We have collaborated with the wonderful people over at Accusonus to bring you, our members, some fantastic prizes. the winners of our brand new BeatRace competition will win copies of Accusonus Regroover and Beatformer.
Beatformer is a plug-in that Accusonus claims will enable you to 'musically sculpt your beats', while Regroover is an innovative sampler that allows you to completely reimagine your drum loops. Both plug-ins are 64-bit, and are available for Mac or PC in VST, AU and AAX versions.
We will delve into Beatformer first. The plug-in is built around four rotary controls, although there are actually more than a dozen processors working 'under the hood'. This is a common feature of Accusonus plug-ins; although there is complex processing taking place, the user interface is kept simple and easy to use. The four controls are named Punch, Squash, Boom and Air. Punch alters transient length and the sustain of your drum signal, while Squash works primarily as a compressor/expander, although it sounds like there are other processes, such as distortion, being dialled in with this control as well. Boom is used to add a sub bass punch to bass heavy percussion. A nice touch is that you are able to tune the sub to the key of your track with a drop-down menu. The final control, Air, is for adding or subtracting high frequencies to your drum sound; useful for adding life at the top end of a mix if you dial it up, or removing unwanted hi-hats from a drum loop if you dial it down.
These controls can be individually effective on a drum sound, adding character or helping it to sit in a mix. However, it is when you combine multiple controls simultaneously that you realise just what breath-taking range this plug-in has.
Regroover is essentially a sampler designed to work specifically with drum loops. However, describing it in this way really only hints at what this plug-in is capable of. The fundamental idea of Regroover is that it allows user to reach into drum loops and edit component parts of the loop individually. Regroover's 'Artificial Intelligence engine' will analyse any loop that you load up, and will separate it into component 'layers'. Do you want to mute the kick? You can do it at the touch of a button. Would you like to lower the level of the hi-hats? Simply pull down the appropriate fader. This is just the starting point however, as Regroover also allows you to instantly remix the drum loop inside the plug-in, and in the Pro version of the software you can extract a single drum hit for use in your own kit.
Regroover's analysis generally seems to work very well, although how it performs obviously depends to some extent on the source material you provide it with. Thankfully, you are able to edit the layers manually if you need to. You can exclude specific drum hits from one layer (perhaps a low tom has shown up on a layer that is otherwise made up of kick drums), and re-analyse the loop; at which point Regroover will split this excluded content between the other available layers that best suit its transient and frequency content.
As mentioned above, the Pro version allows you to extract single hits from your loop. From here you can load these hits into a kit inside Regroover itself. Further editing is then possible; envelope shaping, start and end times, volume and pan etc. This is a nice addition, as you are able to trigger these hits with midi while playing back the main loop, allowing you to easily add variation to your drum pattern.
Beatformer and Regroover are very different plug-ins, but what they have in common is the capacity to fundamentally alter your approach to producing drums; from composition through to the mixing process.
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