FL Studio 11: Play it with Touch and Everything and Everywhere, Live or Editing

By ajcolores

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Deep thoughts: FL Studio is a boring name. Fruity Loops was better. You don't want me as your trademark lawyer. FL Studio could show up on stage. Cereal straws are a crazy idea. America is a crazy place. Photo (CC-BY) Michelle Tribe.

Deep thoughts: FL Studio is a boring name. Fruity Loops was better. You don’t want me as your trademark lawyer. FL Studio could show up on stage. Cereal straws are a crazy idea. America is a crazy place. Photo (CC-BY) Michelle Tribe.

FL Studio 11 has arrived, hot on the heels of an impressive FL Studio Mobile release. The folks at Image Line have been intensely busy, but what strikes me is that you can now play FL Studio using almost anything, on almost any device. The Mobile version works on Android and touch Windows devices, not just iOS, when most folks target only Apple.

And the upgrade to FL Studio 11 is similarly flexible.

There’s a clip-triggering performance mode, which already supports a range of input methods: “mouse, touch screen, typing keyboard or MIDI controller. Supports APC20/40, Launchpad, Lemur, Block, Maschine/Mikro, padKONTROL, Traktor Kontrol (and more).”

Multi-touch support works in the UI. Microsoft’s gestures are supported.

Editing views have been tweaked all over the place, including lots of Playlist improvements.

And there are a number of new plug-ins, too, in typical Fruity Loops fashion:

  • BassDrum percussion synth with sample layering
  • GMS (Groove Machine Synth): “Multi-timbral hybrid synthesizer & FX channel lifted from Groove Machine.”
  • A “performance-oriented” Effector multi-effects unit: Distortion, Lo-Fi bit reduction, Flanging, Phasing, Filter (low/high pass), Delay, Reverb, Stereo panning & binaural effect, Gating, Granulizer, Vocal formant and Ring modulation effects.
  • Patcher is improved with voice effects and a new UI, for saving and recalling plug-in chains.
  • New key mapping works on live notes and Piano Roll editing to modify notes. (There’s a color mapper for the Piano Roll, too.

The Effector module has mappings to multi-touch and controllers, and the developers say it was designed to pair with Performance Mode. So that seems the big test: will musicians start to embrace Something That Isn’t Ableton, so we see a bit of FL action in live gigs? That’d be a pleasure. (It’s happened before, but it certainly isn’t commonplace. But I do know there are lots of FL users out in the world. Hope to see y’all play – let me know, won’t you?)

And there’s a lot more, like Ruby programming in Flowstone, a successor to Synthmaker, for hackers – and a formidable challenger to tools like Ableton’s Max for Live.

And then, also in this Newtone vocal editor, there are some really unusual means of editing vibrato – seriously:

“Most exciting are the new Vibrato and Warp editors. The Vibrato editor allows users to create vibrato effects from scratch with controls including start/end amount and frequency. The editor even detects existing vibrato and displays this value so users can match the singers natural tendency, if desired. The Warp editor is designed to work with mono or polyphonic material and is perfect for slicing and re-timing/quantizing drum-loops, vocal performances and is great for sounddesign experimentation. Importantly, Newtone 2 is a free update for existing customers.”

A better piano roll, more note editing, and loads of performance options you can access via controllers or multi-touch – plus the ability to code your own instruments and effects in Ruby, and powerful mobile companions on any OS. I’d say FL 11 is a contender. A demo version is available. Windows-only – but I have to say, just installed Windows 8 on my MacBook via Boot Camp, and the process is pretty terrific, Mac users. (Plus you can hop into that same Windows install from your Mac via Parallels – all using the same installation, seamlessly integrated with your Mac UI.)

Have a look:


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