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Filters within Audio Production – Audio Painting

Just like an actual painter would paint a picture with different colors to show expression, we as producers must do the same thing with the tools that are given to us through Audio Painting.

You can learn more about audio painting by taking the course.

Here’s the audio demo from the beat:

How can we paint a picture in audio?

We paint a picture in audio with arrangement.

Arrangement is a huge topic, but here’s some general points:

  1. Your actual song structure – This is where you create your emotion. It is also the place where a professional song sways away from the amateur song!
  2. Transitions/SFX – Use sound effects, or dead silence breaks, before a chorus to let the listener know something is changing in the track.
  3. Fade-in/Fade-out parts – With your intro, you can fade in a part of the song to give a big epic rush sound.
  4. Use Filters to add major depth in your track – This is the source of the tutorial; Filters. Let’s go into detail!

What are Filters?

Get this – You’ve been a producer for how long now, and you’re still unsure about filters.

You see FL Studio’s Fruity Filter, and you know the sound you can get out of it.. but what is it actually doing?

Fruity Filter

A filter is just an EQ, except used as an effect, and many times at extreme amounts.

You’ve definitely seen these filters; if you’ve been producing for at least a couple months:

I've demonstrated a few different filters - High Pass, Notch Filter, and a Low Pass

I’ve demonstrated a few different filters above:
High Pass, Notch Filter, and a Low Pass

In the image above of FL Studio’s Parametric EQ 2, I’ve demonstrated a few different types of filters. In the image, the red drop-down menu states all the filters you can use in the EQ – High Pass, Low Pass, High Shelf, Low Shelf, Band Stop/Notch Filter etc.

Using an EQ is the exact same thing as using the Fruity Filter and automating the cutoff knob; only an EQ allows for a bit more flexibility, in my opinion.

However, with the state that FL Studio’s automation clips are at this time.. they tend to make things harder than it needs to be!

Resonance in Filters

You’ve probably heard of resonance, or again, seen it on Fruity Filter, and wondered, “What does it do?”.

When dialing it in, you can definitely hear something is happening, almost like it’s sounding more exciting, but what is going on in behind the scenes?

Resonance is the peak close to the cutoff frequency! - See how the Q goes really high and pointy? - That's Resonance.

Resonance is the peak of the cutoff frequency!
See the high and pointy Q? – That’s Resonance.

This animation image shows you exactly what’s going on behind the scenes of a plugin like Fruity Filter, when you adjust the cutoff + resonance knob.

When choosing a high pass or low-pass filter, it slightly curves off the volume with it’s curve. (Depending how steep you have your slope). Where it starts to cut off, that is your cut off frequency, and with your Q/width of the band, you can boost up, and get a sharp peak – that’s resonance.

Just so we don’t get confused:

High Pass Filter – Cuts off the low frequencies, keeps the highs.

Low Pass Filter – Cuts off the high frequencies, keeps the lows.

With different slopes available on our high/low pass filters – some more extreme than others – you can create a real dramatic sound/effect. (In the Parametric EQ 2, when you right click on a band, choose Order, instead of Type.)

Resonance is very useful, and adds that little extra on our high/low pass filter effects. It will give you that little bit of a pitch-up/pitch-down sound, and can also be powerful on kick drums as well! (If you’re using a high pass filter – Boost up the peak in the low-end around 50-60Hz to get clean, but bumpy bass!)

Automation Clips!

Now it’s time to make these filters work for you.. automatically!

Once you make your beat’s song structure.. Filters will take your beat from okay.. to WOW!

Now, there’s a couple tricks to be aware of when using Automation Clips in FL Studio.

First, when you create an automation clip, FL Studio creates an image of how you created it. If you try to adjust the effect and start the song again, you will see it goes back to how you originally created it.

This can be a headache! – So a quick trick is to go:

Current Project -> Patterns ->Initialized Controls -> Delete your Automation Clip

Here’s an image of where it’s located:

This does not delete your automation clip, but the "image" FL Studio took when you did create it. In other words, you're now free to adjust to taste!

This does not delete your automation clip, but the “image” FL Studio took when you did create it. In other words, you’re now free to adjust to taste!

Another thing I’d like to point out, which is an awesome shortcut, is the ability to copy + paste knob positions. Let me explain.

In the tutorial at 25:07, when I was working with the reverse cymbal, you may of noticed how I copied the volume of one cymbal, and pasted that volume into the other cymbal. (I had one reverse cymbal, and one normal cymbal).

You can use this copy + paste technique as you create your automation clips in your plugin/EQs – which I forgot to show in the tutorial! (It’s very powerful.)

Copying + Pasting EXACT POINTS

Let’s say you’ve created your automation clip.. and as the song plays, you’re moving around your low-pass filter.

You’ve found just the perfect spots as the song is playing, but when you go to right click to add these automation points in.. you can’t find that same spot/sound you’re wanting to achieve!

Well, there’s a trick to that! – Let me show you!

Here’s your automation clip:

Basic Automation Clip

Now, as you’re track is playing, you’re fiddling around with the cut off knob / frequency of the filter. You find your spots.. but when you manually click in your automation points, they are not where you want them!

So, head over to your EQ/filter plugin, and adjust the knob into place. From here, right click on the knob, and COPY THE VALUE!

(If you’re using a 3rd-party plugin, watch this tutorial):

Copy EXACT Automation Clip Values

Now, after that is copied, you are able to paste this value into your automation clip.

So, head over to your automation clip, right click to make a point, right click on the automation point you created, and head down to PASTE VALUE!

Paste EXACT Copied Value - Automation Clip

Done! – Now you have the flexibility to paste exact values into your automation clips, with no more guessing!

You can now use your tension knobs, in between automation points, to fine-tune your effect!

Here’s the final result:

End Result - Pasted Value - Automation Clip

This video tutorial is just JAM-PACKED with information. So if you’re just starting out, enjoy the tips!

Why do you think filters are so powerful?

Me personally, I think it’s because it changes up the track like nothing else. It cuts away the track for a bit, but the track still sounds cool.

This is a tool where you can play around with your song, tease your listeners, and then hit home once you let the chorus drop in!

If you have any questions with the tutorial, or would just like to say thanks – Just say hi in the comments !



GratuiTous is an artist and producer for the name of Jesus. He has many FL Studio Courses, and many BEAT TAPES and ALBUMS! In 2020 he became a Recognized FL Studio Trainer, and was previously an electrician for 10 years in Canada! Learn more..

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