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Everybody has a different workflow, not everyone uses the same DAW’s. Honestly when you are at your canvas about to create everything is up to you. Creativity, the DAW you use, experimentation, “rules” you follow, and rules you create. That along with all your experience and knowledge will eventually evolve and develop into your personal workflow.
If you are not new to our forums, you know I mostly work with FL Studio. Anything I can do there you can do on your DAW, even if I do not know my way around your DAW, I’m sure it is capable.
With that out of the way, I would like to talk about my method. This is not an every time thing, but it happens this way most often these days.
I have been working with the Akai Fire, which enables me to build up my loops as I play and adjust. I will typically continue this on one “pattern” in the FL Studio Sequencer/Channel Rack, which enables a length of 1 to 512 steps which is 1/16th note to 64 bars in 4/4 time. I can add as many instruments as I want here. I will mute different instruments and play new ones. I will do this till I’m satisfied or just done playing around!
So now I just created a bunch of loops but they are all in one “pattern”. I give each instrument a simple name and color, I send each instrument to its own slot in my mixer, then I “Split by Channel”. This gives each loop I created a home in its own pattern. I will then layout a song formula in my “playlist”, by arranging the loops I created. Many times I will take particular patterns and make unique versions of them and alter the midi a bit in the piano roll. Or I will create new patterns altogether. So I get into these phases of building the song formula and adding on unique clips.
Once the structure is built I will loop certain parts of the playlist and begin adding Sidechaining and effects, working on gain staging and leveling, and creating automation clips, kind of mixing as I go. When I feel super satisfied, I will export the entire instrumental in Wav Stems leaving 3 – 6dB of headroom.
Once my stems are exported I will import them into a new FL project, setting the tempo to the very same it was when I created the instrumental. I give each stem its own home in a mixer channel. I now have more versatility and control over the final mix with a lot less CPU usage. This would also be where I’d prefer to work my vocals.
This is just one way I approach creating an instrumental on FL Studio using Akai Fire. What is your preferred DAW? What is your workflow like? Do you use hardware, like a Midi Controller? Let’s create a discussion, feel free to ask me questions about my workflow!
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