Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Percussion Grid

Creating Rhythmic Percussion with Bitwig Studio

Tutorial | Apr 25, 2022

In this video, I explained the process of creating a percussion loop from scratch. I used a kick drum, e-kick by Bitwig and a bass sound made with a polymer. I then layered high heads from Bitwig Studio and XO on top. I then used a Wavetable oscillator combined with a flanger with a lot of feedback and an envelope to create a metallic sounding percussion. I then used a gate repeater and an LFO to create rolls and shape the sound. I then used an XO module to ensure only one sound was active at a time. I also used Valhalla delay, distortion delay, and halftime to give it an extra metallic room sound with a bit of distortion. Finally, I used a Newfangled Elevate, some ducking, and a limiter to finish off the sound.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What is the kick drum sound that is being used?

The kick drum sound is an e-kick by Bitwig Studio.

How does the percussion grid work?

The percussion grid consists of a Wavetable oscillator that is going into a flanger with a lot of feedback to create a metallic sound. An envelope then modulates the decay time of the sound and a dice modulates the collar button of the flanger. The Wavetable position is modulated by the steps in the tune, and an LFO is used to modulate the rolls of the percussion.

What is the XO module used for?

The XO module is used to make sure only one sound is active at a time. Every time a trigger signal goes through the XO module, only one input can be true, meaning only one sound is playing at a time.

What kind of effects are used on the percussion sound?

On the percussion sound an FX chain is used consisting of a Valhalla delay, distortion delay, and halftime. This gives a metallic room sound with a bit of distortion, and the halftime creates a polyrh


