In my “How To Make A Massive Uplifter With Harmor” -tutorial, I used a drum loop (made by myself) to demonstrate how the uplifter would work with a beat and in this tutorial I will show you how I made that beat.
Before I start, here’s an audio example of the beat:
The tempo of this project is 128 bpm.
My first task is to find a nice, sturdy kick drum so I browse into the Markus Hakala’s kick drum collection and pick a kick sample titled “mhak kick 209 G#.wav”.
I drop it to a Step Sequencer Sampler channel, add an empty pattern to the Playlist and make a simple 4-to-the-floor beat. I also assign the kick to a free Mixer track and leave it’s track volume level to 0 dB.
Next, the clap.
Vengeance sample packs have some really cool claps and I’m going to pick a pre-shifted clap from the Vengeance Electro Essentials Vol 3. If you wonder what is a pre-shifted clap, it’s a layered clap sample where the actual hit or punch part happens few milliseconds (usually around 10-70 ms) AFTER the beginning of the sample and there’s usually a stack of smaller claps or other percussive elements before the actual punch part. This makes the clap sound ‘sloppy’ and fat and when used in conjunction with a kick drum, gives the whole beat that loose feel. This is pretty common element in modern electronic music.
Below is an image and sound example of a pre-shifted clap to help you to understand what I’m talking about:
Now the thing with these pre-shifted claps is that when you sequence your drum groove, you need to place them slightly off the beat (depending on the sample and where the punch part happens, few or tens of milliseconds before the kick) and it may take a couple of attempts to find the ‘sweet spot’. In FL Studio, you need to use the Piano Roll for this as that’s where you can bypass the snap-to-grid to move the notes freely.
So that’s my next task: after I have dropped the clap sample to a new Sampler Channel, I open it’s Piano Roll and first place a note to position 1:04 (that’s bar 1 beat 4). Next, while holding down the ALT (ALT bypasses the snap-to-grid) I use the arrow keys to move the note slightly to left to make it start few milliseconds before the kick so that the actual punch part of the sample plays exactly same time as the kick. It usually takes couple of tries to find the ‘sweet spot’.
Next, I assign the clap to a free Mixer track and balance it’s volume level with respect to kick. I also add a subtle reverb to it using Valhalla Vintage Verb (which is one of the smoothest sounding commercial reverb plugins out there IMO) and Fruity Parametric EQ 2 to boost the upper mid and above -range with a high shelf filter to add some brightness.
Next, I’m going to add few more patterns to the Playlist and extend and arrange the drum sequence a bit (I copy and paste the original pattern, use the Make unique -feature to make the copied pattern unique and add a subtle changes to the placement of the clap sample in the drum sequence).
Here’s the whole drum sequence and arrangement (in total, this drum sequence consists of four slightly different drum patterns):
Next, I’m going to add a bit of diversity to the drum groove with a percussion sample (I’m using a tom drum sample from the Vengeance Essential Club Sounds Vol 4: “VEC4 Percussion 080.wav”).
After loading it to a Sampler Channel, I open the drum Pattern 2 and place it to step 11 in the Step Sequencer. I also add it to steps 2 and 8 in Patterns 3 and 4.
The tom drum is a bit ‘dry’ as is so I assign it to a Mixer track and drop a Fruity Reeverb into it’s fx slot to give it some ‘continuum’.
Check the image below for the settings:
I used a long Decay time (around 8 seconds) for the continuum. I also set the Reverb color to Warmer (for a warmer reverb mood) and tweak the Low- and HighCut to adjust the frequency range of the input signal.
Now, to add a little more excitement to the beat, I’m going to make the clap sample to ‘dip’ the tom drum reverb tail and I’ll use a sidechain compression for this.
So in the Mixer, I sidechain the clap Mixer track to the tom drum mixer track:
Next, I drop a Fruity Limiter to the tom drum Mixer track’s effect slot (AFTER the Fruity Reeverb) and activate the compressor mode. I’m going to set the compressor so that every time the clap hits, it will duck the tom drum reverb tail and then let it ‘recover’ slowly.
See the image below for the settings:
(long Release time is the key for a slow recover of a compression)
My next task is to program a simple, plucky bass sound with Harmor.
Before I continue, I advice you to refer to the FL Studio Harmor manual (press F1) for indepth explanation what each of the parameters I’m going to tweak will do.
So, after loading the Harmor, I start by dropping the Main pitch to -1200 cents (that’s down by one octave). Under the Pluck section, I set the Pluck decay length to something short (14%) to make this patch sound – well – plucky. I also engage the Unison to change the character of the sound slightly: I set the Unison order to 3, Unison distribution to Classic (default), enable the Alternative unison distribution, set the Unison panning to 0% (to not spread the sound in the stereo field) and Unison pitch thickness to 54%.
