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A Hidden Feature in Ultrabeat

Sequencing with virtual drum machine in Apple's Logic Pro 7 By Frank Moldstad

Ultrabeat's Step Sequencer
Ultrabeat, the virtual drum machine that ships with Apple's Logic Pro 7, can be used either as a standalone instrument or with Logic's step sequencer. But I generally use Ultrabeat as a freestanding instrument, because I like its built-in step sequencer. Also, working in Ultrabeat's interface gives quick access to all its parameter settings.

After setting up a pattern in Ultrabeat, I'll then record it into Logic as an audio wave by bouncing it while Ultrabeat loops for however long I want the pattern to run. Or, if I want to save it as a MIDI file instead, I'll use Logic's step sequencer to record Ultrabeat to an instrument track (this also opens up some interactive possibilities, because Ultrabeat can react to incoming MIDI notes as well as trigger its own).

But recently I discovered a new way of getting Ultrabeat patterns into Logic that doesn't require bouncing to a wave file or setting up Logic's sequencer -- the drag and drop method. This allows patterns to be dragged from Ultrabeat's step sequencer directly into an open track in Logic. As far as I can tell, this is an undocumented feature -- at least, I couldn't find any reference to it in the manual.

Ultrabeat's interface has deep control over synthesis parameters.

I stumbled across this while mousing over the Ultrabeat interface, when an inconspicuous rollover message popped up in the lower left hand corner that said "Drag to Arrange Window." So I dragged whatever it was into Logic's main Arrange window, and was surprised to see the entire 32-beat sequence appear as a MIDI file.

Drag from here into Logic
This enables a fast new workflow for creating and arranging Ultrabeat patterns. With Logic open, you launch Ultrabeat, create a pattern, and drop it into Logic. Once the sequence is there, the full range of Logic's MIDI editing capabilities are at your disposal. The MIDI pattern can be altered, drum sounds can be added or deleted, effects can be applied, etc. And with a controller keyboard, you can even play along with the pattern you've dragged from Ultrabeat, adding new elements on the fly.

To find the drag and drop option, hover your mouse over the dark gray rectangle at the extreme lower left hand side of Ultrabeat's interface, next to the word pattern. Click and hold it to drag the sequence you've created into Logic.

Once in Logic, MIDI patterns can be extensively edited.

The lesson is that it pays to stay alert, even in a program with which you're familiar. There's always the possibility of finding a hidden feature that will prove invaluable to your workflow.

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Related Keywords:Ultrabeat, drum machine, Logic Pro 7, step sequencer, bouncing, patterns, sequencer


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