CTC Beat-Making Station Manual

 

The Beat-Making Station is an interactive system of three drum machines, one monophonic bass-oriented synthesizer, and one granular effects processing unit. All devices in the system are tempo-synced through the implementation of MIDI clock and have MIDI and audio running into an interface, making the system easily integrate with any DAW.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK THE STATION


CONTENTS:

01   MIDI SIGNAL FLOW

02   AUDIO SIGNAL FLOW

03   MAKING A BEAT

ROLAND TR-8S IRA RHYTHM PERFORMER

ROLAND TR-8 IRA RHYTHM PERFORMER

ARTURIA DRUMBRUTE IMPACT

NOVATION BASS STATION

KORG KAOSS PAD KP3+

04   DAW INTEGRATION

LOGIC PRO X

ABLETON LIVE


01 MIDI SIGNAL FLOW

In this system, the Roland TR-8S is the master clock. This means that this is the device that controls the transport and tempo of the system. If you make a change to the tempo on this device and press play, all the other devices will change to that tempo and begin playing. If you stop the TR-8S, the rest of the devices will follow and stop along with it. 

Each device in the system is sending MIDI data to a different MIDI channel. This makes sure that the devices aren't triggered by the note data of those that come before them. 


02 AUDIO SIGNAL FLOW

All three drum machines, along with the bass station, have audio output running in parallel to one another into the interface. Depending on the capabilities of the device this output signal may be mono or stereo. The station's audio interface is also capable of sending and returning audio to external effects processing units. This functionality is implemented with the use of the Korg Kaoss Pad, whose processed signal can then be mixed into the dry signal of the master mix. 


03 MAKING A BEAT

Because there are three drum machines, each with its own individual MIDI channel, sequencing with the Beat-Making Station can get pretty intense. Just pressing play on the TR-8S will most likely lead to chaos, so let's talk about how to conquer each of the drum machines and build a beat up from the ground!

TIP: To start out, try spreading your core drum hits over the three drum machines. For example, dedicate one for the kicks, one for the snares, and one for the hi-hats. This will help you get a feel for each device and give you a starting point that you can add on to!


ROLAND TR-8S IRA RHYTHM PERFORMER

Let's start with the TR-8S. This drum machine comes with 84 pre-configured kits and 342 onboard samples to choose from. To select a kit, press the KIT button and turn the VALUE knob to scroll through available kits on the LCD screen. 

Remember that the TR8-S is the master in this system. This means it is really important to know how to set the tempo and start/stop playback on this device. See figure 3 for a visual representation of where to find these important controls. 

Most likely you will want to start with a blank slate. To clear the current sequence, press the clear button while holding down the PTN select button and press each of the steps in the sequence once. To clear pattern variations, hold down the clear button and click pattern variation buttons through H

To create a pattern, you need to press the TR-REC button to enter sequence recording mode. From here, press the drum hit you want to sequence (ex: BD for Bass Drum) and add iterations of that hit to the sequence using the 16 step pads that line the bottom of the interface. Simply do this with whatever drum hits you desire and BAM you've got a sequence!

CLICK HERE for the official TR-8S manual.


ROLAND TR-8 IRA RHYTHM PERFORMER

The Roland TR-8 is the parent of the TR-8S. For this reason, it can be described as a slightly simpler version of the TR-8S. It uses the same process for clearing and creating patterns. One difference to note is that the TR-8 does not include an LCD screen for selecting kits. Rather, you can select a kit by holding down the DRUM SELECT modifier key (found on the right-center of the interface) and pressing one of the 16 rainbow sequence steps.

PRO TIP: Try out the TR-8's SCATTER parameter! It works by chopping up the master output of the device into more complex variations. Moving the SCATTER dial (found on the top right of the device above the LDC screen) to the right will add more depth and complexity to the scatter function and make even a simple beat into something super interesting. 

CLICK HERE for the official TR-8 manual. 


ARTURIA DRUMBRUTE IMPACT

The DrumBrute Impact is a fully analog drum machine as opposed to the two Roland devices in this system, which uses audio samples of classic synthesized drum sounds. 

Because it is analog, the DrumBrute is all about sound shaping. Rather than pulling up kits and samples, for this device use the Level, Pitch, and Decay knobs to shape each of the 10 available sounds and then sequence them using the sequencer. 

