Automating a Gate
If you’ve been feeling that your beats are lacking that fullness, attempting this tutorial may bring some beef to your beats.
In this tutorial we look at using a gate to manipulate some white noise’s volume to create a powerful and catchy rhythmic pattern.
The Benefits of Sends:
A tutorial on what sends are, and the benefits of them!
FREE BEATS By GratuiTous Vol. 1:
The first example beat What’s His Name, JESUS.
Tools which you will Need:
Basic tools to follow along with this tutorial are:
- A Generator/VST which produces white noise (3xOSC was used in this tutorial).
- A Gate Plugin (preferably FL Limiter!)
The first step is to open up an instance of 3xOSC.
3xOSC is just that. It has 3 oscillators. We will want to mute two of them, and change one to pure white noise.
Mute Osc 2 and Osc 3 by turning down the volume knobs to 0%, then head over to Osc 1 and select white noise. I think it resembles a squiggly line 😉
Next, make sure to TURN DOWN THE VOLUME OF YOUR WHITE NOISE! White noise, as well as cymbals, are very loud – turn it down to protect your ears!
In the piano roll of your white noise, draw in a note. (Any note, because white noise doesn’t have pitches like other sounds/instruments.)
This can be any length you want it to be – I’d say the same length as the rest of your main loops. (Whether that be 1 bar, 4 bars, or 8 etc):
You will then want to route your white noise to a mixer track. So select the white noise sound, and make sure the selector is highlighted green!
Go to your mixer, find an empty mixer track, right click on it, and select Link Selected Channels -> To this Track:
And on that mixer track, open up a gate plugin. In this tutorial, I used the Fruity Limiter (Which is a limiter, compressor, and gate all in one plug-in!):
Click on an arrow for one of the FX slots which the White Noise is routed to:
Hover over Select -> then Choose Fruity Limiter:
Alright, we’re really close! – We’ve now opened everything we need to get moving.
Something I like to do when using the Fruity Limiter is to turn down the Attack and Ahead knobs. (If you route audio with parallel processing, you may run into some phase issues which are not fun at all!)
Setting up the Gate:
The Fruity Limiter has a Noise Gate on the far right of the plugin. There are three knobs: Gain, Threshold, and Release. These are the knobs we will be using in this tutorial:
Move the gain knob all the way down to 0 (zero). And now this is the important part – the threshold.
You have to make sure your threshold is OVER THE PEAK VOLUMES – because how a gate works is the sound is muted for everything under the threshold. As soon as a peak goes over the threshold, the gate opens, and you hear your audio normally.
So, set the gain knob all the way to zero, and adjust the threshold so it’s over top of your highest peak of your sound, which in our case, is the white noise. (You can use any sound for this tutorial – White noise is just a cool sound for this technique.)
If you want a little sneak peak of what we are trying to create, hold down a note so that your white noise is playing. You should not be able to hear it because the gain knob is at zero, and the threshold is above the highest peak. (This will totally mute the sound).
As you are holding down the note, left click-and-hold the gain knob, and wiggle it up and down. You’ll hear you’re sound’s volume gradually come in and out! – Let’s get automating!
Creating an Automation Clip
The knob we will be automating is the Gain knob of the Fruity Limiter’s gate section.
But before you create your automation clip, I want you to ponder on this.
Do you want the automation clip to span across your whole track? Or just a section of your track? (Just a section can easily be copy and pasted into other parts of your song.)
I personally like creating automation clips for just a section of the track, then copy and paste accordingly. (This allows for flexibility such as the make unique option to alter the automation slightly from the original.)
To create automation clips for just a section of your track, you have to highlight the certain area on the playlist before creating the automation clip.
Hold down control and hold left click on the timeline numbers – drag according to taste. (Larger snap times in the horse shoe/magnet icon allows for easier dragging).
To create an automation clip, right click on the gain knob, and select Create automation clip.
Manually Drawing Automation Points:
Automation clips can be the make it or break it point for producers. I’m talking stress levels here. Manual automation takes time, is very finicky, and meticulous work.
Some people have patience, and some people don’t – that’s just the facts!
But, with these tips I’m about to give you, I’m going to level the playing field to make automation clips inside FL Studio a lot easier.
You first have to think:
And we already know this – to create a rhythmic pattern with volume.
My first tip is to work on a larger snap/scale:
Do this by heading to the horse shoe/magnet icon and select 1/4 Beat. This makes the playlist easier to work on. Creating complexity can come later!
Next, right click to create a new point near the beginning of the automation clip. You will be presented with a bunch of automation curves/shapes: select hold. (There’s different automation curves we can choose from – but you can try those out once we grasp the basics of automation clips.)
Now that hold is selected, right click where you want your points to be placed !
Once you have a decent foundation laid, you can jump into 1/2 step from the horse shoe/magnet icon for more complexity. This allows you to draw in finer-detailed automation points.
And oh yes, don’t forget to place your pattern of white noise into the playlist so your automation clip actually effects your white noise.
And that’s it!
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial.
You can also right click on any point and select different curves for some real powerful automation.