The FL Studio 'Audio Engine' & DAW wars

for all your functional and musical questions
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Site Admin
Dec 19, 2009 (2:43)
Before you post a thread about some 'oddity' you have noticed with the sound of FL studio, or want to make a claim that FL Studio sounds superior/inferior to some other DAW, please read this thread and its links carefully.

Whatever you may have found, or think you have found, there are many settings and options that affect the live and rendered audio from FL Studio (sometimes differently) and the same is true for any other DAW. Please make sure you understand what these settings and options are, and if you venture into loop-talk with such a claim, be prepared to provide example audio files and evidence you have discounted all the items listed below as the cause (this page is linked in here from the FL Studio Manual):

One final reality check, look at the links posted in this Audio Quality / Audio Engine thread. Every platform gets the same question. Is XYZ as good as ABC?

Additional Links

Perception is suggestible...

This fine thread where Paul Findle (equipment designer) answers questions from the world -

This thread discusses the Loudness War -

Nice article on 24/192 Music Downloads - <-- Thanks to Charles for this one.

Sampling Theory For Digital Audio (why 44.1 kHz is enough and 196 kHz is bad) -

I also have a nice piece from Paul Findle (designer of SSL desks)... from here . He has a nice insight into 'that sound', read on...

Paul Findle wrote:I never comment on other people's S/W, especially when I have absolutely no idea what's in it. And since I have a reputation of telling it how it is (even if I suffer financially for it), it's unlikely that anyone would seek my opinion in public as part of their marketing campaign.

Luckily, with audio we have the luxury of 'messing about', no planes are going to fall out of the sky and no nuclear missles are going to be erroneously launched because of our marketing driven consumeresque 'popularist tech' - LOL. If it makes you feel happy and you like what you get from this stuff, you can safely use it, remembering that if you feel good it's likely you will produce better results (I could do a whole book in this stuff from studio experience - it's not trivial and it is important. It's what's called artistic freedom - and long may is prosper. Also please remember that the financial situation ensures that we can only afford to make what you people will buy - and what you buy is heavily influenced by how you feel about it and is not soley constrained by what it actually does :-)

But from a technical point of view it's obvious that since processing can add up numbers almost perfectly (better than anything that could make a difference within the known universe), anything else is forcibly worse. If one thinks 'out of the box', ignore the hype and considers this in the cold light of day, it speaks volumes about our industry (and human psychology) that the one single thing digital processing can do better than anything else in the universe is exactly the very thing that you have been persuaded is flawed! It's both comical and sad all at the same time.

The whole argument about 'summing' is completely false from a technical standpoint and the differences people notice when say flying out of the box into an analogue mixer and reconverting back to digital again are caused by the many intrusive effects of the conversions and interfaces.

As for the so called SSL sound - as most of you know, I designed much of this stuff (especially the G series) and I can tell you there's nothing magic about the technologly used - we got the best performance we could from the technology at our disposal. We would have dearly loved to get anywhere near the performance of todays cheap DAWs and decent plug-ins - but it was simply impossible back then, because we were constrained in analogue by the laws of physics.

The sound people got from the SSL was due massively to the features of the console itself - the way the user was encouraged to operate it (by the fixed control surface) - and the fashion of the times. And don't imagine that that some 'magic' exists in the 'errors of the system' either - apart from a bit of noise (unavoidable in large scale analogue systems), the errors were as low as we could make them (obviously) and are absolutely not the cause of it's success. And please do not take it a stage further as some people have done, and think that some ethereal magic happened due to factors we didn't realise - we were not simply fiddling around - and we did know what we were doing :-)

You cannot magically obtain this from trying to analyse it and 'emulate' it - and more to the point, you cannot ensure the financial successes and environments of that era by simply having a 'name' on your screen. The world has changed technically for the better by miles and the fiscal situation of the industry has completely changed - the important thing is to embrace it and use it to the fullest extent - not get hung up on a virtual past :-)

So even though I designed much of the analogue stuff people are worshipping, you won't see an SSL 'emulation' from me - because I would consider this unfair! If you want to use what I would have made back then had it have been technically possible, go to Sonnox and get hold of the Oxford EQ and Dynamics :-)

BTW - that this not a Sonnox marketing plug. I don't work for them and I get nothing from the sales of the stuff I designed when at Sony :-)

The FL Studio Support Team.
Last edited by Scott on Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:02 pm, edited 37 times in total.
What's this knob do? The F1 key is your friend!

