Roland Zenbeats

PC Screen Capture

Zenbeats is a powerful sequencer that allows you to loop from an expandable library of built in sounds and sequences, or beats.

I started using Roland’s Zenbeats on my cell phone sometime around 2020, when they gave away a bunch of free content to get people interested. After the initial version one unlock expansion packs cost 4 units ($4) a piece. Each expansion offered a new set of drum and/or instrument sounds and a new selection of preset loops.

After investing a bunch of Google Play Rewards into expansion packs for my phone, with a ton more not yet purchased, I signed up for Roland’s Zen Core subscription. Zen Core, at US $2.99 +tax, unlocked not only all of the expansion packs, but also VST instruments and full access on my phone, iPad, and PC with Zenbeats versions created for each. So, now I can start a song on my phone, save it to Drive, and continue working on my PC’s big screen and monitor speakers.

In addition to the expandable sounds available by individual or subscription purchase, Zenbeats allows you to select sounds you have made available on your device to create truly unique beats.

The program is a lot of fun to use and, once you’ve gotten over the slight learning curve, you’ll be able to make full songs of complex, layered loops from one to 32 bars in length at any tempo you choose.

I mostly use Zenbeats to create loops for use in Studio One to as a percussion layer for inspiration. Regardless of how you use it, it’s an affordable way to create your own beats. The subscription includes all new expansion packs as they’re released, so the inspiration can keep coming.

The downside to Zenbeats is the way that it saves it files. It can be confusing, particularly on a mobile device, to understand what’s happening from mixdowns, and where those files are landing when saved locally. Once you get your mind around it, the program becomes a lot more useful.

Plug into speakers and drop a beat. Select a preset and use a loop as your click track when you play your guitar for friends or practice. With Roland’s Zenbeats you’ll have a solid virtual drum machine in your pocket wherever you are.

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