FL Studio is a great DAW because it works differently. The whole vibe of this software emerges from the simple form of a step sequencer. It has been step sequencing way before anyone thought it was cool and has been the favorite music software of underground electronic artists for decades.
In the mixed media of the DAW it can’t all be about step sequencing and Version 20 bears little resemblance to the early incarnations but it carries a lot of what makes it awesome through to today.
It’s a very visual program using color in unexpected places, animated displays, and the fabulous plug-in picker which throws up a scattering of thumbnails to help you choose the right effect or instrument. And it comes packed with both. There are more included instruments than any other DAW, from fierce synths to glowing pads, authentic instruments, drum machines, and samplers. It’s a dance music paradise and so much more.
The last few years have seen FL Studio embrace and build up the audio production side. The mixing console goes from strength to strength with innovative routing and combination options. The track view is never-ending and completely adaptable. You can treat audio as linear or as clips, loops, or one-shot samples. It doesn’t have the tight structure of other DAWs and prefers to give you the freedom to layout and process your audio and MIDI in whichever way you choose.
There are performance elements that let you take this on your laptop and remix your music in a live environment. But that also encourages a way to remix and generate new ideas in the studio.
FL Studio doesn’t perhaps have all the hardcore audio production tools of Cubase or Studio One but it oozes creativity and encourages experimentation. It refuses to be a blank canvas or a tape machine, it’s your partner in music production.
Pros & Cons
- Immense system for dance music production
- Comes with a huge bunch of synths and effects
- Innovative looping in the timeline
- Everything is customisable
- Very fluid
- Sometimes I have no idea what’s going on
- Lots and lots of windows
- Too fluid for some people
Street Price: $189+ depending on bundle