Accusonus Beat-Making: Beatformer and Regroover Pro
Today we are going to go over two awesome plugins from Accusonus, Beatformer and Regroover Pro. Both plugins are designed to interact with your drums – Beatformer as an all-in-one drum processor and Regroover Pro as a complex sampler. Continue below as we go over the workflows with each and what makes them unique.
Beatformer is Accusonus’ all-in-one solution for your drum buss. It boasts “a dozen different processors under the hood” and allows control over them with a simple user interface and the ability to dial in a combination of tones. This can be seen as a pro or a con here, the terms are likely ones you’ve heard before but don’t accurately describe what happens when using them (except for Boom). Otherwise, Accusonus knocked it out of the park here for users by making the controls so simple yet powerful. Each knob has a finite amount of control but is very effective.
Use a combination of the 4 knobs – Punch, Boom, Air, and Squash – to shape your drum tone. These effects can be used very creatively or for subtlety, but there is never the worry of losing touch with the musicality of your drums. Audio gain coming in and going out can be controlled via the input and output knobs. Control over the various frequencies in your drum loop is split between the four knobs.
The Boom knob will alter the tone of your kick and low end. What’s great is that you have the option to add body without adding pitch by using the default setting. Turn it to the right and your kick or drum loop will instantly gain more bottom end. If you’re looking for more of an 808 tone, then you can select the drop-down menu at the bottom of the dial and choose the fundamental note to generate. Move over to the other knobs for midrange and higher-end control.
Punch and Squash
The Punch and Squash knobs use transient shaping to alter your drum tone. We’re not sure that “Punch” is the best label for that specific knob, as it doesn’t make the sound more or less punchy. Anyway, rotate the Punch knob to the left and your transients will be de-emphasized. Rotate to the right and they will be enhanced.
Use the Squash knob to affect everything in between the transients. It uses compression and expansion to affect the audio signal. Turn the knob to the left and all the quieter sounds will become even quieter. Rotate to the right to activate the compression, your quiet sounds will now become louder. It is an effective knob when used in isolation or in combination with other parameters.
The last knob is the Air knob. This will affect the high end of your loop. Rotate it clockwise to add harmonics to the high end. Rotate it counter-clockwise and your high-end will be dampened. Air employs a transient shaper and a soft saturator to process the audio.
All in all, Beatformer is an effective drum buss processor. It is easy to use and transparent in its processing. At first, we thought a fair comparison was Ableton’s Drum Buss audio effect. If you are using Ableton Live 10 then you will be familiar (and likely in love with) the Drum Bus. However, after playing around with both we don’t think Drum Buss stands all the way up to Beatformer. They are both incredible at what they do, but Beatformer is more transparent. Watch the video below for an in-depth comparison.
Users of other DAWs won’t have such a parallel comparison to make and thus Beatformer is the obvious choice. We’re using it on all of our drums now. Pick your copy up for $99 on the Accusonus website. Keep reading below for our review of Regroover Pro.
Regroover Pro is an incredible plugin from Accusonus, the manual says it is an “Artificial-Intelligence beat machine that extends [sic] traditional music sampling”. What does that mean?
At its heart, it is a sampler. Beyond that, it uses artificial intelligence to extract the elements from a sample. Open up Regroover Pro and insert an audio clip. The AI engine works best with short audio clips so if you have a full song you like you will need to choose a shortened clip from it. Regroover is only compatible with .wav, .caf, .aiff files at this point. The disclaimer message suggests more options will be available in the future.
Drag in your clip and immediately see it split into 4 layers. If you have a lot of elements in the loop you can increase the number of layers up to 6. Inside of each layer is a bracket you can adjust from left to right that will change the position of the playhead. Shorten the brackets to shorten your loop and introduce odd cadences and polyrhythms. This is the primary function of Regroover.
Start with a drum loop you like and insert it into Regroover Pro – now you can morph and remix the loop creating an entirely new rhythm. The AI is pretty damn accurate with extracting from drum loops. But how does it stand up to other types of loops?
We inserted a clip from a pop song and it did a mediocre job of separating the elements. Anyone hoping to have found their next tool to make acapellas should look elsewhere. If you stick to drum loops you’ll have a fun time remixing and chopping with the brackets. In addition to the brackets, each layer has dedicated mixer and effects sections on the left and right-hand sides.
Mixer and Effects Section
Each layer can be solo or muted, and internal level sliders are available as well. Each layer also has the option for stereo panning or mid-side processing. A really unique feature on this plugin is the ability to route each layer out to 1 of 16 channels. This is great if you want to process each layer beyond than the internal effects.
Any sound design you want to do internally can be done in the Effects Section on the right-hand side of the plugin. You have four effects available – Gate, EQ, Compressor, and Saturator.
Gate – here you can adjust the threshold to make sure only louder audio passes through. Because Regroover Pro isn’t perfect you may hear snippets of layers in each of the other layers. Anything that still passes through your settings can be tuned out using the EQ.
EQ – this is a simple 3-band equalizer. Adjust the frequency cutoff and gain for your lows, mids, and highs. Move onto the compressor to handle the gel.
Compressor – if any of the layers lose some of their punch or gel when being split, whip them back into shape with the compressor. For handling transients adjust the saturator.
Saturator – you can use the transients knob here to tame or enhance the snap of your transients. Give the layer a little (or a lot) of edge with the drive knob.
Only two of these effects – the EQ and Compressor – are available in the Editor section of Regroover Pro.
Expansion Kit/Editor Section
The Expansion Kit/Editor Section is where more traditional sampling can be done using Regroover Pro. You can drag in audio directly from your Regroover layers or outside of the plugin. There is an envelope to adjust the amplitude of the clip in each drum pad. Aside from that and the two effects, there isn’t much that separates this from any other drum pad plugin. While you have the option to reverse clips in each of the pads we wish that option was available for the layers.
Regroover Pro is good at extracting elements from drum loops and giving you a basic platform for remixing them. It’s one of the best drum extraction engines out there and comes with a simple to use interface. You can get the best out of its AI easily and immediately.
There are other more intricate samplers available, and if you are using Ableton then the Drum Rack has more flexibility and complexity to it. That all being said, it has a powerful AI engine that cannot be outperformed at the task it was designed for – splitting drum loops.
Purchase it for $219 on the Accusonus website.
Like messing around with drum loops or remixing? Take the Beat Lab Super Producer certification program! Learn more below.