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FL Studio Dashboard Explained Part 2: Browser, Channel Rack, Mixer

September 7, 2017 - By 

In my last article, I showed you how to use some tools from FL Studio 12 to compose a simple beat. In this article (which is Part 1 of a two-parter), I will show you more tools to create a hip-hop drumbeat using the Browser, the Channel Rack, and the effects on the Mixer.

When you open up FL Studio 12, it should look like this.

We will compose a hip-hop drumbeat. Only this time, we will not use the drum sounds built into the Channel Rack. We will replace them with other sounds while adding a crash cymbal, too.

On the left side of this opening screen is the Browser. It should have a “Packs” folder containing a sub-folder called “Drums.” Inside “Drums” is “Cymbals.” When you left-click “Cymbals,” it should display a list of cymbals you can use for this new drumbeat. If “707 Crash” is programmed into FL Studio 12, find that.

(You can use any cymbal you want. 707 Crash is the one I used.)

When you find 707 Crash, left-click it, drag it, and drop it on the bottom of the Channel Rack. Do not place it over any of the existing drum sounds. Put it on the bottom. It should look like this.

Now we should replace the kick, hat, and snare sound files with other kick, hat, and snare files. You will find them on the Browser.

You should find “Kicks” in the “Drums” sub-folder. If you find the “Pow Kick,” use that.

Left-click this “Pow Kick” and drag it to the Channel Rack. Drop the “Pow Kick” on top of the existing “Kick” button, to replace it. It should look like this.

Now go back to the Browser and find “Bracke CH 1” under the “Hats” folder in “Drums.” Drag that sound to the Channel Rack like you did with the “Pow Kick” and replace the existing “hat” on the Channel Rack with “Bracke CH 1.”

Now find “Filtered Snare 1” under “Snares” and drag that to where the snare is on the Channel Rack and replace it. Your work should look like this.

We can now compose a drumbeat with these sounds we have generated.

When you play this pattern, it might sound pretty cool, but it’s pretty fast. When you see the tempo, you’ll see that it’s 130 beats per minute. Slow that down to 90.

Remember how to slow down the tempo? Find the tempo display to the right of the record button on the top of the screen. Click the number 130, not the decimal places reading “.000,”and scroll down until the tempo reads 90.

Now it’s time to link each track in the Channel Rack with tracks on the Mixer. Don’t remember how to do that? Start off with clicking the button reading “Pow Kick.” When a display board appears (which is info on the kick sound), left-click the upper left side of this display until a drop down menu appears. On that menu, click “Route to free Mixer track.” (Or just type Control+L.)

The kick should appear on the Mixer. Do the “Route to free Mixer track” thing for the “Bracke CH 1,” the “Filtered Snare 1,” and “707 Crash.”

When all four of those tracks appear on the mixing board, adjust each track’s volume until it appears like this.

Now click on the channel reading “Filtered Snare 1.” On the right of the mixing board, you should see “Slot 1,” “Slot 2,” and so on. Click “Slot 1” to add a “fruity reeverb” effect to that “Filtered Snare 1.”

Above is a large picture of the display for left-clicking “Slot 1” for the “Filtered Snare 1.”

Make sure you have that “Filtered Snare 1” selected or else adding this reverb won’t work.

When you click “Fruity Reeverb 2,” this display should show up.

This is the reverb you’ve added to the snare. Do not adjust any knobs on the “reeverb” display.

There will be a Part 3 of this beat-making tutorial coming next week. It should go over placing this pattern in the playlist and making it unique.

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