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How to create a minimal drum groove in your DAW

Here's how to create a minimal house groove with samples and a few stock effects.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Our minimal beat starts with a 4x4 groove at 122bpm. We use a selection of sampled drums – minimal staples of a 909 snare and closed hi-hat, with FM kick and clap sounds from the Elektron Digitone. We program kicks on each beat, hi-hats on off-beats and a clap and snare hit on two and four.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: We’ve compressed, EQed and added a little reverb to each sound before loading them into our Drum Rack, so they’re mostly good to go. We use Ableton Simpler’s ADSR amp envelope to tame each sound a little for that tight, punchy minimal sound we’re after. We filter the kick, snare and clap to stop their frequencies overlapping too much.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3:To make the beat sound less straight, we nudge the snare and clap off the grid a little and play around with their velocities. We’ve also added a subtle reverb to the closed hat that gives the top end shimmer and space.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 4: Now to add a little interest. We create a second Drum Rack and add a selection of percussive found sounds – knocks, clunks, and fizzy noises. We program these to add groove around our straight hi-hats.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 5: We want these found sounds to sit back in the mix but also have a little movement. To achieve that, we process the drum rack with a small amount of reverb, subtle dotted eighth note delay and an automated band-pass filter modulated by a slow LFO.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 6: Finally we create another Drum Rack containing two percussive white noise hits. We create a sparse sequence, three bars long, which will result in slightly unusual phrasing. A modulated stereo delay turns this into more of an FX sound. We turn down both our noise and found sound kits so they sit back in the mix.