Next, I enable the part B in the Harmor and set the Pluck decay length to 18%, Timbre 1 & 2 mix level to 43%, Harmonic detuning multiplicator to 3.0000/1, Prism amount to -13%, Filter 1 frequency to 90% and Time domain volume to -5.8 dB.
Next, I head to the FX tab and enable Distortion: I set the Distortion type to Classic and Distortion highcut all the way to max (33kHz). I also enable the compression and set Burning as the Compression type, Low band value to 57%, High band to 68% and Compression amount to 23%. And lastly, I enable the Delay: Delay time stereo offset I set to 0%, Delay time to 5:00, Delay feedback level to 63%, Delay lowcut to around 400Hz, Delay input volume to 55% and Delay input panning to all the way right (100%).
The bass sound is ready and my next task is to create the bass sequence.
So I head to the Playlist, add an empty Pattern there and create a following sequence to the Harmor’s Piano Roll:
Now, the bassline is too dull and simple like this so I use a Groove template to add a bit of swing to it. So while I am in the Piano Roll, I open the Quantizer (ALT+Q) and load a groove template called “16_drummer swing 1”.
Next, I shorten the notes a bit as I want the bassline sound a little more ‘staccato’. I do this by selecting all the notes (CTRL+A) and while holding down the ALT, I only need to shorten one note (left click and drag) and the whole selected group of notes will shorten as well.
And lastly, I edit the velocity level of the notes to enhance the grooviness of the bassline:
In the Playlist, I copy and paste the bassline pattern all the way to bar 9.
Also, the bass sound volume level needs a little drop to make it sit better with the kick drum and a little boost in the mid frequency area won’t hurt either.
So after assigning the Harmor to a free Mixer track, I drop the track volume level to -1.9dB and with Fruity Parametric EQ 2, boost the low mid area.
Next, the synth line.
I pick a synth sample from the Vengeance Essential Dubstep Vol 2 sample pack titled “VDUB2 Synth Oneshot 071 C.wav” and drop it to an empty Sampler channel. Then I add an empty pattern to the Playlist (starting from bar 5) and create a simple sequence with the Step Sequencer. Note that synth sample is in a key of C so I use notes of A4 using the Step Sequencer’s Keyboard Editor to make it play in key with the bass sequence (which is A all along). I also set the Main swing in the Step Sequencer to 43% (to add some swing to it) and copy and paste the synth pattern in the Playlist all the way to bar 9.
The volume level of the synth sample is a way too high so I assign it to a free Mixer track and drop it’s volume level to -7.0dB. I also use PEQ2 to roll off some of it’s high end using the high shelf filter.
Next, I drop a Gross Beat to the effect chain for a special gating effect.
So in the Grossbeat volume section, I choose a preset “1/4 Swing”. This adds a swinging gating effect to the synth sequence. I also edit the volume envelope a little for a subtle change to the gating pattern:
I also want to add something extra – something weird to the synth line and I’m going to use FabFilter plugins for this: Timeless 2 (delay plugin) and Saturn (multiband saturation and distortion unit). I’m simply going to use presets on both units (if you own these plugins and want to know what presets I’m using: “Ping-pong duck TK” in Timeless 2 and “Glitch beat 03 bM” in Saturn). The Timeless 2 patch is basically a simple ping-pong delay, but the Saturn patch is a bit more complex – modulation and stuff and makes everything you feed into it sound weird.
Now, before the synth line, I want to have a somekind of short transition or fill and for that I’m going to use a nice synth sample from the Vengeance Essential Dubstep Vol 1 sample pack: “VDUB1 Synth Oneshot 159 C.wav”. I drop it on a empty Sampler channel, add a new pattern to the Playlist (last bar before the synthline kicks in), and in the Piano Roll I draw a note of A4 to keep things in key (the original pitch of the synth shot sample is C) to the last beat of the first bar.
I also assign the sample to a free Mixer track and balance it’s volume with the rest of the mix (-5.6dB) and boost the top end a little using the Mixer track EQ.
Final element: you probably noticed that the riser sound ended to a reverbed clap and I’m going to use a clap sample from the Vengeance Essential Club Sounds Vol 4 for that: “VEC4 Claps 089.wav”.
I drop it straight to the Playlist and as this sample in one of those pre-shifted claps again, I hold down ALT to bypass the snapping to align it correctly in the Playlist grid (but first I move the other patterns to right by two bars to make some space for it).
I also copy and paste the clap to the beginning of the section where the synth line kicks in.
Next, I assign the clap to a free Mixer track and set it’s volume level in balance with the rest of the audio material (-7.3 dB). For the reverberation I use the Valhalla VintageVerb with a long Decay time and fairly long Predelay time and also boost the top end a little using the Mixer track’s EQ.
End of story. 🙂
Watch the video version below: