You want beats. Your listeners want beats. And apparently the entire world wants beats, if this international roundup of beats software is any indication: You’ll find programs from the United Kingdom, France, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. (But let’s also give a tip of the hat to Americans John Simonton and Roger Linn for putting this whole programmable drum thing on the map in the first place.)
It used to be you had to hire a drummer to play drums. Well, that’s generally still the best strategy, even if said drummer is hitting MIDI pads and triggering electronic drums. In fact, one group whose album I mastered recently recorded drums with a wonderful drummer in a less-than-wonderful acoustic space. So they used a combination of drum replacement software and MIDI pads, and the drums sounded fabulous. Granted, 95% of that was because of the drummer, but at least he wasn’t sabotaged by the sounds.
These days, though, software drum modules are so good that non-drummers can achieve if not great drum parts, great drum sounds with little effort. And if the parts thing is a major issue, then scratch the surface of many programs, and you’ll find some pretty cool MIDI grooves, too.
Ready to join the beats generation? Let’s start.