Clunky workflow / does GrooveAgent 4 have a sequencer?

I use Cubase Artist 8 with Groove Agent SE. I use GA to create drum tracks for my indie/pop songs.

I find the GA workflow really clunky. What I typically do is select a kit in GA, design a pattern in beat designer, drop the pattern into the timeline (probably in multiple places), turn off beat designer so I don’t hear the drums twice, listen to the song, decide to change the pattern, turn on beat designer, edit the pattern, drop it back into the timeline, etc etc.

I guess a lot of people work this way but I find it frustrating because I just want to edit beats quickly and have those beats instantly update in my timeline, wherever they’re used in the song, so I can be faster and more creative with the drums and not be help up by a lengthy workflow.

Many years ago I did things differently… I had an old FL Studio plugin which had its own drum sequencer, which meant I could edit patterns and hear the results instantly. I’ve never used EZDrummer but it seems it might work in a similar way. This is how I’d like GA to work.

Does GA 4 (i.e. the full version, not SE) have its own sequencer which might solve my problems? Or am I doing something the wrong way with GA SE?


Why not just use a MIDI track directed to GA?

Does Artist not have the Diamond Drum Editor?

I always looked at GA as more of a groove ‘library’, where I could quickly load up pre-made grooves onto MPC pads, then trigger those from an MPC ‘groove track’ (a simple MIDI track dedicated to working with the MPC pads that trigger assigned GA grooves).

If I want to create from scratch, or ‘edit’ a custom groove, I’d simply do it on a MIDI track pointing to my preferred Drum Kit (be it GA, H5, MPC Essentials, or whatever I want) using the Diamond Drum Editor. That means I’d have a sequencer with unlimited numbers of tracks. I can always save/merge/freeze parts on this track as smf MIDI and/or audio loops that can be pulled into an MPC groove machine’s ‘internal library of sequences’ as well.

If I wanted to start with one of the loops or grooves from prefab content and edit that (I.E. for a different kit, or to add some other layer or kit piece), I could either load it directly into the DAW onto a MIDI track using media browser, or I can use GA’s live event record function to simply record it onto a part in real time, and then go back and edit it.

Really, you’ve got dozens of options on how to set up different work-flows in a GA, Cubase combo.

Hi Brian, thanks very much - it’s interesting to hear how you do it.

Just so I’m clear, do you mean you have patterns in GA which you trigger using the Diamond Drum Editor? So to put it simply a hit on D1 at the start of a bar triggers a chorus fill (or whatever) in GA? That does sound like a system that would suit me better… I didn’t realise I could do it. I’ll look into it.

Although I believe I’m right in saying that GA SE only has very limited (or non-existent) options in terms of pattern editing, which might scupper things.

Many thanks.

Sometimes…it honestly depends on what kind of music I’m making, and how much content I’m using from prefab libraries or live pattern generators VS my own custom ‘through composed’ grooves.

If I’m doing a through composed drum track…I don’t worry about the AG pattern player at all. I just build my percussion on MIDI tracks that trigger the individual kit pieces in GA and ignore all the GA ‘pattern building/playing’ features.

If I am using something like Acoustic Agent in GA to generate my percussion, then yes, I would drag the patterns I want onto MPC pads designated as part of a ‘pattern bank’, and trigger them via MIDI track, either during a live recording pass, or via the Scroll Editor (in this case I’d use the Key/Scroll editor instead of Diamond, because I also need easy control over when I ‘release the trigger key’). In this scenario, I’ve set up GA so that it only plays my patterns for as long as I’m HOLDING DOWN a key/pad. Again, I’m more or less ignoring some of the more powerful (live DJ style) features of the GA sequencer.

Note, when it comes to triggering patterns assigned to MPC pads…GA does give options far more geared to the DJ, Live Performer, or DPS style composer on how to trigger those things. You can indeed set up various latches and rules as to not require ‘holding the key/pad’ (as I described above). You can build it so it will endlessly repeat the last called pattern until you tap another pad. You can choose if it will finish playing a pattern/measure/etc, or jump instantly to the next one. These features are very attractive to people who like to simply start a bunch of things playing, and manipulate them live (and record all their live movements). I.E. Imagine a live DJ in a dance club with two or three turn tables going, plus multiple drum machines, a few synths, his Mics and effect processors, and on and on. Said DJ can start all this gear going…fade/punch/mute/solo what he wants to hear in and out on the Mixer (often using remote controllers that provide plenty of MPC style pads, jog wheels, scratch pads, an so forth), and be setting up his next texture/beat/mesh/effect in headphones until he’s ready to ‘fade or punch it into the mix’.

Anytime I want to simply build a pattern or sequence on my own, from scratch…I typically just use my preferred editor in the DAW, then import that into GA later if I decided I want it in there.

Note, GA has more than one type of engine for generating grooves within its own interface. Some kits and presets might offer you options through ‘Acoustic Agent’, which has a system of dials and buttons, along with an engine that can generate live percussion variations ‘on the fly’. Other presets might instead give you ‘lists’ of patterns to choose from, and a Diamond Editor for tweaking the loop(s). To get a better idea of what is offered here…it’s imperative to simply spend a bit of time ‘browsing’ all the kits and presets that came with GA. Peek at all the tabs and consult the OM when you want to get deeper into understanding the less obvious facets of all the patch and pattern engines it offers.

One thing that is different about GA…is that it integrates well with Cubase, so rather than build a bunch of extra displays and editors into GA itself…the engine instead hooks well into the plethora of editors and engines provided by the DAW itself.

I.E. If you wanted to sample your own drum kit from top to bottom. Instead of trying to do all this through GA itself…you’d just record into the DAW, using the endless features it provides to capture your samples. From there, you can just drag parts from the DAW right into GA and build your kit.

Building fresh patterns and grooves…similar concept. Since GA integrates well into Cubase, and shares its Media Browser, you can literally build a groove in the DAW on a MIDI track, and drag its parts right into GA.

So…if you’re used to seeing some feature in other MPC software that seems to be missing in GA…don’t forget that the DAW itself is pretty well tied in with GA, and there’s probably several tools in the DAW that can do it better anyway.

Forgive me if I have lost track of the thread here, but I just felt compelled to rant a little on the original question, “Does GrooveAgent 4 have a sequencer?”.
Well shucks yes! it may not be the most ideal sequencer out there, but I was just using it today! it works fine for a quick tweak to a pattern from GA4 itself. You can create or edit a MIDI pattern and access the Edit Tab for it, and the drum sequencer/editor is right there! I find it a little awkward only because Steinberg, in their infinite squnity eyed wisdom, does not allow one to expand the GA window size…(I would LOVE it if I could Maximize it so everything scaled up in size while I’m working in it!) If you have more than a 2 or 3 bar sequence, you have to use the scroll bar a lot to get around it! And the Sequencer tools that run along the top of the sequencer window Like the pencil, eraser etc, are awfully small… (they seem smaller then the corresponding ones in Cubase editors anyways).

A sequencer for Groove Agent…It’s called your DAW… :unamused: