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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to create Dubstep sounds in Fruity Loops

I work with Fruity Loops Producer. For creating Dubstep sounds I use two plugins. "Glitch" is a free plugin I downloaded, "Fruity Squeeze" is included in Fruity Loops.

Fruity Squeeze is

a bit-reducing, distortion (called "Puncher" that replaces audio sample data with a fixed, user controlled value) and filtering plugin. "Fruity Squeeze" will add a gritty tonal character to input sounds and is particularly effective when applied to drum loops. (source: Fruity Loops manual)

Glitch is

"Glitch" is a realtime audio manipulation system which allows you to alter your music in a variety of ways ranging from quite subtle to extremely bizarre. It was originally created to help speed up the production of glitchy electronic beats, though it is really versatile enough to be applied to a wide range of musical styles. At its heart is a tempo-synched step sequencer which determines the selection of effects that are applied to your music. Effects can be either sequenced manually for full control over the outcome, selected at random for exciting and unexpected results, or a mixture of both. (source: user manual)

Creating a Dubstep sound

  1. First I create a fat synth sound with Poizone or Toxic Biohazard. There are good presets to start with. Sometimes I take a guitar. For guitar I use FL Slayer with a distorted sound and Powerchords.
  2. In the Effects slot to this instrument in the Mixer I add "Glitch". I usually start with slot 3 to be able to add effects before this slot. Although it is easy to move a slot up or down later. Ok, "Glitch" is in slot 3 now.
  3. I put chords into the playlist of this instrument. Let's say one chord on 1 and one chord on 3 in this bar with duration quarter note.
  4. Now I open "Glitch" with a click and try out effects while playing the bar. I choose effect after effect with the "Solo Toggle"-button. Details later.
  5. Last step in this workflow is to optimize the sound with filters and other effects. I add "Soundgoodizer", what is included in Fruity Loops, and Reverb. I do not use the Fruity Loops Reverb effect "Fruity Reeverb 2", I have a third-party-plugin, but "Fruity Reeverb 2" is not bad. I always put the reverb after the "Soundgoodizer", because "Soundgoodizer" is doing compression and a signal including reverb compressed does not sound good. (yes, I know, it can be a stylish effect)

Effects in Glitch

I first choose one effect with "Solo Toggle"-button and "Mix" to 100%.
Then I set the parameters while I play the bar in Fruity Loops.
  • Tape Stop is a effect I like. Sounds like stopping the tape. I like to set the "Slow Down" to high or maximum and "Speed up" to minimum. For a "start the tape"-effect I would set the "Slow Down" to minimum and "Speed up" to a higher value. In this case I would use a sound with a short Attack to blend away the short slowing down at the beginning.
  • Modulator is a effect, where the signal is modulated onto a sine. Set the frequency with the "Frequency"-knob. I never add the sine-signal, so "Sine Mix" is always zero. I seldom use this, because it destroys the signal, I would use it as something like noise percussion. But in this case I ask myself: why not use a WAV with a noise that fits perfectly to the song or - my preference - use a sequence in Absynth (Native Instruments synthesizer)?
  • Retrigger is retriggering the signal and changing pitch. I love this effect. I usually set the "Pitch" to -3. With this effect it is useful to set the Mix to 50% to add the effect to the signal.
  • Shuffler is shuffling the signal. I don't like this effect (that's my taste...).
  • Reverser is playing the signal reverse. Can be a quite funny effect. The length in the Sequencer has a big impact on the effect.
  • Crusher is crushing the signal. I would prefer the Fruity Loops plugin "Fruity Squeeze" for having more control over the effect. The more every effect in "Fruity Squeeze" is MIDI-programmable with Fruity Loops methods. The Crusher parameters are also programmable via MIDI-learn function, what I did not try yet.
  • Gater is hacking the signal. I like to set the "Speed" to 4 or 8 and "Length" to 50% - 80%.
  • Delay is an effect I never use, because I have this effect in Fruity Loops. Why put it to the Glitch sequencer?
  • Stretcher is stretching the tone. I use it to hold the leading tone.
"Global Toggle" means that the selected effect is applied to the signal after the other sequenced effects. So I can play two effects simultaneously. Easy Example: Select the Gater effect in the sequencer and select the Delay effect as global effect. I seldom use that because a combination of two effects can result in audio chaos.

Sequencer in Glitch

I always set effects black (no effect) to a step. I never use the random function "R", because results are unpredictable. To start off with the sequencer I sometimes push the button "Both" of the randomize function to get a quick start. I usually do not use the filter sections. I process the signal in Fruity Loops Mixer.

Useful links

Short info about Glitch and Download link:

Glitch video tutorials on YouTube:

Fruity Loops:

Fruity Loops Online Manual