How to add variation to a drum loop using Logic's EXS24 sampler

Logic's EXS24 may be just about the oldest soft sampler on the block these days, but it's still one of our favourites thanks to its powerful feature-set and tight integration with Apple's DAW.

As well as loading one-shots and multisamples, EXS24 is also great for converting loops to playable instruments, using Logic's in-built sample slicing. Here's a quick and easy way to turn a drum loop on its head doing exactly that, and play it back at half- and double-time.

Read more about the noble art of sampling in the Autumn edition of Future Music (FM310).

Step 1: We start with a track in progress, which is using a two-bar beat loop added from the Apple Loops library. It doesn't feel like 'our own', so we Ctrl-Click and select the option to convert it to a new Sampler Instrument.

Step 2: We choose the Transient Marker option to slice the loop into individual pieces, then set about reprogramming the pattern to place hits where we want them. We also copy one of the snare sounds and assign it to a new key.

Step 3: We uncheck one-shot mode on this duplicated snare and select the Reverse option so that it will play backwards for the specified duration. We integrate this snare into our pattern, then create more changes in subsequent regions to add variation.

Step 4: We re-select the original beat loop's audio file and convert it to a second new Sampler Instrument track, this time assigning the entire region to a single key. We extend the key range by an octave in both directions.

Step 5: This gives us the chance to trigger half-time and double-time versions of the original loop, when triggered from an octave below and an octave above the original loop's pitch. We add a region which does both, using the double-speed loop as a 'burst' of colour.

Step 6: We add an LFO routed to the filter cutoff to create tone variation in this second Sampler Instrument track, so that the tone 'rolls' from one bar to the next. We run the two new Sample Instrument tracks at the same time; the beat pattern in this track now feels like an original!

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