Quantizing is often used to adjust the timing of notes in a MIDI performance, but in this tutorial we’ll be looking at how to use quantizing to adjust the velocity of notes. This will be useful because it will allow us to easily apply velocity zig-zags to shuffles and drum rolls, while retaining the velocity changes that are already there.
Step 1: Create Quantization Profile
First, open a Sampler channel, fill in all the steps, and send it to the piano roll. If the piece you’re looking to adjust is at a slower or faster pace than sixteenth notes, you’ll need to adjust the notes accordingly.
Next, adjust the notes so that the offbeat hits are at the lowest velocity possible, and leave the onbeat hits unchanged. The reason we change the velocity so much is because we want our quantization profile to be extreme. A quick way to do this would be select all the notes you want to change (hold CTRL + Shift to select multiple notes), and then use the Scaling tool (Alt+X).
Lastly, save this this as a score file, and save it to the quantization folder. You might want to name it something like EveryOtherShuffle.
Now our score file is ready to be used as a groove template.
Step 2: Shaker Example
Load RD_Shaker from the Packs \ Legacy \ RealDrumkits folder in FL Studio’s browser, and create a pattern such that each step is filled. You could fill in the steps and send it to the piano roll like we did in Step 1.
Next, use keyboard shortcut ALT+Q for Quantize, and using the Groove Template folder icon, select the file you made in Step 1.
From here, we can use the VOL knob to adjust the velocity of the off-beat hits. When the knob is turned all the way left, there is no velocity change, and when the knob is turned all the way to the right, the velocity is all the way down. Because we used extreme settings in our quantization profile, we have a large range of possibilities available to us. Use the space bar to play the pattern and adjust the VOL knob as you listen. This profile will be useful to us at any tempo and even with swung beats. If we were applying this to a swung beat and we did not want the timing to be changed, we could turn down the Start Time and Duration Knobs.
Step 3: Add Variation
This quantization profile is very versatile because it can also be used on a pattern that already has velocity changes in it. Let’s undo what we did and adjust the velocities for more variation.
Next, use the keyboard shortcut ALT+Q for Quantize, and adjust the velocities of the offbeats using the VOL knob. Note how it applies a velocity zig-zag to what was previously there. I had the pattern play twice to make it easier to hear the changes.
Step 4: Snare Roll Example
Finally, I wanted show how this could be used in making a snare roll. Load RD_Snare 9 from the RealDrumkits Folder, and create a 2-bar pattern. To draw a straight line of velocities, you can drag a right-click across the velocities.
We can also apply a velocity zig-zag to a drum roll. As you can see, velocity quantization profiles can be useful for a variety of situations.