FLS10 – Getting Started 1 – Basics/Limiter

        Fruity Loops Producer – Getting Started 1 – Basics and the Limiter

I’m going to have a look, as a complete novice, at FL Studio 10, more as a learning curve for me than anything, as I find that doing a Post helps me discover and remember functions, and forces me to look at most/all of the Control Panel functions available asap, so get the “less interesting” but necessary bits over and done with in a structured way. This is always the best way in the long run for when you actually want to create music efficiently later, if a bit tedious now.

I bought this because I am interested in creating sounds from scratch, both technically – changing waveforms manually – and for some individuality away from using boxed samples that others may have used already, or just don’t fit for what I want in my track.

I have only had a quick look at this software so far as seen on my Posts, so it should be a whole new world for me – very different from Magix – an environment for Professionals – which I am definitely not.

With complex software like this I need all the help I can get. As with any software, the Manual is compulsory browsing so press F1 for a read, and set your Save locations as suggested there.

Any copied text from the Manual is in italic.

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Click the File tab in the System Settings window. We have a series of video tutorials on using the Browser here. Here are three reasons why this setup page is important:

  • Save locations – FL Studio will, by default, save your projects to its installation directory (..\Program Files\Image-Line\FL Studio\Data\Projects). We strongly recommend that you add some extra search folder locations (your own directories) and save your projects there. This will make backups simpler and will keep your files separate from the FL Studio installation.
  • External file locations – Additionally, if you have samples and sounds that you want to use with FL Studio, the File Settings page is used to add their directories to the Browser’s list.
  • External VST locations – At the bottom of the File Settings interface is also an option to search for VST/VSTi plugins. You can ignore this step if you don’t have your own VSTs to add to FL Studio.

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Image-line has help tutorials on their official page on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/imageline?feature=results_main

forum here:

http://forum.image-line.com/

A little surfing yesterday found me Andrew Aversa’s site at:
http://zirconmusic.com/

Andrew is a professional who writes music for video games such as Halo etc. and hosts some tutorials on Floops and its optional extras such a Zebra2, showing his methods for creating beats and bass lines etc. from scratch. It will give you an idea how far you have to go yet as a beginner.

Just to repeat from the other “Driver” post test example, first set up your audio with the best performing driver available on your system; in my case:

Click Show ASIO panel for details:

Once the Windows registry key is obtained from Image-line on purchase, and merged, the now unlocked version 10 default desktop at start becomes Basic with Limiter as the first example environment for a drum loop creation:

There is a good reason for this – a first critical tip from Zircon – the limiter ensures your sounds will not go above line level – 0dB – possibly causing distortion (clipping) of the output waveform, which can cause noise, and it can protect your ears, amps and speakers from overload if there is a “spike”.

The Manual is the first place to look to understand its workings:

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The Fruity Limiter is a powerful single band Compressor (with sidechain), Limiter & Gate. To access the relevant limiter and compressor controls, switch between LIMIT and COMP tabs on the plugin interface (as shown below).

When to use: Fruity Limiter is ideal for maximizing & limiting complete mixes, compressing & limiting individual sounds or doing basic ‘noise gate’ duty. Closely related alternatives are Maximus (multiband compressor/limiter/maximizer), the Fruity Compressor, Fruity Multiband Compressor and Soundgoodizer.

There is a video series available – Compression & Limiting video tutorials.

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You can check sound output turning the Metronome click on, and pressing Play:

You should see the clicks being limited at the default settings, on the Peak Meter just going red, and flattened off in the Limiter window:

Altering the Gain (amplification, purple) anywhere above the (green) Ceiling does not change the Peak Meter output reading, showing that Limiting is working – only raising the Ceiling level causes the overall output to increase the Peak Meter level, by making it much redder, meaning probable clipping of the output wave – if the Gain is also set high enough to go over 0db also:

Lowering the Ceiling you can reduce the output to zero, despite the Gain setting. This can be used to limit a really loud sample so that you could still mix to 0dB overall output and still have the quieter samples higher relative to the loud one in an overall mix.

There is no point me going further with Limiter/Compressor functions as the Tutorials cover it all in far more depth.

Once you left click one of the 16 step-sequence notes next to the Kick/Clap/HH/Snare sounds and press Spacebar, you should hear your first drum sounds:

You can add more sounds to this pattern from the Browser window, left, e.g. expanding Presets/3xOSC, and right click a sample and add Open in New Channel, you can quickly build up your Pattern:

Click the green LED to turn each channel on/off in a Pattern.

Ctrl-Up collapses an open browser structure. Some of the sounds in the browser can be previewed on click e.g. Packs/FX/..Applause

Clicking the Channel button (Kick) brings up its waveform parameter window:

This may be a playable voice with the mouse hand, and where you can experiment with the 3 oscillators to create/change the fundamental character of the waveform – sine, saw, square etc:

You can export a project to MP3 or wav via the File menu as standard.

The Function keys are a quick way to access some main CPanel options:

F1    Ref Manual

F2     Pattern Name box

F3    File Menu

F4    Pattern 2 Name box

F5    Pattern Playlist

F10, 11    System Settings

F12    Closes Limiter

The FL Studio desktop is based on a number of windows, most of these are movable (with overlap), resizable, zoomable and switchable so if a window isn’t visible open it using the Shortcut toolbar (or the function keys as noted in brackets). The main windows involved in FL Studio music creation are – Channels ( F6), Piano roll ( F7). Mixer ( F9) and Playlist ( F5). The Browser ( F8) is used to access audio files & presets from within FL Studio (see the File setting options for adding directories on your PC to the Browser).

 

There are a billion more things I have yet to discover so I’ll leave it there for now.

At least that should be enough to get you making some noises or creating an original sound from scratch.