Setting up drums - what options?

*** noob alert - please don’t underestimate my ignorance and stupidity ***

I’ve working through videos etc and figuring out how GrooveAgent, Beat Designer and the drum editor work. All this is fine as far as one drum track is concerned. Now, before I get serious, I want to figure out the best drums configuration and workflow for me, getting each drum into a separate track for example, but there are a few things I don’t understand:

I think I will probably settle on using kits from GrooveAgent and building the patterns in Beat Designer, then dragging them into a MIDI drum track for the time being.

I get that you can build a song’s drum map in a single MIDI track and then there is an option to split it into separate tracks from the MIDI menu. I get that you can assign different channel’s to each drum in GrooveAgent and then assign these channels to the appropriate tracks. Obviously I get the reason why I would want to do all this.

However I am at a loss how to edit these drum patterns after they are split into separate tracks - this is because you assign beat designer in the MIDI inserts section of a single track so I assume there is no way to get beat Designer to program patterns for multiple tracks.

So i thought well, maybe what you do if you want to change the drums down the line is to reprogram the source drum midi track then split it and remix it all over again.

But that sounds like such an obvious hassle with all sorts of problems attached as far as worflow is concerned that I figured there must be a better way to do it.

So to summarize my question: what is the best way (or best options) for setting up individual drum tracks assuming using kits from GA and writing patterns in BD and what is the best way to subsequently edit them?


Personally I’ve lways just used the piano roll editor and get along with it fine. Sometimes I’ll have the kik and snare on one lane, maybe hi hats on another lane, toms on another etc which makes it simple to copy over cymbal crashes or find and edit tom rolls later.

As long as each sound or group of sounds is going to a separate audio out (like all toms to one audio track, kik drum to its own audio track perhaps) then thats all easy to EQ individually, then I’ll usually route all those to a drum group for compression and whatever else it may need on all the drums and voila – maximum flexibility…

ty for reply.

I found this vid which for the first six or seven minutes looks like the guy’s doing exactly what you say if I understood you correctly.

That vid is more informative about using Cubase than a dozen talking tutorials IMO.

Hi Greg.

If you open Media bay and look for Pop rock toolbox you will find Groove agent preset and loops already set up.
You will have one instrument track with multiple outputs set up in the mixer. Individual outputs for kick, snare, hihat…

You need to load it as preset from mediabay if you want the mixer channels already setup for you.

Thanks. I’ll have a look at that.

I think I’m getting the gist of this:

If you are recording a live drummer you would mic up the individual drums and record them on (probably) separate audio tracks, then obviously each would be individually present on the mixer.

However with Groove Agent you create a MIDI drum pattern track which drives Groove Agent. Then you assign each drum in Groove Agent to a separate output channel and set these up individually in the mixer.

The conceptual leap I needed was that the path is MIDI drum track -> Groove Agent -> mixer (as opposed to drummer -> audio tracks -> mixer) and it’s Groove Agent, not the MIDI drum track, that is responsible for splitting the drums across individual tracks in the mixer. I had previously been thinking in terms of Groove Agent -> MIDI drum track(s) - > mixer, hence my confusion.

A lot of it is down to preference and workflow once you’ve got your head around the options. Personally, I like to end up with all my drum sounds on their own MIDI tracks as well as the sounds themselves being routed to their own audio channels. I find it helps during composition and arranging to be able to move, say, a hi-hat pattern and a snare pattern around independently. If they are on a ‘global’ MIDI channel you can do it, but you have to select blocks of drum hits (or MIDI notes if using piano roll rather than drum maps) and it just always seemed easier to be moving MIDI parts that contain the individual patterns. Of course, the trade-off is the increased number of MIDI tracks you need to manage, but I think the track management in Cubase is pretty good now and so the trade works for me.

Other people will work differently, so I’d advise keep trying out different things until you land on the one that works best for you.

Yes, you’re on the right track Greg. :wink: