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How to Make Beats

Learn how to make your own beats with this essential guide for beginners.

Don't know where to start? We provide clear instructions on the hardware and software your going to need.

Become the producer you always dreamed of being and read on...

How to Record Drums
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Tech Tips Articles

- How to Rap

- How to Use a Compressor

-Protools Tutorial - How to use
  effects automation

- Protools Tutorial - How to make
  Electro House Music

- Ableton Live Tutorial - How to
  use the Vocoder effect

- Ableton Live Tutorial - How to
  make a Hip Hop drum groove

- How to Manipulate Vocal
  Samples in Ableton Live

- How to Manipulate Drum Loops
  in Ableton Live

- How to Produce Like Timbaland
- How To Record Drums

- How to import Apple Loops into

- How to record & Mix Vocals

- How to Record Rap Vocals

  in your Home Studio

- How to Produce Rap Vocals

- Sequencing Secrets

- How a Good Engineer Should
  prepare for a Recording Session

- How to get a Massive Drum
  Sound with Room Ambience

- Hip Hop Samples & The Law

- How to Use Auto Tune Antares

- How to Create a Vocal Stutter

- How to Create Hip Hop Horns

- The Lost Art of Mixing

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Drum Loops available for instant download.
How to Make Beats - The Beginners Guide

Author: David Hogan
Published: November 2011

Beat Maker Mixer Okay, so you want to learn how to make beats and you need some insight on how to get started. 

You have some money saved and you need to know how to get some bang for your buck without breaking the bank. 

Well you’re in luck – in this article we will cover what you need to get going and how to do so.

The first thing you will need is your equipment.  You must have a computer, Digital Audio Workstation software (DAW), and a MIDI controller (optional, but highly recommended).


For your computer, don’t sweat over MAC or PC, both are capable of doing the job well.  The debate on which of the two is better really just comes down to preference.  Personally, I like the MAC better, but if you ask my boss he’ll tell you the PC is where it’s at. 

Let the debate continue…

I will say that MAC’s are a lot more expensive.  If you don’t quite have the money for one – don’t fret – go with PC.  You can probably get a PC with the same performance specs for half the price. 


A lot of music software is labor intensive and will eat up your computer’s resources, so make sure you have some decent hard drive capacity and memory (RAM).  You will need at least 1GB of RAM, but I highly recommend four or more, as well as getting a back up hard drive.

Digital Audio Workstations (DAW)

A Digital Audio Workstation is any software platform that allows you to create, edit, record, and playback audio/music on a computer.  It’s commonly referred to in this article as a DAW.

Choosing A DAW

Screenshot of Fl Studio

FL Studio 10

If you own a PC I would say definitely get FL Studio (Fruity Loops) for your first DAW software.  It’s significantly cheaper than its competitors and is a great program to learn starting out.  Depending on your budget, different versions of FL Studio range from $50 to $200 – get whatever version you can afford.

If you own a fairly new MAC your computer should have Garageband pre-installed.  Garageband is basically just a stripped down version of Logic Pro, which is great for a beginner.  My advice would be to learn the ins and outs of Garageband until you start to feel comfortable with it and then upgrade to Logic Pro.

Screenshot of Garageband


Screen Shot of Logic Pro

Logic Pro

I use Ableton Live and Logic Pro on a daily basis. Ableton Live is probably the most complete DAW available, but I would recommend holding off on purchasing it until you gain some experience. 

Ableton Live Screenshot

Ableton Live

MIDI Controller

A MIDI Controller is basically a device that allows you to communicate and work with the virtual instruments in your DAW.  Most often times a MIDI controller comes in the form of a keyboard with standard black and white piano keys.  You will use this keyboard to create your beats.

Oxygen 49 MIDI Controller

I use an M-Audio Oxygen 49 MIDI keyboard.  I think it cost me about $150, but you can find MIDI boards for as cheap as $50.  I would recommend getting a controller with at least 49 keys. 

If you can’t afford one there are still ways to make music in some of these DAW’s without it, but it’s a major pain in the butt.  Do yourself a favor and get a MIDI controller. 

A lot of music stores sell used gear for cheap.  If I were on a budget – that would be the first place I would look for a lot of this equipment. 

Monitor Speakers

Technically you don’t have to have monitor speakers to start creating beats. You could use any speakers that hook up to your computer, but trust me when I say you’re going to want to get a pair of quality monitor speakers at some point - in this case, the sooner the better. 

Monitors speakers are professionally designed for studio use and engineered to give you the true tonal (flat frequency response) qualities of an audio signal.  They are crucial to getting a tight, clean mix on your beats and not to be over looked.

KRK Studio Monitors Monitors speakers are professionally designed for studio use and engineered to give you the true tonal (flat frequency response) qualities of an audio signal.  They are crucial to getting a tight, clean mix on your beats and not to be over looked.

