Making fresh new music requires constant inspiration. We’re frequently releasing new Soundpacks to help with this, and Launchpad for iOS now has over 100 soundpacks. However, if you crave even more new sounds, you might consider downloading from any number of great sample providers out there. Handily, Launchpad for iPad and iPhone app has a way to get these in and making new tunes quickly.
One great provider of loops is British based label, Loopmasters. They offer a massive range of loops from many genres of electronic music, record labels, and even producers. Go to www.loopmasters.com , find a pack that suits your vibe, then download it to your Laptop.
Once you realise that you can find pretty much any sound you heart desires, you’ll be hooked. Your downloaded sample packs will come as a folder of sounds.
Once purchased, you’ll need to follow the same processes of Audio Import as discussed in our last two articles. Once imported to Launchpad, in the Your Samples tab, make sure you name them appropriately. Press little gear icon to add some category info & data. This will make them easier to find later on.
The great thing about samples and loops from the same samplepack is that they will likely have the same tempo (BPM) and key. This means they will work seamlessly together.
Tempo (BPM) is straightforward. If the BPM is similar, then start here and combine sounds. Launchpad will allow you to use any BPM loop, however the further you stray from the original BPM, the more artifacts you will hear from the time-stretching process.
When it comes to key, don’t worry too much about this. Your ears will tell you if something doesn’t sound right. However if a sample is labelled for example ‘A Minor’ or ‘Am’, then it will just work with other sounds and Loops with the same label. You can use this as a guide to fitting sounds together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Remember you can always preview your newly added samples at any time when editing pads. Sometimes certain sound combinations may not sound good together, so use your ears to make sure your samples work well within the context of the session.
So you’ve explored some combinations of sounds, and now it’s time to try and lay them out in some kind of order that makes it easier to make a performance. There are ways to arrange a session so that two samples that don’t sound great together can never be played at the same time.
As we’ve said previously, Launchpad’s strength is creating a layout or arrangement that allows any combination of pads to be used. Try to group sounds of similar type and instrumentation on the same vertical line or track to avoid them being played together. When you start layering loops you want to make sure there are at least all the elements of a section on one horizontal line. So that should be something like this; drums, percussion, bass, melodic, vocals, fx, hits, risers.
Launchpad has 3 different triggering methods; One-shot, Retrigger and Loop. As a rule of thumb use loop on things like drums, bass and melodic parts. These are the parts of the track that you want to continue playing as a loop.
You can see on the pads exactly what trigger method is used for each sample. A circle indicates that the sample is being triggered as a loop. Whereas a line with ends will indicate a retrigger and just a straight horizontal line will indicate a one-shot. The difference between a one-shot and a retrigger is that a when you press a retrigger sample, the full sample will play regardless of whether you hold your finger on the pad. With a one-shot you need to hold your finger on the pad to hear the full sample.
There are different uses for each of these different triggering methods and obviously you should work out exactly how you want to use them, but pre-built sessions give you a good idea of how to use them.
Using pre-made samples and loops will give some great ideas on what exactly you will need to create in order to start making your own samples and loops from scratch. The best thing to remember is that playing Launchpad should be fun and intuitive, so when you make your own sessions or your own loops always bear that in mind.
In this four part series we’ve covered many ways you import your own sounds using Launchpad for iOS. This will make your music sound unique and allow you to expand your iPad music making horizons.