We'll show you how to slice pre-made sampled drum loops to help you
re-arrange them, create variations as well as totally new new drum grooves.
To aid us we'll be using Propellerhead Software 'Recycle!' software to aid
the slicing of your drum loops since this easily creates a MIDI file
representing each beat slice of the loop. This enables you to load the resulting
Recycle! file (REX) into your sampler software for easy arranging. An
alternative for both PC & OS X is iZotope's Phatmatik Pro, a VST & Audio Unit
plugin that'll work from within your sequencer. They've recently added Recycle
loops support too so this one's a definite contender for slicing drum loops. FL
Studio also has it's own built in beat Slicer tool.
We'll be using Recycle & Apple Logic for this tutorial so lets start off
by choosing a sampled drum loop to manipulate. We've loaded up our loop in
Recycle! and ramped up the sensitivity slider to highlight each beat as a
'slice'. We're assuming here that your loop is a precise amount of bars, which
will almost certainly be the case for samples from CD's and sample download
sites. Recycle! offers you the chance to enter the correct amount of bars and
beats for your loop - this will make sure that your import into your DAW
software goes smoothly. Now that we've got our loop defined into slices we can
save the chopped sample as a recycle drum loop or REX2 file. To do this choose
'Save As' from the File menu and save the file into you 'Logic' -> 'Sampler
Instruments' folder. Equally if you'd just like separate the drum slices and a
MIDI file the 'Export' command from the File menu will do this for you.
Now we'll start the fun and get re-arranging our loop. Load up Logic and
insert an EXS24 sampler (if Logic's already running hit 'Refresh Menu' from the
EXS24 front panel - this will reveal your newly exported Recycle file in your
sampler instrument list).
Choose your loop from the EXS24 menu - this will automatically import your
sliced drum loop and create a sampler instrument for it, as well as import the
corresponding MIDI file into Logic's timeline for editing (click OK to the 2
dialogue boxes that pop up).
Now that we've got our loop imported run your cycle points around the drum
loop MIDI region. Double click to open Logic's piano roll editor and you'll see
the slices of your loop represented as notes in the roll. This is where we can
create some variation or even spawn an entirely new loop using the beat's
We've decided we like the kick drum in our loop and want to use it to
drive our new track's percussion section. To achieve this we're going to split
the loop into two tracks, one will deal just with the kick drum slice, the other
with the rest of the loop parts. Hit Logic's 'duplicate track' button and copy
the loop's MIDI region to the newly created duplicate track.
On the original track cycle through your loop's slices (you can do this
using the horizontal cursor keys) and delete all the slices except the four kick
drums in the bar.
Open up your duplicate MIDI region and remove the kick drums from your
loop. Now we've got our two sections separated (we'll refer to them as the kick
drum and loop components from now on) we can experiment with editing and
We've opened the EXS24 amp envelope's release control up to full to allow
each sample to be played in full. Try a little EQ or compression on your kick
drum this can really help to give it added impact in your mix.
Tip: don't always quantize everything! this may kill the 'groove' feel of
your loop, experiment with different quantize settings. Logic provides several
different grooves in it's Quantize menu, we settled for the 16 a setting in this
case for our loop component. Your kick drum should of course be quantized dead
on 1/4 of a bar timing.
Listening to the loop component we can hear that there's way too much
bass, so a hefty low-cut is needed. We've chosen Logic's built in channel EQ and
cut the bass below 230 Hz by the maximum -24dB.
We've also applied a little attack to our EXS24 sampler amp controls and
had a slight re-arrange of the loop slices to help it slow.
At this point we're going to add some effects to our loop component - we'd
recommend a little delay or sort drum reverb. For livening up sampled loops is
Logic's 'Ringshifter' plugin is a great tool - experiment by inserting it over
your loop component channel and flicking through the presets, you can then
refine your sound using the plugin's varied controls.
Now we're happy with our loop component we can make our 4/4 kick drum
pattern a bit more full-on with some fills, generally these would be used at 4
or 8 bar intervals to keep the track interesting.
To complete our drum groove we've added a clap and high hat tracks...
So there you go, a quick and dirty guide to editing sampled drums. As
always experimentation is the key so don't expect your efforts to be rewarded
instantly - if it's not working out trash the loop and grab another!
Free PC alternatives to Recycle and Phatmatik Pro:
Mark is a avid DJ who loves to remix and produce tracks with various music
loop Sample Packs and
Royalty Free MIDI files & samples. Mark works for dancemidisamples.com in
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