Ever wondered how to sample from vinyl records? As a beat maker, I used to labor over this question. It is strange to think that at one point, this was a major obstacle that I thought was one of the most complicated things in the universe.
Well maybe not that bad, but hopefully you know where I’m coming from.
The prospect of collecting records and using them to sample with is something that I have always been passionate about, but didn’t always know how to do.
Today I will strip down the process for you!!
So grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
How to sample from vinyl
Get a USB turntable. These things are really nice and affordable, and work like a charm! I’ve had mine since Dec. 2014, and it’s a real workhorse.
Hook it up homie! They are really easy to set up, and come with some male to female RCA jacks, as well as a 3.5 mm adapter. You really only need a pair of speakers!
Get a free program like Audacity. It’s a great starter tool that I use to rip the vinyl to a .wav form.
Open Audacity. Go to the drop down next to the icon of the speaker. Make sure it is set to whichever speakers you are using. Very important. If it’s not set correctly, you won’t hear any sound when you play back the recording! In my case, my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is the option chosen, because it powers the monitors that I will hear the recorded vinyl from.
Drop the stylus anywhere on the record that you wish to sample from. When you are ready, hit the big red “record” button in Audacity. Your sample should start recording back everything that’s currently playing from the speakers (the ones you are using to pair with the turntable).
Make sure you’re recording in stereo, which gives the recording a spacial depth that mono doesn’t. Also be aware of your line input, this is where the sound is actually coming from. In our case, it comes from the USB turntable, so choose “USB AUDIO CODEC”.
Export the sample as a .wav file. Go File > Export, or Ctrl (Cmd) Shift + E. You can also export a particular selection. Drag your mouse over the sample, highlight, and drag. You can also use the finger tool for added precision.
Follow the prompts and save it to your desktop. Now you have a .wav form for editing in your favorite program! (FL studio is my drug of choice). I use edison to chop the samples up.
Well folks, that concludes the first half of this post, which dealt with actually getting the sample on to your computer.. If you would like to see how to chop it up inside FL Studio, keep reading..
Take it to FL Studio!
Now that you have the sample saved to your desktop, it’s time to take it into FL Studio.
Open FL studio & Edison.
Now you’re going to want to open up FL Studio and click on the “Open New Audio/Editor” which is Edison.
Click the File Box.
Next, we’re going to click the file box all the way to the left which looks like a picture of a little floppy disk. You know, those things that no one uses anymore because it’s not 1990? 😛
In 1990, it was what you used to store crap on. Nowadays, it makes a neat little icon!! 😀
Anywho, click that button, find where you saved your sample, and then load it into Edison for chopping.
This is where it gets fun and interesting. Everyone has their own way of chopping up a sample. That’s what makes us all unique! For instance, two people could make the same sample sound totally different. It’s what gives us our individuality and keeps us coming back to the studio.
Start by clicking on the “Add / Remove Marker / Region” which is the little button 5 from the right. It looks like a little corner post that you see in those new age “Futbol” games that the kids are always raving about (Not really, it just looks like a marker with a plus next to it).
Chop around the drums if possible
I learned the hard way in some of my earlier sampling, that if you don’t chop precisely enough, your mix WILL sound sloppy and unprofessional. This is why most of the time, it’s beneficial to slice around the kicks, snares, and anything else that will make your beat sound unclean.
There are times however, where you can include these elements and still make your mix sound great. It all depends on the sample to be honest. Messing around with pitch, EQ, time stretching, hi/low pass filters, etc. can also enhance the sound and mask some of these inconsistencies that come with altering a song.
Some quick tips:
PgUp and PgDn are used to zoom in and out on the sample. This really comes in handy when you want to get that precision 9th wonder slice. The more you zoom in, the more accurate your beat will be in the end. There are times when I get lazy and don’t, and my loop suffers because the cuts don’t match up.
This becomes a huge issue when trying to loop two different slices. Time stretching (which we will get into in another lesson) becomes a lot easier if your chops are precise.
For instance, if your slice wasn’t accurate enough, the gap in time between two sequences will be bigger when trying to loop them together. This results in an awkward “silence” and drives beat makers insane (well me anyway :D)
Use the infinity loop.
This is pretty obvious but when finding that right place to put your marker, it helps to have the song on loop so you don’t have to keep clicking play.
Clear the slice regions.
When you’re all done chopping ’til your hearts content, drag the slices into the step sequencer. This enables you to then create a masterpiece which will net you millions! (well maybe lol).
Before you do this, make sure that all the red spaces (your slice regions) are cleared out, by zooming out, and then dragging them all the way to the left of Edison until they disappear. This ensures a clean transfer of all your chops.
Drag the slices into the step sequencer.
First go to Channels –> Add one –> Fruity Slicer.
Next, Press F6 to bring up your Step sequencer. You will see a fruity slicer button on the bottom.
Now, use the button all the way to the right of edison called “Drag / copy sample / selection” and drag it so that it hovers over the fruity slicer button in the step sequencer.
The button will turn orange. When it does, let go of your mouse.
Bring up your Piano Roll.
I will get into dragging samples into a midi pad in a future lesson and sequencing, but for now press F7 to bring up your Piano Roll. You can see my one chop is ready to be sequenced for a song! Okay not really lol. In reality, I would chop this up into at least 10 slices before I started trying to make a beat. For today’s purposes I’ve just demonstrated the how-to.
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to sample from vinyl! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below or Contact me!
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.