Anyone who has used audio software before will know there’s always a learning curve. It doesn’t matter how many features the software has or how guided the setup is – it will take time to master. That being said, any program that’s worth its salt should have accessible tutorials that make it simple to understand new features and tricks as you go along. That’s why in this article we give you some essential tips and tricks for getting up to speed with FL Studio fast. Whether you are brand new to FL Studio or simply want an refresher, read on for our crash course in everything you need to know about this powerful music production tool…
Table of contents
Jumping Right In
When you’re learning a new piece of software, it can be tempting to read the manual front to back and then go through multiple online tutorials, but this can cause you to get overwhelmed. Instead, try to just jump right in and use the program like you would in a real-life scenario. For example, if you want to know how to quantize audio clips, try quantizing an audio clip and see how the results look. If you’re able to map out a couple of scenarios like this, you should be able to get a good idea of how everything works – and you’ll have a better understanding of how useful a tool is when it’s in your hands!
Take Advantage of FL Studio’s Shortcuts
A big part of mastering FL Studio is being able to navigate the interface efficiently. This means knowing your shortcuts! In this case, the more you use them, the more they will become muscle memory. This will significantly speed up your work flow. For example, you can navigate between the different windows in the FL Studio interface using the Tab shortcut. Simply press Tab and you’ll be able to jump back and forth between different windows like the Step Sequencer, Mixer, Piano Roll, Channel Rack, Plugin Browser and many more. For a full list of shortcuts and key commands, click here.
Don’t Forget About the Mixing Board
The Mixer is one of the most important parts of FL Studio. This is where you will add all the channels for your song and where your plugins will go. But how do you navigate this window? Well, each channel has its own arm button. When this is pressed, you can navigate through the different channels and add tracks. When you add a track to a channel, it will be sent to the main output at the bottom of the window. This means that when you want to monitor a track, you’ll want to press the ‘Monitor’ button and select the track you want to hear.
Learn to Use the Step Sequencer
The Step Sequencer is a powerful tool that allows you to build sequences and melodies by clicking on a series of buttons. It’s one of the most important features in FL Studio, and when used properly, it can really make your track stand out. To add a pattern to the sequencer, click on the ‘Create’ button, select ‘Step Sequencer’ and then click on ‘New’. To add a sample to the step sequencer, click on the ‘Create’ button, select ‘Sample’ and then click on ‘New’. Once added, you can drag and drop the different buttons up and down the sequencer to change the order of the pattern. You can also change the timing of each button by clicking and dragging the edge of the button up or down.
Know Your Audio Tools
There are some tools that you’ll use more often than others, and you should know them inside out. Here are a few that we find most useful:
- The Audio To MIDI button: This button allows you to convert audio clips into MIDI clips. This is useful when you want to edit MIDI clips but you have a lot of sounds that need to be tweaked too. It also lets you add vocals to your track by simply pressing record and singing into your mic.
- The Time Stretch button: This button allows you to change the tempo of your audio clips without affecting the pitch. It’s great for when you want to speed up or slow down your track without having to re-record it. It’s also useful if your vocalist is a little slower than usual.
- The Volume fader: The volume fader allows you to change the volume of one or multiple audio clips. It’s really useful when you want to mix down your track and make sure your levels are correct.
- The Mixer: The Mixer is where you will add all your channels and plugins.
- The Channel Rack: The Channel Rack allows you to add effects, send tracks to different outputs, add analysis tools and route MIDI clips to different channels.
Lock in with Auto-Sync
When you’re producing a track, you might have one or multiple synths playing in the background. You might also have a vocalist or instrument that you want to focus on. But what happens if they aren’t in sync? How do you fix this? Well, sometimes you can simply flip a switch and make it work, but if you’re in a different DAW, it can be a problem.
- In FL Studio, you can use the Auto-Sync feature to make synths and audio clips fall into place. For example, you might want to Auto-Sync the audio clip from your vocalist with a synth in the background.
- To do this, you need to first select both the audio track(s) and the synth(s) you want to sync up. Then, go to Tools, Auto-sync and select the sync type you want. There are a few options here to choose from.
Produce Using Synths and Samplers
Synths and samplers are great for adding layers to your track and creating depth. But how do you know what they are? And how do you use them?
- A synth is a synthesizer that uses algorithms to generate sound. It can be controlled with MIDI notes or be set to receive audio input and turn this into MIDI notes. A sampler, on the other hand, is a tool that allows you to load in audio and turn it into a MIDI clip. This means that you can use it as a synth or a vocalist. It also allows you to change the pitch of the audio, add effects and transpose the notes.
Learning a new piece of software is always a challenge, but it’s something we all have to do at some point. In this article, we’ve outlined some important tips and tricks that will make your transition to FL Studio much easier. To make the most of FL Studio, we recommend jumping right in, taking advantage of the shortcuts, using the Auto-sync feature, knowing your audio tools and producing using synths and samplers. That way, you’ll be up and running in no time!
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