Using Recycle REX Files and Constructing New Beats
Learn how to import Propellerheads Recycle REX files into NI's Battery and to then create new beats from existing content.
Beat producers love to sample. They will sample anything and everything and then edit the samples to use in their own compositions. One of the industry tools used to manipulate samples is Propellerheads Recycle.
The process entails importing a sample or loop into Recycle which is then sliced/chopped into smaller segments which can then be edited to taste and exported for use in the DAW or any software that can import samples.
Recycle uses the same principles as Hitpoints/Slices by detecting peak values using a sensitivity function and once it has analysed the audio it will create slices (segments) based on the peak values it found which can then be processed in isolation or globally. Recycle also provides a time stretching function which helps greatly in manipulating samples to fit to a required tempo without altering the pitch, plus a host of other editing tools including the much valued BPM detection tool which is useful in detecting the tempo/BPM of a given sample.
Time stretching is the process of changing the speed or duration of an audio signal without affecting its pitch. Pitch scaling or pitch shifting is the reverse: the process of changing the pitch without affecting the speed.
Once the loop or sample has been processed into individual slices the slices can then be saved as MIDI data, and exported as either a whole audio file or individual segments/slices into the REX (Propellerheads extension) format. These can then be imported into any cell/pad based soft-sampler and triggered via the cells/pads.
For this tutorial we will be using Native Instruments Battery but first let’s have a foray into what a soft-sampler is.
Layering drum sounds in a hardware sampler is the traditional approach to layering drum samples and it has stood the test of time for decades. Sound designers and producers still sample and process using hardware samplers as the interactive process is both fun and quite intuitive. In the days of spandex and big hair hardware samplers were used not only to sample but to trigger the samples in a musical context. In effect they were used as instruments. However, sampling and processing technology was still in its infancy and users were constrained with limited sample memory and basic processing tools. Nowadays we do not have any of those constraints as we predominantly work in the virtual domain. DAWs have replaced workstations, hardware sequencers and samplers. Hardware samplers are still the rage and most of today’s hardware samplers have a front end for playback and triggering and a backend that is software driven for editing and processing. But some people like to work exclusively ITB (in the box) and software manufacturers have been quick to capitalise on this by creating seriously powerful software for us budding songwriters and producers to use and one area that has seen a migration from hardware to software is that of the soft sampler.
A soft sampler is simply a software based sampler. The tactile instant sample and trigger thinking cannot be applied to soft samplers as they do not have a front end for recording samples. Instead, the DAW’s soundcard takes over the duties of recording and all editing is done within the soft sampler. However, where soft samplers are a better choice to their hardware counterparts is in editing and processing. With hardware samplers that do not have a software backend the user was limited to use whatever processes the sampler provided. With soft samplers the user can record, edit using a multitude of inbuilt and third party plugins, and process to any format and at any resolution.
Native Instruments Battery
One of the most popular and successful samplers available on the market is Native Instruments Battery. Battery is a dedicated drum sampler/module. It allows for the import of samples and offers extensive editing and processing tools.
To list the features of Battery would take a few pages so I will condense it here for ease of readability.
Battery’s GUI is divided into three sections, comprising the Master Section, the Sample Matrix and the Edit Pane. The Master section is where both global functions are addressed and the supplied drum kits are managed. The Sample Matrix maps out the Cells containing the samples into columns and rows and these can be moved around to suit the user’s workflow. The Edit Pane is where sample management and editing takes place. There are extensive editing tools both globally and at kit and sample levels. You can layer samples in cells, shape samples using all manner of dynamic tools, create specific kit behaviours for use with live drums, import Propellerheads Recycle slices (REX) and edit and trigger them…..and..on..and on and on. By now I am sure you are aware that I love Battery and its intuitive interface that makes layering drum sounds easy and fun.
In the video I use the exported midi file from Recycle and import it into Steinberg’s Cubase and use it to trigger the original sequence. I then import the exported REX file which houses all the slices that were created using Recycle. I then show you how to trigger these samples using the imported midi file.I explain how Battery works and how to use its cell matrix and editing tools to shape the existing REX files (recycle exported slices) to taste. I show you how to create new sounds using the existing slices and explain how to change the order of slices played whilst using the same midi sequence. I explain how to create completely new drum beats using the same midi sequence and imported slices (REX files).
In the event you want a more thorough and detailed experience, this tutorial, and many like it, are available from the eBook Beat Construction.
Plugins used in this video:
Topics covered in this video are:
- Importing REX files into Battery
- How to manage all the chops using cells
- Creating new drum beats using existing audio data, and converting to MIDI for rearranging
- Using expression and cc to control and create new beats using the imported REX files
- Recycle and Battery Layering
- Using Key Templates