#1November 5th, 2006 · 12:16 AM
26 threads
86 posts
United States of America
FL Studio Special Tutorial 1: Using audio clips - PART 1
FL Studio Special Tutorial 1: Using audio clips - PART 1

NOTE: Before continuing, if you haven't already, I highly recommend you read through my first 3 tutorials, the 'basics trilogy'. I will assume that you already know everything covered there from here on.

OK, so I've gotten several requests to go into more detail about using audio clips and recording within fl to add vocals, live instruments, etc. Now before I begin I want to state that FL Studio is mainly geared towards midi and vst's. The audio clip system is a bit rough to work with, to say the least. I, personally, use Cubase for recording, and run FL as a plugin for drums, synths, etc. With that said, I'll get into it.

First of all, you need to understand that there are 2 ways to use external audio within FL, by copying in prerecorded audio clips, and by recording directly into FL Studio itself. As you may have guessed, the latter is quite a bit more complicated, and may be impossible altogether for some of you. I'll cover the simpler former first, and come back to the latter in a bit.

So to start off, take a look at your playlist. The playlist is split up into two panes, the upper sequencing pane, where you spend the majority of your time (or all of it most likely if you're reading this tutorial). Take a look at the bottom pane, which you may have not noticed until now. If you don't have a second pane, it may be hidden. If this is the case, click on the bar at the bottom of the playlist window and drag it up.





The lower pane is where you manipulate and place your audio waveforms. The very simplest way to get started using your prerecorded audio is to bring up the folder and drag the file directly onto the playlist from windows explorer. This will immediately initiate some changes...



First of all, you'll see your audio waveform immediately pop up in the bottom pane, on the row you dragged it on to. Unless you dragged it to the exact row and measure you wanted, it's probably in the wrong place, however, so you'll need to move it around. We'll get to that a minute - first let's take a look at the step sequencer. You'll notice that all of your instruments have disapeared and a new one has appeared named after the audio file you dragged onto your playlist. This is simply an audio clip instrument (try adding an instrument and notice the one near the top named audio clip). Let's take a look at the audio clip's instrument window...



There are several useful settings here, and you may come back several times. you'll notice at the top, under the SMP and MISC tabs if your audio file. If you want to define a different file, just hit the folder. If you click the panel with the name of your audio clip, or the down arrow at the right edge, it will bring up a pop up menu with recently used files (you probably don't have any right now) as well as the option to disable the audio clip (none).

Down in the lower half you see a more detailed image of the waveform. If you click on the waveform it will play the audio clip once. As a side note, if you have a long audio file and you happen to click this by accident and really don't feel like sitting there for 5 minutes waiting on it to end, hit the panic button, ctrl + H. This is mostly used for the occasional stuck note with MIDI or to nix all the leftover audio after stopping the song due to reeverb, delay, etc, but can also help in this situation. Anyways, probably the most useful option on here is the "Normalize" switch. This will minimize the difference between the loud and soft points in your audio clip. Also if you use a lot of clips, and you turn on normalization for all of them, FL will try to bring all of them to a standard volume level. (If you need to tweak the volume manually, don't forget about the volume and pan knobs at the top of the instrument window and next to the instrument in the SS). Other useful switches are Reverse which, amazingly, reverses the clip, and swap stereo, which will, even more amazingly, swap the stereo channels (ie if something was panned to the left, it is now panned to the right)

You'll also notice the row of knobs just above the waveform. In and Out are for fade ins and fade outs. The section in the middle of the window is for time stretching, and it allows you to change the pitch of the note without changing the length of the clip (pitch knob), change the length of the clip without changing the pitch of the note (MUL knob, note there is sound quality loss here), and to simply stretch the clip, ie a longer clip with lower pitch, or shorter clip with higher pitch (time knob).

The rest of the options are best learned by experimentation. The pogo and crf knobs down by the waveform make for some interesting effects (just try them with smaller clips unless you want to site there for 2 minutes waiting on it to process).

