Sony's Acid Music Studio is a consumer-friendly audio and MIDI editing utility. It includes most of the usual tools associated with utilities of its class including the ability to host VST plug-ins such as Toontrack EZdrummer, BFD2 or Superior Drummer. Users make beats using Acid Music Studio's MIDI editing facilities in combination with these or similar percussion software instruments. The tool that best facilitates this is AMS's piano roll editor, a feature common to most audio/MIDI editors on the market.
Open Acid Music Studio. Its interface opens and displays the default sample song. Click on the "File" menu and select "New." The "New Project" dialog appears.
Set the time signature and related information such as the title, artist and name of the project and click "OK." A new project screen appears.
Click on the "Insert MIDI Track" button in the toolbar. A blank MIDI track appears in AMS's arrangement area. This track will remain the focus of AMS's editing functions until a different track is selected by clicking on its track header in the arrangement area.
Click on the "View" menu and select "Plug-In Manager." The "Plug-In Manager" window appears. This window lists all available VST plug-ins available to AMS.
Double-click the name of the percussion software instrument you want to use. AMS doesn't come with a percussion plug-in of its own -- you will need to use a third-party plug-in to make beats. The percussion instrument loads and its interface appears.
Click on the "Enable Inline MIDI Editing" button in the AMS toolbar. This function allows the user to create MIDI notes in the AMS piano roll editor. The piano roll editor is a grid in which the horizontal represents time and the horizontal represents pitch.
Click on the piano keyboard on the left of the piano roll editor to audition the different sounds. Most software percussion instruments follow the General MIDI standard of drum sound placement. The kick drum will be on or near "C1," the snare on "D1" and so on.
Click on the "Draw Tool" icon in the AMS toolbar. The cursor becomes a pencil. This tool is used to enter MIDI notes on the piano roll grid.
Click on the piano roll grid at the points corresponding to drum sounds you want to use at the time you want them to play. For example, the foundation of many drum beats is provided by the kick drum. If you want a standard 4/4 kick drum beat click on the points in the grid corresponding to the kick drum sound and each of the four beats of each measure.
Add further drum sounds such as snare, ride cymbal and toms as required. Play back the results frequently to listen to your progress. Use the "Erase Tool," located in the toolbar, to delete events you don't want. You can also use the "Selection Tool" to select a series of MIDI notes by clicking and dragging across the notes. The selected notes can be cut and pasted or deleted using the appropriate functions from the "Edit" menu.
Jason Savage has been a freelance writer since 2005. He has authored technical and procedural documents for a variety of clients, while his journalism and fiction have appeared in "Monday Magazine," "The Pedestal" and other publications. Savage holds B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in music.