Korg M3: Converting sample loops into drum track patterns

This article is still under development as I experiment with the process


You have a sample loop that would make for a great "drum track" to use in a Program or Combi, and you'd like to convert the sample into a DRUM program and corresponding user drum pattern so that you can use it like that in the Drum Track of a program or combi.

Advantages and drawbacks

The advantages of doing this are that you can use sample loops that contain melodic information and other sounds that cannot really be produced by typical DRUM programs in the M3. You can also change the tempo slightly without changing the pitch of the actual multisamples.

The disadvantages of using a "drum track" like this is that if the rhythm loop has a definite key, you will be locked into playing in the same key, and you cannot change the tempo too much or the sliced-up rhythm loop will start sounding bad. Also, you must generally sync KARMA to the Drum Track so that they start together in sync on the same beat, and you must make your KARMA scene changes in time with the rhythm loop (usually on the downbeat) to keep the KARMA rhythms in sync with the rhythm loop.

Examples of this technique

This technique is used in some programs and 000-017 of Kid Nepro's Proto Rock sound set.

Procedure - converting the sample loop

  1. Import a 16-bit wav file loop into the M3 sampler
  2. Time-slice the loop into the appropriate beat and source BPM.
  3. Set the sensitivity parameter to 25.
  4. Touch the Save button and specify to save the time-sliced multisample with the correct beat and BPM) to an empty program slot with a sequence event type of Pattern.
  5. Touch Exit to leave the loop editor.
  6. Go to the M3 Sequencer section and you'll see your new program saved into the first track of the song.
  7. On the PlyLoop tab of the Play/Rec page, set the track to loop and play the track to ensure that you don't hear any gaps when it loops. If you do hear gaps, you must repeat the above process and choose a lower sensitivity parameter until you don't hear any noticable gaps at this step.
  8. Once you have a loop that plays smoothly, go to P10: Pattern/RPPR and use the page menu to Convert to Drum Trk Pattern, saving the pattern into an available user drum pattern slot as Note Only.

(Note to self—things break down a little here; might need to work with Steve P. a little on what to do in the RPPR section, and then continue the procedure)

Procedure - using the program and drum pattern in a program or combi

  • To use your new rhythm loop in a program, set the Drum Track section of the program to use the user drum pattern that you just created, along with the program that you converted the multisample into.
  • To use your new rhythm loop in a combi, set the Drum Track section of the combi to use the user drum pattern that you just created. Then set one program in the combi to be the program that you converted the multisample into and assign that program to receive on the midi channel used by Drum Track (usually channel 10).
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