UJAM Beatmaker Circuits: What is it?
Beatmaker Circuits is a new plugin that gives producers the ability to make vintage drum grooves, adding a classic touch to any genre, with a collection of analogue samples.
The plugin is simple to use once the basic principle of how Beatmaker works is learned. Circuits is best when paired with a MIDI keyboard or controller as the pitch and modulation wheels can be used to manipulate the tonal qualities of the drums.
The keyboard section in Circuits is used to create drum grooves. The keys on the left-hand side (C1–D#2) play individual drum sounds, and the keys on the right-hand side, from C3 and up allow you to select various patterns that are named like the parts of a song. It’s recommended to start with Circuits with the Latch button on, as multiple patterns can be played until the Stop (B4) key is pressed.
UJAM Beatmaker Circuits: Performance and verdict
The song sections are great for those who are new to drum programming and they can help to save you some time, to boot. The upper part of the keyboard notes allows beatmakers to drag the MIDI patterns to a DAW, which is a handy feature for beat creation.
There are 50 presets included in Circuits which have a great analogue vibe to them. The Kick and Snare knob can be used to gradually fade out the kick or snare and can be useful for jam sessions or live performances. This knob is wired to the pitch wheel and jumps back to the centre position when you let go of it. It only works when playing the Styles, not when using MIDI Drag and Drop or playing the range of C1–D#2.
The Kit section includes ten drum kits, each with its own set of samples and a slider for boosting or reducing the low-end and high-end frequencies of the drum sounds. The individual drum sounds can be changed in the Instrument section. Volume, Decay, Pitch, and Filter can be slickly applied to each individual sound for more processing control, and solo and mute buttons are included here too.
Putting on the style
Circuit’s Mix section features 12 Mix Presets for adding sonic character and an Amount slider. The Amount slider isn’t a Dry/Wet control but a macro control for the mixing console’s parameters under the hood. We found it helpful to test the Mix Presets by turning up the Amount to 100 percent, then dialing it back. Included in the Mix section is the Beat Intensity slider, which is hard-wired to the Modulation wheel and adjusts the MIDI velocity of the notes.
In the keyboard section, there are 20 song Styles that change the drum grooves’ overall sound (more about this below). Each Style is listed with a bpm that suggests the optimal tempo for the pattern. Circuits includes a Micro Timing Menu with a Speed control, a Swing (or ‘shuffle’) control, and a quantise feature to keep Circuits in sync with the DAW. The Output section is well structured and allows for Instrument Channels to be sent to the Master Section or Individual Outputs to be routed to an Aux bus in the DAW. Finally, there’s a Master Section that processes the stereo output and includes controls for Sweep (filter), Saturate, Maximize, Ambience, and Volume.
Song Parts and Drag & Drop
UJAM has made it a joy to write drum parts for your track using Styles. Each Style contains 23 song Parts and a Stop Key. Each group of Parts increases in intensity as you move up the keyboard.
The looping Parts, Verses, Choruses and Specials are assigned to white keys. When Latch is on, intros and fills are played once and return to the verse or chorus pattern, breakdowns play when held down and endings are finishers for the drum patterns. The intros, fills, and breakdowns don’t repeat and are assigned to black keys. It’s fun to jam to create a loop, then drag the Song Parts from the top part of the keyboard to a track in your DAW.
The exported MIDI sequence is fully editable and can be used on any MIDI track. Song parts from different styles can be joined to create one song in your DAW. The drag-and-drop feature is useful for those who want to build drum tracks, edit the MIDI patterns, or use their own samples with the patterns created in Circuits.
Overall, Circuits offers quality vintage sounds, a unique way to easily program drums, and an abundance of controls for further processing.
MusicRadar verdict: A great-sounding plugin for creating vintage grooves. Circuits has many unique features that producers will love using to create retro-sounding drums.
UJAM Beatmaker Circuits: Hands-on demos
Sample Library Review
UJAM Beatmaker Circuits: Specifications
- Mac: macOS Catalina (10.15) — macOS Ventura (13). Supported on Intel Macs & Apple silicon Macs (Rosetta and native).
- Windows: Windows 10 — Windows 11.
- 4GB of RAM. 720MB of free disk space.
- Plugin formats: VST 2, VST 3, AU 2 and AAX. AU 2 version only compatible with Logic Pro X and newer. All plug-in formats are 64-bit only.
- CONTACT: UJAM