In this tutorial I will show you how to program a house chord stab using FL Studio’s 3xOsc. You have probably heard this type of sound in many house tracks. Here’s an audio example:
Ok. First, load 3xOsc and choose square wave as the oscillator shape for each three oscillator, set the Osc 1 coarse tune to -24 semitones, Osc 2 -17 semitones and Osc 3 -20 semitones. Set the Osc 1 stereo detune (SD) to -10 cents to spread the stereo image:
To analyze the settings a little, we just tuned the oscillators to form a major chord: oscillator 1 is tuned down by two octaves (12 semitones = 1 octave), oscillator 2 by 17 semitones and oscillator 3 by 20 semitones.. so now, if you press note C in your MIDI keyboard (or draw a C note to the Piano Roll), you’ll actually hear notes C (osc1), E (osc2) and G (osc3) which is a C major chord (triad). If you play D it is a D major chord, E is E major and so on..
Next, we need to utilize the volume envelope so go to the INS -tab and from there to VOL -tab and click on the ‘Use envelope’ -button to enable it and use ultra-short attack time by turning the Attack all the way to left. This is required for a sharp and stabby sound.
Now, to really make the sound stabby, we need to activate the filter cutoff envelope so open the CUT -tab and enable the envelope. As for settings, turn the Modulation Amount (AMT), Attack, Sustain, and Release controllers as follows:
The Modulation Amount controls how the envelope is applied to the modulation target which is filter cutoff in this case. The filter cutoff value is set in the ‘Filter section’ (check below the envelope section) and the envelope act as an offset of that value. If you leave the Modulation Amount -knob to center position, the envelope doesn’t do anything – it will not be applied to this value. But if you turn it left, the envelope SUBTRACTS from the filter cutoff value and if you turn it right, the envelope ADDS to the value… So to put it simply – and assuming we leave the Filter section -settings as is – turning the modulation amount left kind of ‘closes’ the sound, and turning it right (near to the center point) ‘opens’ it.
As for the envelope controllers, shortening the Attack time sculpts the sound to sharp and stabby and turning the Sustain level and Release time all the way to right keeps the sound ‘closed’ in case you play long notes (of course whether it sounds ‘closed’ or ‘open’ depends on the modulation amount settings.
Next, head to the MISC -tab and under the ‘Polyphony’ enable the Portamento (sliding the pitch from note to note) and Monophonic mode (maximum one note played at a time) and tweak the Portamento time (Slide) to 1:03 (this’ll set the portamento slide length between notes to fairly slow. It is also used for overlapping notes as the monophonic mode is turned on):
Now, assign the 3xOsc to a free Mixer track and load Fruity Blood Overdrive to it’s effect slot. It’s a distortion fx and we use it to add a fairly subtle distortion to the sound (to ‘edgify’ it a little). Set x100 mode on, PostGain to to around -0.5 and PreAmp to around 0.11:
x100 mode increases the power of PreAmp a hundred times. PostGain is the final gain reducer which you need to use to compensate the output boosts created with PreAmp parameter (and to protect your ears!). PreAmp overdrives the audio in order to achieve distortion.
Next, drop Fruity Parametric EQ 2 to the 3xOsc effect slot, and use peaking filter to boost the 6.2kHz area by 6.7dB to add a bit of clarity:
And for some extra interest and atmosphere, add Fruity Reeverb to the effect slot, use short Decay time (1.1 seconds), use Pre Delay to create slap-back echo effect (try value of 250 ms), turn the Color to Warmer to add some warmth to the reverb signal and lastly, drop the Reverb level a tiny bit (to 17%):
That’s about it. Now go and make some house with this sound.. 🙂
Oh and if you’re interested to know how I made the audio example you heard in the beginning, I just created a following sequence of notes to the 3xOsc Piano Roll:
Then, I went to the Playlist, copy and pasted the sequence, opened the 3xOsc and under the INS and CUT -tab I created and automation clip for the Modulation Amount (AMT) -controller:
In the Playlist, I edited the Modulation Amount automation envelope like this:
Then I copy and pasted the whole sequence and dropped a drumloop I made earlier for this tutorial:
The end 😀
Watch the video below and download the FL Studio 10 project file for this sound: