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EXS24 Loop processing and Glitch Fills.


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I used to use recycle a lot for this kind of thing but now with 'Create New Sampler Track' we have some very powerful tools at our disposal. Here's a little tutorial showing some ways I like to do with audio and the EXS24.


1. Drag in or record some audio and trim it down to a loopable section. Don't worry if the BPM's match.. I'm using the break from Allain Thompson "Get out of my life woman' :). This is a rough cut of the break so I'm going to zoom in on the first kick and cut it before the transient. Remember a kick normally starts with some beater sound before the big low frequency wave comes in so make sure to snip before that. With Smart Snap on, drag the region so the stars snaps on the start of a bar. Now I'll zoom in on the first kick of the next bar and snip it there. Now I have a bar long 'loop'. Notice it doesn't line up with my 95 BMP but we'll fix that.




2. Tweak the transient markers Select the audio region, hit 'w' to bring up the sample editor and click the transient marker button (orange). Inspect the markers. There should be one for each drum hit (or string pluck or word or other seperate section of audio you're playing with). Logic pretty much never get's this perfect so this step is really important.




Mine has an extra marker on each snare so I hit the '-' button twice and they disappear. You may need to manually add / remove individual markers if the + and - doesn't get it right.




3. Flex and fit the loop to your project tempo Hit 'w' again to close the sample editor. Turn on Flex Time mode, change the mode to 'Slicing' and uncheck 'Fill Gaps'. I'm a bit or a purist when it comes to time manipulation and I hate the degradation and artifacts that comes with time-stretching. Turning this off means our audio remains pure, just cut and moved around. Now hover you mouse on the top right corner of the region till you get the flex icon and drag the end of the region to the relevant bar marker to make it fit your tempo



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4. Create a Sampler Instrument Now if logic was bug free we would ctrl-click our region and select 'Create New Sampler Instrument' but you'll find that you're transient marker tweaks were futile. So instead first select 'Slice at transient markers' and then 'Create New Sampler Instrument and change the option to 'Regions'. I also like to change the start note to C1. Now you have an EXS24 track with a midi region that will play your loop.




5. Use the EXS24 to tweak your loop Now comes the powerful part, this is where we get an edge on plain flex-time. Open up the EXS24 and play around. You can change the pitch and mess with the filter and envelopes. I'm going to pitch mine up a bit, 0 the ENV2 sustain and reduce ENV2 decay to get rid of most of the verb/room sound. I turned on the filter, enabled 'fat' mode and added some drive to beef it up some.




6. Match the grooves This probably should have been step 5 but ohh well... If your loop has a loose groove and it's clashing with the rest of your track you can either quantise your new midi region, or select the region and make a groove template to lock the rest of your track to. I choose to quantise at 16. Now that notes have been moved around you will likely have gaps, so 'p' to open piano roll, command-a to select all and 'shift-minus' to force legato. Now depending on whether you sped up or slowed down, you may still have gaps. You have a couple of choices. Pitching it down will make the samples longs, filling the gaps. Or Shortening the decay as I have done will add gaps to each sample and it will sound intentional.



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7. Optionally split off seperate sounds. Sometimes, usually in the case of a drum loop, you may find it advantageous to be able to process the kick, snare and hihtat, for example, individually. You can either duplicate the channel a few times and mute midi notes, or use a multichannel EXS24. I'm going to demonstrate the latter. Hit 'x' to open the mixer. Click and hold the EXS24 slot and change it to a multi-out version. Then click '+' a couple of times to add 2 more outputs. While you're there, shift select all 3 and change the output to a buss so you can process the whole loop together swell. I've renamed the channels Kick, Snare and Hat.




Now open the EXS24 editor and, using a midi keyboard or Caps-lock keyboard, audition the samples and change their output accordingly. Close the editor and Save when prompted. Now you can treat each element separately. I throw a compressor on the snare and send some to my verb bus...... without adding any verb to the kick! Then I throw a compressor on the bus aswell.




8. Glitchy Fills and Beat Mincing. We're going to use the Transformer to make some fills and stuff. I lay out 16 bars of the midi region, but create a individual region on the last of each 4, and color them so I know they're different.




Select the first 'fill' region and cycle it. Hit 'p' to open piano roll on that sucker and 'command-a' all the notes. Now select Functions>Transform>Random Pitch. Inspect the range of midi notes you have and change pitch range in the Transformer accordingly. Mine goes from C1 to A1. Now just keep hitting 'Operate Only' till you hear something you like! Repeat for each fill.

So far we've only been changing the pitch (slice) and not the positions which is a little boring so on the last one I add some more notes, including a section of 32nd notes at the end, and hit random till something cool happens. Listening to what's coming out I wonder if DJ shadow does this too!??




9. Get your glitch on. For glitchier stuff you'll probably want more notes like 32nds and 64ths, and more outputs on the EXS24. Try randomly changing the output's of some of the EXS24 zones and add plugins like distortion, bit crusher, flanger, pitch shifter, spreader etc to those outputs. Use the looping function in the EXS24 editor for 'buzz'. Some heavy compression on the group bus we set up earlier can also work a treat.

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10. More tweaks We have so many ways to manipulate the audio now. I want to tune just the snare to the other snare in my song so I open up the editor and change the pitch of just the snare zones. You can also experiment with the reverse toggle here. Other cool stuff you can do is play with the glide control, use the pitch bender and automate ENV2. Automating the decay time on drums let's you open and close the ambience around the drums which is cool. In the case of a vocal sample, hooking up an LFO to the EXS24 'sample start' can be cool, as is manipulating the pitch bender.


Well that's it folks. My first tutorial on anything really. Hope it inspires people on creative uses for EXS24 audio manipulation. If anyone has any other cool tricks you can do with this please post 'em here.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Wow, thanks a lot for the tutorial on this here!! Really helpful stuff!! I have just been getting in to the whole flex time and sampler instrument conversion stuff as a bypass to recycle. Anyways, this really helps on some pointers to really take advantage of these features, so again, many thanks!!!
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