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] Hey folks, welcome back to another video. I posted this on my social network over the weekend
[00:06.560] and I got a lot of requests. What did you do? How does it work? And this is exactly the
[00:12.840] video where I tried to explain what I did. And as you can see here, I have just a lot
[00:21.360] of drums here. Simple stuff. It was a kick drum, e-kick by Bitwig. Bass sound is made with
[00:30.520] a polymer. I have a clap sound. I also use the E-Clappier of Bitwig Studio. It's all just
[00:37.000] a sample layer on top. High heads are made with E-Hat by Bitwig Studio. Then I layer
[00:45.760] some high heads from XO here on top, I think, only two samples here, exactly. And then I
[00:52.680] have the percussion grid, of course, which creates these kind of percussion. And then together
[01:05.440] with the drums, I'm using this generator of patch here on the background, which creates
[01:09.000] some kind of atmosphere or music elements. This was basically the first patch I created.
[01:23.240] I wanted to make an ambient patch and then I thought, hmm, maybe I can add some drums
[01:28.680] to it and it would be sound nice. So that was the initial stage to create this patch. And
[01:38.040] then I created basically the rest. I created all the drums without the percussion. I sounded
[01:46.120] like this. And then I watched the video about the new syntax device by Electron, how they
[01:58.160] tweaked percussion sounds and so on on the module itself or on the device itself. I thought,
[02:05.720] then I can do somewhat similar stuff in the grid. So I tried to come up with some kind
[02:12.720] of percussion sounds or percussion grid. Now I ended up with this one here and I want
[02:18.800] to explain you what I did here in this one. And basically this is creating the sound
[02:26.800] itself. It's not so complicated. I have a Wavetable oscillator here and I use a wave
[02:32.160] table with a lot of overtones, which end of nice for creating percussion sounds. It doesn't
[02:44.280] matter what you choose here. It sounds a small amount different but not that much. But I usually
[02:52.280] tend to use wave tables with a lot of overtones. So let's stick with this one. A Wavetable
[02:58.880] goes into a flanger with a lot of feedback, which creates some kind of metallic sound.
[03:02.960] You can also try out different modes. They are kind of sound bit different. But I usually
[03:11.080] use a lot of feedback, which creates a nice metallic sound. And then after this, I'm
[03:16.040] using an envelope here which shortens the sound, get this percussion sounding envelope.
[03:30.400] Sounds quite metallic and like someone drums on some metallic things. You can see I'm
[03:39.320] modulating here the decay time. This is major with this dice or this one here. So every
[03:46.920] time I trigger basically a drum hit, I'm also modulating by random by chance decay time
[03:55.040] here. Just have a small little variations in the sound itself. Also this dice here modulates
[04:05.120] the collar button of the flanger, which gives you kind of a different sound tonality to
[04:10.360] the percussion sound itself. And the Wavetable position is modulated by the steps
[04:15.800] in the tune here. It goes directly into that here. And I change the position in the
[04:20.440] Wavetable all the time. And that's basically it for the sound itself. The rest is sequencing
[04:27.320] and creating note signals. So for the sequencing stuff, I'm using a triggers, nine notes pressed
[04:39.080] or put into 16 note grid. So you can see it synchronized. And then I'm going into a gate
[04:44.840] repeater, which basically repeats the percussion trigger really fast. But not every time, only
[04:52.520] at the end of a bar. So I'm starting out with the initial gate repeat of 10 seconds,
[04:58.160] which basically does nothing. In terms of it, it's basically just how you get the signal
[05:02.880] from here. It goes through that and 10 seconds are basically too long for that. And then
[05:09.280] I'm using an LFO here on top. So you can see with this shape here going into band modules
[05:15.600] and shaping the sound even more. Because this is a pretty long curve here. And I want to
[05:22.240] have this curve more like that. Well, long period, nothing. And then at the end, I want
[05:28.440] to have this small little ramp up. And this ramp up basically modulates the rolls. But
[05:36.520] every time this one here is at the highest point, I get some fast rolls in the percussion
[05:42.160] sound just so you can hear it. So I can show you this when I pull this down here. You can
[05:56.040] hear the rolls all the time. And you hear it? Right. So I have the rolls all the time that's
[06:13.760] not what you want, what I want. I want to have the rolls only at the end of a bar. So I
[06:18.160] use this LFO to dial this in. Okay. So that's what I did here with these gate repeats.
[06:29.240] And I synchronized this to 32 node kind of grid, which is double, double of 16 of course.
[06:38.840] So I've, yeah, this kind of rhythmic feel created with this edge here. Then I have the
[06:48.560] second sound generation part here, which does basically the same as the first, but without
[06:55.120] the rolls. So this part is missing here. And I also pitched this down to octaves kind
[07:05.040] of on it sound nice. And you can also try out these different wave tables. It all sounds
[07:18.040] a bit different and a bit gives it a different tonality. But the concept is the same as above
[07:25.720] here, right? And then as a, as a trick, I used to have this XO in between. So every time
[07:31.600] this triggers or this triggers, these trigger signals going through this XO module, which
[07:38.880] means only one input can be true. So it plays either this sound or this sound, but not
[07:46.000] both sounds at the same time. So only one sound is active at the time. That's basically
[07:53.480] what this XO does here. And then with this trigger, I go of course into, into a sample
[08:04.500] note here, which holds the nodes. And I don't use it for the triggers. So you both sounds
[08:10.760] and play at the same time, but only one sound is holding the node basically. You could
[08:20.000] also go maybe into that like this and then use it like this, right? This was also possible.
[08:28.240] But I just decided to use it that way. It's a personal preference. And yeah, for the
[08:35.080] signals or for the pitch signals, I use my usual base in sign mode and T new word and
[08:41.520] then pitch quantize patch, which creates kind of random nodes. You can change the nodes
[08:48.160] by changing the sign mode here a bit. So you get a different feel or different pitches
[08:54.040] for each percussion sound. And that's basically it. That's, it's nothing really complicated at
[09:01.400] all. Just no generation, trigger generation or sequencing here and then no generation
[09:08.880] here in a bit of modulation for when the roles happen. And that's it. The rest is like
[09:18.080] I said, hi ads, everything basic Bitwig's stuff. And then you have to dial in the right
[09:27.600] loudness. Oh yeah, also important, the FX chain of this percussion sound here or percussion
[09:41.280] creator. I'm using Valhalla delay here, distortion delay and halftime. And without it sounds
[09:50.960] pretty much dry. So I'm using Valhalla to get this metallic room sound. I get a bit
[10:04.680] of distortion. It's maybe too much. But maybe you do drum and bass and you want to go for
[10:14.960] that sound exactly or maybe big beat or I don't know. Just a bit of distortion to get
[10:26.360] this real, real object feel. A bit of delay. And then the halftime here, which basically
[10:41.520] plays the same sequence I have already have, but plays it back to, yeah, halftime basically
[10:50.360] in off the time. It's slowed down by two here. And a simple two bars. So this gives you
[10:58.800] this kind of polyrhythmic feel. Right is the same sequence just halftime. It then makes
[11:11.400] together with the original sound. And that's it. Then you mix it in with the drums.
[11:42.400] And then we have here this generative patch I started basically with. And this is available
[11:55.840] for free. It's one of my generative patches, the link is in the description below. So you
[12:00.480] can download this for free and use it in your Bitwig studio to get maybe get a different
[12:06.880] starting point. I just have some fun here tweaking some knobs. So yeah, I started basically
[12:15.480] with this and I thought maybe I had some drums. And that's how this track came together.
[12:24.880] It's actually not a track. It's just a loop looping forever. I used to, yeah, I like to use
[12:40.880] your goal force also to get some resonance out because you never know what's peaking or
[12:46.720] what not because it's kind of generative and everything is modulated randomly. So I'm
[12:53.760] trying to use some intelligent issues like goal force to get the resonance out and trigger
[12:59.000] it a bit more. And then a lot of processing, of course, on the buses and control to bring
[13:13.960] out your everything between the drums. Also on the balance, the spectrum. Then I have
[13:20.320] a newfangled elevate here also in there. I just deactivated because it introduces a lot
[13:24.560] of latency. And then a limit at the end. That's basically it.
[13:31.520] Some bit of ducking here. So I'm using a note side chin input from the kick drum, modulating
[13:37.400] the out of the polymer for the bass. So I get this ducking every time the kick drum
[13:45.800] plays. Yeah, you can download the whole project for Bitwig on my Patreon or on my YouTube
[14:10.160] subscription service membership thing as a premium subscriber. So you can download the
[14:17.480] whole thing and can play around with it or just use the percussion grid if you want in
[14:21.720] your own projects. But like I said, you can easily re-build this
[14:26.880] here from the picture itself. It's nothing complicated. So yeah, that's it. I think for
[14:33.520] this video to explain everything. And I hope you learned something. Thanks for watching.
[14:38.880] I'll see you in the next video. Bye.