In this tutorial I will show you how to use Round Robin in FL Studio.
If you wonder what Round Robin is, in audio production it’s a sampling method and performance feature of a sample player which allows you to play back a different sample of a same sampled instrument sound each time you trigger the playback. This is an awesome way for adding realism and variation to sampled instruments.
Think of acoustic instruments for example: most (if not all) of them produce a slightly different sound each time you play or hit the same note.
In order to emulate this realism with a sampler software, you need to record multiple hits of that instrument and then let your sample player play back the samples randomly. Round Robin feature helps you here as it will automatically randomize the sample playback.
Round Robin sampling is a way to add more variation to your sampled instruments and to avoid that ‘machine gun’ effect which happens when you rapidly repeat the same sound. It works great with all kinds of sampled instruments and especially well with percussion samples.
In FL Studio, you have at least two different methods to use Round Robin technique. Here’s the first method:
For this tutorial, I’ve recorded couple of keystrokes from my typing keyboard (yeah, everything that produces a sound can be used as a instrument!). And now I just drag and drop all the samples to the Step Sequencer.
Next, I add Fruity Layer channel to the Step Sequencer.
Now, I select all the Sampler channels by right clicking their channel selectors and in the Layer channel, I click on the ‘Set children’ -button to assign all the selected channels as children of this Layer channel.
And lastly and most importantly, I enable the ‘Random’ feature in the Fruity Layer channel. This makes the Layer channel to randomly play back the samples when I trigger a note.
Ok. This was the first method for Round Robin in FL Studio. However, while this is a pretty ok method and the Layer channel does play the samples randomly, it can still cause a same sample to be played repeatedly, defeating the purpose. So with that said, here’s the second (and probably better) method:
The second method for Round Robin is using the DirectWave. DirectWave offers a bit more control than the Fruity Layer over how it triggers the random sample playback.
First, I drop the keystroke samples to DirectWave.
Next, I assign all the samples to a same key zone. This is done by dragging the zone control points horizontally (pitch range). I only need to do this for one sample and then I just copy paste it’s settings to other samples.
Copying the pitch range settings to all the samples is done by selecting the sample which values you want to copy and then right click and choose ‘Copy to all zones -> Low Key’ (and ‘High Key’) from the menu.
All the samples are now assigned to a same key and when I hit it, they all play at once.
Now, in order to play the samples randomly and not all at once, I need to go to the Zone -tab and edit the sample playback Trigger settings. Under the Trigger I select the Group which is ‘1’ in this case. Next, I select the Trigger Type. There’s various types to choose from, but I recommend using the ‘Avoid prev.’.This tells the DirectWave to play samples randomly, with the restriction that the same sample will never be played twice in a row. If you use the ‘Random’ -type, it does play the samples randomly yeah, but it can still sometimes cause them to be played repeatedly as well. ‘Avoid prev.’ -type can help to avoid those repeated hits.
As you can see, Round Robin is a powerful technique if you want to add more variation to sample based stuff. And it can be used for all kinds of special tricks as well. Just be creative with it!
The end. 🙂
Watch the video version below:
Also, if you want, you can download the keystroke samples here.