If you’re pressed for time, or if you already know the basic concepts behind Beatmaker, then this walkthrough will get you started. You can always come back later to lookup more detailed explanations as you need them.
We will take a quick tour across all controls of UJAM Beatmaker. After this, you will have a good basic understanding of your drum tool.
We assume that you have UJAM Beatmaker installed on your computer. Ideally, you have a MIDI controller connected, and if not, you can click the on-screen Interactive Keyboard.
Make a sound and learn about the control keys
- Start your DAW and instantiate UJAM Beatmaker. A default style will load, and that’s a good starting point. Activate the Latch button. Now hit key C3 on your MIDI keyboard (or on the interactive keyboard) and UJAM Beatmaker will start playing a Verse pattern.
The Interactive Keyboard also doubles as a display for the MIDI notes UJAM Beatmaker is receiving. The keyboard is divided and properly labeled with the functions of the corresponding note ranges.
- Move up the white keys to go from Verse to Chorus and other song parts.
- Now try the black keys and notice how they behave differently. Intros play only once and then fall back to the previous Verse or Chorus, and so do Fills, while Breakdowns play while you hold them, and Endings finish off the song.
- Please note that Intros can be half a bar, one bar or two bars long.
- To gradually tweak the performance, turn the mod wheel up (or the Beat Intensity slider to the right down) and notice how the overall sound gets less energetic
- Move the pitch wheel (or the Kick/Snare slider) up to gradually mute the kick drum, or down to mute the snare. This is great for intermezzos and lead-ins.
Try the presets
At the top of the UJAM Beatmaker window you can load presets. A preset is always a complete UJAM Beatmaker setup, i.e. it will change the grooves as well as the kits and effects. At this point, just go through different presets and try different Style phrases to get an impression of the musical and sonic palette of UJAM Beatmaker.
Tell your player what to play
- Activate the Latch button. Now UJAM Beatmaker will keep playing even if you don’t hold a note. Let it keep playing.
- While the groove plays, go through the various Kits in the top left corner. Notice how they are descriptively named. Try hitting a drum (like e.g. SD1) and tweak the various control knobs.
- In the Mix section, turn the Amount control about 75% up, then go through the various Mix modes by clicking the little arrow. Notice how, again, the overall sound changes.
Finally, try your Beatmakers special control – the right slider of the Kit section. In EDEN for example, this would be the Kick Pump control.
Loading and saving presets
- You load presets by clicking either on the preset name in the menu bar, or step through them using the little arrows.
- Once you have changed any settings on the user interface, you can save that setting as a different preset.
- Click Save to overwrite the existing preset or click Save as to create user preset. Enter a name, done.
Special Controls in Mix and Kit Section
There are a few curved sliders that you can use with any Kit and Mix. Their placement is rather optical than logical so we’ll explain them upfront, and you can try them right now.
This slider is placed left of the Kit Section and hard-wired to the Pitchbend controller or wheel on your keyboard. Using this control, you can temporarily fade out the kick or snare.
Every Beatmaker has a dedicated special slider custom-built for that particular genre. The Special Sliders are located to the right of the Kit Selector:
Eden: Kick Pump
The Kick Pump control sends the Kick drum into a sidechain compressor, creating that typical super-compressed pump where the rest of the signal bows to the Kick Drum.
Dope: Vinyl Drive
The Vinyl Drive control simulates the effect of a retro turntable noise & compression. It adds dirt, punch and crackling to gradually age the sound of your beats.
Hustle: Bass Tune
A tuned long Kick Drum is an essential element in Beatmaker Hustle’s beats. The Bass Tune control lets you tune the Kick Drum across an octave.
Tip: You can automate this control to create accents or entire melodic figures throughout the track!
The Vortex slider creates the impression of sending the beat into a ... well ... vortex, whirling it around as you move the slider upwards. Use it to create mind-blowing risers and drops.
Technically, Vortex combines an LFO-modulated notch filter sweep with compression.
Styles and Parts
Although you can play individual drum kits, the real power of UJAM Beatmaker – particularly over audio loops – is in playing drum performances that you can real- time-control. All you need to do is tell your drummer which parts to play and when by using the Style section of the Keyboard, and it will create a complete song in a specific style.
In UJAM Beatmaker, drum performances are organized into Styles and Parts. There are 45styles, each covering a particular groove. Styles are broken down into song Parts: You’ve got intros, verses, choruses, breakdowns, fills, endings, and bonus parts called “Special”.
In this menu, you can select a style, organized by tempo.
Of course, you can select any Style for any tempo – the bpm indication is just a hint for that particular Styles’ musical comfort zone.
Song parts and how to play them
A Style always contains 23 song Parts and a Stop key, functionally laid out across the MIDI keyboard from C3 and upwards.
All Parts always play in sync with the main sequencer. This means you can jump between song Parts freely without retriggering the song Part. This is great for creating lively, non-repetitive drum performances.
Of each group in the Part – Intro, Verse, Chorus and so on – there are variations, increasing in intensity as you move up the keyboard.
