Creating a remix in Launchpad involves taking an existing session and mixing it with either your own sounds or sounds from soundpacks. But just like creating a remix for another artist there are a few things to remember. One of the most important things is to always start in a style or genre you like with material that you enjoy listening to – there is no point in trying to remix with material you don’t like.
A good remix should have a decent mix of the original material and your own style/input. Adding something of yourself is very important; your own unique effects, sounds or themes will help.
First, find a soundpack or genre you like and then open the session. At this point it is best to start playing with the pads and the effects; this way you will intuitively work out which parts of the session you like and which parts you want to replace.
It is incredibly easy to change the samples and also how they are played back or looped, even while the pads are playing.
Press the EDIT PADS button on the right hand side to show the sound browser.
The sound browser helps you navigate through samples and soundpacks. For example, if you want to find a drum loop, press the Drum category to find all drum loops on your iPad. If you are working on a dubstep session, then you could search for ‘dubstep’.
Searching by BPM is a great way to find suitable loops. When you search by BPM, you will be shown any loops that are 2 BPM more or less than the search value. Start with the tempo of the session (found in the home screen) or something close to it to ensure that the new sounds you add will work within the context of the session. However you can still experiment using loops and sounds at other BPMs. If it doesn’t work, you can always replace it with the original sound, or with something more appropriate.
Pressing the Play icon next to a new sample when in the sound browser will audition the sample (at it’s original BPM).
The Favourites tab gives you quick access to your favourite loops. When you’ve found a loop you like, press its star icon to favorite it. The sample will now show up in the Favourites tab. You can easily add and remove samples from your favourites by toggling the star icon on and off.
Now that you know how to replace samples and loops, let’s explore how samples are played back or looped. There are three trigger modes – One-shot, Loop and Retrigger – and four sync modes, which determine when the pad will start and stop. It is worth noting that changing the sync modes of your pads can allow you to trigger your samples out of sync with the rest of the loops, so it is best to play your new samples alongside the session to see what trigger and sync modes work best for you.
Some best practices are to use One-shot and Retrigger modes on unsynced (Sync bar off) or shorter sounds such as a hits, risers and fx. Loop mode is generally used on drums, bass and melodic parts, with sync mode set to either 4 beats or 1 beat. It is worth keeping a close ear on what your samples are doing: for example, a long riser should probably be on a 4 beat sync so that when it drops it will be in sync with the rest of track.
You can also change the gain (volume) of each pad. Note that this is the gain of the pad – not the sample – so will be applied to any sample that is dropped onto the pad.
Launchpad was designed to be intuitive and fun to use, pressing any pad should sound good and work with the other samples in the session. It is worth keeping this in mind when working on a remix. Always try to use appropriate sounds and organise your sessions so that sounds that you don’t want to be played together are on the same vertical line.
As you start to add your own samples, it is always good to play the sample within the session to make sure it fits the genre, key or timbre of the original.
You are the best judge of what works for you in your remix. Don’t be afraid to try things out, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – happy accidents can sometimes be the start of something special.