shadowfax wrote:+ 1 mate..I got the trial of Groove agent 4 and finding it very un intuitive..it's not for musicians..it's for computer geeks...
who the heck needs 128 pads?
Who needs 128 pads? That's standard stuff...need them or not, they're simply there...in every Pro MPC style plugin I've ever seen...
michael cleary wrote:
Having the same issue. Total newb here and looking for a basic tutorial. I am able to mess around with some sounds and patterns but can not for the life of me find percussion agent. Also, there is no way to make a beat without recording and playing to a midi/instrument track???
As for the 'Agent' confusion...maybe I can help shed a little light on some things.
First, you have more than one type of Agent to play with. Locked "Groove Agents", and unlocked "User Agents".
1. There are 'locked' agents, which have fancy 'macro screens'.
In "Instrument" mode, the "Edit" tab will look something like this:
In "Pattern" mode, it would look something like this (if the Kit includes styles):
2. There are 'unlocked' USER agents. These don't come with any fancy Macro screens, or automatic style generators'. Instead, you use the default GA UI, and build your own 'pattern sequences'. The 'kit building' tools look, feel, and act more like traditional MPC samplers. As for grooves/patterns....You can import your patterns as MIDI files, build them on Cubase MIDI tracks and 'drag them in', or record/build/edit them with the built in GA Diamond Editor/sequencer.
In "Instrument" mode, the "Edit Tab" of these sorts of USER agents look more like this: (Notice, no fancy macro of the drum set showing, instead you see waveforms of the samples applied to a pad.)
In "Pattern" mode, the "Edit Tab" of a "USER AGENT" looks more like this: (Notice, no "Performance Dial" macro)
The fundamental differences between a "Locked" Groove Agent and an unlocked "User Agent" are:
provide Factory macros (Like the fancy drum set image). The kits themselves are somewhat limited as to what, and how you can edit the kit, or its individual pieces. Whatever editing and tuning you can do to these kits will be part of the 'macro system', and it will be more or less from a songwriter/musician's perspective instead of from a synth programing geek's perspective. I.E. You'll be able to make minor tuning changes, alter FX, and the sets overall 'mix', but you can't drag your own samples directly onto a pad in such a kit. You can't yank out the 'snare' sample and 'replace' it with your own. These sorts of kits are designed to be easy to use 'plug and play Agents'. Everything matches up as if some famous guy brought all his favorite kit pieces, sticks, microphones, and FX, and sampled 'this particular' kit, all balanced, miced up, and ready for you to use in your own productions.
The 'groove agent' of these kits also provide macros which make it easy to dial in 'included' patterns and grooves (GA calls these 'styles'). Again, imagine that you've hired this famous drummer to come to your studio. Not only did he bring his kit, but he's also gonna sit there and play GROOVES for you, in 'his style' of playing/sticking, along with some intuitive 'macros' in the 'Pattern' controls for building a quick and dirty song. In these 'styles' you can quicly and easily dial in intros, bridges, breaks, endings, add or subtract complexity to the groove, and more...all with a few simple dials and button clicks. Unlike the 'kits' however, patterns and grooves for these types of kits are generally pretty flexible. If you don't like the 'included styles' You can still build your own grooves and patterns from the ground up if you prefer (just change from 'style' mode to 'MIDI' mode in 'Pattern/Edit' mode).
Once you've dialed in a style you like using the Acoustic Agent 'style/groove' generator, it's assigned to a pad. Click a new pad, and dial in the next style. Or, if you prefer, you can drag the style right out of GA onto a MIDI track in Cubase and use/edit it from there.
Unlocked "USER" agents
are super flexible. They can be as simple as dragging some samples onto pads, or they can get ultra deep and complex with multi channel surround sound samples and wild synth like sample morphing/filtering. They do NOT have fancy macro screens; however, you can go into the kit and build it exactly as you like. You can drag in samples from anywhere you like, apply all sorts of sample edits, slices, tuning, time stretching, layers, FX, and more. You also get total control of all FX chains, mixing setups, and the list goes on. Again, in the groove/pattern generator, you don't get the fancy '"Performance Dial macro" or 'style mode'. Instead, you use 'MIDI mode' to load or build and stack your patterns and sequences, either via MIDI or loops imported through Media Bay (or drug in from an OS window), in your Cubase DAW (simply drag the parts directly from the DAW project to a pad), or in the built in GA Pattern Sequencer itself, and apply them to the pads you desire.
