Us­ing Sam­ples With Groove Agent SE


Be­sides be­ing a use­ful drum ma­chine with a ton of pre­sets, Groove Agent SE can ma­nip­u­late full drum loops in some in­ter­est­ing ways

Load an in­stance of Groove Agent SE. By de­fault it opens with an empty Beat Agent kit in place. The Cre­ate Slices func­tion from be­fore cre­ated an Au­dio Part con­tain­ing a bunch of neatly sliced drum hits. Drag this to one of the GA SE pads (I rec­om­mend the bot­tom left pad mapped to note C1), and you have each of the slices as­signed to a dif­fer­ent pad (key).

Im­port a drum loop. If it’s not at the project tempo, use one of the élas­tique al­go­rithms to stretch it. The élas­tique Pro Tape al­go­rithm has the least au­di­ble ar­ti­facts, and is clos­est to sam­pling off vinyl. If the tempo is stored with the file, it will stretch au­to­mat­i­cally. Other­wise, en­ter the cor­rect tempo in Pool win­dow or use the Siz­ing Ap­plies Time Stretch poin­ter.

Dou­ble-click the au­dio to en­ter the Sam­ple Ed­i­tor. Head to the Hit­points tab and use the Thresh­old slider to ad­just which beats are de­tected. Some­times drop­ping the Thresh­old dras­ti­cally but in­creas­ing the Min­i­mum Length (be­tween sam­ples) de­liv­ers best re­sults. Prob­lem ar­eas can be ad­justed man­u­ally by en­gag­ing Edit Hit­points. Once you’re happy press Cre­ate Slices.

In the Pat­tern Pads, when im­port­ing the drum loop slices GA SE also cre­ated a pad ded­i­cated to play­ing back the full groove. It is a MIDI file that trig­gers the other in­di­vid­ual pad slices. You can tweak here via the Per­for­mance parameters, but you can delve deeper by edit­ing the pat­tern as a Cubase MIDI track. Drag the pad con­tain­ing the pat­tern to the Project win­dow.

Once the pat­tern is back in Cubase, notes can be re­ar­ranged, quan­tised and deleted. In GA SE, ex­plore the Main tab in Edit. Switch Play­back Qual­ity to Turntable for a more lo-fi sound. This can be em­pha­sised by us­ing the Bit Red op­tion un­der Fil­ter Type and in­creas­ing the Dis­tor­tion pa­ram­e­ter while low­er­ing cut­off. Also ex­plore al­ter­ing pitch and adding a fade-out.

Press­ing a pad (or with GA SE in MIDI Fol­low mode if us­ing an ex­ter­nal MIDI con­troller) up­dates the pa­ram­e­ter val­ues in real time. By de­fault you can ad­just parameters on a per pad ba­sis. If you’re feel­ing am­bi­tious, you can con­fig­ure edit­ing to work at the sam­ple level, with up to eight sam­ples per pad (best when em­ploy­ing lay­er­ing to cre­ate your own sounds).

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