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Default Tedd-Z Track Dissect: Downbeat (Part One)
by Tedd-Z 28-08-2009, 02:44 AM

To hear the full track, click here!

This track was done using FL Studio 8, various samples from Computer Music and Image Line, and third-party plugins (which ones will get mentioned when necessary)! Finally, sorry about about having the pictures as URLs... I tried to shrink the pics, but they came out fuzzy!

Anyhoo, without further ado...

Part 1: Preparation + Drums

For preperation on all my tracks, I load up a Fruity Parametric EQ 2 in channel 1 of the mixer and load up my own pre-made "LoCut" preset so that I can apply a low frequency cut on any channel without giving each channel its own EQ effect, thus cutting down on process power! To recreate my pre-made preset, load up the "40Hz cut" preset and move the frequency point or dial to roughly 300Hz! I rename (F2) the channel "LoCut" and leave it ready for later!

LoCut Preparation

For this track, I altered the tempo to 167 BPM! Obviously, you can change it to taste!

First things first... the kickdrum! I auditioned a kick sample until I found one that I liked! I drag-and-dropped the sample onto my step sequencer and programmed a slightly altered version of the typical DnB kick rhythm into it!

Kick Pattern

In the playlist, I renamed the pattern "Drums1", cloned said pattern (Shift+Ctrl+C) and renamed the new pattern "Drums2" (snares were added later)! In "Drums2" I altered the kick pattern slighty as shown in the picture below!

Different Kick Pattern

For drum processing, I found the kick sample wasn't snappy enough, so I got its channel setting up and shortened it by turning the "Out" dial up to roughly 10 o'clock! Doing this quietens the sample, so I switched the "Normalize" option on! Finally, I sent it to mixer channel 2!

Kick Alteration

In mixer channel 2 (renamed "Kick"), I loaded up the Fruity Fast Dist and set the "Pre" and "Post" dials to 9 o'clock, the "Thres" dial to 10 o'clock and the "Mix" dial all the way up, leaving the distortion type at setting A! Next, I loaded up Fruity Parametric EQ and selected the "BassDrum Punch" preset! Finally, Fruity Parametric EQ 2 was loaded and the "40Hz + 18Khz cut" was used!

Kick Mixer Channel

The snare next! Once again, I looked for samples, but this time I selected two and turned down the volume of one of them to halfway! I sent both of them to channel 3 and programmed them to land on the second and fourth beat on the step sequencer in both "Drums1" and "Drums2"! "Drums3" and "Drums4" were cloned from "Drums2" and were given slightly different patterns to add variation! "Drums5", however, was given just a single kick hit on the first beat for sections of the track where the drums drop out! I do this to stop the drums from cutting out too suddenly and to add extra punctuation to changes in track structure! I also apply this to any part of the instrumentation for the track, such as the hihats, bass, lead synths, etc.

Anyhoo... back to the snare! In mixer channel 3, the same effects used for the kick channel are used! A few differences, tho! For Fruity Fast Dist, I used the "Some Oomph" preset! Fruity Parametric EQ used the "SnareDrum Enhance" preset and Fruity Parametric EQ 2 used the "Quick Low Roll-Off" preset! I find that last particular preset useful for when I still want some low end, but not as much as the kick or bass!

Snare Mixer Channel

Now for the hihats! Once again, I picked a sample and sent it to an empty mixer channel (channel 4)! In the step sequencer, I placed a note on every 16th-note on an empty pattern (renamed "HiHat1")! To stop this sounding dull, I went to the "Humanizing presets" folder in the browser, selected the "hihats" preset, and drag-and-dropped it onto the sample! This won't change the sample, but it will alter the sample's velocity as shown in the picture below!

HiHat Velocity

In mixer channel 4, I loaded up Fruity Parametric EQ again and selected the "HighHat Sizzle" preset! Now... remember that LoCut channel I prepared earlier? With channel 4 highlighted, I right-clicked the grey arrow in the LoCut channel and selected "Route to this track only" as shown in the picture below! Doing this removed any low frequencies the hihats had and has freed up the frequency spectrum! It's important that you right-click tho, because simply left-clicking will turn it into a send channel!

Sending To LoCut Channel

Rides are in the picture next, and I got yet another sample, sent it to the next empty mixer channel (channel 5) and programmed a four-to-the-floor pattern in "Ride1" of the playlist (an easy way to get a four-to-the-floor pattern is to right-click the sample in the step sequencer and select "Fill each 4 steps")! In mixer channel 5, I first loaded a Fruity Reverb and selected the "Large Hall" preset! Then I loaded Fruity Parametric EQ and selected the "High End Boost" preset! Finally, I sent it to the LoCut channel like I did with the hihat channel! The ride was way too loud at this stage, so I turn the mixer volume right down to about 25%, so that the ride is only noticable if you mute the channel! Usually with mixer volumes, I alter them as I go along and then refine them once I'm near completing the track!

At this stage I felt it needed a drum loop, so I found one and loaded it into a Fruity Slicer channel! The drum loop I used came with an FL-compatible drum-groove, but most loops don't, so you may have to do the slicing in seperate software such as ReCycle (REX and REX2 files are compatible with Fruity Slicer) or load it anyway and hope Fruity Slicer gets it right! Either way, instead of using the step sequencer, I went into the piano roll and altered the pre-loaded pattern, removing the snares from the loop and leaving gaps where my loaded snares appear!

Drum Loop Piano Roll

I sent the loop to mixer channel 6 and loaded the Fruity Filter! "Cutoff freq" was set to 2 0'clock, "Resonance" was set to 10 o'clock, and the filter type was set to low pass ("Low pass" dial all the way up, "Band pass" and "High pass" all the way down)! The "x2" dial remained on the "off" setting (I have no idea what that dial does apart from change the sound slightly)! Finally, Fruity Parametirc EQ 2 was loaded and the "Quick Low Roll-Off" preset was used!

Drum Loop Mixer Channel

Last for the drums is the crash, although in this track it sounds more like a sonar! Once again, I found a sample and sent it to mixer channel 8 (I reserved channel 7 for the tribal drums which I will discuss in part 3)! For effects I first loaded up the Fruity Delay, in which I set the "Input" dial to halfway, the "Feedback" dial to 2 o'clock and the "Steps" dial to "6 notes"! You can use a more powerful delay effect if you want, but personally I find FL's rudimentary one fine for most things! Next, I loaded Fruity Reverb and selected the "The Venue" preset! Usually, I'll use third-party synths and effects in my tracks (consult FL's help section on how to do this), and in this case I loaded Kjaerhus Audio's free Classic Chorus effect (Google it if ya want it) and dialed in the settings shown in the picture below! Finally I sent it to my LoCut channel as before!

Crash Mixer Channel

To be continued in part 2!
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Old 28-08-2009, 18:45 PM

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Excellent tutorial and a great idea - lots to learn here!
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