BabyDrummer is a versatile and easy-to-use pattern-based drum sequencer. With BabyDrummer you
can design and play back your fantastic drum patterns in an arbitrary order.
BabyDrummer does not have a built in drum sampler so you need to use one in conjunction with it. A
very nice choice might be Sitala by Decomposer which is totally free and yet covers all
you need and even more. Simply place BabyDrummer before Sitala (or any other drum sampler) in the effects
chain so that its output goes directly into the sampler. Although the interface of BabyDrummer might
look intimidating at first it is in fact very simple and shows everything you need to see when designing
In the top left corner below the logo you see a project box where you can
- open an existing drum project,
- save the current one and
- reset all by clearing the project.
Your drum patterns are automatically saved into your current music project along with the settings
of all other plugins you use, so you might not need to save or load a drum project manually here,
unless you would like to export the drum patterns from the current music project and import them
to another one. What you most frequently will use here is the
icon resetting BabyDrummer and clearing all patterns.
To the right you can see a virtual keyboard. This is where you can select the pattern to edit.
There are 128 patterns starting from C-1.
Not all of them are editable at first, however: you can edit the patterns between C5 and B6 by
default (this can be modified on the Options panel). This also means that when BabyDrummer
receives a MIDI note between C5 and B6 it will play the pattern belonging to that note. Should
the MIDI note received falls outside of this interval, it will be ignored and goes straight
through BabyDrummer. This way you can easily combine BabyDrummer patterns and single drum hits
or fills sent directly to your drum machine. You can select a pattern to edit by either clicking
on a virtual keyboard note or by clicking on the buttons with the left and right arrow beneath
Right under the virtual keyboard there are three icons. They help you manage the selected
pattern: you can
- clear the current pattern,
- copy the current pattern to the clipboard,
- paste a previously copied pattern (and overwrite the current one).
To the right there are two arrow buttons with which you can move to the previous or the next pattern
and a name field where you can give a unique name to the current pattern.
In the top right corner there are various controls managing recording, playback and the pattern
- to record drum hits to the current pattern by hand click on the Rec button and then hit
the keys / pads on your midi controller that belong to the desired drums as the play heads cycle
around. Press the Rec button again to stop recording,
- hit the Play button to continuously play back the current pattern directly from the
plugin (hotkey: Backspace). To stop the playback click the button again.
Note that you will use this function mainly during the editing process. You might want to
control pattern playback from the host by sending MIDI notes to BabyDrummer. Each MIDI note
will select the corresponding pattern and keep it playing while the note lasts.
During recording and playback the pattern selector controls are disabled, you cannot change
the current pattern manually.
- Select a note for the Next pattern to chain more patterns together. BabyDrummer will automatically
start playing the chained pattern when the current pattern ends and the controlling note is still
- the slider called Swing is the classic swing control: 0% means regular 1/16 intervals,
while 100% means that every even hit will be shifted halfway towards the next (odd) hit. The
swing value you set here will affect the entire playback (all patterns),
- the (+) and (-) buttons add / remove drum lanes to the current pattern (see below). There
can be 16 drum lanes in a pattern.
The middle section shows the current pattern. There are 8 lanes, each represents a unique drum
and has 16 steps (1/16th note each). The selected step is marked by a white rectangle, the
current lane is highlighted.
Each lane has separate controls for manipulating its content: use the small icons to the left
The little red dots are showing the position of the play heads. They start moving when the
You can draw a new drum in the drum hit matrix by clicking on an empty rectangle. You can
clear an existing drum hit the same way. To draw or clear more than one hits at once, simply
drag the mouse inside the lane.
If you are into polyrhythms, you can drag the handler at the end of the lane to set the
number of steps. During playback the play heads of shorter lanes start again when reaching the
last step - regardless of the position of other play heads. This way you can make nice
variations within the same pattern.
If you click on a drum hit, the corresponding lane is selected. Below the drum hit matrix you
can see the parameters of the selected lane:
- here you can set the velocity of each drum;
- by default all drum hits are always played during playback. You can make the pattern more
interesting by increasing its randomness. To achieve that reduce the Probability
parameter of some of the drum hits. The lower the value the lower the probability of
sounding that specific drum hit. A decreased probability value is also shown in the hit
matrix: the drum hit becomes shorter;
- if you need more dense hits here and there you can increase the repeat parameter of a
hit. If you increase the repeats of a hit, the drum hit matrix will also reflect the setting
by dividing the hit into several parts. If the repeat count is more than one then a few circles
appear around the current velocity slider. You can click on the 5 different circles on the left
to set the starting velocity of the repeat (which can be 127, halfway to the current velocity,
the current velocity, halfway to 0, 0) as well as 5 circles on the right to set the ending velocity;
- if you want a repeat to last longer than just one hit, simply drag the Stretch bar of
the hit across its neighbors.
Any of the above sliders can be set by clicking (and then optionally dragging) the mouse. If
you need more precision setting a value, hold down the shift key while clicking and dragging.
You can set multiple values at once if you drag your mouse across multiple sliders.
You can click the Drag button located right to the Velocity sliders and drag your mouse to the
desired MIDI track in your DAW to render the current pattern. If lane lengths are different
(so you created a polyrhythm) the pattern will be repeated until all play heads meet again at
the beginning of the pattern.
Open the Options panel to set the capture notes interval or click on the Show Hints switch
to turn on and off the hints displayed when the mouse is over a control.
Finally the User's Manual link takes you to the manual page any time.
THE FINAL SECRETS REVEALED:
Here is the complete list of BabyDrummer hot keys to further boost your productivity:
Arrow keys - move the selection in the drum hit matrix
Return - toggle the currently selected drum hit on/off
Ctrl + Left/right Arrow keys - change the length of the selected lane
Ctrl + Up/down Arrow keys - move the selected lane up/down
Shift + Left/right Arrow keys - move contents of the selected lane left/right
Plus / Minus - change the velocity of the selected drum hit
Shift + Plus / Minus - change the velocity of all drum hits in the selected lane
Ctrl + Plus / Minus - doubles / halves the content of the current lane
S - solo the selected lane
M - mute the selected lane
Page Up - display the previous pattern
Page Down - display the next pattern
Backspace - plays the current pattern in a loop
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