Beat Making

You have been a fan of hip hop or electronic music for years. You are interested in trying your own chops as far as making some tracks goes. You have heard that there is stuff out there that makes it easy for a budding producer like you to get into the game of making beats or electronic tracks. Is it true?

Yes. It is true. There are a lot of options available to produce beats and electronic music. And there are some options that will make it extremely easy for you to get into all of this. And once you have busted your chops on some of the more accessible options for making beats, there are plenty of options out there for your desires to upgrade.

Beat Making Software

If you have a computer, buying some software to use to make beats might be a good option for you. There are a lot of options out there for making beats with software on a computer.

My personal favorites for beat making software are:

  • Sonic Producer
  • Propellerhead Reason

Let’s a take a quick look at both of these.


Sonic Producer Sonic Producer is good for entry level producers that want to make some phat beats on a budget. Or maybe you are a little more experienced and want a tool that allows you to create a beat in mere minutes. Or maybe you are a combination of the two. Either way, Sonic Producer is a pretty good option if you want to introduce yourself to making beats with software.With Sonic Producer, you can load up the straightforward interface, select some sounds, program the sequence, and let it rip. It’s all pretty much point and click. And you can export your loops and beats as MP3 files once you are done tweaking and are satisfied with the beat.

Propellerhead Reason Propellerhead Reasonis great for producers that want more options and flexibility. It is a full electronic music production software suite that contains mixers, effects, synthesizers and samplers. It’s a great suite of tools for making beats.One really awesome thing about the latest version of Reason, which is Reason 5, is that you can sample directly into the samplers, rather than having to use another application to create your sound samples. This one small feature is a huge upgrade for people that like to make beats with Reason. It opens up a lot of flexibility in terms of injecting your own samples and sound flavor directly into your beats without needing to take ridiculous steps to sample and import the sounds.

Either one of these applications can serve a good purpose. If you are tight on cash or have a small budget for getting some beat making software, Sonic Producer is a good option. If you have more cash to work with or want to open up a possibly complex and overwhelming set of options to yourself, Propellerhead Reason might be a good option.

New producers, however, should definitely try Sonic Producer first. If you get tired of making beats or find out that making beats is not for you, at least you didn’t drop a few hundred bucks on Reason.

Beat Making Hardware

Making beats with hardware used to be the way to go, until computers came along and made it easy to produce music. Now, deciding between software and hardware can be a tough choice, and there’s not really a clear winner.

However, hardware does have some advantages.

With music production software, you are depending on hardware that may not have been designed for music production. Think about it. A keyboard and mouse may not be the most intuitive way to go about utilizing a sequencer or sampler, or software that emulates hardware interfaces.

However, you don’t always need to use a keyboard/mouse combo to operate computer software for music production. MIDI interfaces are readily available that can be plugged into a computer and offer knobs, sliders and musical keyboards for operating the software.

But that’s kind of the point – when you purchase a hardware drum machine as opposed to a software drum machine, the hardware and physical interface will be designed to intuitively operate the software that is contained within the hardware. An MPC is nothing more than hardware and software, but it’s hardware that is specifically designed to operate the software inside. The awesome combination of great feeling pads and the sequencing and sampling power of the software inside make an MPC a real pleasure to use. And it’s that way right out of the box.

When you rely on a computer, you will find that you can make it feel and operate like hardware (to a certain extend with controllers), but you will likely need to spend a lot of money on hardware controllers and sound cards to get to that point.

So, you really need to figure out what works best for you. If you have a good computer and the budget for controllers and a good sound card, you can make your computer work similar to the hardware you are trying to emulate. If you don’t have a computer at all, and don’t want to use a computer, and like the feel of a beat box and Akai MPC pads, an MPC sampler/drum machine might be best for you.

What are your preferences? What do you think will be the best option for your situation?

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