I’m creating a series of very short Logic tutorials, partly to help me out with a student I’m currently teaching but also as Logic’s manual buries this information deep within hundreds of pages of explanation and I’ve not yet seen other sites cover this in the simplicity and succinctness it requires.
Today I want to look at sampling drums in Logic – taking a short break beat and adding it to an EXS24 instrument. Dead simple. Let’s get going…
Sourcing your Loop
There’s a plethora of places to source good drum loops and today I’m going to use some free content courtesy of Sample Magic and their Vintage Breaks series [this is free so go and grab it NOW].
The aim of this is to get our drum loop into a sampler so we can reprogram it, envelope it, pitch it up or down and use filter modulation more easily if required. This gives us (arguably) more flexibility than when it’s in an audio format.
Add your selected loop to a new audio track in Logic.
All the Sample Magic loops have their tempo indicated in the file name, so I can easily set Logic to (in this case) 100 bpm.
If this is not the case, you can count the number of bars, set the cycle to that range and use Edit > Tempo > Adjust Tempo using Region Length and Locators, then hit Globally on the next pop-up.
Once you’ve got Logic working at the correct tempo we now need to extrapolate the transient markers.
With the track and region selected, hit e to enter the sample editor mode, or simply double click on the region. Navigate to the “file” tab and hit View > Transient Editing mode.
This will bring up several orange lines that indicate where the transients are. Transients are where an audio file noticeably passes a threshold, and usually with drums they’re easy to spot.
Depending on how compressed your drum loop is, Logic will do a pretty good job of spotting where they are. In my case it’s found all the major ones.
If you want to delete a transient marker double click on it. If you want to add one in where Logic has missed it, cmd + click. Now we’re ready to sample it.
I have a love hate relationship with EXS24. Logic’s workhorse sampler has been there since I can remember and will probably outlive me. Aesthetically it’s like reading a science textbook from the days before DNA was discovered, but it does the job.
There are many “better” sampler out there, and ones that are more visually pleasing. In-fact there’s a lot about EXS24 that pisses me off but I have collected so many samples in it that changing over would be an arduous task. I digress.
Ctrl + click on the region and head to Convert > Convert to Sampler Track.
With the next pop-up, select Create Zones from Transient Markers, make the zones ‘One Shot’ and start the the Trigger Range rom MIDI note C1. Also name it whatever you want.
Logic will create a MIDI region with notes starting from C1 and counting up with a new note denoted at each new transient. In my case there’s 59 zones. Here’s bar 1 zoomed in on:
As you can see we have a new MIDI note roughly every 1/16th, with most just behind the beat. From here we can quantize, transpose (to change the pattern) and edit the velocities but before we do any of that let’s head to the EXS24 instrument itself. Double click on it in the channel strip.
I’m going to tune the drums up four semitones and use the in-built 12dB/oct hi-pass filter to remove some of the lower frequencies.
I’m upped my tempo to 170 bpm now – because each transient is starting on a new MIDI note we can do this without the use for any time stretching.
In the EXS24, use envelope 2 to shape the amplitude. I’m dropping the sustain down to 0 and using the decay and release to get a snappier sound to the drums:
I’ve reprogrammed the MIDI (pitch and velocity) to get a different beat – some of this is possible in audio but far more fiddly and time consuming.
Lastly I’ve tuned the kit down 12 semitones, added LFO 2 (square wave, rate of 2 bars) to control pitch modulation, changed the hi-pass filter for a low-pass and added some resonance with envelope 2 is modulating that.
That’s it, hopefully that’s been easy enough to follow. If you have any questions please get in contact by commenting below or e-mailing me.