Instead of the Megatron-esque functions of Traktor and Serato, Flow makes it easy for you to mix, beatmatch, and micromanage your tracks without feeling like you're using a JitterBug. It's a Sandbox approach to mixing, and while you won't see any Gary's Mod cross-breeding, it's a solid program with impressive performance. Below are some screenshots and Paint.exe masterpieces to level-up your Flow 2.5 game.
1. In both the “Preparation” and “Play” windows, the divider bar between your soundwaves and your music selection is adjustable (to an extent). Slide in real-time to get a better view of either window while you’re mixing! The top picture favors the waveform, and the bottom favores the library.
2. The Loop section is tricky. While Flow doesn’t come equipped with an automatic bass drop button, or even a build-up section, the loop function is... interesting. They say that creativity thrives on limitations. Well, with only 1, 4, 8, 16, and 32 beat loop options, Flow forces you to focus on hopping beats or sections instead of cutting loops in half every 4 bars. While there aren't customizable options for the loop section (despite a beat # checklist in "Other Settings"), the loop function pushes the user to improvise jumping sections, bars, and custom loops. Even when I randomized what sections I was looping and how quickly to loop them, the mix remained geniune and sounded professional.
Split your segments! As you can see, the algorithms used for Flow’s beat analyses are not quite up to the industry standard. With Serato, you can rest easy knowing your tracks are divvied up accurately, but Flow requires a little TLC from the user before you shove off into “Play” mode. Here I've taken a song, and it wouldn't take a passing glance from Stevie Wonder to see that the latter 80% of the track consists of different energy levels. Make it easy on yourself and insert your own!
Energy levels can double as structure labels. I noticed that I could divide my song into sections and label them as such using the energy levels (though I’d hoped I could hot cue sections on command with my keypad, no such luck). This track’s structure is: A, A’, B, A2, A’2, and I’ve labelled it as such to help me skip to or loop sections within the form as I see fit. Again, this isn't necessary, but might be a good idea if you're as scatterbrained as I am, and are looking for a little structure in your mixes.
Prepare separate tracks while playing! Not much more to it than that. When you're playing a song, you can seamlessly switch to the Preparation tab and butcher up another track on deck.
This one’s a must. Check the “settings” tab in the top-right of the home screen, then scroll down to “Beatmatching.” Be sure the default settings are where you’d like them to be. My settings are displayed above, but it varies between users, playlists, or individual tracks.
Hopefully this is enough to get you up and running in Flow 2.5. Feel free to drop a question or comment in the section below.
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