This is the second part of my Chill Out and Ambient sound creation tutorial series (check out the first part where I covered the making of a lush pad sound). In this part, I will show you how you can use Fruity Granulizer and a drum sample to produce an interesting/weird soundscape.
Fruity Granulizer is a FL Studio native plugin that uses the granular synthesis technology. Granular synths split a wave sample (loaded by the user) into small pieces called grains which are then played back according to a different parameter settings of the plugin. It can be used to create some very complex special effects and if you implement automation to the parameters you can morph any wave sample into ‘obscurity’.
Here’s an audio example of the soundscape:
Now, to re-create this, first load a Fruity Granulizer to your FL Studio project and drag & drop a drum sample (its a sample titled 01_Percussive_Snare.wav. You’ll find it in a folder ‘\Prime Loops – Drum Samples Taster Pack\Prime Loops – XXL Reggaeton Drums\XXL Drum Samples’ from the Prime Loops Drum Sample Tasters -package which you can download here) in to the Granulizer (or in the FL Studio Browser, right click on a sample and select ‘Open in new Fruity Granulizer channel’ from the menu).
Next, add a new pattern to the Playlist (keyboard shortcut F4), open the Piano Roll view of the Fruity Granulizer and draw an 8 bar long C5 note.
Go back to the Fruity Granulizer again.
Now, the following settings I’m going to show you are just for re-creating the exact sound you heard in the audio example. Feel free to experiment with any of the settings.
Ok. Under the Time section, hit the Loop switch to enable looping and turn the START -knob to 22%. START -knob defines the position in the sample used when the playback starts. Turning it all the way to left makes the sample playback start from the beginning and turning it right starts playing offset inside the sample.
Under the Grains section, start by setting the W.SP (Wave Spacing) to -8 %. The W.SP controls how many grains will be generated from the wave sample. You can set the value between -300% to 300%. 100 % is the default/starting value and that is the normal playback of the sample (NOTE that the G.SP -knob needs to be in 100% as well to achieve normal playback). The higher you set the value (above 100%), less grains are generated for the wave sample and it sounds like its playing faster. The smaller you set the value (going below 100%), more grains will be generated and it starts to sound like its slowing down and shattered into dozens of small pieces (which is actually happening). If you use negative values, the playback order of the grains (not the sound itself in each separate grain, but the playback order) will be reversed. So if you set it to -100%, the playback speed is normal (depending on the G.SP settings as well), but the grains are playing back in a reversed order. Decreasing the negative value (and I mean going from -100%> to -99%> to -98%> and so on) results again more of grains, but with a reversed playing order. So using a value of -8% means that there is a lots of grains, only with a reversed playback order. Hopefully this makes sense.
Next, turn the G.SP (Grain Spacing) to 80%. G.SP controls the grain spacing in playback – in other words, how much there is space between the generated grains. The default value is 100% and it can be set between 11% to 300%. If you increase the value (going over 100%), the spaces between the played grains will be greater which means playback gets slower. If you decrease the value (going below 100%), the spaces will decrease thus resulting a faster playback. Using a value of 80% speeds up the sample a little.
(Try combination of small W.SP values (i.e. -3%-3%) and low G.SP values (around 40%) to make the sample go ‘creeeaaakyyyy’).
Next, set the HOLD (Grain Hold) to 10ms. HOLD sets the length of each grain.
Set the ATT (Attack) to 5ms. ATT defines the attack and decay length of each grain (fade in and fade out time). Note that the fade in & out times are added to the length of the grain.
Ok. With a combination of these values (and the sample provided) we’ll get a ‘creaky’ or ‘buzzing’ type of sound.
I’m not going to use the Effects section at all in this sound example, but feel free to experiment with them as well. Refer to FL Studio manual what the different parameters do.
Next, for variation, automate the ATT -knob by right clicking on it and choosing ‘Create automation clip’ from the menu.
Head to the Playlist and double-click the Grain attack time -automation clip to open its channel settings. In here we can utilize the LFO to control the envelope curve. Click on the LFO switch to enable it and disable the Multiply (if you leave the Multiply enabled, the LFO acts as an amplitude modulator for the main envelope curve of the automation clip instead of ‘replacing’ it and it will sound different – also note that the LFO doesn’t erase your main automation envelope – you can switch it off at anytime).
Now, set the LVL (LFO amplitude level) to 100%, SPD (Speed) to 003:00, TENS (Tension) to 25%.
Ok. Open up the Granulizer again and right click on the G.SP -knob and choose ‘Create automation clip’, head to the Playlist and edit the G.SP automation envelope like this:
Check the results:
Now, assign the Fruity Granulizer to a free Mixer track and drop a Fruity Reeverb 2 to the effect slot (for the ambience). Set the Decay to 9.0 seconds, Damping to OFF (to let the high frequencies pass through in the reverb signal), Bass multiplier to 200% (for a ‘warmer’ reverb tone), switch on the tempo-based Predelay and set it to 3:00 (for a slap-back echo effect), Room size to 75, Diffusion to 25 (for a more sparse and distinct ‘bounce-off-the-wall’ -reflections) and Wet level to 37%.
Next, we are going to record the whole sound to a WAV file, import it to the project and use it to make the soundscape a bit more complex.
So, head to the Playlist, make a selection, open the Mixer and arm the Mixer track (the one you assigned Fruity Granulizer to) to disk recording (right click on the Arm disk recording -button to define a custom destination folder. Default is FL Studio\Data\Patches\Recorded) press ALT+R and hit Start to start recording.
The recorded audio file will be automatically imported to Playlist and once its there, double click it to open its Channel Properties, assign it to a free Mixer track and drop the volume level to about -4dB. Head back to the audio clip Channel Properties and under the Precomputed Effects, reverese it by switching on Reverse. Under Time Stretching, pitch shift it by turning the Pitch to +600 cents (that’s half an octave pitch shift). Pitch shifting here adds a bit of a ‘contrast’ between this and the original sound.
Now, create a little fade-in for the audio clip (to make the start of it to blend better with the original sound) by right clicking on the Channel Volume and selecting ‘Create automation clip’. Then, head to the Playlist and edit the envelope like this:
Next, to play with the stereo panorama a bit, open the Channel Settings of the audio clip again and create automation clip for the Channel Panning. Then, head to the Playlist, double click the Channel Pan automation clip to open its Properties, enable the LFO and set the Speed to 002:00 and Level to 100%:
Alright. Head to the Mixer and drop a Fruity Delay 2 to the audio clip Mixer track and set it like this (and drop the Fruity Delay 2 effect mix level to 40%):
And this is what you get:
That’s it! Hopefully this’ll gave you some ideas on how you can use Fruity Granulizer to create interesting soundscapes. Watch out for part 3 soon!
Watch the video below, and download the FL Studio project file and samples pack:
Download FL Studio Project File for this sound (.ZIP file)
Download Prime Loops Drum Sample Tasters Package (the sample I’m using in this tutorial is titled 01_Percussive_Snare.wav located it in a folder ‘\Prime Loops – Drum Samples Taster Pack\Prime Loops – XXL Reggaeton Drums\XXL Drum Samples’ once you unpack the file).