In this post you’re going to learn the simplest way to sample in FL Studio.
While there are several ways to sample using FL Studio, this tutorial will focus on the cheapest and easiest method.
So if you want to learn how to sample without buying extra plugins or reading through support documents, keep reading…
The difference between looping and flipping a sample
Before we get into today’s FL Studio sampling tutorial, a quick clarification:
Sampling is repurposing a piece of music into another, which means you can simply loop some bars from another piece of music and call it a day.
But that’s not what we’re aiming to do in this tutorial. Instead, we’re going to be reconstructing a piece of music and making it our own.
Now that you understand the difference between looping and flipping a sample, let’s dive into the steps to flipping your own sample.
Step #1: Find a sample
The sampling process begins with “crate digging”.
While you may not want to go to record stores and browse for obscure gems, here’s how to find samples online:
First, find examples of good songs to sample.
Your first step is to find some music to sample. The best way to train your ear for sampling is to learn from other producers.
Here’s how to find out which songs have already been sampled into classic records:
One of my favourite strategies is to use WhoSampled to find the sample sources of sampled music.
All you need to do is search for your favourite producers and listen to their music and their samples side by side.
Then you can go down the rabbit hole of artists you’d never heard of and interesting music they’ve made that you might want to sample as well.
I’d also recommend keeping a playlist of songs you want to revisit and possibly sample.
Be careful with how you distribute the music you sample, however, due to copyright.
Alternatively, you can get samples from sample packs
Instead of dealing with copyright issues, you can buy sample packs with full compositions online.
The best part of purchasing these packs is that they’re made for sampling, which makes the process even simpler.
Step #2: Find the tempo
In order to make smooth transitions with your samples, you’ll need to know the tempo of the song.
If you get your sample from a sample shop, as we mentioned earlier, you can skip this step since the tempo will be labeled.
If you don’t already know the tempo, here’s how to find the tempo in FL Studio:
First, open FL Studio and drag your sample to the playlist area.
Next, right click the top left corner of the track.
In the menu under the section “Sample”, click “Detect Tempo”.
In the new dialog window that pops up, click the option with the range that you think the sample is in.
Then, you’ll be provided with an estimated tempo for the sample.
In my testing, however, this method wasn’t always accurate. You can also manually count the bars of the track instead if you get incorrect information from FL Studio.
At this point, you can optionally change your project tempo to the tempo of the sample. You will also need the tempo information for the next step.
Step #3: Configure and customize the sample in Fruity Slicer
Now we’re ready to prepare the track for sampling.
We’re going to be using Fruity Slicer in this tutorial.
First, Fruity Slicer comes with all versions of FL Studio, unlike Slicex or Edison.
While you can use other tools to sample in FL Studio, Fruity Slicer is the simplest method.
Slicex is better suited for sampling drum loops, and Edison is best for in-depth waveform editing.
Finally, using Fruity Slicer provides you with an all-in-one tool to customize your sample without added functionality you likely won’t need.
Here’s how to get started with Fruity Slicer:
First, open a new instance of Fruity Slicer in your sequencer.
Next, load the sample by clicking on the sample button, then choosing “load sample”, and navigate to the audio file you want to import.
Once the sample is loaded, change the tempo of the Fruity Slicer instrument to the tempo of the sample that you found from earlier.
Now you’re ready to start slicing the sample. Click the slicing button and choose from the incremental options.
I would recommend you choose “Beat” as your slicing option because it usually gives you the best result.
You can choose to slice by smaller portions if you prefer, but be aware that the smaller slices will make it tougher to puzzle together later.
At this point, you should have your samples loaded and key mapped to your midi keyboard (if you have one).
However, you might notice that the start of each sample might sound to choppy.
To fix this, use the attack slider to customize the transients for all of your newly sliced samples.
In my experience, when the start of each sample is too sudden or jarring, increasing the attack will help with the transitions between samples.
The other slider is for the decay of each slice, which you should feel free to play around with.
With the sliders on the left, you can also change the pitch and stretch the samples to your liking.
For more customization, click the miscellaneous functions button.
In this section, you can get even more advanced with your sample customization.
For example, let’s say you want to play your sample instrument like a traditional hip hop sample machine, you would use the Polyphony area.
By changing the max number of voices that play at a time, you can recreate the classic hip hop feel so that only one slice plays at a time.
You can also slide the samples so that each slice glides into another when the notes are legato for a different result.
Another way to really make the sample instrument your own is to change the root note of the sample instrument.
Be aware that this will also change the tempo of each slice, which means that each beat will no longer neatly align with your project.
This is your opportunity to make the sample your own.
So have fun with this process and play around until you find something you like.
Step #4: Create a new pattern
Now that you’ve found a sample you like and customized it to your liking, it’s time to make some music with your new sample instrument.
You can use Fruity Slicer like any other virtual instrument to create your own patterns.
Play the samples on your midi keyboard while recording into FL Studio, or draw the notes into your piano roll.
Find a pattern that works for what you’re going for.
Again, just play around here and have fun with the process.
Step #5: Build around the sample
At this point you’ve probably got some interesting patterns and loops that you’re excited to build around.
Be sure to treat your newly created pattern just like any other instrument and tailor it to your track.
This includes using EQ to strip out elements you may not want in your final composition.
You can also add other effects to further customize the sample to your liking, and to fit the overall style of your track.
Now you’re ready to add other elements to your song.
You can add your drums and any other instruments to complement the sample.
And once you’ve reached a more advanced level of sampling, you can even restart the process and layer another sample into your track.
Have fun with it!