Today I was browsing through forums and a question came up. What is your preferred method to make beats? I figured this would be a great time to discuss beatmaking methods and give some FL Studio tips at the same time. This individual was specifically looking for the method you are using to create your beats. There are many different ways to do it including:
- Loop recording
- Composing notes in the piano roll
- Recording live instruments
First of all I want to point out that there is no right or wrong way to create a beat. Music is experimental and can be as creative as you want it to be. Never limit the possibilities of beat creation. However, you need to find a way to work efficiently while also composing high quality beats.
So let’s look at some of the common methods and you can pick a beat making method that works best for you.
Composing Notes In The FL Studio Piano Roll
This method of beatmaking involves opening up FL Studio and composing notes on the piano roll as you compose the track. This is a great way to construct the song whether you’re a beginner or pro. Working in the piano roll you can see all the different notes and try out things as you go.
The major downside of using the piano roll is that it is so much harder to improvise parts. If you are using a keyboard you can easily jam along to your beat and write new parts on the fly. When you’re working in the piano roll it takes much more time to paint out notes, listen back, paint more notes,and make adjustments where needed.
Loop Recording In FL Studio
Loop recording is great because you can jam on a song while a certain section of the beat repeats on loop. So let’s say for example that I have created a drum part for my beat. Now I want to write a bass part for it. With loop recording, I can record everything that I play on my midi keyboard to a channel in FL Studio and improvise until I record something that I like. There are a couple of different ways to use loop recording. One method involves overwriting what you record every time the loop repeats. The other method involves continuously recording in the playlist as you go.
Another great part about loop recording is that you can still go to the piano roll later and edit the notes to get them exactly how you want them. Loop recording is also great when you want to record live instruments along with your beats. This way you can record the live instruments over and over into you nail the part while the section repeats over and over.
How To Loop Record In FL Studio
To give you a great understanding of how loop recording works in FL Studio I went straight to the FL Studio Online Help. You have two great options for loop recording including:
- The Edison Method
- Playlist & Sound-on-sound method
Here are the instructions from the FL Studio Help.
Loop recording is the process of repeatedly laying down audio-takes while FL Studio loops a project. This technique is often preferred by instrumentalists or vocalists who want to repeat a phrase/section of a song until they get the perfect take, there are two loop recording methods available:
Edison method – We recommend using Edison for Loop recording duties as described in the Edison Loop Recording section. This will provide glitch-free recordings with the advantage that Edison will place region markers at the start of each loop-back for precise selection of the preferred loop. After recording the desired regions (loops) can be selected and dragged (or sent) into the Playlist or saved as audio files. Use Edison as follows:
- Load Edison – Select a Mixer track and press ( Shift+E). This loads Edison in the first empty FX slot ready to record with ‘Slave playback to host’ and Record ‘On play’ enabled.
- Select your input – Select your live audio input from the Mixer INPUT menu.
- Make a Playlist selection – If you only want to record a section of the song, highlight the section of time in the Playlist, hold ( Ctrl) and then click and drag along the bar-count at the top of the Playlist. If you don’t make a selection then the whole song will Loop record.
- Start recording – Press Play in FL Studio and record as many takes as you need into Edison. Each time Edison loops section Markers will be placed in the recording (these are useful for later).
- Stop recording – Stop FL Studio and click on the record button in Edison to disable it.
- Start playback – Press Play in FL Studio and the first take in Edison will play in sync with the Playlist (slave mode is on), looping when the Playlist does.
- Audition takes – With Edison focused use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to select a different takes in Edison. Each left/Right-click will jump to the next/previous section.
- Send the perfect take to the Playlist – Press ( Shift+C) to send the current selection in Edison to Playlist. NOTE: Edison will automatically set the sample properties to the current project tempo so that the recording will stretch as the project tempo is changed.
NOTE: The Edison method does not allow for ‘sound-on-sound’ recording where layers of audio are built up on each pass, for that use the Playlist method, below.
Playlist & Sound-on-sound method – You can record audio directly into the Playlist as Audio Clips. You can Loop record all or at any part of the Playlist by making a selection and monitor previously recorded loops for ‘sound-on-sound’ recording.
- Select Loop record mode – The switch is on the Recording panel.
- Select ‘Blend Recording’ from the Recording panel.
- Select Song mode – From the Transport Panel.
- Make a Playlist selection (optional) – If you want to Loop record over a section of the song, highlight the time-line section in the Playlist. Hold ( Ctrl + Left-click) and then drag along the bar-count at the top of the Playlist. If you don’t make a selection then the whole song will Loop record.
- Monitoring options – To mute loop recorded Audio Clips switch Blend recorded notes Off. To hear loop recorded Audio Clips, turn it On.
- Arm record mode and press Play to start recording – When FL Studio reaches the end of the Playlist data or selection it will dump the recorded audio to the Playlist as an Audio Clip and loop back to the beginning of the selection to start recording a new Audio Clip.
NOTE: Each time around the loop FL Studio must save .wav files, create channels and new .wav files. On some systems there may be audio glitches in the first few ms of each loop. Adding a bar lead in at the start of the loop section where you are not performing input audio will avoid this problem, should you experience it.
Regardless of the method to make beats you choose, you will get the job done. I use a combination of both methods for best results. Sometimes its just easier to go into the piano roll and paint out a few notes. Other times I just want to jam on a part until I get it how I want it. Experiment with loop recording and constructing beats in the piano roll and see which beat making method works best for you.
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