There’s countless of ways to build up the tension towards the drop (in electronic dance music, drop is usually the point where the beat & bass kicks back in after a break and people start to dance like crazy in the dance floor) and this tutorial will showcase a one possible way to do it. I’m going to show you how you can combine a riser sound made with one of the FL Studios native synth plugins Wasp, traditional snare roll, basic white noise sweep and couple of other elements and effects in to a effective rising build up.
Here’s an audio clip of what I’m talking about:
And this is how you replicate it!
First thing to do is to create a new project in FL Studio, set the tempo to 128 bpm and add a Wasp synth to the project. Also, assign the Wasp to a free mixer track and drop the volume level to -11.8dB (this is because we need a headroom for other sounds as well).
We need a square wave type of sound with a little bit of noise so program the Wasp as follows:
This is how it sounds:
Yea, nothing special yet I know, but just hold on… 🙂
Now, head to the Playlist, add a new pattern, open the Wasp Piano Roll -view and draw a 8 bars long C4 note (the build up is going to be 8 bars long).
Next, let’s make a pitch slide for the Wasp sound so open the Channel Settings -box of Wasp and set the Pitch Knob Range to 24 semitones (that’s two octaves), right click on the Channel Pitch Knob and select ‘Create automation clip’ from the menu (Channel Pitch automation clip will be created to the Playlist).
Make the Channel Pitch automation envelope to look like this:
This’ll make the pitch rise two octaves so we’ll get a pitch slide from C4 to C6.
Check the audio:
We also need to a filter sweep to make the rise sound more effective so open the Wasp and right click on the Cutoff -knob and choose ‘Create automation clip’ from the menu.
Edit the cutoff filter automation envelope like this:
Sounds good, but maybe a bit too ‘dry’ so let’s add some space via delay and reverb effects.
Open the Mixer and drop a Fruity Delay 2 and Fruity Reeverb 2 to the Wasp mixer track effect slot and set them as follows:
Listen to this:
Alright, the riser is ready!
Next, we will create a basic snare roll and treat it with a rising pitch and filter effect as well.
Drop a snare sample (provided in the .zip pack you can download at the bottom of this tutorial) to a new Sampler channel (if you’re using the Browser, right click the sample and choose ‘Open in new sampler channel’) and assign it to a free mixer track (drop the volume level to -9.8dB).
Go to the Playlist, add a new pattern and open the Piano Roll -view of the snare channel and lay down C5 notes like this…
…change the Snap -settings for creating a more rapid roll for the last two bars:
This is how the snare roll sounds as is:
Now, let’s make the snare roll pitch slide: open the snare Sampler Channel Settings -dialog, set the Pitch Knob Range to 12 semitones and create automation clip for the Pitch -knob.
Edit the Pitch envelope to look like this:
Next, open the snare Sampler Channel Settings again and go to the INS -tab (Instrument properties). Sampler Channel has a basic filter so for filter sweeps and such you can use that instead of dropping a separate effect unit such as Free Filter or Fast LP to the effect slot.
Ok. Under the ‘Filter’ section there’s a Filter Cutoff Frequency & Filter Resonance -knobs (MODX & MODY). Create automation clips for both knobs. Leave the filter type as is (Fast LP = Low Pass).
Edit the Filter Cutoff envelope and Filter Resonance envelopes like this:
And this is how the snare roll sounds with the Wasp riser:
Okay. The Wasp riser could work like this with the snare roll, but IMO it may sit even better if it ‘ducks’ a bit. And we make it duck via kick drum and sidechain compression.
So, drop a kick drum sample (provided in the .zip package as well) to a new Sampler Channel. Also, assign it to a free mixer track.
Now, the kick is here just to trigger the ‘pumping’ effect for the Wasp riser and we don’t wan’t the kick to be audible at all so we need to mute it’s output: open the Mixer, select the kick mixer track and click on the Send -switch on the Master track to mute the kick.
