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The Beat Maker: What Separates The Men From The Boys?
If you have had the opportunity to try out a few beat makers, then you know there are a lot of nice software programs out there that make it easy to make beats quickly and you really don't have to break the bank if you are willing to export the beat to mp3 and then loop it into a sequencer or use it raw. Of course, this is a pretty crude way to make the "perfect" beat, but more and more, it's about quickly creating a beat and then layering other sounds on top of it. This is why an inexpensive beat maker can come in handy.
Beat makers like Sonic Producer, actually allow more than just the creation of a simple beat. They also give you the ability to add synthesizer sounds directly to the beat you are making.
This can be a good or bad thing depending on whether or not you have a nice 16 or 32 track sequencer like Pro Tools, ACID or Sonar or something else along those lines. The bottom line is that most beats, especially beats created for hip-hop or rap, are going to be looped, so using something like Sonic Producer is ideal if you are willing to take the mp3, insert it into your sequencer, and then use it as a looped track.
- Buy why not just use the sequencer - why a beat maker?
This would make sense (just using the sequencer from the beginning), except some musicians don't want to spend money on an expensive plug-in, and would rather use something that reminds them of a drum-machine, which is to say for the purposes of this article, a software program that you can assign different instrument sounds to different time intervals - a beat maker. In this way, a meter will run across a specific number of beats and the musician can simply add the percussion sounds by clicking on the specific time-beat they desire. This is a very easy way to make a quick beat and is ideal for musicians who are interested in making rap or hip-hop beats.
Sonic Producer actually goes a step further and allows the musician to use different piano sets which help to add the hook. Ideally, a song-writer may want to drop the beat they made in Sonic Producer to a 32/64 track sequencer which may have more of the types of sounds they want - but for a quick production set, Sonic Producer is the easy and inexpensive option.
A beat maker is something that makes beats, but there is a lot more to it then that. A good beat maker will allow the musician to make a beat easily, without hindering the musicians creative flow, as well as allowing for easy exportation of that beat onto another music software platform. This is, in this authors opinion, the most important attribute regarding beat makers - that is - do they hurt the musicians creative flow. A good interface that is easy to use and does not frustrate the song writer is ideal. Ironically, the more you spend on a beat maker, the more likely it is that the beat maker will frustrate you. This is because there are many additional ways to tweak the sounds and providing options that a lot of song-writers could care less about.
If you are interested in creative flow, then find a beat maker that makes sense for that flow. Something that will not hinder your potential and does not leave you confused. Because if you hit that creative flow, a bad interface can stall your song, and inevitably stall that next great beat just waiting to come out.