Creating Drum Patterns in Pro Tools

   By Sarah C   Categories: Audio SoftwareMastering Audio

Creating drum patterns using Boom is very similar to the way you create drum patterns using a TR808 or 909. First you select a pattern and clear this. Switch the Edit mode to ‘Pattern Select’ and click on ‘Event Switch 1’, for example, then click the Clear button above the matrix display.

Picture by Flickr user Brian A Petersen.

Picture by Flickr user Brian A Petersen.

To write new data into the selected pattern, switch the Edit mode to ‘Pattern Edit’, hit the Play button to start the sequence running, click on any instrument name button, such as kick or snare, to select the instrument you want to work with, and this instrument’s channel strip will become highlighted—confirming that it has been selected.

To enter beats onto any of the 16 (or 12) beat subdivisions in the sequence, just click on the appropriate Event switch in the event bar below the instrument section. If you pick the wrong beat or change your mind, just click again to deselect this and choose another beat.

By default the pattern sequencer is divided into one bar of 16th notes at the sessions tempo. You can easily halve or double this value by adjusting the speed selector in the transport section. For example, if you wanted two bars of 8th notes at the session’s tempo you could choose ‘X 1/2’; you can even set the matrix to triplets. Unfortunately the speed settings affect all 16 patterns, so if you wanted to mix patterns with triplets and patterns without you would need to use two separate instances of the Boom plug-in.

When you have the first instrument playing the rhythm you like (fours on the kick drum, perhaps), choose the next instrument that you want to work with, such as the snare, and add beats to this in the same way. When you have the snare playing what you want, you can continue to add other instruments, such as toms or claps, or go back to the kick or any other instrument to change this.

When you have created Pattern 1, you can create up to 15 more patterns in the same way, selecting these using the other 15 Event switches in Pattern Select mode.

There is also a Pattern Chain feature that lets you chain these patterns together in any order you like, using the mouse and computer keyboard or using MIDI notes. You can turn the Pattern Chain function on or off from the Setup page that you can access by clicking on the ‘spanner’ icon at the bottom of the plugin’s window.

Excerpt from In the Box Music Production: Advanced Tools and Techniques for Pro Tools by Mike Collins © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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About the Author

Mike Collins is a studio musician, recording engineer, and producer with more than thirty years’ experience making records. He has many credits on UK chart singles and albums, for radio and TV broadcasts, advertising jingles, and movie scores. Mike has regularly reviewed music and audio software and hardware and written about a variety of audio and music production topics, with more than 2500 articles and reviews published in Future Music, Macworld, MacUser, Personal Computer World, Sound On Sound, AudioMedia, Studio Sound, Electronic Musician, EQ, MIX, Pro Sound News Europe, and others.

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