Image-Line FL Studio & Composing

Hi all!

I just wanted to take the time to start a discussion about FL Studio. I believe it is highly 'slept on' for composing, as ideas can be made very quickly within the DAW.

I am hoping that any other users of FL Studio will join me in trying to get more composing tools within FL Studio.

More to come at a later time... what are your thoughts about FL Studio?

Thanks and cheers!


  • Now here's something I didn't expect to see on the forums: another FL composer!

    I'll be honest, I realise perfectly fine why so few people use FL in a composition setting; it's kind of gotten a reputation for being an EDM DAW -which is largely is; lord knows it wasn't made with film composition in mind- and it's also somewhat looked down up in a sense seeing as how it's more forgiving learning curve makes it a fairly easy DAW for new producers to pick up. On top of all that, FL does have its flaws, a lot of which are fair to level against it.

    Having said all that, at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference and workflow. I've been fortunate enough to have a tussle with FL, Ableton, Logic, and ProTools, and I can say for myself that FL simply suits my needs and workflow the best. It doesn't really matter what DAW you use, so long as it gets the job done. And yeah, FL can be a great DAW for composing if your workflow allows it.

    The only complaint I do have against FL as a composition DAW is that it's not able to import video yet, making is virtually impossible to score to film unless you configure the ZGameVideoEditor to do specifically that. If they ever add that feature though, I can definitely see FL gaining some more traction amongst composers

  • My son, only 18 at the time, signed with Warner last year as a singer/songwriter, hip hop type artist. Not my cup of tea musically, but at 19 he makes more money than I do, so I'm not complaining! He uses FL studio all the time, so I chose to just go with that for composing (I'm a complete newb to composing!) because he's a wiz with FL and I'm not! Regardless, it's ok I guess. My investment was small, and I may one day outgrow it... who knows. I have the producer "all plugs edition" and I have the Fruity Video Player which seems to be capable of syncing up video to audio tracks for things like trailer work, etc. I have not used it so can't speak to it's true utility.



  • what I'm sure about FL Studio is that its piano roll is miles further than Cubase and Protools , I'm using both FL and Protools . FL for composing and Protools for recording

  • Le
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited March 2021

    I use Cubase and FL Studio at the same time. BRSO Articulate and piano roll in FL Studio are very good tools.

    But I hate FL Studio mixers,not easy to use and limited 125 tracks.

    Also, you can't disable instruments plugin to save memory.

  • I use FL too (mostly bcoz I don't wanna buy another daw without pushing FL to it's limits) and I see that it's initially hard to setup things in FL, with BRSO and kontakt instruments routing.

    But later once the template is set, it works fine, if not best.

    Sometimes in terms of CC automation and temp changes, I still struggle with FL

  • There is the Switch Smart Disable for All Plugins option under Tools -> Macros, which does just that, I think. At least, it disables plugins when you're not using them.

  • FL is definitely Underrated imo. It's all I've ever used. I'm relatively new to media composition and have only recently delved into the mixing side of things, so I definitely wouldn't say it's the best DAW. but all have their flaws. Drives me nuts that people feel it's only for beats and what have you. I will say I'm trying to learn Ableton, but it feels like I'm starting from scratch with it tbh, so I'm having to take my time with it.

  • You can actually disable instruments to save memory!

    Go to tools in the top left -> Macros -> Switch smart disable for all plugins.

    There are also other options to optimize your project like purge unused audio clips and remove all instances of edison!

  • Peter Satera
    edited March 2021

    I've used FL studio, for quite some time. You can definitely score to picture using the Fruity Video Player 2.

    FL is excellent, it has some areas which are being looked at, and I agree, the 125 mixing channels is annoying, thankfully this is a pending fix. We have some exciting changes coming soon for us, markers for tempo changes, etc.

    It can absolutely score to picture though.

  • I am beginner in making music. Mostly i can say same as others. It is feels like people prefer FL for electronic music. But i gonna say it doesn't metter :P I think it has every basic stuff to make every kind of music if you ignore plugins.  

    What i like about FL or actually Imagine-Line they do care about people opinion. They have forum which can help to give a chance for some idea to be made, because of people interest. 

    Compare to other DAW, maybe Logic Pro is better, i don't know... I didn't used. I saw Apple like to ignore comfort of people... at least by hardware. But we know having the best stuff doesn't make music the best :P And comfort of work really helps.