Before you even start running the Beat-Making Station you can playback each of the sounds in the DrumBrute using the corresponding pads. Then, you can jump up to the sequencer (line of 16 small buttons just above the sound controls) and start sequencing! see figure 4 for a visual representation of these parameters. 

There are a few different ways to enter patterns into the DrumBrute, but the most "drum-machine-esque" way is to select the sound you want to enter into the sequence by hitting its corresponding drum pad and then using the 16-step sequencer to add iterations of the selected sound into the pattern. 

CLICK HERE for the official DrumBrute Impact manual.


NOVATION BASS STATION

The Bass Station is a monophonic bass-oriented synthesizer that features an arpeggiator and step sequencer with up to 32 different rhythmic patterns to choose from, along with an LFO which can be morphed for more modulation possibilities. 

Because this is not a synthesis tutorial, we'll stay away from covering the basics of this device. However, it is important to remember that all of the devices in the Beat-Making Station are being sent MIDI clock data from the Master. This means that the LFOs and sequencer in the Bass Station will be in time with the beats programmed in the drum machines when the system is running/playing. Take advantage of this feature by using the step sequencer and arpeggiator in the Bass Station so you can get a full rhythm section running when you press play on the TR-8S!

Even though the Bass Station is a monophonic analog synth, it can still run arpeggios when multiple notes are held down by recognizing and playing each note one-by-one. To enable the arpeggiator simply navigate to the arpeggiator section of the interface and press the on button. A small light will illuminate within the arpeggiator area when the function is enabled. Try moving the Rhythm knob to try out different arpeggio styles. See figure 5 for a visual representation of where these controls live. 

The controls related to creating a sequence with the step sequencer also live in the arpeggiator section. To record a sequence, set the Arp Mode to Record and play the notes you want to sequence in the order that you want them to playback (maximum of 32 notes). To insert a rest, simply press the Rest button instead of pressing a note. The LCD display will begin keeping track of the number of steps you have sequenced by counting up from one as you add more steps. 

When you are done with your sequence, move the Arp Mode to Play. When you play the first note of the sequence you programmed the sequence will play back once through. You can also loop the sequence by holding the Function button and pressing the upper G on the piano keyboard, which has a small label that says Seq Retrig. 

CLICK HERE for the official Bass Station Manual. 


KORG KAOSS PAD MK3+

The Beat-Making Station really has something to flex when it comes to the Kaoss Pad. Of course, the Kaoss Pad is cool on its own, but it becomes 200 times cooler when used as a send/return effect! The interface used in the Beat-Making Station allows the master output to be sent out to the Kaoss Pad and then sent back to the interface to be mixed in with the dry master mix!

The Kaoss Pad is a granular effects processing device that basically glitches out an incoming audio signal by applying tons of cool rhythmic and spatial effects to the sound. Remember, these effects are synced to the master clock, too! The Kaoss Pad is definitely one of those devices which is effective whether or not you "know how to use it." So start moving your finger around on that XY pad and you'll be good to go. But of course, if you're interested in diving deeper...

CLICK HERE for the official Korg Kaoss Pad MK3+ manual.


04 DAW INTEGRATION

Okay, so you've made a really cool beat and you want to capture it. Maybe you want to save the MIDI for later or use a MIDI sequence in your DAW to trigger the Bass Station. It's possible! All you need to do is place your laptop on the stand and plug it into the USB cable that is chilling there. The USB cable at this station can transmit MIDI and audio signals, meaning you can get your DAW's clock synced up with the system as well! 

This should work with any DAW, but let's go over Logic and Ableton, as they are two of the most popular.


LOGIC PRO X INTEGRATION

If you're having trouble getting your Logic project tempo-synced with the Beat-Making Station, navigate to Preferences > Synchronization > MIDI and make sure the interface's Clock box is checked. 

From here you can create an External MIDI track to capture MIDI from the interface or create an Audio track to capture audio. 


ABLETON LIVE INTEGRATION

If you're using Ableton, navigate to Preferences > Link MIDI and make sure that the interface's Sync box is checked on its input only, not its output. 

Also, make sure that in Ableton's transport bar that the yellow Ext indicator is present, which will let you know that there is an external clock controlling Ableton. 

From here, you can create a MIDI track to capture MIDI data from the station or create an Audio track to capture audio. 

Training Subject
Drum Programming
Tags
Creative Technology Center
Knowledge base
Last modified
01/20/2022 - 1:25pm
Author
mwagner2@berklee.edu