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FL Studio Tutorial - The FL Studio FPC (Fruity Pad Controller)

Blckbxxx | 7:26 AM | 10 kommentarer

FL Studio tutorial explaining the FPC

One of the most ignored on board plugins is the FPC (which stands for Fruity Pad Controller). Ignored by me that is. I’ve looked at the plugin several times, but usually - after fiddling with it for some time - I deleted it from my project and moved on to ‘easier ways’ to program my beat. ‘Easier ways’ does not necessarily mean ‘better ways’, so once again I decided to leave the path of least resistance and have a close look at the FPC. Maybe it had some hidden features that – once revealed – would benefit me when composing songs.

This tutorial is an introduction to the FPC. While it does not discuss every single control or feature, it should give you a good grasp of what the FPC is and how you can use it in your projects.

What is the FPC

FPC is a multi-layer/velocity drum machine for creating, editing and swapping drum kits. It supports 16 multi layered patches (bank A and B). That’s what the help file says. In my own words, the FPC allows you to collect and combine percussion samples (in so called drum kits) and it effectively enables you to program your entire beat using a single channel. For instance, in a single drum kit you could have matching samples (patches) for the kick drum, snare drum, open hihat, closed hihat, crash, shakers, etc. In the piano roll you can then program the entire rythmic groove for your composition using those samples. See the screenshot below:

 

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Now, the good thing is that the FPC comes with a few presets (drum kits that contain samples for kick drum, snare drum, etc.) so you can get started right away. To make things really really easy, the FPC has loads of percussion patterns (for every possible genre) that load directly into your Piano Roll. The pattern you see in the above screenshot is one of those percussion patterns that ship with the FPC.

It is also possible to download additional drum kits, some of which are free of charge. Others require you to swipe your credit card (figuratively speaking).

You can also create your own drum kits, which allows you to combine your own preferred samples into one kit. It is especially this last option that opens up for some interesting possibilities – as we will see later in this tutorial.

Anyway, let’s dig a bit deeper.

The Interface

See below for the main interface of the FPC.

 

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Adding the FPC

To add the FPC, choose FPC under Channels | Add one in the main menu. See below:

 

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The FPC plugin will now load in a new channel.

 

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By default, the drum kit that is loaded is the one with the name ‘Default’ (yeah, that makes sense). To switch between drum kit presets, use the Plugin options menu as shown below:

 

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Default, Gretch Full and Tama have samples, Empty gives you an empty FPC with no samples (a good starting point for creating your own drum kit).

Cool, let’s play around with it a bit.

The Pads

If you click on a pad, it will turn blue and you will hear the sample.

 

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Now, the vertical position on the pad determines the samples velocity. See below:

 

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Try clicking several times at different vertical positions and you will understand what I am talking about. Now, the FPC supports multi layered samples that play dependent on the velocity. For example, if you left-click the upper left pad (in the Default drum kit), you will see the following in the Layer Properties:

 

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What this means is that there are 3 different samples for the same pad. Those samples play at different velocity ranges – which is controlled by the sliders. I suggest you try to click the same pad again, at different vertical positions. You will see and hear that different samples play depending on where you click. Also, feel free to adjust the sliders and see what effect it has.

Much more can be said about the Layer Properties, but I will save that for some other time.

You can see that every Pad has a few buttons.

 

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These buttons allow you to switch between (and load) different Pad presets (sample/layer presets) – if available. This means that every Pad within a single Drum Kit can have multiple sample/layer presets. Only one Pad preset can be loaded at any given time however.

To summarize:

  • In the FPC you can have one drum kit loaded
  • A drum kit has 16 pads in Bank A and Bank B
  • A single pad can be multi layered, which means that multiple samples can play at different velocities
  • A single pad can have multiple pad presets, which are sample/layer settings. Only one can be loaded at any given time.

Patterns

The cool thing with the FPC is that it is very easy to get some patterns to play in the Piano Roll. To achieve this, simply use the Pattern Manager:

 

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You can use the Previous MIDI drum loop (left-arrow) and Next MIDI drum loop (right-arrow) buttons to walk through all the patterns. Alternatively, you can click the Open MIDI drum loop (file open) button to load a patters or click the Loop options (arrow-down) button and select a pattern from the enormous menu:

 

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Selecting a pattern will immediately dump the pattern in the Piano Roll. I suggest you Play your song (in Pattern mode) and select different patterns to understand the effect of it.

 

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Naturally, you can also program your own pattern directly in the Piano Roll, but I think the predefined patterns are a great help in program the groove that fits your composition.

