At a Glance
- Great sequencing and beat creation features
- Lots of instruments and FX
- Great MIDI editing
- Newly scalable interface
- Weak on traditional recording and production features
- Odd audio recording workflow
Designed specifically with electronic dance music in mind, this long-time favorite, originally and whimsically called Fruity Loops (for audio loops) has grown into a very competent creative and recording DAW. The interface is unique and will be comfortable for anyone familiar with traditional beat boxes and sequencers. If you’re into electronic dance music or sound creation, you need to check it out.
FL Studio 9.1 is the latest version of the long-time sequencer
and recording app formerly known as Fruity Loops. Despite a
slightly non-standard user interface, FL Studio is one of the
easier digital audio workstations to use–if you come from a
step/pattern-based recording background.
If you’re used to Ableton Live,
you’ll adapt to FL Studio in a heartbeat. However, users of
track-based programs such as Cubase,
Sonar, or Pro
Tools will have a steeper learning curve. You record audio into
the playlist for use as parts, or the Edison audio editor insert
(added to a track like and effect) to create ad hoc audio tracks.
Once you’re used to it, there’s a certain elegance to this marrying
of step- and track-based approach to music creation.
At first glance, you might not notice much new in FL Studio 9.1,
but there are literally hundreds of refinements and improvements.
Most address bugs and user suggestions to enhance usability, but
there are some new features such as the Drumpad instrument, Fruity
Convolver reverb, Harmless additive synthesis instrument, Stereo
Shaper, and Vocodex vocoding plugin. There’s also welcome support
for VST3 instruments and plugins as well as multi-core CPU
FL Studio is available in four flavors: the $49 Express Edition,
$99 Fruity Edition, $199 Producer Edition, and the $299 Signature
Bundle. There are some significant differences, and too many to get
into here, but you’ll find them listed in a document that appears
when you close the demo or at vendor Image Line Software’s Web site.
All in all, FL Studio is a worthy program that will suit many
user’s work styles–especially those into electronic or dance
music. 9.1 is a nice upgrade, and as always, is free to owners of
any version of the program. You buy this program only once, a
policy we’d like to see more often in an industry full of companies
more concerned with maintaining revenue stream than getting it
right the first time.
Note: The demo will let you save a song, but
not reopen it.
–Jon L. Jacobi