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FL Studio Tutorial - Gating techniques in FL Studio – creating a gated synth

Blckbxxx | 7:47 AM | 3 kommentarer

FL Studio tutorial explaining how to create a gated synth.

Gating is a technique – often used in dance music - of fragmenting sounds in shorter, percussive bits by means of rapid and continual changes in volume. Another application of gating is the noise gate, but here the purpose is to eliminate noise problems by muting the audio signal entirely when it is at the noise level. In this tutorial we will not discuss noise gating, but go over some common techniques for creating a gated synth sound in FL Studio.

LFO tool in the Piano Roll

Before moving on, if you are not familiar with the piano roll, I recommend you first read the following tutorials:

LFO stands for Low Frequency Oscillator. Such oscillators are used to modulate properties in a synthesizer (or effects). In the Integrated Event Editor in the Piano Roll we can enable the LFO for the following channel properties: Volume, Panning and Pitch. Let’s have a look at the Piano Roll.




In the screenshot shown above, the Target Control menu offers access to the controls that you can access in the Integrated Event Editor. If you select Channel volume, for example, then Target Control will say ‘Channel volume’ as indicated above (this sounds obvious, but it took me some time to figure out how to know what I was looking at in the Integrated Event Editor). See also the screenshot below:




After you have selected Channel volume, choose the LFO option in the Quick Tools menu. See below:




When you choose this option, the following will appear:




What you see in the event editor is the LFO for the Channel volume control – which we can manipulate via the Events – LFO dialog. Actually, what appeared here by default is already something that gives us the gated sound. Try it out below:



The Events – LFO dialog has the following controls:

  • Start Value – The value (amplitude) of the LFO. The higher the pink bars, the higher the channel volume will be when the ‘gate is open’.
  • Start Range – This controls the difference between maximum and minimum values of the LFO – which is the difference in maximum and minimum channel volume.
  • Start Speed – Controls the frequency of the LFO and allows you to control how rapid the channel volume changes.

See below screenshot, where I changed the start range and the start speed of the LFO.




Now, the dialog also has the End Value, End Range and End Speed of the LFO. Those will only be active if you mark the checkbox in front of ‘End’ on the dialog. By using these controls the LFO will shift over time from the start values to the end values. Have a look at the screenshot below where I used the End controls.




What I did is using a different End Speed setting, which causes the gating effect to change for the duration of my pattern. You can listen to it below:



Finally, with the Shape setting and Phase control you can affect the shape of the LFO as well as shift it in time (to the left or right).

A final remark: You can also draw in the Integrated Event Editor and adjust the LFO shape (creating and integrated automation event), but this will overrule the LFO settings in the dialog. Once you have drawn in the Integrated Event Editor, then you can return to the original LFO shape by choosing the LFO option in the Quick Tools menu again.

LFO Modulation

Now that we discussed the LFO tool in the Piano Roll, many generators (including VST plugins) offer LFO settings that will allow you to achieve such gating effects. For example, have a look at the standard 3XOscillator generator that comes with FL Studio.




By tweaking the LFO controls, I can quickly generate a gating effect very similar to the effect created with the LFO tool in the Piano Roll. And by automating the SPD (Speed) control I can change the gating speed over time.


For a basic tutorial covering automation in FL Studio, read: What is Automation?

An obvious way to achieve gating is to create automation clips for the Channel volume. See below:




Here I created an automation clip for the Channel volume knob (Trance lead) channel. An automation clip has been created spanning the length of my entire pattern. Now, by using the automation clip manipulation tools (see mentioned tutorial covering Automation) I can create a gated effect. Or – much easier - I can use one of the predefined automation clips in the Browser (also explained in the tutorial covering Automation). See the clip below:




Gating on VST’s

Many VSTi plugins allow me to gate my sounds without having to draw automation clips. This, however, is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Hope this FL Studio tutorial was helpful to you. Feel free to leave any comments. Happy composing!

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FL Studio Tutorials - All fl studio tutorials are written by Marc Demar

3 kommentarer

  1. Very nice tutorial! I'll use that on my next track! Thanks!

  2. Blckbxxx says:

    You're welcome Onyx :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nice tutorial. Very informative. Thanks