How to Make Beats: 3 Essential Beat-making Plugins - Careers in Music
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Technology is amazing. It has made making beats a thing anyone can do, not just the people with the big fancy recording studios.

In this post, we’ll be covering how to make beats with three audio plugins you can download today. Right now.

Once you read this blog, you’ll better understand how to make beats with:

  • Addictive Drums 2
  • Regroover

Music Theory Is Important in Beat Making

Before we get into the three beat-making audio plugins, let’s cover the basics of making beats.

Don’t be scared of the term “music theory.” It makes me shudder sometimes.

Music theory can simply mean a basic understanding of music.

So if you have no musical training (even self-training), it’s going to be very hard to make dope beats. If you don’t play some sort of instrument — piano, guitar, even bass guitar — you may have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to making beats.

You see, being able to make good music requires you to know what makes music good. How do you combine notes so they sound well together?

You don’t need to learn how to read sheet music, you just need to know how to form basic chords, a few basic scales, and the general idea behind a chord progression.

There are plenty of ways to learn the basics. For example, just go to YouTube and search “simple music theory” and you’ll find some pretty helpful videos.

Beat Making Is Both Artistic and Scientific

The scientific part of making beats is the music theory part — knowing how to put notes together to make a chord, melody, or harmony. Anyone who’s determined enough can learn basic theory.

But what separates the great beatmakers from the amateurs is the artistic side of things. The art side involves learning how to play the actual beats and notes: how to play them well.

You also have to have an artistic ear to be able to choose the right sounds and instruments. If you have a song that’s all beats and no melody or chords, it would probably sound pretty boring.

And there’s not really a way to teach or learn how to make art. The best way to understand how to do it is by watching others do it. Study the pros. The art you consume influences the art you put out.

If you want to start making sick beats faster, then watch other Producers do it. Again, YouTube is a great place to start, but you can also check out places like SkillShare or MasterClass. If you’re really serious, you could check out some classes offered at different music schools.

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Why Your Beats Are Super Important

A beat can make or break a song. You can take a great song and ruin it with a lackluster rhythm or over-energetic beat.

Human brains love repeating rhythmic patterns. The 4/4 pattern is the most common for a reason — it’s so easy for us to understand and feel. The beat you make for your song determines the groove, the pace, the pulse. It changes everything.

And that’s why the tools you use to make a beat need to be exactly what you need. Both the equipment and the software need to serve you. They need to serve the song.

So we’re going to briefly cover the equipment you’ll need as well as three plugins that can help you make some sick beats.

Addictive Drums 2

So you want that live drum sound. The problem is, you don’t know how to play and you can’t afford to hire a decent drummer.

Well, that’s no longer a problem thanks to Addictive Drums 2 by XLN Audio.

It’s a collection of drum sounds sampled from a real drum kit played by a real drummer. These sounds are then translated to MIDI so you can have that real drum sound at your fingertips.

What You Get

What you get depends on what pack you choose. You can pick one of AD’s curated packs, which include different kits in different genres. Or you can make a custom pack and pick the genre-specific kits you want.

These include kits like Modern Soul And R&B, Funk, and Studio Rock. Each kit is played and mixed in a specific way so as to fit the genre. Plus, each kit has a bunch of loops you can use, like “Slow Kick,” “Modern Tight Brush,” and “Big Funk,” to name just a few.

If you get the custom pack, you can swap out kits and try others, but you can have only a certain number at a time.

How To Use It

The way I like to use AD 2 is to find a loop that is close to what I need, then customize it from there. Simply open the MIDI item and add or delete MIDI notes wherever.

These kits are all pre-mixed so you won’t need to worry about blending all the different parts of the kit to make it sound good.


DRUM PRO from StudioLinkedVST is a free drum plugin that gives you sounds perfect for pop, hip-hop, and EDM. While AD 2 offers drums that sound real, DRUM PRO offers kits that purposefully sound electronic.

So if you’re making that type of music, this is a super fun plugin to play around with

What You Get

This free plugin gives you 20 different kits to choose from. Here’s the complete list of all the kits:

  • Hip-Hop Kits 1 through 8
  • Pop Kit
  • RNB 101 Kit
  • Trap 101 Kit
  • Vintage ASR
  • Vintage Boss DR 55
  • Vintage Drumstation 808
  • Vintage Drumstation 909
  • Vintage Drumulator
  • Vintage FairLight
  • Vintage SP
  • Vintage TR 808
  • Vintage TR 909

Plus, you have some effects at your disposal, like Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, and Reverb. You also have overall Volume and Volume control over each part of the kit. Each kit has two kicks, two snares, two claps, two high-hats, and four extra pads with various percussion sounds.

Pretty dope for a free plugin.

How To Use It

Unlike AD 2, this plugin doesn’t have loops for you to start with. But, using a MIDI controller, it’s super easy to make a beat. Then, after you’ve made a beat, you can open the MIDI item and adjust each note to be perfectly on time.

It really couldn’t be simpler to use.


Regroover is a piece of software that splits your drum loop into the different parts of the drum kit. It dissects a drum loop into its different parts and then allows you to make your own beat using those sounds.

It’s a pretty amazing audio plugin. It’s not free, but it seems you do get what you pay for.

What You Get

With Regroover Essential, you can split/unmix audio loops into separated layers and adjust each layer’s volume, panning, EQ, gate, compression, and stereo enhancement.

You can also use Expansion Kits, which allow you to make your own customized pad for beat making.

How To Use It

Basically, you upload a loop, Regroover analyzes it, and then gives you the different parts (snare, high-hat, kick drum, etc) in separate layers. You can then drag and drop specific sections of those layers to the Expansion Kit and make your own pad.

You can do a whole lot with Regroover. They have a bunch of tutorial videos on their website that walk you through the different things you can do. It’s worth checking out.

What Are You Waiting For?

Thanks to companies like XLN Audio, StudioLinkedVST, and Accusonus, any home studio Producer and start making professional-sounding beats right away.

And because there’s a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, you can easily learn how to make beats, get familiar with basic music theory, and improve by watching other Producers.

There’s now no excuse to NOT make beats. What are you waiting for?

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