INSTRUMENTS / GENERATORS
FPC (Fruity Pad Controller) is a software plugin similar to the hardware Akai MPC™ unit, coded & optimized for the FL Studio platform. FPC is a self-contained multi-layer/velocity drum machine that
makes it easy to create, edit and swap drum kits on the fly. FPC supports 16 multi-layered patches for banks A and B. (
FPC video tutorials can be viewed here.)
Sounds and patterns: Two easy to use drop-down menus are the Content Library to download new sound banks (sounds), and the Pattern Manager
to select MIDI loops/patterns and dump them to the Piano roll.
The FPC interface consists of three main zones - Main Pad Properties (1), Layer Properties (2) and the Pad Matrix (3), as described below. The interface can be
resized by Right-clicking the right edge of the plugin and dragging to hide/show the Layer controls.
2. Layer Properties
Each pad can contain multi-layer samples so that different Layers respond to specific velocity ranges. This can be useful for creating realistic acoustic drum kits. Use the Layer Properties view to create
and edit the Layers of the currently selected pad.
Layer Properties Controls
The controls on each Layer are (from left to right):
- Select - Click this button to mark the channel as selected. This is required for some operations, like browsing for a new sample,
move up/down, delete, display in the large sample preview (in the bottom) and the reverse playback switch.
- Volume Knob - Sets the volume of the Layer.
- Pan Knob - Sets the stereo panning of the Layer.
- Layer Tune Knob - Allows you to offset the pitch up/down (faster/slower playback) from the original playback speed of the sample.
The knob ranges from -1 to +1 octave pitch shift.
- Mini Sample Preview - Displays the loaded sample (if any). Click to preview the sample.
- Velocity Range - Sets the active velocity range for the Layer, i.e. the velocity values at which the Layer's sample will play. The velocity is mapped from minimum (left) to maximum (right).
Drag the velocity-range end-point handles to define the active velocity region. Overlapping layers will play together when the Random layers switch is deactivated. NOTE: The Lock
Layers switch must be disabled to overlap Layers.
The controls along the top of the Layer properties window are used to modify Layer behavior as follows:
- Create (Layer) - Adds a new, empty Layer at the bottom of the stack (use the scroll bar down the right side of the window to access Layers that are out of view).
- Delete (Layer) - To delete a Layer, select it by clicking the Layer's Select button and then click Delete .
- Spread Even - Spreads the Layer velocity ranges evenly, from min to max input velocity, without overlap.
- Lock Layers - Locks adjacent Layer's end-point ranges together to prevent overlapping (one sample will play at a time for any given velocity).
- Velocity range preview - Click on this bar to play the Layers according to velocity input from low (left) to high (right).
- Random layers - When selected, layers with overlapping velocity ranges will be triggered according to the randomization option selected (Lock Layers must be disabled to overlap layers).
Right-click the switch to select from:
- Cycle - Each Layer in the velocity group will be played, in turn, each time that velocity group is played.
- Random - Layers are played at random from the velocity group.
- Random (avoid previous) - Layers are played at random from the velocity group, with the restriction that the same Layer will never be played twice in a row. Random selection can sometimes
cause a singe Layer to be played repeatedly, defeating the purpose. This random option can help to avoid obvious identical hits with repeated fast playing of a pad.
TIP: Generally the Random function is designed to select from a number of samples played at similar velocities, with subtle and natural variations between them caused by human inaccuracies or left/right
hand variations. Layer randomization eliminates the artificial and mechanical sound often associated with a single sample rapidly played. You will find however by equalizing the volume of a number of Layers (use the Layer Volume knobs)
played at even very different velocities, natural playing can be 'faked' with only a few sample Layers.
Working with Layers
- Load a sample - Click the Browse button (on the left in the Sample File controls (see screenshot above) and select a sample.
- Reverse - To reverse a sample, select the Layer and click the Reverseoption at the bottom of the interface.
- To reorder Layers - Select the Layer and use the Move Up/Down buttons at the top of the interface.
- Preview - To hear how your pad will sound at various velocities click the Full Pad Preview bar at the velocity value you want to preview. Velocity is indicated by the vertical bars
- lower velocities to the left and higher velocities to the right.
- Sample view windows (large and small) - Right-click on the sample preview windows to open a menu with the following options:
- Load - Opens file browser to load a sample into that Layer.
- Edit - Opens sample in Edison.
- Edit in new window - Opens sample in a new instance of Edison.
- Show in browser - Opens the folder in the FL Browser where the file is located and highlights the sample. Then in the Browser, F5 and F6 will cycle through samples in that
folder and select them into the selected layer in FPC.
- Select region - When samples have region data embedded (some drum loops for example) you can select the region to play. Sample markers can also be selected and the sample will start playing\
from that point.
There is a Volume and Pan Envelope for each pad. Use the selector on the right side of the Envelope window to change between them. Envelopes are not active until enabled, as shown below.
The Envelope editor provides a "classic" ADSR envelope & the power of unlimited spline segments. Left-click and drag node/curve
points in order to change the Envelope shape. Right-click the envelope area to add nodes.
- Enable/Disable Switch - To use an envelope/mapping, enable the LED at the bottom left of the editor (see the hand-pointer on the screenshot above).
- Envelope Options - Click () to select from the following options -
- Open state file / Save state file - Opens/saves envelope states. Several different pre-defined state files are available.
- Copy state / Paste state - Use this to copy and paste envelopes, usually between instances of the EQ editor across open plugins.
- Undo - Undoes the last envelope edit.
- Undo history / Last reset - Shows the editing history since the last reset.
- Flip vertically - Inverts the current envelope.
- Scale levels - Opens the Scale Level tool.
- Normalize levels - Scales the envelope so the highest and/or lowest levels reach +/- 100%.
- Decimate points - Opens a simple tool that allows manipulation of the number of control points in the envelope (useful in conjunction with Analyze audio file).
- Filter - Opens the Envelope Filter tool (useful in conjunction with Analyze audio file).
- Smooth up - Opens the Smooth Up tool that allows smoothing of the envelope shape (useful in conjunction with Analyze audio file).
- Smooth up abrupt changes - Quick removal of 'spikey' or sudden changes in the envelope.
- Turn all points smooth - Preset filter to quickly filter the envelope.
- Create sequence - Opens the Envelope Sequencer tool.
- Analyze audio file - Open, analyze and replicate the volume envelope of an input sound file. Drag and drop audio files directly on the Envelope editor for automatic analysis.
- Background gradient - Flips the background gradient shading vertically.
- Freeze - Enable this switch to lock the envelope curve to its current setup. This feature is helpful in protecting the spline
structure of an envelope from accidental edits (it also hides the handles, providing a clear view of the shape).
- Snap - Enable this option if you want the
control points to snap to the nearest step in the timeline while dragging.
- Slide - Enable this option to preserve the relative distance between a
dragged control point and all control points following it (this option is
Plugin Credits: Frederic Vanmol (Development programming & VST), Robert Conde (Original design).