Logic Pro X: Designing Electronic Drums Kits with Drum Machine Designer

By Graham English

Drum Machine Designer is a software instrument interface for building electronic drum kits and customizing drum sounds in Logic Pro X. Drum Machine Designer loads automatically with many of drummer’s library presets. Logic Pro’s Drum Machine Designer includes the following components:

  • Drum Machine Designer interface: Contains a drum grid for choosing drums and smart controls for shaping sounds.
  • Ultrabeat software instrument: The default sound engine used by Drum Machine Designer is Ultrabeat, but any software instrument in your library can generate sounds.
  • Track and channel strip group: Adding Drum Machine Designer to your project automatically creates tracks in the tracks area so you can record each drum sound separately. Channel strips are added to the mixer so you can shape the sound of each drum.

You can load Drum Machine Designer in the following ways:

  • Create a drummer track (choose Track→   New Drummer Track) and select any drummer character from the Hip-Hop or Electronic menus in the library.
    Drum Machine Designer Logic Pro X
    Drum Machine Designer on a drummer track.
  • Create a software instrument track (press Option-⌘  -S or choose Track →   New Software Instrument Track) and select any patch from the Electronic Drum Kit →   Drum Machine Designer menu in the library. (Press Y to open the library.)
  • Create a software instrument track and select Drum Machine Designer from the instrument slot in the channel strip inspector. (Press I to open the inspector.)

Exploring the Drum Machine Designer interface

The top half of Logic Pro’s Drum Machine Designer interface contains a drum grid. Each cell contains a drum sound. The lower half of the interface contains smart controls that dynamically update depending on the selected cell. If you click the header at the very top of the plug-in interface, the smart controls area will update to show controls that affect the entire drum kit.

Drum Machine Designer interface Logic Pro X
The Drum Machine Designer interface.

Playing drums and kit pieces in Logic Pro X

Click any of the cells in the drum grid to play the drum sounds. You can also play the drum sounds with your MIDI controller. Each drum cell has a corresponding MIDI note visible at the bottom-right corner of the cell to help you determine which notes to play on your controller. If Drum Machine Designer is loaded on a drummer track, you can play the drum sounds with the drummer editor.

Editing drum sounds in Logic Pro X

You can change drum kits and individual drum sounds by selecting patches in the library (Press Y to display the library). Click the plug-in header and select a patch in the library to change the entire drum kit. Click a cell and select a patch to change a single drum sound.

Adjust individual drum sounds by clicking a cell and using the smart controls. When you hover your cursor over a drum cell, mute and solo icons are visible. Click the mute icon to silence the drum sound, and click the solo icon to mute all other sounds. You can also drag audio files onto the cells and save them as patches for use in other kits.

The drum grid has multiple pages of drum cells. You can reorder your drum cells by dragging them to new locations. Reordering your drum cells won’t change the corresponding MIDI note or change the sound in any way, but it can help you organize your kit and get the sounds you need on the same page.

Wow. Drums are a big deal. And Logic Pro X puts a lot of resources into making beats and banging drums. But more importantly, the intuitive interfaces and raw power of Logic Pro X make it easy for you to give your drums the attention they deserve. You can have control over the smallest detail, or you can have Drummer and Ultrabeat play for you.