PulseCode Drum Machine - Workflow Tips & Tricks

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1 posts since 5 Apr, 2020

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:55 pm

Hello All,

I thought I'd start a tips & tricks thread for PulseCode. I love that working with PulseCode comes to me naturally, but there are some things about it that work differently than other drum machine VSTs, so I was wondering if anyone has come up with any tips or tricks on working with PulseCode while writing songs (any tips & tricks are obviously welcome, though).

When I wrote to Jack about workflow, here's what he had to say (I found it so helpful that I though it would be nice to share publicly):

1) To get the audio from PulseCode specifically would require you to record it. Once you record it, you can do things like cutting out sections for an intro and outro, looping things, etc. This is one method, but it's limited because you can't go back and edit things like changing the sequence, or tweaking the filters, or adding/removing hihats etc.

2) Another alternative to all this is to bounce your drum parts in audio loops and then you can move them around and build the track that way. But this can be limiting because you can't go back and edit the drum parts. To do this you'll need to set a separate audio channel to record PulseCode's output.

3) You can of course record in MIDI notes to build your drum parts using [your DAW's] own sequencer, but this will not allow you to take advantage of PulseCode's many internal sequencer features like Flow and Fracture.

4) [Likely the best workflow] When I make a drum track using PulseCode, I usually use lots of [midi] automation. This can be using a midi controller, or just recording the clicks with your mouse. If I'm feeling lazy and just want to lay down a quick drum part, I go with using my mouse. I start by creating a pattern in PulseCode. Sometimes I'll use the 4 Pattern Pages to create variations. Once I'm satisfied with a beat created within PulseCode, I move on to building the track in my host sequencer.

For this I typically automate the Play button, Mute buttons, Page Start buttons, and the Fracture sliders. But before I start recording, I set my buttons. If I want the drums to start a few bars in, I switch off PulseCode's play button so I can turn it on at the right time. I also might not want the snare to come in until later, so I mute that too. Once I have my buttons set, I hit record in my host. Once recording starts, I just bring in the parts with the track. For the start of track, I might bring in the snare and hihats a little later, then I might alternate the Start buttons of PulseCode's Pattern Pages to get some variation. I might just go through the entire track bringing parts in and out, but I usually stop the recording once I'm happy with the beginning part. So now all of those adjustments and button clicks are recorded into their own automation lane, and I can go back and edit any of the positions if needed. But like I said, this may work differently in Logic. I'm an Ableton user and do not fullly understand Logic's automation system, but it should work in a similar way.

After recording the intro, I usually record in the ending of the track, usually bringing elements out with the mute buttons, or stopping PulseCode's sequencer at a certain point. I like getting the start and end of the track set so that I can turn my focus to the main parts.

What I like about working like this is that I get a good feel for the track while applying the drum parts live, rather than just drawing them in. This can give you more interesting results. Using a midi controller is much more fun however, especially when using Fracture with a Pitchwheel.

Now with the start and end of the track set, I can create builds, breaks and fills throughout the track. For this I use the Fracture sliders and also play drum fills on my MIDI Keyboard with PulseCode's Drum Fill Arpeggiator.


Aside from Jack's awesome advice, does anyone ever use more than the 4 patten pages on a track? I think I could get pretty far with using the midi cc recording options mentioned earlier, but I could foresee wanting to jump to another set of pages (or I guess a different pattern preset) for a 'breakdown' / 'bridge' section of the song.

One way I was considering to solve this would be to create an additional PulseCode track...which if that's what'd needed that's totally fine! The preset system would make it easy enough to stay organized.

5 posts since 16 Feb, 2019

Post Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:31 am

Big ups to both of you for sharing, good to have this up here. I really don't have anything to add, but I did get inspired to try a couple of new things with PulseCode. It's a really cool machine, but lately I've mostly been using to make layers for other samples or recording tom fills with the fill arp + fracture. This was a good read!

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jack [psychicmodulation]
1473 posts since 24 Apr, 2002 from New Orleans, LA

Post Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:22 am

Thanks for sharing Yukkono! I have another quick tip about how I like using Fracture with my midi controller. Currently I'm using an M-Audio Code 49, and I have the 8 sliders assigned to the 8 'PitchBend To Fracture' parameters on PulseCode's MIDI panel. With this setup, I can use the pitchwheel on the keyboard to control the increase/decrease of Fracture steps, while using the sliders on the keyboard controller to adjust how much Fracture is being sent to each drum sequence. It can be alot of fun.

This can easily be set up with any controller that has 8 sliders and a pitchwheel. I use PulseCode's MIDI assignment system and save the configuration in the Preset Bank Menu. I can then pull it up anytime with 'Load MIDI cc map'. Or just save this along with my Default bank so it loads automatically with each PulseCode instance.

Here's a video clip I did awhile back where I'm using the 8 sliders to control the Fracture sent to the Pitchwheel:
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=72754 ... DFNLNfJIGt

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