In this day and age, creativity is at a high and everyone wants to be a producer, however creating the hit of all hits wasn’t as easy as some assumed.
Nevertheless, in came rolling the popularity of a digital audio workstation (DAW) called FL Studio.
With popular users such as Devon Gallaspy (Producer best known for Trinidad James – All Gold Everything) to Metro Boomin, FL Studio over the years has become one of the most coveted software’s due to the low price point and promise of creating the best music.
Over the years of producing, one question always arises amongst producers, and it is about what DAW they use and why.
In this review we will try to help you decipher what is the hype is all about when it comes to FL Studio.
If this the first time you have come across this software then check out the review below to get the full analysis.
What is FL Studio?
Let’s get to the bottom what is so popular about this different but energetic DAW.
FL Studio 12, is the latest installation of this DAW that is very popular among music producer’s .
Due to the ease of getting hold of a cracked copy a few years ago, led producers to get acquainted with the software and eventually choose FL Studio as their native DAW.
This won’t be a review on the changes over the years but on the overall qualities of FL Studio and why producers today are choosing this software.
The overall layout of FL Studio is quite overwhelming at first because everything is on a flat design and everywhere. It is quite a confusing layout whilst also being intuitive. On first impressions you may be confused on how to open the mixer, change the tempo, add a plugin etc. However, once you have begun to figure things out at first, the rest will follow as you then begin to understand how the software is designed to work.
One gripe I would say about FL Studio, is a feature which was added in version 12, and it is how plugins are now selected. In older versions, the step sequencer used to be a quick way to add your plugins to your mixer for a smooth workflow.
However, now they have added a plugin picker which looks cool and can be quicker but the CPU usage for this adds up when you are 15 tracks deep into a song.
Many producers find themselves to be loyal to their midi controllers and samplers, hence why Image Line have added templates which resemble the machines in which producers are used to using. From Akai MPC, KORG padControl to Native Instruments MASCHINE, FL Studio will let you use your device as it was intended with full functionality.
It’s like being in a studio but in your bedroom.
Easy To Use Interface
Over time, using FL Studio you won’t come across too many new windows or knobs in which you will have to learn how to use. Having said that though, you will have to learn the initial windows and knobs that you will come across when you first use FL Studio.
At first it can be a bit overwhelming as there isn’t much colours or text that will help you distinguish what you are doing, but once you learn it is an absolute breeze.
Like most things in life, if you spend a few hours really studying and working on something, it will be easy to understand.
In the case of FL Studio, once you master the user interface, the world is your oyster.
FL Studio are one of the first DAW’s to really approach the touch interface issue that is becoming the norm on technology such as SurfacePro’s or touch screen laptops.
Simple things like pinch to zoom on the playlist make using FL Studio on your touch device feel like you have been making beats on the go all your life.
There are different modes such as paint mode, which allows you to use your fingers to control where different items are on the playlist, delete or add new items.
On pen mode, you can use a stylus to control items on the screen as if you are using a mouse.
The best part is the editing the automation or velocity of notes already recorded. It’s not a new feature, but being able to use your hands or stylus instead of mouse creates a quicker workflow and is something you will miss in other DAW’s.
Adjusting the setting in the channels in FL Studio, are perfect for both beginners and experts. If you just got into music production and don’t understand what adjusting the envelope, adding Low pass filters or Pitch correction does; then the channel setting are perfect. They are easy to learn, and most of all easy to ignore if you just want to get to grips with sounds without being intimidated with music jargon.
For experts, you can completely edit sound into what you want. From the tension, to sustain of the envelope or adding slide to your portamento; it is all easy to do and intuitive to learn.
The best thing is, it is all on one window so there aren’t 10 windows popping up disrupting your workflow.
Editing the playlist is just as simple as click and drag, copy and paste. In addition, if you are using different samples, sounds or songs at once, you can drag them into the mixer and create a playlist.
The beauty of this comes into making music that transitions in between songs. You can use this to merge two tracks efficiently and within one window.
One of the main reasons FL Studio has become so popular, is their integration of plugins. Plugins give you the creator the freedom to create a distinctive sound which you may have thought of or want to emulate. Plugins are found on the web for a cost or even for free, and can transform your music into another realm due to the added diversification of the sounds.
FL Studio comes with many plugins naturally for you to begin with, and explore the sound of music and grow as a producer.
One problem producers often find at the start of their journey is finding the answers to their questions. Hence why this website is born. FL Studio, has a large user community which provides support to many questions online. It is arguably the most supported software in the DAW world due to its popularity.
There are many classes online which offer you the chance to learn features of FL Studio, but for free there are unlimited amounts of tutorials on YouTube which support you and answer your questions.
As I mentioned before, most producers began on pirate software and many still are using without paying.
Developers are making software which we music enthusiasts use everyday and aim to profit from. Therefor, investing in the software is essentially investing in ourselves and a better quality product in the future.
FL Studio costs $99/€89 for the entry model. This has to be the most affordable DAW available for the quality you receive.
Obviously to you won’t receive all the plugins, VST’s, voice recording features; in the basic package, but you will in the Professional Package which at the moment stands at $737.
Frankly that is a lot of money for someone to invest in software, because in most cases it is higher than the cost of most people’s laptops.
However, it is completely worth it. You can get the demo version to test the waters out and make a few hits if you wish, but eventually you will have to pay but I’m sure by then your mind will be made up and see that the hype is deserved.
The best part about paying for FL Studio is you get a lifetime of updates free so when the next version of FL comes out, you can get it completely free as soon as it lands.
Unlearn everything you think you know about DAW’s because FL Studio is different. The normal way of connecting instruments through a linear connection no longer exist. FL Studio is built to run smooth without hiccups with everything being able to work anywhere and with anything.
Most the items such as tracks aren’t what you would xpect usually in a DAW set up, but you can easily adapt to this new layout because of the intuitive design on FL Studio.
As with most things in life nothing is free, and nothing comes easy. You will have to work at understanding the interface and the uses of FL Studio, but the freedom you receive in creating your product is up there with the best.
Let us know in the comments how you feel about FL Studio