FL Studio 20.5: free Flex synth promises epic sounds with zero effort

Sound design sessions are all well and good, but there are times when you just want great sounds as soon as you open your DAW. That’s the thinking behind Flex, a new preset-based soft synth that comes free with the just-released FL Studio 20.5.

Simplicity may be the watchword here, but the engine that powers Flex is said to have plenty of advanced stuff going on. It blends subtractive, wavetable, multisample, FM and AM-based synthesis, but you can take charge of this pretty easily by using eight patch-specific macro sliders.

You can go beyond these by using tweaking the filter, envelope and effect controls, and you can also choose from various Analysis views (waveform, spectrogram, vectorscope and frequency histogram).

You can find the sound you’re looking for using the tag-based preset browser, and additional libraries can either be downloaded or purchased from within said browser.

Flex is undoubtedly FL Studio 20.5’s main event, but there are other new features, too. You can now use the DAW as a VST/AU plugin on Mac or a VST plugin on Windows, while improvements have been made to the Browser, File settings, Playlist/Piano roll, Plugin Manager, performance monitor and Patcher, among other things. Various plugins have been updated, too.

Flex is included in all versions of FL Studio 20.5. As always, the update is free, and can be downloaded from the Image-Line website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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