Dec 19, 2009 (3:12)
Thanks for finally posting this Scott. Hopeful...

Dec 19, 2009 (3:26)
Also. Anyone who has problems with latency and...

Dec 19, 2009 (5:15)
Scott wrote:5. Marketing has influenced you - D...

Dec 19, 2009 (13:49)
To Scott-sensei
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Dec 20, 2009 (21:21)
Thank you. Im always in a debate with someone a...

Dec 20, 2009 (22:21)
funkshovel wrote:Thank you. Im always in a deba...

Dec 21, 2009 (17:30)
I am so sick and tired of people telling me FLs...

Dec 21, 2009 (20:29)
Scott wrote:jnfstnet565 wrote:Isn't it 'awesome...

Dec 22, 2009 (7:51)
This thread looks like an African elephant scra...

Dec 24, 2009 (16:45)
dont tell this to the LO-FI freaks...

Jan 01, 2010 (16:13)
Scott wrote:Before you post a thread about some...

Jan 01, 2010 (16:26)
Scott wrote:Before you post a thread about some...

Jan 01, 2010 (16:55)
kitekrazy wrote:Scott wrote:No 64 bit is not su...

Jan 06, 2010 (22:03)
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Jan 06, 2010 (22:07)
there is no such thing as a sound engine, isn't...

Jan 06, 2010 (22:12)
The so called "bad" sound engine was ...

Jan 06, 2010 (23:44)
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Jan 06, 2010 (23:46)
gol wrote:That's because starting at version 8,...

Jan 06, 2010 (23:48)
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Jan 06, 2010 (23:52)
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Andy Lindsay
Jan 12, 2010 (8:35)
JohannesRudensten wrote:Labelwhore wrote:gol wr...

Jan 14, 2010 (20:16)
hey i just remebered something, The thing that...

Jan 14, 2010 (22:18)
i don't know who is participating in these surv...

Site Admin
Jan 15, 2010 (6:05)
wetdentist wrote:i don't know who is participat...
What's this knob do? The F1 key is your friend!

Jan 15, 2010 (7:59)
but if you can't notice the difference between ...

Jan 15, 2010 (8:25)
gol wrote:but if you can't notice the differenc...

Jan 15, 2010 (14:19)
I was gonna say that too..!!

Jan 15, 2010 (16:20)
With regard to point 8, was just thinking that ...

Jan 16, 2010 (6:09)
JohannesRudensten wrote:funkshovel wrote:Thank ...

Jan 22, 2010 (2:34)
This part: "The DAW doesn't suck, you do....

Site Admin
Jan 22, 2010 (3:17)
manictiger wrote:This part: "The DAW does...
What's this knob do? The F1 key is your friend!

Jan 22, 2010 (6:26)
Scott wrote:You have to be a bit careful making...

Jan 22, 2010 (8:00)
feel free to use inferior encoders that have be...

Jan 22, 2010 (10:00)
gol wrote:feel free to use inferior encoders th...

Site Admin
Jan 22, 2010 (10:37)
manictiger wrote:gol wrote:feel free to use inf...
What's this knob do? The F1 key is your friend!

Jan 22, 2010 (10:44)
all the best software names are open source or ...

Jan 22, 2010 (17:47)
Little late....however just wanna say thanks Sc...

Jan 25, 2010 (8:42)
A/V4U wrote:Little late....however just wanna s...

Jan 26, 2010 (2:33)
This is very interesting, I love FL and it is t...

Jan 26, 2010 (23:08)
"The DAW doesn't suck. You do." LMA...

Jan 27, 2010 (15:50)
projectbluepheonix, there is a piano roll of so...

Jan 27, 2010 (15:55)
Labelwhore wrote:projectbluepheonix, there is a...

Jan 27, 2010 (16:04)
projectbluepheonix wrote:Labelwhore wrote:proje...

Jan 28, 2010 (5:27)
Fl studio I love you are not complicat...

Jan 28, 2010 (5:53)
the DAW WARS will never end until Imageline is ...

Jan 28, 2010 (11:20)
This argument will rage on and on as most peopl...

Jan 28, 2010 (16:06)
kbruff wrote:or when Luke and Darth Vader are s...

Jan 29, 2010 (0:44)
Let's all work on a compilation for each genre ...

Feb 05, 2010 (2:34)
One time, I had way too many kick drum samples ...


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