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In this video, I am going to show you a quick way to create a drum loop using MIDI. Let's start with the stereo instrument track with Xpand2 on it and a click track. I am going to open up Xpand2 here. We are going to see that I have the Session Drums preset loaded up. And it's got a Kick, Snares, Hats+Toms+Cymbals, and some Natural Percussion. Let's take a listen to what we've got. And this is basically the beat that I want to create. I am going to be using the kick, the snare and the hi-hat to do something like this.
(Music Playing) So the first thing that I want to do is choose Loop Playback, and that's up here. I am right-clicking in the Transport on the play button, and I want to make sure that the Loop Playback is chosen. And you should note that this is Loop Playback not Loop Record. We don't want to use Loop Record for this. I have also got the MIDI control shown down here, and I am going to have all of them active. So I want Wait for Note, I want to have the metronome going, I want to have MIDI Merge active, and we will have the Conductor Track active so that Pro Tools fall as what we have here as the default tempo and meter.
Next I am going to go up to the Event menu, choose Event Operations > Input Quantize, and I am going to enable Input Quantize. Then I will change my Quantize grid to an 8th note, because that's the smallest subdivision of the beat that I am going to be creating. Next, I am going to highlight two bars, and that will be our selection that's going to loop around. So now what I am going to do is record one instrument at a time: the kick, the snare, and then the hi-hat. And I am going to try to create a beat like this, so I am going to practice just a minute.
(Music Playing) But I'm going to actually do each piece of those individually on a loop, adding them one by one, so that you don't have to be a drummer to actually create a loop like this. You can record each piece separately, and here is how we are going to do it. I'm going to record-enable the track. And since Wait for Note is active, we will initially just hear the click track, and then as soon as I hit the first note, Pro Tools will store loop-recording over this two-bar phrase.
I will start by adding the kick drum, then the snare, and then the hi-hat, and then the fourth time through the loop, I will just let the loop play without adding anything, so you can hear it. (Music Playing) So now we have all three parts here on the track: the kick notes down here, the snare notes here, and the hi-hat track here.
I will press play one more time, and we will hear it. (Music Playing) Now, how easy was that? We recorded one instrument at a time, and they are all three here layered on top of each other because MIDI Merge was active, and they are all aligned to the grid because we had Input Quantize on. So with just a few steps, you can create beats that are locked to the Tempo grid and sound great. Practice this technique and revisit this video if you have any questions about the steps involved, but most importantly, have some fun making beats.
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