Alright, back to the rest of the world. OK, I'm sure some of you right now want to know exactly where the heck the rest of your instruments went! Well take a close look at the step sequencer. Notice at the bottom where it says "Audio clips" click here to bring up the list of all your different groups. Click on 'All' to bring back the rest of your instruments...



If you want to make your own groups (I never found the feature particularly useful myself..) simply select each instrument you want in your group by clicking the green circle to the right of the first instrument, and shift-clicking the rest of them. After all of the instruments are selected, go to channels -> group select, or just hit Alt + G. Give FL an appropriate name for the group, and there you are! Use the same method as before to get all of your instruments back.

OK, so now we know how to get our audio clips into fl, and how to tweak them to our heart's content, let's find out how to use them! Back to the lower pane we go. You'll notice that the grid in the lower pane is similar to the familiar upper pane, and that the vertical lines all match up. This is because fl follows both panes the same way, and you can actually stick your waveforms onto the lower panes and move them around the same way as a pattern block on the upper pane! To insert your clip, first select it in the step sequencer (remember this is the 'audio clip' instrument tied to your audio file). After it is selected, simply follow your usual pattern sequencing procedure, only now in the lower pane. You can place the waveform in simply by left clicking. You can drag it around the same way, and delete it by right clicking.

Several options are available to you from the pull down menu in the upper left corner of the waveform after you insert it into the playlist (there is a small down arrow to the left of the name). Again I don't have the time to go into detail on all of these, but some of the more useful features are Edit Sample, which will bring up a basic wave editor, that allows you to clip, and otherwise  modify your audio clip. A basic knowledge of wave editors in general will be useful here. Also the option "Make unique" will create a copy of your audio clip in a new instrument, which will take the same name with an amended "#2, #3", etc. Detect tempo and Fit to Tempo are used for time stretching, and shouldn't be necessary unless you are trying to bring in clips from other songs with different tempos. Preview will do the same thing as clicking the waveform within the instrument window (remember ctrl + h ), and Select Channel will show you all of your audio clips and actually allow you to change the clip you have on the playlist to something else.

You can tie your audio clip to a mixer channel and add FX the same way you can a vst from the instrument window. This is a great feature, and you'll definitely want to know how to use this once you start using vocals on your tracks (check out tutorial 3 for more detail).

OK, I'm going to wrap this tutorial up here, and I'll make this a two part. In the second part I'll discuss how to record directly into FL Studio. If you're stuck, and don't know how to record anything into the computer at all, try running sndrec32 (use winkey + r, or run from the start menu) for the incredibly basic sound recording utility included with windows. This will allow you to toy with your sound card, and if you need help on getting your mic to record through sound recorder send me a message, as it's a fairly simple process. Once you know how to record with your sound card, check out a program called GoldWave (just google it). you can download a free shareware version, which basically just pops up a stupid window whenever you start it to tell you to go buy it. If, by some miracle,  you happen to exceed the number of button clicks or w/e it is (I've only done it once ever) just uninstall and reinstall the program and you've got a fully working wave editor again.

I hope this helps a lot of you guys out!

Thanks for spending the last 15 minutes of your life reading this. If you have any more questions, just send me a message!

Until next time,
-David
#2November 5th, 2006 · 12:26 AM
26 threads
86 posts
United States of America
Alright, I know this is a bit shorter than the others, but I didn't have quite as much time as before. I'll try to get the second version up ASAP. And I'll link to it here as well.

Thanks guys! And hey, might as well throw some advertising in here, I just posted a new song, so you might just head over there and review it! ^_^
#3March 14th, 2007 · 06:11 AM
2 threads
1 posts
South Africa
FL Studio MIDI Tutorials
First post here.

Anyway I use FL Studio to sequence MIDI for my synths. It tooks me quiet a while to figure how to controll my synths via FL Studio's MIDI out Channel but I am happy to report that I have pretty much got it licked.

For a lot of the new people this might seem quite daunting so I actually did a small tutorial on how to connect a synthesizer to FL and control it via MIDI to help those who would also try this avenue of music.

