The Basics Part 1 – Using the Interface, Channel Window, and Step Sequencer
The following tutorial will contain a basic overview of the FL Studio interface and will introduce the Browser and the Channel Window, which includes the Step Sequencer
Welcome to HipHopTutoral.com! We will begin our tutorials with a basic overview of the FL studio interface. Though a lot of things are pretty easy to find, there are some items that are not so apparent. If you have already started using the program and feel comfortable with it, you might just want to skim through this really quick to see if there is anything you didn’t already know.
It is fairly easy to find everything in FL Studio. The following images were obtained from the FL Studio manual, you should familiarize yourself with everything here:
Most of what you need to know can be found in those pictures.
Incase you lost or can’t see your browser, step sequencer, mixer, piano roll, or playlist, check out these buttons. They control what you are viewing.
All of your drum samples should be loaded on the left side under “Packs”. You can click on each sound and hear it, and drag the ones you like to the Channel Window. If you want to learn how to add more samples, please read Free Hip Hop Drum Kit.
Once you have loaded your sounds to the Step Sequencer, you can start creating a drum pattern. Lets begin with something simple, a Kick, a Snare, and a Hat. Load one of each into the sequencer. Once loaded, you can click the little boxes to the right of each sample to activate them (a left click will place a sound at the given time, and a right click will remove it). You can then press play and hear what your pattern sounds like. Here is a sample pattern:
Pretty easy isn’t it? Each box represents a 16th note. You can use longer notes or shorter notes – to do this you would use the piano roll, which is later in this tutorial. Mess around with this simple sequencing method for a while and become comfortable with it.
You can also make your pattern longer. To increase the beats per bar for the pattern, simple click and hold the item highlighted in orange in the image below – while holding, move your mouse up to increase the beats per bar, or move down to decrease. The most common beats per bar setups are usually 8 beats per bar, or 16 beats per bar. However, you can do whatever you want!
Panning and volume control are also readily controllable in the channel window. In the image below, the item highlighted in blue is the panning control, and the item highlighted in red is the volume control. Each loaded sample has its own control. Further panning and volume control can be accessed in the mixer, which will be discussed later in depth. Also, the little green button to the left of the panning control can be used to mute the selected sample.
The swing in the top right is used to “humanize” the pattern when it is played. It helps your track sound less mechanic, and more as if a real drummer is playing, if that is what you want.
The dropdown labeled “All” in the bottom left is used to essentially pick what is shown in the Channel Window. Sometimes when you have certain imported samples (like acapellas) they might not show up in your pattern with your other samples unless you select “All”. If you are confused it will make more sense when I show you how to use acapellas in FL Studio.
When you click on a sample in your Channel Window, the Channel Settings will pop up. These are the properties of the given sample. I won’t go into too much depth about this right now, but there are a lot of interesting things you can do here which will be explained later.
Part II of this tutorial will introduce the Playlist and the Mixer