Logic’s Drum Machine Designer – Step-by-Step

In this step-by-step guide Mark Cousins continues his exploration of Logic’s drum machine designer and the best ways to use it…

7: Clicking on the top of Drum Machine Designer’s interface lets you access the macro controls. The Mix section, for example, lets you balance the kit using six sub-group busses split between the main instrument groups. Note how the plug-in controls the mixer.


8: The Effects section controls plug-ins inserted across the whole kit, increasing their depth/mix or bypassing them. We can see how increasing the Crush setting changes the Bitcrusher plug-in inserted across Drum Machine Designer’s main output.

9: Pressing the Sends tab lets you explore the variety of send effects that can be applied in varying amounts to the instrument groups. Try raising the reverb on the snare, for example, noting how the send level increases in the mixer.

10: By understanding how the mixer integrates, you can start to adapt Drum Machine Designer’s sound to your own liking. Rather than using the default reverb setting, for example, you can either change parameters like Reverb Time, or completely swap the reverb.

11: The individual channels enable you to augment the effects automatically created and controlled by Drum Machine Designer. In this case, we’re applying some additional compression solely to the snare-drum track, so as to give the sound more body and sustain.

12: Going further still, you can actually see the source of Drum Machine Designer’s sounds – Ultrabeat. One of our favourite tricks is to use the Reverse button – seen as a small red arrow at the right of the Sample Playback controls.

Programming Drums With Note Repeat

1: Partnered with Drum Machine Designer, Logic Pro X’s new Note Repeat feature is a great solution for programming high-density drum patterns in an MPC-like way. The easiest way to open Note Repeat is via the Toolbar.

2: As the name suggests, the basic premise with Note Repeat is that Logic will constantly retrigger a given note based on the current Rate setting. Use the lower two octaves on a MIDI keyboard to change this Rate on-the-fly.

3: An alternative to controlling rate via a keyboard is to assign the modulation wheel. You can assign a variety of different MIDI controllers under the main Rate parameter, using the drop-down menu. Set the Min and Max controls to what’s musically relevant.

4: Additional controls for Note Repeat govern the Velocity level as well as the Gate Time. The modulation wheel works really well with the Velocity control, letting you quickly create crescendos and diminuendos on a snare roll, for example.

5: The effectiveness of the Gate Time varies given how your samples respond to note duration. By default, many drum sounds play for their full duration, but if you can, try varying the Gate Time on fast-moving snares set without a ‘one-shot’ trigger.

6: The Spot Erase feature – also found as part of the Toolbar – works like the reverse of Note Repeat. In this case, holding down a MIDI key will erase the data that occurs over the same time period. Release the key and the erasure stops.

This tutorial is endorsed by Point Blank. With courses in London, online and now in LA, Point Blank is the Global Music School. You can study sound to picture on their Music Production Diploma courses, with pro industry tutors.