Sound On Sound Magazine - March 2010 - FL Studio 9 Review

Image-Line Products Reviewed (FL Studio, Deckadance, Plugins & EZGenerator)

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Mon May 03, 2010 7:32 am


Sound On Sound Magazine - March 2010 - FL Studio 9 Review


Link to review... ... l9.htm#top

Image Line’s popular sequencing package has evolved from a specialist tool into a DAW application with universal appeal.

Julian Harding

In just over a decade, Image Line’s FL Studio has evolved from the simple FL Studio drum-loop creation tool into a full-blown DAW, gaining many new features along the way. For anyone who hasn’t followed its growth, there are reviews of editions dating back to version 4 on the SOS web site, as well as a wealth of information on the official FL Studio web page. In brief, it’s a DAW that focuses on pattern-based composition and mixing. The main view includes a step sequencer that acts as a sampler. Once dropped into the step sequencer, each sample, audio clip or virtual instrument clip has its own Channel Settings box, where settings for the sound source can be altered, and a mixer channel assigned.

Each sound source can be sequenced in a piano-roll editor or in step mode, which is ideal for beat creation. The step sequencer displays one pattern at a time, and these patterns can be compiled into song structures in the Playlist window. This window is split into two across the horizontal axis, with the bottom half displaying each pattern as a block, and the top displaying the waveform or MIDI data contained by any placed clips and patterns. Sequencing can be carried out in both views simultaneously, to the user’s taste. Although each track in the top view is numbered and can be muted (a feature new to version 9), it does not correspond directly to a mixer track: mixer tracks are assigned to clips individually without any correspondence to the arrangement view, which allows free dropping of samples and is used exclusively for arranging the song.

There are four versions of FL Studio available: Express, Fruity Edition, Producer Edition and Signature Bundle. The Signature Bundle is the top-of-the-range offering, with all features of the Producer Edition plus a selection of extra Image Line plug-ins. Both Fruity Edition and Express are cut-down versions that remove functionality in exchange for a lower price point. Neither of these versions includes the Edison wave editor or the ability to host full audio tracks, nor do they allow ASIO-input recording. The Express edition is particularly limited, losing the piano-roll sequencer. A full feature comparison of the different versions can be found on the FL Studio web site.
The New Bits

For version 9, the mixer channel count has been upped to 99 from the previous 64, and each track is now able to send audio to a side-chain input of any other track. Side-chain routing can be assigned to third-party plug-ins via the new Wrapper Settings button, located in the top left of Fruity Wrapper. Fruity Wrapper automatically handles VST and DX plug-ins, allowing multiple inputs and outputs to be assigned and advanced compatibility and performance options to be configured. Most significantly, the new Wrapper Settings function allows multi-output plug-ins such as Kontakt 4 to actually make use of more than two output channels, a feature that wasn’t present in previous editions of FL Studio.
What's this knob do? The F1 key is your friend!

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