Image-Line FL Studio 12
Pros Vector-based UI is beautiful. Very practical improvements. Additions to all three editions. Mixer is supremely flexible.
FL Studio Review
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Pros Vector-based UI is beautiful. Very practical improvements. Additions to all three editions. Mixer is supremely flexible. Incredible value, lifetime free updates. Cons Some aspects of workflow can seem arcane compared to other DAWs.
Plugin menu can only be set up on install. Image 1 of 3 FL’s UI is now built on infinitely scalable vector graphics Image-Line FL Studio 12 The Edison recorder has been updated in line with FL Studio’s new vector-based look Effects The new mixer is a thing of beauty, with plenty of customisation on offer Mixer Version 12 ushers in a totally reworked interface and improved features, but does FL Studio 12 deliver enough in an era of increasing competition? Over the course of its 11 previous versions, Image-Line’s individualistic FL Studio DAW has grown from a simple drum sequencer to, without doubt, one of the most popular music applications in the world.
Version 12 of FL Studio, we’re pleased to report, represents one of the most significant overhauls to the program in years. Inspect a vector The most literally in-your-face change in FL Studio 12 is the transition of the entire GUI – including selected instruments and effects – to vector graphics. Unlike bitmaps, vectors can scale infinitely, maintaining pin-sharp imaging at any resolution and display size. The look has been completely redesigned, too – gone are the days when a long FL session could feel like a stay in a Soviet car park.
It’s still based on that familiar grey colour palette, but the modern, vivid revamp works wonders, bringing FL firmly into line with the competition, aesthetically. New visual options include a range of mixer layouts Compact, Wide, Extra Large, etc , control over which elements are shown in the mixer, virtual cables showing routings between channels, and the ability to resize many things that previously couldn’t be, like the mixer and Channel Rack.
Multitouch display users will also be overjoyed to learn that FL’s mixer now fully supports that technology. Rack ’em up The Channel Rack is simply the new name for the previously untitled window housing the overview of Instruments, Samplers and Internal Generator channels used in a project, which can now be manually switched between Piano Roll preview and Step Sequencer views, depending on the preferences of the user. Notes programmed into the Step Sequencer are automatically updated in the Piano Roll of that channel, allowing for deeper editing in the latter without having to copy and paste patterns from one to the other.
The Piano Roll itself has gained the option to deactivate auto zoom, and now enables editing of Ghost Notes – that is, other channels’ notes shown in the background of the piano roll of the clip you’re editing. Tweaking harmonies has never been so easy. We’re disappointed to find that you can’t add Automation Clips to the Channel Rack from the Insert menu any more.
It can still be done by right-clicking a parameter and selecting Create Automation Clip, or applying automation to the ‘last tweaked parameter’ from the Add menu, but we don’t see the point of this removal.
Every edition of FL Studio has seen a feature upgrade for v The cheapest, Fruity Edition, now benefits from Automation clips; the Maximus and Sytrus plugins have been added to the Producer Edition; and the separately available Harmless, Newtone and Pitcher plugins are now included with the top tier Signature Bundle, reviewed here.
You’ll still want to opt for Producer or Signature if you’re serious about your music production, but the addition of Automation clips does make the Fruity edition significantly more capable than before.
Studio engineering In the development of FL Studio 12, it’s clear that Image-Line has spent plenty of time soul searching, seeking ways to genuinely improve, adapt and streamline the day-to-day usability of their DAW, and the result is, by and large, a dream come true for existing users. Is this a good point for the newcomer to jump onboard? FL Studio still lends itself more readily to in-the-box composition and mixing, rather than as the centre of a more traditional recording setup, but there’s little it can’t do in regard to the former.
And with its ‘lifetime free updates’ policy, the knowledge that you’ll never have to pay an upgrade fee after that initial outlay is certainly reassuring.
Thanks to that same policy, FL Studio 12 is a no-brainer for paid-up owners, who may well find themselves falling in love with their DAW of choice all over again because of it. The best of MusicRadar in your inbox Don’t miss the latest deals, news, reviews, features and tutorials No spam, we promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and we’ll never share your details without your permission.
FL Studio separates sounds into channels so you can easily change and alter aspects of your track on a granular level. This program comes with a long-list of plug-ins and audio-editing tools. You can also download additional plug-ins through the FL Studio store. FL Studio is an ideal digital audio workstation for creating beats and building music. FL Studio comes in three different editions, which include varying plug-ins, sounds and features, so it’s a great option for any musician or business owner regardless of one’s experience level. The Producer version, the second tier FL Studio edition, is ideal for small studios and businesses looking to expand their music-making capabilities with a full-scale DAW.
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