Also, while you’re on the kick track, sidechain it to the Wasp track (right click the Send -switch on the Wasp track and choose ‘Sidechain to this track’ from the menu):
Drop a Fruity Limiter to the Wasp riser track and set it like this:
Ok. Head to the Playlist, add a new pattern, open the Step Sequencer and create a 4-to-the-floor beat sequence with the kick.
In the Playlist, copy/paste the kick pattern all the way to the bar 9.
Now, listen to this:
Sounds ok, but let’s make that ‘pumping’ sound a bit more interesting by slowly decreasing the ‘pump value’ towards the end of the build up. We do this by lowering the compression Ratio via automation. The aim is to create a sort of ‘loosing control’ -feel. This’ll make the build up sound even more efficient when the drop hits.
So, open the Mixer and open the Fruity Limiter that is on the Wasp riser track and create automation clip for the Ratio -knob:
Head to the Playlist and edit the Ratio -envelope like this:
Listen (pay attention to the end of the riser how the pumping releases):
And this is how they all sound together so far:
Okay. We need one more element to boost the rise: white noise sweep. And we are going to mix it more to the background than front.
Load 3xOsc to the project, choose noise for each three oscillators and assign the 3xOsc to a free mixer track and set the volume to -1.2dB.
Go to the Playlist, add a new pattern, open the Piano Roll -view of the 3xOsc and draw 8 bars long C5 note.
Open the Mixer and drop Fruity Parametric EQ 2 to the white noise 3xOsc mixer track. Load a preset ’40Hz cut’, change the filter type as ‘Low Pass’ and right click on the Frequency -parameter and choose ‘Create automation clip’.
Head to the Playlist, and make the Frequency -envelope look like this (this makes the EQ to sweep from 1kHz to 5.7kHz).
It could use a little reverb, so open the 3xOsc mixer track, drop Fruity Reeverb 2 to it’s effect slot and set it like this:
Now, the noise sweep sits better to the build up if we give it the same ‘ducking’ treatment as we did with the Wasp riser.
So, open the Mixer, select the kick drum mixer track and sidechain it to the 3xOsc mixer track (choose ‘Sidechain to this track’). Go to the 3xOsc mixer track and add Fruity Limiter to it’s effect slot and use the following compression settings:
Here’s the results:
Also, we are going to use same ‘loose control’ method (making the white noise sweep to loose it’s pumpiness) as we did with the Wasp riser so open the Fruity Limiter from the 3xOsc mixer track and create automation clip for the Ratio -knob and edit the envelope like this:
Listen it now:
And here’s how they all sound together:
So far so good.
Now, let’s create a little ‘release’ section after the build up and before moving to drop.
Add a claps sample (provided in the .zip package as well) to the Playlist (it will appear there as a audio clip), move it to the beginning of bar 9 and assign it to a free mixer track (set the volume to -5.9dB)
Let’s make the claps sound huge using reverb and long decay time with predelay so add Fruity Reeverb 2 to the claps effect slot and tweak it like this:
Now listen the clap:
The predalay adds more atmosphere to the signal. It controls the delay time between the input signal and the first reverb reflection. Nice little feature to make things sound kind of bigger.
Allright. Let’s add one more element: dropping sine wave.
Load another instance of 3xOsc to the project, select sine wave as oscillator shape for each three oscillators, set the coarse tune to -24 semitones for each, and for Osc 1 set the fine tune to -100 cents and Osc 2, +100 cents (also assign the 3xOsc to a free mixer track and drop the volume level to -7.7dB).
Head to the Playlist, add a new pattern to the beginning of bar 9 and open the Piano Roll -view of the 3xOsc #2 and draw a 1 bar long C5 note.
Open the 3xOsc Channel Settings -panel and set the Pitch Knob Range to 24 semitones and create automation clip for the Pitch -knob (before creating the automation clip, go to the Playlist and make a 1 bar long selection between bars 9 & 10. This will make the automation clip to be automatically a length of the selection).
Edit the Pitch envelope like this:
Okay. The build up is ready and this is how it sounds as in whole:
That’s it. 🙂
Watch the video below: