FL Studio Tutorial Series: Lesson 13 – Using Samples/Loops in Step Sequencer and Playlist

Welcome to lesson 13 in the FL studio’ tutorial series.

This lesson continues our set of lessons concerning adding and managing content in FL studio.

FL Studio Tutorials
FL Studio Tutorials

In this lesson, we’re going to focus on how to move beyond the use of simple one-shot samples and instead add audio loops in your patterns and song structures,

in using audio loops we can include them and either our patterns via the step sequencer or we can add them directly to our songs in the playlist.

In adding loops to a pattern we can load them into the channels the same way we would load one-shot samples from the browser,

if your personal loop directory has been added to the browser simply drag the loops you want to use over to the step sequencer,

you will have to program at least one step in order to trigger the loop to play, upon then playing your pattern with the loop you may run into a few issues,

the first issue is that the pattern may repeat before the loop is finished playing and when it’s triggered again there’s an overlap in two instances of the loop play at different times.

To solve this problem first click on the channel name to reveal the channel settings menu, the mi SC tab houses a cut feature that can be used to label a sample as being within a certain group as noted here in the first box,

then it can allow you to cut or mute that sample when a sample from a group indicated in the other box,

is played if your if you’re familiar with mute groups this is the same concept the cut itself button will automatically put the same number in both boxes for you which is the typical setup or you could set the groups manually for more control,

another even quicker way is to right-click on the channel name and the step sequencer and choose cut itself to place a checkmark beside it, now in the loop plays in the pattern and is triggered by the active step,

the first loop stops playing in the new instance begins thus removing the overlap, from here it’s a matter of extending the pattern links tempo or if you’re not concerned with keeping the loops original timing you could use pitch and time stretch until the loop plays as cleanly and for as long as you want in your pattern,

the other alternative is to add the loop directly to the playlist by dragging it over from the browser and dropping it in the upper half of the playlist,

once added the waveform will appear and can be moved to the appropriate position,

you’ll need to switch to song mode to hear your loops in this method.

In the playlist, you may notice that each loops waveform has its own drop-down menu,

herein lies a wealth of options and features for getting your loops to cooperate with your song ideas, the first helpful tool found here is to fit the tempo tool that will allow you to stretch the loop or sample to fit your current tempo range,

in the pop-up that appears typically choosing the middle option of tempo ranges should be fine,

if you’re not happy with the results finding the loop by the too fast or too slow you could mouse over the corner of the loop and stretch it to a new length and speed,

now any additional instances of the loop that you paint in will already be adjusted to match the tempo,

any adjustments made to the length of any instance of this loop will now also affect the other instances of this loop.

If you don’t want the action you’re taking on one instance to affect the others go to the drop-down menu of one loop and choose to make unique,

for some serious fun, you can also explore the top section of the menus, in here are numerous tools for manipulating and dicing up your loops, the auto slicing feature will slice your loop at various decibel levels a template emptying to isolate each beat or sound in the loop into its own sample,

the sharpness of the slice determines how sensitively the slicer will do its job, once sliced sections of a loop may be removed by right-clicking on them or it can be moved around the playlist but first click Off the loop so as to remove the pink highlight covering the slices,

now return to the slices that now have their own individual drop-down menus to edit as you like.

You can also choose to chop in beats or bars to slice the loop in line with certain time markers, another option beat shuffle essentially chops or slices and then rearranges the slices into a new random order

you can get some interesting loop variations this way and if you don’t like how it arranges the slice the first time you can then go to edit and undo and then try again for different results each time,

the 3 stutter effects perform similarly in that they let you alter your loop by slicing and repeating certain slices to achieve a stuttered effect, this effect does not random and each one will chop and arrange the same way every time,

you can also use the slice tool for your own manual cuts and slices located on the main playlist toolbar,

a new tool is also featured there called slip edit, this tool allows you to mouse over a slice and then holding left-click drag to the left or right to adjust the slice content,

at first glance, the slice would seem to be a cut section removed from our original loop but we see here that the slices are actually framed portions of the full loop and using the slip edit we can adjust what portion is actually framed and played in the slice,

once you’ve included any type of audio sample in your project that did not come from the preloaded FL content and was added from your personal collection it’s best to save the project in a new way by exporting the project as a zipped loop package,

this packages the project itself plus any samples used, therefore, ensuring it will open for any FL user as it was intended as others may not have access to your personal sample collection that the project is dependent upon,

to do this go to file export zipped loop package, the file will be saved as a zip file in the directory of your choosing.

Another nice feature is that FL studio supports the opening of zip files and can later load zip packages without having to be extracted first,

if you use FL studio 9 you’ll have to choose to see all available files in the open dialog before you can see available zip packages.

Now you should have a thorough understanding of how to most efficiently add audio loops to your step sequencer and playlist for the best results.

Thus ends our lesson on using samples and loops in the step sequencer and playlist.

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