Monday, June 21, 2010

Toontrack Beatstation demo and review!

Here is a great definition taken from the Toontrack software site....

Part sound design tool and part audio engine, Beatstation brings the best aspects of musical creativity together in one EZ and powerful virtual instrument that is sure to inspire greatness in your next composition or project.

Offering drum, bass and lead instrument creation & arrangement with drag and drop simplicity, Beatstation is your "go to" instrument for quickly getting a full groove up and running in no time at all. As if that's not enough, we've also added full midi and rex file support. Couple those features with the flexibility of working in Beatstation as a stand alone instrument or an AU, RTAS, or VST plug in inside your favorite DAW and Beatstation becomes a creative musical force to be reckoned with.

Beatstation lets you combine your exisisting Toontrack EZX & SDX drum libraries together to create one of a kind drum kits and sounds. From basic musical sketches to lavish complete productions - Beatstation gives you the tools and freedom to design your own musical agenda any way you want to.”

This is a decent enough definition, but even this lacks many important details. What I am referring to here is all of the easy to add and easy use effects, all of the layering possibilities, and all of the fun that this product ships with!

I received a copy of Beatstation from Toontrack software , just to play with, and what I have found out about this clever product is that a new world has unfolded right in front of my ears!

Ever since the first video snippet on YouTube, from Toontrack, Beatstation has looked like just the exact product that I was looking for! Beatstation offers us all a way to quickly sample any audio and then incorporate that sample of audio into midi triggered pads, and then work it into our favorite midi files! The only question I had was “Where do I sign up?” I have been looking for just this exact thing for some time now. Allow me to explain.....

For some time now I have wanted to create a song that uses only a certain couple of midi loops as percussion. I wanted a way to signify the chorus from the verses by triggering different samples (that I could perhaps layer)with the same midi loop notes. Adding my own audio sample as a layered sample would be gravy, Beatstation had me at just layering Toontrack software samples with the same midi note.

I suppose that if I were to stay up for a week straight, I might come up with a way to layer my midi notes and then add audio samples to that, while using Pro Tools, but the the results would be way less that perfect. Well, with the Beatstation sampler and midi layering pads do this very thing, effortlessly, with drag and drop ease, and in no time at all! Awesome indeed!

At first I failed to realize that Beatstation is also a RTAS plug in. Yep, I rushed to play with Beatstation as a stand alone instrument app, and started to wonder how I might ever use this fun tool while writing music in my DAW. Well, now I know exactly how to do just that!

Opening Beatstation up on a stereo instrument track, in Pro Tools, allows the impossible. In seconds flat I had found the needed midi loop, and altered it to my song. What I did was layer sounds onto the desired midi pads found in Beatstation , and then added effects to each pad. Done!

As the video shows, Beatstation is a way to get the exact sounds that you hear in your head, in no time at all. The effects are wonderful in sound, and easy to adjust. The different volume amounts make it a synch to get the perfect mix of level and amount of effect “wetness” in each pad.

After I got the exact results that I was looking for, I simply bounced the loop onto a new stereo track. Then, it was onto the chorus loop. This was the same midi loop, but I needed to set it apart somehow. I did this by a combination of fast and easy layering, and then with selecting some other effects. Now I was ready to add guitars, bass, and then my vocals. My work flow is not the only thing that I have improved with Beatstation , nope, my creativeness has gone through the roof too. I would have never achieved such unique sounding loops if it were not for Beatstation .

As I learn more about adding Rex files into Beatstation , I will bring you all along with me by posting more videos. Heck, it is the least I can do!

Go here to see more great videos dealing with the new Beatstation from Toontrack software!

Before I leave you for the week, I must add a series of “thank you's”. Thanks to everyone that has entered the Home Recording Weekly songwriting contest. I have given away one prize already, and this months contest is underway. Thanks for allowing me to listen to, and enjoy your creations. There are so many great songs, it really is very hard to deem one better than another. So, I don't! I simply choose the one song that seems to be more of a well written song, verses a better recorded song, or a better singer or guitarist, or whatever! This is the only way to be fair!

Feel free to let others know that you were here by leaving any comments here, on the Home Recording Weekly blog! Thanks for stopping by!!!

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