    Cubase i had only trail version and it was short time... But i know one big problem. It don't like every plugin. I mean old version VSTs. Some FL plugins don't work there. I know i can use "multi FL" but it is not good workflow. 

    And other thing... Automation clips and playlist. I don't know it is better to have pinned automation clips like in Cubase or floating clips like in FL.

    But what i don't like in FL... there is no ghost notes like in Cubase. You need to make everything in one pattern, but with other instruments is hard to know what is what :P  

  • I'm a veteran of FL Studio at this stage and have had great fun setting up my own templates for BBC SO Discover and the like. I think there is a snobbery towards it that continues to drive my love of it. No doubt DAWs with a linear left-to-right approach are possibly better suited to orchestral music, but that is a limitation of the DAW. FL Studio is incredibly flexible and it's piano roll is second to none. It also has a very capable rompler like instrument called FLEX which would benefit from someone like Spitfire creating a sound pack for. FL Studio has an interesting approach to MIDI routing which works really well for small sample libraries too. That being said, Imageline who make FL Studio, have pushed the EDM narrative themselves. I personally write more retro electronica than EDM. However, as far as automation and recording MIDI CC info, FL does it as good as any other DAW in my opinion.

    It would be nice to see Spitfire give the world's most popular and consistently award winning DAW a bit of love... Over to you Christian!

  • I'm 21, and a noob composer, and for me, FL Studio is just the way to go, it's pretty easy to use and it's freaking flexible ! And about FLEX, I found that it could be an excellent plugin for sound design ! I did some rain and thunder effects using the "Applause" instrument, with a little bit of tweaking, it's a believable sound design !

  • I've loved reading all of your comments so far, everyone! I do agree with the 125 mixer tracks being very annoying... but I do think if Image-Line focused on helping themselves progress in it's composing areas, it would be an undefeatable DAW. Not sure if this is the right part of the forum to talk about this topic, but let's continue to promote FL Studio! Cheers everyone!

  • Hey all! I am fairly new to the forums here but I am a long time FL Studio user and appreciate to see the Fruity love here. I also just finished making a strings patch in Patcher for the BBCSO Professional edition for personal use, and I am curious if this is something that others would be interested in. It's not too complicated, it just routs the MIDI to all the strings patches simultaneously so that you can play the full range at once, and all the sections that can play the note will do so. It's nice for planning your voicing of the strings on a keyboard/controller before splitting them up the the specific instrument sections. Basically it's a full strings patch for the BBCSO strings. MIDI channels 1-16 will cycle through the articulations (excluding the Legato & CS patches as there are more than 16 articulations and Legato is monophonic). I also mapped a few Macro controls for the Expression, Dynamics, Release, Reverb, and Vibrato, so the individual section patches respond simultaneously to these controls.

  • FL Studio and orchestral are very robust. Scott said we're getting "more than 125 but not more than 1000" mixing tracks which should make our lives much easier! So I'm looking forward to that.

    I thought I'd share this. I made it with only Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations ( prior to the release of legendary low, and sparkling woodwinds), therefore they are not in this track. But you can get a big sound from the library.

    My ARO Demo, clouds lit by gunfire.

  • Great thread! I personally use FL Studio for my work as it's what I started out with and I definitely agree that it helps when trying to note down quick compositional ideas.

    If you have any questions regarding our products in FL please do not hesitate to create a support ticket with us! This will help to inform the kind of resources that we put out.

  • Long time FL User here. FL Studio's Piano roll is without a doubt the best experience in creating music ever. I have quite a few tutorials in my YouTube channel(/erwickdsouza) making use of FL Studio to program things and just like it looks, it feels so fast and effortless. It is also the only piece of software which did not feel like a chore. Smooth UI, playful animations and that instantaneous launch time all make it feel very slick and polished. Love it!

  • do you have any info on how you did this with patcher? i've been using FL Studio for a long time but never really learned much about how to use Patcher but i've only been using spitfire for about a year and i've noticed it's been challenging to automate the dynamic and expression sliders in FL Studio. Can this be linked to an Akai Fire Pro (the official controller for FL Studio)?

  • I have FL Studio 21, but only the trial version at the moment. I was wondering if BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover works with the trial version, or if I need to get the full version. I don't know how to install BBCSO into FL Studio. I want it in FL Studio but all I see is this version which shows the BBCSO already in FL Studio. So what am I doing wrong?