Sometimes, you might find that you like to mix and match different 'Locked' agents, or even Mix a 'locked' kit with a bunch of stuff in a totally 'custom' USER kit. This is why GA lets you load up to 4 Kits at a time. I.E. You could load the Vintage Kit in slot one, channel 1, the Expanded Percussion Set (Shakers, Toys, Etc.) in another on channel 2, and then pile on a bunch of your custom made stuff in yet a third kit on channel 3. You can also load more Instances of GA if you need more than 4 kits.
As for 'triggering patterns', again you have all sorts of options depending on how you prefer to work.
1. You can 'ignore' grooves and patterns all together, and just talk to GA over MIDI tracks in the DAW. I'll call this 'through composed' drum tracking. If you like 'writing or playing out your drum parts', or simply copying and pasting MIDI loops on DAW tracks...and using MIDI editors (Like Diamond Editor, Key Editor, Score/Notation, Lists, etc...), then this may well be 'the mode' for you. Take advantage of all your DAW's recording/looping/cycling/editing features to play your groove right into the DAW as you record. If you like, you can later slice all that up into reusable 'patterns, loops, and grooves' for future use in the GA library.
2. You can set it up as a 'drum machine' more like a live DJ would use...where tapping a pattern key/pad calls up that pattern and repeats it indefinitely. Tapping a new pattern key/pad would then change to the pattern on that key. You can adjust if patterns wait until the end of a measure, the end of the pattern, or swap instantly, and so much more.
3. You can set it up so that pattern keys/pads must be 'held down'. As long as you're holding down the pad/key, the pattern repeats indefinitely. Let the key/pad up, and it stops playing.
When using methods 2 and 3, you'd generally set up a DAW track to record/trigger your pattern changes.
You also get options to loopback what GA is doing with the Groove Engine if you want to 'record it' directly to a MIDI track, light up MPC pads, or whatever......
YES, you CAN record/edit patterns directly in GA if you prefer. It has a built in Diamond Editor that looks something like this:
Note, that if you're trying to find this editor in a 'Locked' Agent, then you'll need to change it from 'style' mode to 'MIDI' mode, and then the 'Pattern' tab will become available, and the 'Performance dial' will go away.
You can draw in this editor, or record live into it, etc...
From there, really, the best thing I know to try, is to simply load up various Kits that came with GA4, and play around with them. You'll find that GA comes with quite an assortment of both types of 'Agents'. It also comes with a pretty good pallet of 'raw samples and loops' for building your own custom USER AGENTS.
Hopefully after browsing around a bit and simply 'trying patches' in GA, you'll start to notice that many patches can be based on the same Groove Agent 'Drum Kit', but simply have different styles, FX, and mic placements. You'll find some interesting demos and examples of Multi-Kits as well. GA also comes with mounds of pre-made percussion samples, MIDI and audio drum loops, demos, and styles, and if you have Cubase, it also came with quite a few as well.
Click and try everything! You're not going to 'break it' as long as you don't 'save' things. If you do want to save something, but aren't 'sure' if it might break something, simply use a 'DIFFERENT NAME' when you save it.
If you also use Cubase, then you'll also soon discover that all this stuff integrates directly with the DAW itself. In fact, this is why GA doesn't have a dedicated 'sampler' section.....you simply sample in the DAW itself, and just drag it right into GA. You can drag and drop things from the Cubase Media Bay or Browser right into GA. You can drag samples from audio tracks, and parts from MIDI or Instrument tracks right onto GA pads. You have total access to pretty much every control inside GA via VST3 automation lanes (or MIDI cc if you prefer). If you work with 'instrument tracks', then you can even save 'midi-loops', and those can be played directly from the Cubase MediaBay without having to 'load junk into the DAW'...just click and 'audition'. And so much more.....