I own a pair of KRK Rokit 5’s – cost me a $150 a piece, but they’re worth every penny.

Audio Interface

MBox Audio Interface To use monitor speakers you will need to have a hardware audio interface. 

This is basically a hub that will allow you to use your analog gear (like your speakers and most microphones) in conjunction with your computer. 

I use an MBox 2 that I bought with Pro Tools A while back.

Other Jargon And Things Worth Mentioning


As you become a producer you will undoubtedly be brought into the world of third party plug-ins.  These software programs are invaluable tools and can be anything from virtual instruments and sound libraries to effects and sound processors like compressors and Equalizers.  Plug-ins work in conjunction with your DAW and give you an additional depth and dimension your DAW might not have.

Here is a list of companies that make some great third party plug-ins worth looking into.

  • IK Multimedia
  • REFX
  • Spectrasonics
  • Native Instruments
  • Waves
  • Antares

Audio Loops And Samples

Chillout Loops Tech House Samples Soul Loops Electro House Loops

Loops and samples are a big part of the modern producer’s game and they can give your productions a big boost.  By definition an audio loop is just some melodic or percussive sequence that repeats itself over a given period of time. 

I look at loops as inspirational building blocks for your beats. You can easily sample a hot loop and layer your own instruments around it to create some great beats!

To get your hands on some quality loop and samples be sure to check out our products here at PlatinumLoops. We have a massive selection of genres, styles and instruments.

Setting up Your Equipment and DAW Preferences

Setting up all of this equipment can seem a bit daunting at first especially if you’ve never done it before.  My advice is to take your time and do it neatly.  You don’t want cords all tangled up and equipment scattered everywhere.

First, make sure your DAW is installed and that your MIDI keyboard and monitor speakers are hooked up to your computer properly.  All equipment should come with instructions, but here’s a diagram that should help simplify everything.

Home Studio Flow Diagram

Once you have everything setup correctly, load up your DAW and locate its preferences Menu.  Select your Audio preferences and make sure your Input / Output device selection is set to your Audio interface.  This will ensure you get sound coming out of your monitor speakers and not the ones built in to your computer. 

Audio Preferences

Check your MIDI preferences as well and make sure your DAW is recognizing your MIDI keyboard – after that you should be good to go.

Now, the fun begins - you can start making your own beats.

I’ve put together a quick vid on how to build a beat working with a loop and Logic Pro.  This should give you some idea on how to get cranking out some quality productions very quickly.


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Other Audio Production Tutorials  

- How to make Beats - The Beginners Guide
- Protools Tutorial - How to use effects automation
- Protools Tutorial - How to make Electro House Music Fast & Easy
- Ableton Live Tutorial - How to use the Vocoder effect
- Ableton Live Tutorial - How to make a Hip Hop drum groove
- How to Manipulate Vocal Samples in Ableton Live
- How to Manipulate Drum Loops in Ableton Live
- How to Produce Like Timbaland
- How To Record Drums
- How to import Apple Loops into Garageband
- How to record & Mix Vocals
- How to Record Great Rap Vocals in your Home Studio
- How to Stack & Polish Rap Vocals
- Sequencing Secrets
- How a Good Engineer Should prepare for a Recording Session
- How to get a Massive Drum Sound with Room Ambience
- Hip Hop Samples & The Law
- How to Use Auto Tune Antares & Tame it with Melodyne
- How to Create a Vocal Stutter Effect
- How to Create Lush Hip Hop Horns
- The Lost Art of Mixing and How to Mix
- How to Use a Compressor
- How To Rap
- How to Build your own library of Hip Hop Drum Samples
- How to create a Gated Synth effect
- How to Beef up your drums with Parallel Processing
- How to make a Dirty South Beat
- How to make a sinister Dubstep Beat
- How to make a Rusko Style Bass Synth in Massive
- Free Ableton Template for Dubstep
- Create a Pitch drop wobble synth in Ableton
- How to Make a Skrillex Reptile Bass in Massive
- How to Create a Wobble Bass in Logic Pro
- Free Dubstep Samples - Dubtropilis (220 Mb)
- Free Massive Presets for Dubstep
- Download Dubstep Presets for Massive
- Free Ableton Song Template for Dubstep
- Free Logic Pro Song Template for Dubstep
- How to Layer FX and Fills to Create Song Transitions
- Howto Master a Track in Logic Pro
- How to Create a Screaming Wobble Synth in Garageband
- How to reduce Vocals from a Sample in Logic
- How to Create Songs in Garageband using Loops
- Free MIDI Drum Loops - The Most Sampled Breaks
- Free Hip Hop MIDI Drum Loops - Most Famous Breaks
- How to work with Rex2 files in Reason
- How to use Abletons Beat Repeat

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