Cubase 11’s Sampler Track makes a great starting point for percussive sound design.
Groove Agent SE 5 offers all Cubase users a good selection of drum and percussion sounds but sometimes it’s nice to roll your own, particularly if you’d like some alternative percussive sounds such as pulses and tickers — a favourite of film/TV composers but also useful rhythmic ear candy in all sorts of electronic music. Cubase has some cool tools that can be used for this type of task, so let’s explore.
For this worked example (and the audio clips that accompany it on the SOS website: https://sosm.ag/cubase-0621), we’ll create three types of sound: a deep pulse (heartbeat); a ticker (clock‑like sound); and a short woosh riser. There are plenty of options for sourcing sounds to start with, including hitting some objects around your studio/house but, for the example I simply picked a drum loop with sonic potential. Cubase provides various options for percussive sound design, but for this example I’ll focus on the Sampler Track, whose super‑friendly UI makes life particularly easy.
Create an empty Sampler Track and open the Sampler Control panel in the Lower Zone, and you can drag and drop your drum loop into this panel. Switching the Playback Mode to Slice (new in the Sampler Track for Cubase 11) will, by default, slice your loop based on its obvious transients, then map the slices across the MIDI note range, so you can easily audition each hit to identify the best candidates for sound design.
If you click on a slice you like, it gets...