FL Studio has a long heritage on the PC; from humble beginnings as a drum sequencer it’s evolved into a fully featured DAW. It’s unique in many ways, though – is it for you?
Version Reviewed: 10.0.0.2
Platforms: Windows 7, Vista, XP & 2000 (32 & 64 Bit)
Minimum Specs: 2Ghz AMD or Intel Pentium 3 compatible CPU with full SSE1 support, 1GB RAM. (much) More highly recommended
Price: €212 for Signature Edition (reviewed), €141 for Producer Edition. Feature cut versions: €70 for Fruity, €34 for Express
The line between straight up DAWs and All In The Box softwares has gotten blurred over the years, what with the big DAWs including all manner of instruments and effects – in many cases simultaneously reducing the asking price, too.
The line between straight up DAWs and All In The Box softwares has gotten blurred over the years
Thus, whereas Fruity Loops was once a rite of passage for home musicians and producers FL Studio is now very much an alternative solution to the ‘big guys’.
Looks wise, FL Studio is perhaps the least homogenous of all the modern DAWs and soft studios. The software’s origins as a drum machine are apparent in the way that sounds, be they samples or instruments, are still loaded into a bank and afforded a step sequencer. There is of course a piano roll available, and the step sequencer is replaced by a standard MIDI note track when used.
Some aspects of FL Studio feel a little gimmicky, such as the visual flourishes when dragging that sometimes gets in the way of precision or the visualisation plugins (although the dancing mascot is undeniably cute). At the same time, one of our favourite things about any production equipment is its ability to creatively engage a user and eschew the idea that it should be simply utilitarian in design.
Some aspects of FL Studio feel a little gimmicky
There have been some important system level updates to version 10 of FL Studio, including a true 64 bit mode, which enables efficient memory management and utilisation of all the RAM in >4GB systems, automatic plugin delay compensation – a must for any serious DAW, ensuring true accurate timing of multiple channels with and without a variety of different plugins, new more direct audio engine options which may help to reduce your latency, and a project restore menu which tracks revisions to project files, including autosaves.