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Samples are great, especially free techno loops

The best sounds for a start-out techno artist are...the free techno loops.

I like off-the-wall samples and sounds that you create yourself. I think those are the best because no-one else has got them, no-one else has produced a track with that particular sequence. This then makes your techno songs much more interesting = listenable = spreadable.

The internet is littered with free techno loops, techno WAVs and general techno music samples, ranging from drum beats, loops, hits, one key sounds, real sounds, animal sounds, voices, transport sounds, machinery sounds, orchestral...just about anything that you need.

Before we go on, if you haven't read about the free sequencer that we are going to use, please click here to obtain your own free sequencer. Come back to this section later. The sequencer is where we put all the free techno loops together to make your own storming techno track, so it will be best to tackle that first. If you have, carry on!

All this sounds exciting, however, we have to set up our hard drive so that it can be prepared for the influx of our free techno loops that are going to hit it.

First, we have to make a folder called music on your drive. Hopefully you have already cleared some space. We need a lot of memory, 1 GIG is minimum, the more you can spare the better really as you fill up the space with large files.

Inside the music folder there are folders called:

Utilities- including sub folders: Sequencers, Samplers, Sound Generators, and Converters.


My Music




The docs is a folder to place all your notes, books or anything to do with music.

Store is where you place all your "working out", your unzipped free techno loops from the various download sites, small projects, and anything that is music related, but can be left for a bit of time.

Samples is a bigger file. This is sub divided into the samples that you will download, and create. You could have so many sub folders in this category- arranging into BPMs, octaves, synth systems and the like. However, the best idea is to arrange them into parts.

For example:

Bass, Lead, Chords, Percussion (sub folder: kick, Hi-Hat, toms, added, snare etc), Hits, String, Wind, Drum Loops, sound effects, vocals, piano, pads etc

When you have a load of free techno loops swamping your hard drive it is best to describe the sample precisely and to the point, so that you know what to look for when you hunt for them, and so organisation of samples is musch easier.

For example if I got a snare sample from a Roland 909 drum machine and it is 16-bit I would save the sample as: 909snare16b. So when I look through the snare samples I will immediately know what I was looking for. Putting the machine name at the front gives you a tiny inkling of what the sample might sound like. If it looked like snare16b, then I would know it was a snare sound, and 16 bit, but that is all. I wouldn't know if it was a real sounding snare or otherwise.

Adding certain points to your sample name just makes life easier for you. When you download samples, they are usually named, sometimes you have to go through them and alter the name to your preference.

Folder naming makes it much easier for you to find anything. If you want to change the names, so be it, but keep to the basic layout. When you start working away, you will configure utilities to save into specific folders, and you wont spend precious time fumbling around trying to find that killer track that you made.

Remember that 16bit sounds use up more memory, but they offer a greater sound quality than 8-bit sounds. Commercial tracks really only use 16-bit sounds (in some cases 32-bit). As said before, unless you are wanting to combine an 8-bit sample in with other samples, or trying to create grunge, dirty techno or industrial, try to aim for 16-bit samples.

Right then we have organised our hard drive, now lets download some top free techno loops and samples.

The best places to find free techno loops and general music samples are from The Internet. The hand picked sites in the link below contain a wealth of techno WAVs and loops that will keep you going for some time. There are literally thousands to mess around with. They also get updated, but all are free, just click on the link to take you to the respective page:

Click to jump to the best free techno loops page

It would be a good idea to go through all the samples in FT2, and just delete the ones that you feel are not right, or just "fillers" bulking up a zip file.

We can also find free techno loops and music samples from other songs.

The tracks that you have downloaded (from the FT2 tutorial) ALL contain samples, quite a few in some cases. But hey! They have already been proven to work, you can even see how they work. Most of these samples are clean, cropped, and usually have a continuous loop within them that takes a while to get just right- especially in string instruments. Get the loop wrong and when it does loop there is a slight click that can be heard.

The best thing to do is to save these samples off as INSTRUMENTS. Go to disk op, then on the left press Instr, where it states filename, type in a good descriptive one, and find a respective folder in your samples area on your hard drive, then save.

To save as an instrument saves all the commands, and settings related to that sound, so when you load up the instrument in so many weeks or so time, you will have the same noise as when you saved it.

Please note though. Any free techno loops have to be checked.

1. If you give your songs away, give thanks to the musicians who you borrowed the samples from.

2. Watch that some of the samples might be copyright to a film, or TV show, so watch what you download.

3. You can disguise some of the sounds, especially if you took it from your favourite tune. If the sound doesn't sound like what it was originally intended for, and has so many other sounds layered upon it, then it could be ok. Check first, or better still, find out the original source (remember the kit list idea that we went through, use that as guidance, and find the sound source in the above links).

The sample editor, a quick guide:

The sample editor in FT2 is just what you need at this stage, its simple and easy to understand, so chopping up and sorting of those free techno loops is far simpler this way. To enter, click on smp.ed. and look at the buttons before you. Most are self-explanatory.

The most commonly used functions are:

� Loop.
Either no-loop, forward and Ping-Pong (see the 3 buttons in the middle?). Click on one of the buttons (forward or Ping-Pong) and note the 2 triangles on the far left of the sample. Keep left mouse button down on the bottom one and pull it across. Press a key to hear it. If you have it on forward loop, the yellow line (following where you are on the sample) will go from left to right and repeats. If you clicked Ping-Pong, then the yellow line will go from left to right then from right to left, reversing the sample.

� Cut, Copy and Paste.
The usual way to move sections of sample around. Highlight first by holding left mouse button down over the sample and drag the desired area, then either cut, copy, then paste.

� Clr S
Clear sample. All of it.

In the Instrument editor, inst.ed. we can do a lot more to our sample. A lot of it is messing around in a "what works for you" type way.

By adjusting the volume envelope, and ticking on the various sustain and ev. Loop, you can make your sample fade or "lengthen" in sound, and you can make stabbing/ hit lead sounds. The line graph is quite useful, you can adjust it by keeping the left mouse button down on any one of the points.

The overall volume of the sample can be adjusted, so can panning (whether you hear it on the left or on the right, or normal at 80).

The sample can also be set at a higher or lower octave, by pressing octave up or octave down. By pressing halftone up or down, adjusts the "key" of the sample. This can be really useful as you can then "tune" the sample in with your other samples within the track. Especially useful because when you download samples or create them, they have not always been sampled in the same key to each other. This halftone adjustment solves this problem.

Click here to continue the sampling guide and more free techno loops.

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