Some of those song Parts loop, some play only once after you hit the key, while others only play while you hold a key.
Also, usually song Parts assigned to white keys are the looping Parts – Verses, Choruses and Special. In Latch mode, they keep repeating until you hit a different key.
Parts that start, end, or break up the song – such as Intros, Fills, Breakdowns, and Endings – are assigned to black keys.
- Breakdowns only play as long as you hold the key.
With Latch on, UJAM Beatmaker will keep playing after keys are released, until either Latch is switched off or the Stop key (B4) is pressed.
We recommend that you generally keep Latch on and stop playback using the Stop key (B4). It is easier to use UJAM Beatmaker that way, as you don’t have to worry about note lengths, particularly when using fills, intros or ending – you just fire off trigger notes.
You can use a Sustain pedal (or the matching MIDI cc# 64) as a temporary Latch when Latch is off. Lifting the sustain pedal stops playback when no keys are held.
Micro Timing Menu
At the top right of the Style section on the user interface, you’ll find the Micro Timing label. Click it to open a menu offering two performance options.
This three-way switch allows you to set drumming to half time, normal, or double time in relation to the song tempo.
You can use this as a fixed setting to adjust to an existing playback, or you can automate this control to add variation to your beat. Look for it in the automation menu of our Beatmaker DAW track.
Swing (Beatmaker EDEN)
Using this slider, you can gradually syncopate the beats of Beatmaker Eden. Turn the control up to move off beats towards a triplet timing.
This feature is also often called “Shuffle”.
Quantize (Beatmaker DOPE, Beatmaker HUSTLE)
The Quantize slider lets you gradually adjust how loose or tightly quantized your beats are. In the leftmost position, your beats are slightly “off timing” for a great groove and feel. In the rightmost position, beats are fully quantized, which is sometimes what you want to match them to other programmed tracks.
Changes the volume of the individual drum sound.
Controls how fast a drum sound decays. In the maximum position, the drum plays its original envelope. At the minimum position, every sound becomes very short; even the cymbals start sounding like staccato instruments!
Lets you tune the drums by six semitones in each direction.
Filter (Version 2 feature)
The filter knob lets you apply a Lowpass (turn left) or Highpass filter (turn right) to tune the overall tone of your drum instrument.
Lets you listen to a drum sound in isolation. This is perfect for temporarily checking and tweaking the sound of any instrument while the entire pattern is playing.
Removes the sound of a drum from the mix until you press the Mute button again.
Multiple Output (Version 2)
You can choose to send any Instrument Channel either to the Master Section (default) or to an Individual Output that will be fed to an Aux bus in your DAW.
The order in which Instruments are sent to the DAW is the same order as on the Interactive Keyboard, preceded by the Master Output.
Beatmaker sets up individual channels for all instruments individually – even HHTs and Toms have their own channels, with one exception: Cymbals are grouped to one Individual Output. Note: Mute and Solo can’t be used for drums sent to individual outs.
The exact setup of a multi-output Beatmaker will largely depend on your DAW, so we recommend checking out the corresponding instructions in your DAWs user guide. Usually, what you have to do is ...
- Instantiate a multi-output version of Beatmaker. This usually happens when selecting it from a menu of available virtual instruments, e.g. in the AU Instrument menu in Logic.
- Set up a number of Aux Channels for that multi-output instrument. In Logic, for example, after instantiating a multi-output Beatmaker, you will find a “+” icon in the Mixer channel of that instrument. Click it to create additional Aux buses and you’ll see and hear those Beatmaker channels you set to “Individual” separated out to those busses.
The Master Section processes the stereo output of Beatmaker, excluding the Instruments you’ve sent through Individual Outputs.
The Sweep control is a dual filter. With the knob straight up, the filter is bypassed. Turning the knob towards the minimum position applies the resonant low pass filter (LPF), creating a typical synthesizer filter sweep. Turning it towards maximum engages the high pass filter (HPF) – now the sweep shaves off the low end.
The Saturate Processor adds warm harmonic distortion to the master signal of Beatmaker, affecting the dynamic behavior as well as the overall dirtiness of the signal. In lower settings, Saturate creates a nice little lo-fi edge, whereas in higher settings of the control the sound will become pumping and distorted - which sometimes is exactly what you want.
The Maximizer is a popular audio processor that maximizes the perceived volume of a signal without actually raising its technical level. Higher maximizer settings result in the drums cutting through a mix even at lower levels, helping you avoid internal distortion in Beatmaker because of excessive volume levels.
Note: You will always want to find the right balance of Maximizer, Saturate and Volume settings depending on your material.
The Ambience knob lets you adjust the amount of space. Ambience can make the entire groove change its character from bone-dry to the Hamilton Mausoleum.
These two, the Sweep and the Ambience controls, can be automated in your DAW to create drastic sonic changes to the dynamics of your song.
Ambience Select (Version 2 feature)
Above the Ambience knob, you’ll find a menu for selecting one of the 6 available Ambience programs. By default, it reads “Mix Preset”, which means it uses the Ambience set by the Mix preset. Select a different one by clicking on the name or using the little arrows right next.