In this post you'll learn how to audition and play MIDI drum loops in Cubase 12. The process should be about the same in most recent versions of Cubase.
We'll be using the following for this tutorial:
- Cubase Elements 12
- Groove Agent 5 SE (included with Cubase Elements 12)
- Our GM Freebie Pack of MIDI drum loops (optional)
To audition the MIDI files, we'll be using the "Browser" tab in Groove Agent 5.
I'll be using the "Break me down" kit that comes with Groove Agent 5 SE. I've selected it because it follows the General MIDI (GM) mapping standard.
Feel free to use whatever kit you like but please be sure the kit and your MIDI loops follow the same mapping scheme!
To download some Free MIDI files that follow the GM standard, click the link below:
DOWNLOAD OUR FREE MIDI DRUM LOOPS
For this tutorial, I created a 'Groove Monkee' folder in my 'Documents' folder and saved our GM Freebie pack in there (see link above). It's a good idea to organize and store your MIDI drum loops in one location so you can find them quickly.
To get started, open Cubase. Then create a new project. Name it anything you like.
Note: you can also launch Groove Agent in stand alone mode.
Adding Groove Agent
Next, add Groove Agent 5 SE to your Cubase project. Here's one way you can do it:
1. Right click to the left of the Cubase track area and select "Add Instrument Track"
2. Select Groove Agent for the Instrument.
Adding Groove Agent will also create an empty MIDI track. You can drag and drop MIDI drum loops there.
Load a Kit into Groove Agent
Load the kit called "Break me down". It's categorized in Groove Agent as "Rock/Metal" with a "Sub Style" of "Alternative Rock"
Again, I chose this kit because it follows the GM mapping standard. This ensures that it will play GM mapped MIDI drum loops correctly.
Some of the other Groove Agent 5 SE kits are GM mapped also. I inspected a bunch of the kits and here's a list of those that follow the GM mapping standard:
Note: It's probable that other kits follow the GM standard as well
Play a MIDI Drum Loop
While there are multiple ways to play MIDI loops in Cubase, we'll be using Groove Agent 5 here. Alternatives include the Cubase Media Bay and the Loop Browser.
To play MIDI files in Groove Agent 5 SE, follow these steps:
- Click on the folder-shaped icon on the right side of Groove Agent to open the "Load Panel" (just above and to the right of the drum kit image)
- Click on "Browser"
- Navigate to your MIDI files folder
- Select a file and play it
Note: you'll find the play controls on the bottom right side of Groove Agent when the "Load Panel" is open.
Drag a Loop into Cubase
Select any MIDI drum loop and drag it into your the MIDI track assigned to Groove Agent. Be sure to adjust the tempo if necessary!
Note: we add the tempo to the beginning of each file name. If the time signature isn't 4-4, we add it just after the tempo.
Example: "088 12-8 Slow Blues" has a tempo of 88 BPM and a time signature of 12-8.
No sound? Check to make sure that you've loaded a kit. If necessary, check your track and audio settings too.
That's it! It's very easy to browse, audition and play MIDI drum loops using Cubase and Groove Agent. Again, just be sure that the drum kit and your drum loops follow the same mapping scheme.
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