13 FL Studio 8 tips and tricks

Get ready to unlock FL Studio 8's full potential.
Get ready to unlock FL Studio 8's full potential.

If you've read MusicRadar's review of FL Studio 8, you'll know that it's undoubtedly the finest version of the popular DAW yet seen. Killer additions include FL SynthMaker (which makes it possible to build your own instruments and effects), the Slicex slicing tool and numerous improvements to the workflow.

MusicRadar has been spending some time playing with these new features, so we're well placed to tell you how to get the best out of them:

1. Slice and dice
Who says you can only use Slicex for chopping up drum beats? You can just as easily sink its fangs into, say, a lead vocal. Chop up a chorus, rearrange it and use it to create a dramatic moment.

2. Assume attack position
Sample editors such as Slicex and Edison can be a source of endless inspiration, enabling you to alter common sounds so that they become utterly unrecognisable. For instance, you could chop out the initial attacks of the piano notes in a loop and gently fade it into a filter-swept synth sound for a nifty pad

3. Impulse buy
Everyone loves a good convolution reverb, and Image-Line has bundled a superb one into FL Studio. Yet there's no reason to restrict yourself to using impulse responses of acoustic spaces. Why not try using audio clips or synth sounds for some bizarre results? It should be noted that the convolution reverb is even wrapped inside Slicex.

4. Edison inside
You already know that Slicex is a fabulous beat-chopping instrument, but have you noticed that it hides the full power of Edison under the hood? This being the case, there's no need to shuttle files between the two

5. Give 'em the slip
Slip editing is a godsend, so we're pleased to be able to report that Image-Line has added the option to the playlist for all clip types.

6. Selected Mixer Track
Any mixer track you have selected is now routed to the - you guessed it - Selected Mixer Track for easier management of visual plug-ins or the mighty Edison.

7. Oggin'
The OGG Vorbis compressed file format is becoming ever more popular, so you'll be pleased to learn that FL Studio can now spit the format right out of its playlist.

8. Be a Player
DirectWave Player is included in your FL bundle and 24-bit SoundFonts are now supported. There are scores of downloadable samples and instruments available via Samplefusion's online repository, so you'll never again come up short when it comes to finding that perfect sound.

9. Mad dash!
You already know that you can use FL SynthMaker to create custom effects, but did you know that you can use it to create custom Dashboards, too? This is a real bonus for anyone with lots of outboard gear. Even cooler? There are already loads of Dashboards available for download from within FL Studio.

10. Steal the feel
Have you ever wished you could tap out your TR-808 rhythms with the same finesse as a real drummer? With a little creative effort you can use Slicex to steal the organic feel of a live drum loop and apply it to whatever sounds you like. This should lend your projects a more authentic sound.

11. Getting the outside in
Those who are still using dusty old MIDI hardware will cheer over FL Studio 8's newfound support for MIDI SysEx input. Basic MIDI Machine Control is here, too.

12. Timing is everything
Some plug-ins can introduce noticeable latency - ie, an audible delay - to your tracks. The Set from option for PDC (Plug-in Delay Compensation) has been improved in FL Studio 8, and if you're rendering as separate tracks, be sure to check out the all-new option for rendering with latency compensation.

13. Add your two cents
Users of modular environments such as SynthEdit and SynthMaker have energised the virtual music landscape with a deluge of free instruments and effects. While FL SynthMaker is limited to crafting FL-only plug-ins, there are plenty of users who'd love to use your creations themselves. So what are you waiting for? Fire up that bad boy and start knocking out the goodies. We'll be waiting.

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.