Would anyone be interested in me putting a MIDI tutorial on FL studio?

Later
RaBBiT
#4March 14th, 2007 · 06:52 AM
160 threads / 33 songs
1,964 posts
United States of America
yes yes and yes
I have been using my mac for this in digital performer for the midi writing but i would love to be able to do my midi writing in cubase  thru the fl studio too.  so  give us all the info you got on it please ... Oh and welcome  to
BandAmp.

P.S. I don't have much midi gear... I use the MOTU fastlane and have a Casio wk1500 and a Alesis sr16 drum machine. that if for me. I usually set the casio thru the channal a and the sr16 thru channel b. if this helps any.
#5March 14th, 2007 · 07:03 AM
2 threads
1 posts
South Africa
Okey Dokey
Cool I am busy looking at buying a G5 or so at the moment. Just a question are you using FL Studio/Cubase on MAC?

Well I have a Roland Supeer 64 MPU which is my MIDI connection from my computer to my instruments (4x Synths) which is plugged into the MPU's 4 MIDI in and 4 MIDI out.

From what I see in your post it sounds like you are daisy channing your MIDI equipment am I correct in this assumption?

I will post that MIDI tutorial probably by tomorrow morning. I am at work at the moment and dont have access to it. The tutorial is Based on using my V-synth but it shows you the principles behind it so I am sure it will be of help.

Later
RaBBiT
#6March 14th, 2007 · 05:36 PM
160 threads / 33 songs
1,964 posts
United States of America
the cubase and fl studio is with a PC and the motu fastlane has  2 ports (ins and out) port A is hooked to my keyboards and port B is hooked to my drum machine.  They are not daisy chained . I used to do it that way and set my drums on channel 10, but now each one has there own port.
#7June 2nd, 2007 · 05:05 AM
1 threads
United States of America
I'm new to fl studio and was wondering how to fade other sounds in and out. I see how to do it wth and audio clip and some of the sounds that come with fl studio, but when I created a sound with 3xOsc there isn't an audio file from which to fade in and out. I may not be doing it right though.
#8June 2nd, 2007 · 05:36 AM
340 threads / 59 songs
4,344 posts
United Kingdom
Mickman wrote…
I'm new to fl studio and was wondering how to fade other sounds in and out. I see how to do it wth and audio clip and some of the sounds that come with fl studio, but when I created a sound with 3xOsc there isn't an audio file from which to fade in and out. I may not be doing it right though.
There are many ways to do what you want!
Try recording/bouncing down/exporting the 'MIDI' sound as a wav and then Import it back in to FL as a sample!
You could do this with just the last bit of the track or just the bit you want effected!
You could change the velocity of the last 'midi hits', you could use Automation to turn volume of the track down as the volume of the next track comes in/up and you could make a separate track only for the specific effect.

There are probably many other solutions and it's more a matter of sussing out a way that you are comfortable with.
#9June 2nd, 2007 · 06:13 PM
26 threads
86 posts
United States of America
If you want to do the 'proper' thing you should automate the faders on the mixer to fad the audio in. This may take a bit of practice at first, but basically you will set the fader all the way down at the beginning of the song, enter into record automation mode, and raise the level as you wish.

You can also toy with the velocities will to simulate a fade in, as kings said, and this may be a bit simpler if you aren't familiar with automation, but I wouldn't recommend bouncing your instrument to an audio file to fade it in as it will reduce the quality of the final render.

Send me an email at davidks107@msn.com if you need more detailed instructions.
#10December 20th, 2007 · 02:36 PM
340 threads / 59 songs
4,344 posts
United Kingdom
Opu wrote…
is there anything that allows you to decide, when do you want the flanger to make an effect and when to not? Or can the effect in the track be automated so, that the effect would both decrease or increase just like you can adjust the volume in an automation clip?

You should be able to 'Edit Events' for the Flangers Mix Level , to the right of the effects name in the FX slots panel in the main Mixer window.
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