Ahh, the lovely drum beat. However, beats are a double edged sword- it can either make your track, or send it to the track bin. So use these beat making tips to stay out of that recycle bin.
Beat making, the best loved part of making a music track, well for me anyway. Get the drums wrong and the tracks fails. No one can listen to it, no one can dance to it. So instead of making a "waste-of-time-track", try out these tips to get the most out of your beats:
Beat making tip #1.
Always use quality products. Whether you are making top beats or grime riddled tunes, quality sounds will show your intention to your future. Can't be bothered and bedroom musician are what hissing, and clicks within a beat promote. Now most of us are bedroom musicians, but you always should be giving off professionalism. That is the point, you can be a bedroom musician but still produce quality tracks. A poor sample library is the easiest way into any recycle bin. Hardrives are now large enough to have thousands of quality sounds. If you are downloading on dial-up get a download manager to pause downloads if they are too big. Let nothing stop you in pursuit of finding quality sounds.
Please Note it is quite hard to make grime tunes without them sounding like a distorted mess, and that is why NIN (Nine Inch Nails) are so good. There is more processing and more quality within those tunes to make them that dirty. As a side note, 8-bit Commodore 64 sounds are cool within the right quality drum sounds, but by themselves they are nostalgic but can not seriously carry a track without help.
Beat making tip #2.
Ask any woman how to make their hair feel fatter/ fuller bodied/ better...and they will say...layer. That is exactly the same with any sort of beat or percussion noise. I have a great little note that I give myself when I try to find a great beat...don't look, there is no such thing as finding the perfect beat. I have found that there is always something wrong with anything that I download. I have to alter the sound to make it useful. I have to layer. Sure the sound I downloaded is say a good kick, but it should be fatter. So what do I do? I figure that I need a lower end kick, and apply that, to get a little bit deeper/ fatter I will also incorporate a sub bass sound. It is not uncommon for producers to layer beats up to 5 times with various other percussion loops complimentary to the initial loop. I have to say it is uncommon for producers not to layer.
Beat making tip #3.
Taking tip one and tip two into consideration, what else can we do to make a beat feel...fatter, more sub level? EQ? Well yes, and no. There is no amount of EQ to put onto a beat for it to sound deeper. Why? Well EQ will only work on frequencies that are already there. There are many a musician (a large percentage) that will EQ everything. That is not good. You have then got a situation where every sound is fighting for a place in the same mix. So adding EQ to something that has not got the range in the first place will do nothing. So what do you do? Either get rid of the kick that you downloaded and get one with a bit of sub boom in it, or do tip 1 and 2- there is no other way.
Beat making tip #4.
The kick is the favourite sample going, and unfortunately it is the most troublesome. This is seen in the Dance and Electronic music scene. BANG BANG BANG, goes the thudding kick and nothing else is recognisable within the beat. So what do we do to avoid over kickness? Make sure that the kick is playing on a separate channel so that it doesn't interrupt anything else, and you don't interrupt anything else when you alter it. Apply some compression to the kick, then adjust the make-up gain so that it starts to settle in and ultimately sound right with your other loops.
Beat making tip #5.
To sparkle up your beats why not add some processing power to them? Adding a slight amount of Overdrive can make your flat beat beef up a little bit more. Adding some Reverb can also add some depth, however it can also loose the drums original Oomph, and make the drum sound farther back within the track so be careful when you reverb. Add and remove, add and remove- always keep on checking the beat within the track at many different points to see if it sits well throughout the track. The newly processed beat might sound really funky next to your bassline, however if you have vocals, the bass and beat combo might sound too overpowering. Always check and monitor any processing that you do.
Continue with your beat making tutorial here.