For those of you that are pretty new to making beats in Logic I thought I’d put together a few tutorials on making beats in specific styles and genres. We’ll start with a laid back Hip Hop beat that could actually be used with a number of different styles.
I’ll be keeping things simple in these quick tips but could always expand upon the techniques used in more advanced tutorials at a later date.
You could use just about any sampler or virtual drum machine as your sound source here but we are going with Logic’s native drum solution, Ultrabeat. I’m really using this so that you can recreate the same results on your own set up.
The best way to access Ultrabeat is to add a new Software Instrument track using the plus icon the upper section of Logic Pro’s main Arrange window. Then move over to the Library area and select UltraBeat from the list. This will add a track pre-loaded with an instance of Ultrabeat for you.
Loading a new instrument channel.
Selecting Ultrabeat in the library.
Now we are ready to start selecting some suitable sounds...
Ultrabeat is good to go!.
A full install of Logic Studio will give you an impressive collection of sounds for every instrument available and Ultrabeat is no exception. Simply click on the presets tab at the top of Ultrabeat and navigate to the kits section.
Of course Ultrabeat will accept your own samples and hits but the existing kits can be an excellent way to be become accustomed to the system and really get an idea of what’s possible here.
Picking the right kit.
In this case I opted for the Hip Hop Heavy Kit as it was slightly edgier than the other offerings in this area. It’s worth remembering that many sample collections offers kits in Ultrabeat format, so you should be able to find something out there to your own taste.
There are a few ways we can program beats using UltraBeat, you can utilize the internal step sequencer or use it as a virtual MIDI module and rely on a keyboard and Logic’s various event editors. I’m actually going to use a nice combination of the two here.
Start by selecting the key sounds you want to construct your beat from (I usually start with Kick and Snare). Once your sound is selected using the keyboard on the left of UB’s interface, you are ready to start inputting steps.
The step sequencer is accessed across the lower edge of UB’s interface and is pretty straightforward. Before you start you may want to initialize any pattern that was loaded with your kit. This is done by Control-clicking the pattern menu and selecting clear.
Clearing the step sequencer .
Steps can now be added or deleted with a single click and the velocity of the steps is easily changed with the sliders provided. Remember to make sure you have the right sound selected when programming steps.
Programming some initial steps.
I have also added some swing to the loop to give it a more human feel. Keep repeating these steps until you have a loop you are happy with. You can hear what I came up with below.
The sequence in full view.
With your pattern complete you can now move your work from UB’s step sequencer to Logic’s main arrange page. This means you can edit the MIDI data and easily add it to your current project.
In Ultrabeat simply select the small box next to the pattern menu on the left. This can then be dragged and dropped to the Ultrabeat track we made at the start. Now you must turn off the step sequencer in UB to avoid doubling up of your pattern.
The part is dragged into Logic’s arrange window.
You should now see your new loop as a MIDI event and this can be cut, copied and sequenced in the same way as any other. Get to making your own beats and see what you can do with Ultrabeat!
The part in Logic’s Piano Roll editor.
Learn all you need to know about Logic's mammoth drum sampler/synth instrument in Logic 204: Ultrabeat Unleashed.