Beat producers are always looking for new and innovative ways to create unique and fresh drum beats for their productions and one such method involves taking two drum beats and processing them into a single new beat. We call this process ‘mashing’ or ‘mashing up’. The idea arose when two songs were mixed together (mashed) to produce a new song. This technique was then adopted and used to mash different elements from two existing songs into one: be it the drum beats, bass lines or anything else for that matter.
The process of mashing two drum beats together is not that complex but if the beats are running at different tempos then some lateral thinking is required to decide which beat needs to be time-stretched to fit the other beat and which elements are to be used from one beat to the other.
Time stretching is the process of changing the speed or duration of an audio signal without affecting its pitch. Pitch scaling or pitch shifting is the reverse: the process of changing the pitch without affecting the speed.
If you take a sample and assign it to a key in a sampler and then play the sample further up the key span you will invariably hear the sample get higher in pitch and shorter in length. It is the same as playing a record at a faster speed. The pitch changes and the time it takes for the record to play from beginning to end is far shorter than at the original speed.
Time stretching is simply a mathematical process and there are many software that provide time stretching as a standard function. For time stretching to work sensibly you need to know the original tempo of the sample so as to then advocate a new tempo for the sample to be stretched to or compressed to (time compression). Be aware that stretching a sample too much will cause all sorts of anomalies and sometimes these anomalies are used as an effect (robotic effect used in Electro genres etc).
Time-stretching is important when it comes to mashing two drum breaks into a single new break. Not only is it important in getting the right timing in place for the new beat but also for the note duration of each element within the two drum breaks. The minute you slow down a beat the note lengths of each element be it the snare, hats or kick, will also change. So it is important to make sure the individual drum sounds (elements) are all exactly as presented in each beat and for that to happen we need to use time-stretching as opposed to pitch shifting.
In the video I take two urban drum breaks and mash (combine) them into a new drum beat. I explain how to calculate the BPMs of each break and how to use Cubase’s built-in time-stretching tools to time-stretch one beat to the exact tempo of the other beat. I then show you how to create hitpoints using Cubase’s audio editor and to convert these hitpoints into slices which can then be triggered via midi. I explain how to use drum replacement software (WaveMachine Labs Drumagog) to replace the drum elements (individual drum sounds) of the new drum break so as to create completely new fresh drum breaks. I explain how to use Drumagog in detail and show you how easy it is to use existing samples from your library and have Drumagog trigger them as new sounds for the mashed drum break. I show you how to rip the timing information from a commercial beat and use it on the mashed beat. This ensures the drum beat has a great swing/groove feel to it.
Plugins used in this video:
Topics covered in this video are:
- How to Rip and Profile Beats
- Drum Replacement
- Matching Tempos
- Sync and BPM
- Mixing and Matching Beats
- Replacing Drum Elements
- Using Threshold and Sensitivity