Pragmabeat can be a very deep library, full of features, but it is also very straightforward if used at its basic functionality. Pragmabeat sounds structure includes 4 Hits layers (interchangeably called Kits or Kit Pieces) and 4 LOOPS layers. HITS are single sounds that can be sequenced (snare hit, cowbell hit), while LOOPS are prerecorded rhythms that can still be edited and sequenced as well.
The main feature of Pragmabeat is the automatic sounds combination and sequence/patterns creation features. At the click of a button (almost literally), drum kits and multi-structured patterns can be generated. Given the massive amount of sounds (HITS and LOOPS) and the randomisation engine capabilities, Pragmabeat provides a limitless source of inspiration for any music composer/producer's rhythmic needs.
Audiofier's Pragmabeat first impression.
The best rhythm machine I have come across, with a stunningly comprehensive collection of sounds and rhythms. All for a price significantly less than all of the other rhythm VST's that I have bought (only to see them spend the remaining of their life in the 'never gets opened again' bottom draw). Pragmabeat is a keeper, and looks to be the first rhythm solution I will boot up.
Audiofier always put out such intriguing Plug-in, as someone who has been fascinated by generative music for many, many years, I have pretty much everything they have put out. All of them are distinguished by the quality of the sound (these guys know how to sample!). Every VST I have from them are notable for their superficial ease of use - however, this is a facade for a really deep and customizable engine. I also feel that we as a community should support companies that have a fair pricing for their products.
Were you to ask me what is the most important part of music, I would say the beat, as would most of you. The Beat is the pulsing core of all music. Tragically, percussion is something that I really struggle with. I must have bought most of the drum plug-ins on the market, yet none of them have really worked for me. I have just grown to accept that you cannot replace a real drummer.
I was working on a track where I just could not get the drum part sounding right. So I shut down the DAW in frustration and checked on my emails. The mysterious gods of synchronicity must have been alert, as the first email I opened was from Audiofier - a promotion for a percussion VST.
So, how is Pragmabeat? Does it provide a working alternative to a flesh and blood drummer? Well, no - of course not, nothing really can. However, straight out of the box, it fixed my problem with that stubborn track - simply because the sounds from this VST are of such a high quality - and it literally was a one button press to slot in what sounded like the perfect beat into the track. Two minutes after installing - problem solved.
The first thing I noticed was that all the drums are round robins (to my best knowledge). This brings a naturalness to the performance. Whenever a virtual drum is struck, it is subtly different each time. I have other percussion VST's that do this, but none sound this good, none seem to have this so well implemented.
The second thing - is just the range of percussive sounds available; from more ethnic percussion (which pleases me enormously), through more standard rock beats, to more modern electronic drums and patterns (some of which are pleasingly wild). It is simply the most comprehensive pallet of sounds and patterns I have come across in a percussion VST (and I have tried a few!).
With this beast of a thing, you can make everything from a natural-sounding percussion (well, as natural as I think is possible digitally), to really experimental beats. This is why it will probably be my first port of call when adding a rhythm to a track - it covers so much ground - and in a very simple to grasp engine.
The third thing to stand out for me, is how easy it is to play live. Normally, I would go into a percussion VST and lay down a basic beat, then go into the DAW and rather mathematically chop/cut/paste/rearrange the MIDI data. Result? The beat is mechanical - dead - lacks spontaneity/authenticity. With Pragmabeat, I simply have not needed to do that; all of the key-switches are logically laid out and take very little memorization - it all just works. If possible, writing *anything* in the DAW is absolutely the last resort, as (in my personal opinion) this takes you further from the 'soul' of the music. I gave myself a 'free-pass' with percussion. Now, there is no need for this awkward compromise.
An important point - and something that is present in every Audiofier plugin that I have tried (which is about 80% of them). The engine is stupidly simple on the surface level, but this hides the layers of depth below. Pragmabeat is *very* simple to get into. You could argue that it is too simple - as all you need to do is press a button here or there to generate a very impressive and usable beat. In short, it is easy to be lazy with this thing. However, as with Audiofier's other products - there is a vast untapped potential under the hood, and experimentation is rewarded. This VST has not been out that long, so I have not had time to get to grips with the engine fully. I started by letting Pragmabeat do the work for me. The next stage is to tweak things very simply; 'what if I substitute that Kick for a Djembe? - or that cymbal for a Cabasa?' That kind of thing. Doing this alone is so much fun and leads to your own unique (and sometimes eccentric) drummer turning up for the session. The stage I am experimenting with at the moment is exploring the potential of the rhythms and poly-rhythms I can potentially create. I am also exploring how the two parts of the engine interact and can be personalized.
This is not the place for a tutorial - anyway, Audiofier always makes excellent, in-depth, and inspiring Youtube tutorials. If you are curious, or thinking of buying this, I really suggest you check out their tutorial here (this video cause a spontaneous levitation of my credit card):
This will do a far better job of explaining things than I could ever do.
I have many percussion VST's and they all do a little of what Pragmabeat does. Yet none of them do it all, sound as good, have as much flexibility, or such a broad pallet. For me, Pragmabeat brings all of this together in one intuitive a wonderful sounding beat-machine.Read Review