Free Online Beat Composers (Part One)
Post date:Thu, 11/22/2018 - 10:18
While the melody of a song is important, you still need a good rhythm to provide the backbone of your music. So, while people may hum the melody of your song, it is going to be the beat to which they tap their feet. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for synth players to incorporate a good beat into their songs, using a variety of hardware and software options. However, if you find yourself with a break at work and the desire to put together a good beat for inspiration you might think that your options are rather limited. In reality all you need is a pair of headphones, your browser and an internet connection to have everything you need at your disposal. Whether you simply feel like playing around with different beats or you want something that can provide serious assistance with your next track, here are a couple of free online beat composers to help you out.
Drumbit is an online drum machine with a ton of features and a very intuitive interface. You have a number of different drum kits to choose from, including Jazz, Hip Hop, RnB, House, Dubstep and many others as well as a number of room effects. You can adjust the volume and pitch for each of the eight instrument channels as well as the panning, which is a nice touch. All the usual features are also present, such as adjusting the master volume, setting the tempo, listening to examples of drum patterns and enabling or disabling filters. The step sequencer is straightforward to use and, unlike many web applications, you can record with Drumbit and open or save your files. The Drumbit web app is free, but a plus edition is also available that increases the amount of patterns from four to sixteen, includes a few more room effects and features step sensitivity as well as user custom kits. Drumbit Plus is available from the Chrome Web Store for $1.99, but the free version has more than enough to keep you busy with.
Sequence is a drum pattern sequencer that features more than 400 unique drum samples. This means you have a wide variety of sounds to choose from, ranging all the way from electro to real drum kits. The nice thing about Sequence is that after creating your beats and composing your drum tracks you can then export everything to WAV files and use them in your other software. Sequence offers eight channels to work with, six slots for parts and a swing slider for added groove. You can ad more or less measures to your loop and adjust the number of divisions per loop if you wish. Overall, this is a solid drum pattern sequencer that is very easy to use and quite versatile.
Online Sequencer is more than just a drum pattern sequencer as it also includes a variety of other instruments to work with, including guitars and pianos. However, if it is the percussion that you are interested in, you'll be pleased with the drum kit, electric drum kit, xylophone, vibraphone and steel drums that it has to offer. The interface is easy to use and you simply left click to place and move notes. Right-clicking on a note erases it and you can zoom in or out for a better view of the sequencer. Online Sequencer allows you to adjust the BPM and your creations can be exported to MIDI.
HTML5 Drummachine is exactly what it sounds like, a free online drummachine that was created with HTML5. This means that while it might not be the best looking beat composer on this list, it does have most of the essential features and it is mobile friendly. HTML5 Drummachine comes with five different drum kits to choose from and the color of the interface changes with each one you select. It has thirteen different effects, ranging from "Kick" and "Snare" to "Shake," "Clap," "Crash" and more. The volume and tune of each effect can be adjusted and you can obviously change the overall tempo as well. When you are done with your creation, the whole pattern can then be exported as a WAV file.
If you are in the mood to mess around with the iconic 808, then Rhythm Composer i0-808 is worth a look. It functions using the Web Audio API and, while you don't get authentic 808 samples, the audio it has to offer still sounds pretty good for something that runs in your browser. The interface can be a little daunting for those who are unfamiliar with the original TR-808 hardware, but the developer has included a nice tutorial that can assist with that. Each of the drum sounds in i0-808 has timbral properties that can be tweaked in real time and since each pattern has two parts that you can program, this adds up to a 32 step pattern. Overall, i0-808 is an excellent tool for simply playing around with or to actually learn how to operate the original.
Join us for the second part of our article where we look at a couple of other online beat composers that are available, such as Beat Maker, Patternsketch, OneMotion Drum Machine and more.