Quick Tip: Manipulate Any Sample to Become Useful


Today I'll show you how to make any sample suitable for your production. I realized that most of my students have been searching for suitable samples instead of manipulating them themselves. If you can use reverb, EQ and delay with a compressor, you can make any sample fit into your track.

If you're not familiar with reverb, EQ, delay and compression, go through some tutorial on the topics before starting this one. Use these links to search Audiotuts+.

Step 1. Listen to the Sample and Track Separately

Our first step is to choose a sample that can be suitable for your production. I've chosen a completely dissonant sample. Listen to it without any effects.

Now, listen to the sample in the context of the track without any effects:

As you can hear, it's completely dissonant! But with a lot of help it can become a part of your track.

Step 2. Manipulate the Sample

In order to fit the sample to your track and eliminate the dissonance, you have to transpose the sample pitch itself. I transposed the sound two semitone higher. You can do that by clicking on the sample, and transposing it in clip view. Make sure that the warping mode is in the complex or complex pro setting.

track view

Next, add two auto filters. One of them is to eliminate the low frequencies so that the sample can sit better in the mix. The other is modulated by an envelope so the sample becomes much more interesting.

Here you can see the envelope:

Now use an EQ to boost the higher frequencies, and distort the sample with a Redux to make the sound suit your tastes.

This is how the sample sounds now:

As you can hear, its no longer dissonant. But it is a bit dry, so we'll have to spice it up with a little reverb and delay!

Use the simple delay to make the sound a bit wider, and use a long decay reverb to set the sample back in the mix.

Last but not least, use an Art acoustic reverb on the send channel to fit the sample into the mix.

Listen the complete manipulated sample:

If you've read my tutorial from last month, you can manipulate the sample further by cutting it up or reversing it. Try making a tremolo effect, and reversing the sample. As you can see, with some envelope control you can do magical ticks with your otherwise boring sample!

Listen the last stage of my sample destruction:


That’s all for today—I hope you guys learned a lot. If you have any question or future tutorial requests, please let me know in the comment section.

See you in next time! Happy music making!