I am currently editing this post from years ago and converting it into a step-by-step guide with updated FL Studio 21 screenshots. If you happen to stumble across this page, don’t fret. The producer series is getting a complete makeover!
Now that we’ve got a WAV file on our desktop for sampling, let’s take it to FL Studio and chop it up!
If you need a hand sampling from vinyl records before taking them into FL Studio, I have a quick guide on that:
- Recommended: Quick Guide: How To Sample From Vinyl
As a beatmaker, 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 incredibly complicated.
The prospect of collecting records and using them to sample 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!!
I used to use Reason’s ReCycle, but once I discovered Edison/FL Slicer, there was no going back.
This guide covers the following methods:
- Edison + Fruity Slicer
- Edison + FPC
- Slicex (easiest with FL Key)
Once we’re done slicing up some samples, I’ll show you the Edison > FPC method (mapping out the chopped samples) that I previously used, the Edison + Fruity Slicer, and then the Slicex technique; one I’m currently using with the FL Key because it’s easier and faster.
After going through these methods, you should be highly motivated to drop everything and purchase the FL Key.
It’s a truly amazing unit and literally programmed for FL Studio in a way that’s kind of hard to believe.
Let’s get into it.
In FL Studio, there’s a scissor at the top. Click that.
Click the File Button
Next, we’re going to click the file button 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 the 90s, it was what you used to store crap on. Nowadays, it makes for a neat little icon!! 😀
Anywho, click that button, find where you saved your sample, and then load it into Edison for chopping.
Keep in mind you don’t have to sample from vinyl even though it’s the most fun method. Any WAV, or MP3 file will do.
Normalize the audio
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.
If you sampled something from Vinyl and forgot to Normalize it in Audacity, you can fix it in Edison.
To fix that, just click the “Normalize” button which is on the top row, second from the left.
Start by clicking on the “Add / Remove Marker / Region” which is the little button 3rd from the right.
Notice how the overall sample is much louder and ultimately ideal for chopping and sequencing.
We’ll cover auto-slicing in a second, but I’ve always done it manually because I like to have more control over the exact chops I want to use.
Chopping around the drums
I learned the hard way in some of my earlier samplings, 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, when you can include these elements and still make your mix sound great.
It all depends on the sample, to be honest. Just take your time and have fun with it! There’s no sense in rushing.
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/Functions
Use the infinity loop.
This is pretty obvious but when finding the right place to put your marker, it helps to have the song on a loop so you don’t have to keep clicking play.
PgUp and PgDn are used to zoom in and out on the sample. You can also use your mouse wheel.
This really comes in handy when you want to get that precision slice.
The more you zoom in, the more accurate your beat will be in the end.
Again, take your time in thinking ahead as to how the chop is going to sound in a beat.
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)
The remedy for that is of course speeding up or slowing downtempo, but in the end, the better your initial cuts are, the easier of a time you will have sequencing.
And it will sound more professional too!
You may also get nice comments from beatmakers and rappers alike on how good your chops were. Here’s a good example of that for one of mine:
Maximize the Edison Window
Going an extra step further, you can maximize the Edison Window (upper right-hand corner) to really get up close and personal with the chop.
When you’re finished, just double-click the red to clear it before sending your chops to the FL Slicer or FPC.
As promised, we’ll quickly go over auto-slicing in Edison.
All you’re going to do is right-click the button underneath the marker button we used earlier.
From here you have 6 options:
- Dull auto-slicing
- Medium auto-slicing
- Sharp auto-slicing
- Small grid auto-slicing
- Medium grid auto-slicing
- Large grid auto-slicing
^This is medium grid. The way it looks depends on the sample and how long it is. Keep in mind this is just for the sake of the tutorial.
I normally don’t use auto-slicing, but it does come in handy in certain situations!
With that, we’re ready to use the FL Slicer.
FL Slicer Method Of Transfer
When you’re all done chopping ’til your heart’s content, we’ll use the Fruity Slicer to make all of the samples playable with your drum pad.
With the FL Slicer, you can also use the pitch shift and time stretch sliders to alter the sample.
To use the Slicer, go to Add > Fruity Slicer.
Next, press F6 to bring up your Channel rack. You will see a fruity slicer button on the bottom. Press it and uncheck “Auto Dump.”
This will prevent you from having to physically delete all the chops inside the Piano Roll.
I’ll show you what it looks like with the medium grid auto-slicing we just did:
Who wants to delete all that? I sure as sh*t don’t lol.
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 channel rack.
Once you see the green stroke around the button, let go of your mouse.
Note: I’ve already done this as you can see from the FL Slicer right above containing the name of the sample, but I wanted to show it again for those – like me – who enjoy visuals.
The amazing thing about the FL Key is that once you do this, all of the chops are perfectly mapped, in order, to the drum pads.
That’s right you heard me correctly.
No dragging samples, no manual mapping, no hitting pads in order (more on that later), nothing.
Simply bang away and have fun coming up with some cool patterns.
Back in myyy day, we had to manually do all this! You kids today, you don’t know how good you have it! And we walked FIFTEEN miles! In the snow! Just for the privilege! xD
Note: We’ll also cover recording more in-depth in Part IV, so don’t fret!
To record or piece out a pattern, just head to the Piano Roll by pressing F7.
Alternatively, you can click it with your mouse as well. Find where it says “Pattern 1” near the top, and it’s the second box from the right.
Once clicked, you can see all of the slices on the left.
From here, you can use your mouse to piece out a pattern or press record.
After doing so, it will ask you “What would you like to record?”
Press “Notes and Automation”, hit the metronome to the right of the BPM, then hit play.
After 4 bars, it will begin recording anything you play on the pads.
Now, if you’re ready to buy one, click here.
With that, we’re done with Edison and the FL Slicer!
In part 3 of this series, we’ll discuss the FPC/Fruity Slicer method as well as Slicex. If you have any questions thus far, leave a comment or contact me!