If you’ve ever been in the middle of arranging your track and wanted it to get slower or faster, then you’re not alone. There are countless times I wanted a beat to start off slow but at a certain point get faster or vice versa. The production process is pretty unpredictable and knowing how to effectively execute random ideas could be what you need to bring your vision to life. Let’s look at how you can implement this in FL Studio.
Note: Before changing the tempo, make sure all of the audio clips used are locked in to the tempo. This will prevent resizing and repitching of the audio clips and will also keep them in sync with your project. Do this by going to Tool menu>Macros>Misc> Switch all audio clips to>Realtime stretching.
The audio clips will now retain the same pitch and length even as the tempo changes.
Automation clips enable you to automatically control different parameters in FL Studio especially where you want them to change over time.This is the easiest and the most efficient way of going about tempo changes, since you get more control and more options.
To create a tempo automation clip, right click on the tempo indicator and select create automation clip.
A new automation clip will appear on the playlist that extends for the duration of your track.
If your goal is to only automate the tempo for a section, highlight the section first then create the automation clip. The automation clip created will then be the length of the highlighted section.
In FL Studio, the default minimum value of tempo automation is 60 BPM and the maximum value is 180 BPM. If your desired tempo is not in this range, don’t worry there is an easy fix.
Note: Setting the max and min values of the tempo automation will avoid mishaps since the tempo will only be automated within the selected range.
Set the tempo to your first or original tempo on the tempo indicator, then right click and select copy value. For my project I want to automate the tempo from 118 to 130 BPM so 118 BPM will be my first tempo.
Now double click your automation clip.
Once the channel settings are open, place your mouse over the ‘MIN’ knob, right click and select ‘paste value’.
This will set the minimum tempo value of the automation clip to 118BPM.
Next, on the tempo indicator set the tempo you want to change to for the max value (in my case it’s 130BPM).
Copy the value again and open the channel settings.
This time right click on the ‘MAX’ knob and paste the value. This will set the maximum value of the tempo automation to 130BPM.
Next on the automation clip, go to where you want your tempo to change, for me it’s the 17th bar.
Here I want to make two control points on the automation clip. The control points are used to shape the intensity and timing of the tempo change.
To make a control point, place your mouse cursor over the exact point you want the change to happen (on the line that is in the automation clip).
Next right click while the mouse cursor is still hoovering over your spot of interest and make a control point. This can be done at any point in the automation clip.
Now I’ve created a control point on the 17th bar.
I need two control points to create the tempo change so I’ll create another control point by right clicking higher on the 17th bar in the automation clip.
Now to achieve my desired effect, I will tweak the two control points by moving them up and down. The horizontal distance between the two control points will determine how long the tempo change will take, while the vertical distance will define the jump in the tempo value.
The change can be gradual or abrupt depending on how smooth the automation transition is. In this case, I want an abrupt change which is achieved by making a step like figure in the automation clip.
Before the step it is 118BPM.
After the step it jumps to 130 BPM from the 17th bar.
Tempo events are a lesser known way to change the tempo mid song in FL studio. They are normally used to record MIDI input when a parameter is linked to an external controller.
To access the tempo events tab, right click on the tempo indicator and select events.
To link the tempo to a control on your MIDI controller, right click the tempo indicator and select link to controller.
This will open the Remote Control Settings.
While it is open, tweak the knob or fader on your MIDI controller that you want to control the tempo with and FL Studio will automatically map it. To know if the control has been linked, you will see an orange knob in the Hint Panel whenever you tweak it.
Next, record in the tempo change using your MIDI controller. Once you are done, the event clip will appear in the playlist.
Be cautious when dealing with and editing event patterns because it is very easy to mess up the settings and very hard to undo once a change is made. One way to bypass this liability of event clips is by turning them into automation clips.
You can do this by double clicking on the event clip to bring up the event tab. Be very careful when it is open to avoid changing the events recorded because even one accidental click may force you to start the whole process again.
The event clip is now replaced by an automation clip which makes it easier to manipulate.
When using tempo automation clips, remember they will always open with the default minimum and maximum values. You will have to reset them for your tempo automation to match the effect created when using the event clip. Do this by resetting the ‘MIN’ and ‘MAX’ knobs on the automation clip’s channel settings. I have explained this in further detail in the tempo change without stretching audio article here.
Implementing tempo changes in your songs allows you to bring in more excitement and break the monotony of a constant tempo. Use automation clips to add tempo variations to your track and use the event clips for tempo style effects, for example, a tape stop effect. It can be a hard task to change the tempo mid song, I hope following the steps highlighted in this article will make the process simpler and help you achieved your desired effect.