Downloading Drum Kits

To download additional drum kits, use the Download additional drumkits button (arrow down – Download Manager).

 

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In the screen shot shown above you can see that I downloaded some (free) drum kits (from the Online drum kits). I am not going to explain in detail how it works, as it is pretty self explanatory. Just browse through the Online drum kits. If you see one that you want to download, just double click it. If it is a free drum kit download will start immediately. See below:

 

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Creating your own Drum Kit

There are a couple of different drum kits that you could create. I’ve baptized them ‘horizontal drum kit’ and ‘vertical drum kit’. The vertical drum kit contains samples for the most common percussion instruments, such as kick drum, snare drum, hihats, crash, cymbals, shakers, etc. In other words, such a drum kit allows me to program my entire rythmic groove in a single FPC channel (as I have all the samples I need right?).  The Default drum kit is such a vertical drum kit.

A horizontal drum kit contains many different samples of the same percussion instrument (such as the kick drum). In other words, it will not allow me to program my entire rythmic groove, but has many different versions of a kick drum that I can switch between. With horizontal drum kits, I would need multiple FPC channels to program the entire groove (one for the kick drum, one for the snare drum, one for the close hihat, etc.).

Now why on earth would I go through the hassle of having multiple horizontal drum kits if I can collect all samples I need in a single drum kit? That’s a good question. The thing is that ‘what samples I need’ is typically determined when I am programming and listening to my groove. Being able to switch quickly between different versions of a kick drum (or open hihat, snare drum, etc.) makes it much easier for me to quickly find the matching timbres and create that absolutely vital groove for my composition.

Let me illustrate. Below you can see that I am loading a horizontal drum kit that I created (ForbiddenFruity-Kicks):

 

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I will explain how you can create your own drum kits in a minute, but with this drum kit loaded, have a look at the piano roll.

 

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I’ve programmed my kick drum pattern and by shifting the pattern up or down I can choose the kick drum sample that I want to use directly in the Piano Roll! This makes it really easy to walk through the different samples while I am playing my song – to find the matching kick drum.

I find this so easy and straightforward that I am not only collecting and creating my own percussion samples (WAV files), I have actually started to create horizontal drum kits in the FPC. Every time I want to program a rythmic groove, I create several FPC channels, each loaded with its own horizontal drum kit (kick drum, hihats, snare drum, etc.). From there I only work in the Piano Roll to switch samples, program my patterns.

Every drum kit has 32 Pads (bank A and B), so there is quite some space for loading your most favourite samples.

 

Create a drum kit

Ok, after this monologue (isn’t every post one big monologue), let me show you how to create a drum kit.

The easiest is to start with the Empty preset. See below:

 

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This means that no samples have been loaded for any of the Pads.

Next, left click a pad and then click the Load sample button in Layer Properties:

 

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A File Open dialog appears allowing you to find and load a sample (WAV file):

 

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Select a sample and click Open. The sample will now be assigned to the Pad.

 

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Next, you may want to change the name of the Pad. You can do this by right clicking the Pad name (Rim in the screenshot shown above) and entering a new name (press Enter when you have entered a new name).

 

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Now, to assign samples to other Pads, left click them first and then follow the same procedure as described above. Again, you have a total of 32 Pads (bank A and B) to work with.

Note: You can also drag and drop samples (on a Pad) from the Browser.

To save the drum kit, use the Save preset as… option in the Plugin options menu. See below:

 

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Give your drum kit a name and voila, you have your very own FPC preset for next time you start a project!

 

That was all for today. I hope this FL Studio tutorial has given you some new insights and ideas for your future projects. Happy composing!

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

10 kommentarer

  1. Anonymous says:

    Really nice little tutorial - inspired me to try the fpc!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stumbled on your site today and must say it's a great resource :) Regarding the FPC, is it possible to assign pads to play through different mixer channels ? So that different elements of the kit can be processed independently?

  3. Thank's very much! I realy need this information because in Indonesa, most dance music utilize different drum beats that i just made my music in other software with drum samples.

    I want to make all my music(multi genres) with FL only. but how to create it unusual drum beats in FL? after read this tutorial, I smile :-). I know what I have to do..

  4. Anonymous says:

    re: mixer channels
    yes, you can assign each pad to a channel
    look at the top right of the main FPC panel
    just under the pattern selector, its called Output
    its a +/- modifier to whatever channel the FPC is on

  5. Anonymous says:

    i can't find the fpc plugin. i have fl studio 10 (producer edition, can I download it somewhere?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot I have just met my life saver kit in your resource;sir.From now on I am gonna be what i wanna be in terms of making beats especially drum pieces in FL.My gratitude.

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