’ll want to purchase fairly early is a drum machine. Drums are an important part of most musical tracks. But when you can’t get a drummer to the studio to provide you with those beats, you’re going to need to invest in a drum machine.

If you’ve never used one before, however, it can be intimidating to determine what drum machine to purchase and how to start using it. Keep reading to learn more about drum machines and how to start using one. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to add some sick beats to your music tracks.

What are drum machines?

If you are still trying to figure out what a drum machine even is, let’s define what a drum machine is. Drum machines are meant to replicate electrical beats and sounds. They are considered an electronic music instrument.

They eliminate the need for a live drummer. Typically, they look like a box and feature some sort of keypad. You can program your own beats and rhythms to the drum machine, allowing you to create and mix different beats. Check out these drum machines reviewed by SoundHalo to learn about the different available ones.

Drum machines grew popular during the 1980s when underground artists began using them due to their affordability and ease of use. Keep in mind that there are certain aspects of live drumming that can’t be replicated by a drum machine.

Uses of a drum machine

Drum machines are meant to add beats and rhythm to music. They can be used across a multitude of genres, no matter if you’re trying to add some beats to your electropop song or if you want to add a rhythm to your country song.

You can use pre-recorded sounds or record your own sounds or effects. Some people use drum machines to add straight-forward sounds, while other people are more experimental. Each drum machine will come with slightly different features, which will impact sound quality.

Most drum machines are portable and can easily be hooked up to computers. Some machines will also sync with your DAW, allowing you to control the device from your computer. Some drum machines can be used by a computer even if you don’t have a DAW.

Features to look for

If you’ve never purchased a drum machine before, you might not be sure what features you should look out for. While there are many different machines with many different features, beginners will want a drum machine that offers a few basic features.

The first feature to look for is pressure-sensitive pads. You can assign different sounds to each pad, causing each pad to make a distinct sound when it is touched. Pressure-sensitive pads allow you to tap out different beats and rhythms to use within your music.

Then, you’ll also want to look at what programming and editing features the device offers. Build-in features, such as sound effects, allow you to immediately start experimenting with different sounds. Programmable features, however, allow you to add sounds, which can then be mixed with the existing sounds.

Getting used to your drum machine

Once you have a drum machine in your possession, the best way to learn how to use it is to start experimenting! There may also be online tutorials that you can watch to help you learn the basic features.

While your early attempts might not sound great, experimenting and learning about all the different features of your machine is the only way you’re going to learn! Once you have the basics down, you’re ready to start experimenting with different ways to produce sounds.

Many people are intrigued by using their machines to create digital distortions in their tracks. And while this is certainly one way to use the machine, keep in mind that too much distortion can ruin a song. So, make sure you have the basics down and know what sounds good before you get too experimental!

Final thoughts

A drum machine is a great piece of equipment to have available in your home recording studio. While it isn’t quite the same as having a live drummer, the sounds that a drum machine can produce can add some interesting beats, sounds, and rhythm to the pieces you’re working on. So, it is time to get the beat pumping and create some new songs

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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