Improve your music producing with these tips of how to flip samples and manipulate loops in your DAW. Take your tracks up a notch and get creative editing loops.
There’s lots of high quality royalty-free loops out there for music producers who love to work with samples in their tracks. Often however, using someone else’s original loop doesn’t quite scratch the creative itch. There’s more to samples than dragging and dropping them into a track.
For the uninitiated, samples and loops aren’t a complex thing, though the way producers talk about them can sometimes seem it. They’re simply audio files of sections of other people’s tracks that you use in your own songs. Bear in mind that if you’re looking to release a track commercially and you’ve used samples, it’s important to make sure to have permission from the copyright holder, and make sure any sites that are “royalty-free” are legit.
But, whether you’re using a stock loop that came with your DAW, or a royalty-free sample downloaded from a loop store, often it won’t perfectly fit with the vision you have in your head. Luckily, you can edit loops just like any other audio or MIDI in your DAW – using The Edison audio editing plugin in FL Studio, for example. Part of the fun of working with sampled loops is taking a loop and putting your own producing stamp on it.
After manipulating the loop into something new, your tracks will sound fresh and original. For beginners, a good way to get your head around flipping samples is to find a loop you like and start experimenting with manipulating it in a DAW. Here’s 5 loop tips to get you started manipulating samples in music production.
Most DAWs have functions where you can reverse the sample – so the loop plays backwards. A cool riser effect is sometimes achievable in this way. Or try selecting just a small section of a beat to reverse, to create glitchy effects.
Rearrange your sample
Experiment with slicing a sample into smaller chunks, creating separate sections which can be rearranged however you like in a new pattern. That’s “flipping” a sample.
Make it as crazy as you like. Drop a drum loop in, chop it in a similar fashion, and see how the loops work on top of each other. You’ve then got a unique foundation to add other elements on top.
The chop feature in FL Studio can split samples into patterns for you.
Mix it up
Change up the sound of the loop completely by experimenting with effects plugins. Add reverb for some classy sound design. A touch of EQing will change the sound still further, bringing out the high end or low end, or try panning different parts of the loop to create a ping-pong or pulsing effect. Get creative and see how the sample is transformed.
Alter your loops with time stretching, extending how long the sample lasts for cool warped effects. Time stretching is super useful for making sure samples fit the tempo of your song. You can also get creative slowing the tempo of only certain sections when flipping a sample to create artistic effects.
Keep it smooth
If you’re chopping and changing up your loop, even when you’re going for an experimental feel, beware of harsh attack transients between the new sections of your loop that will cause pops and clicks in your track. Use the fade in tool or declick tool in your DAW to smooth out the volume so there’s less jumps in frequencies.
Plenty of articles and YouTube tutorials kicking around the internet give in depth explanations of how to edit loops. Don’t let it be said that using samples is cheating – when used creatively they’re a composition tool, and no two producers will use one loop in the same way.
Use these tips to open your mind beyond using unedited samples into your track. Take some time to mess around and get comfortable with the process of how to flip samples, and your producing and creative enjoyment will improve as a result.
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