Category: Fl studio


I was browsing through the Apple app store yesterday and was well chuffed to see Fl Studio HD available as a download for Apple devices. It came in two flavours, for the iPad (currently £11.99) and iPhone / iPod. Thanks to the frickin’ recession I thought it would be extravagant to purchase both versions at this stage. I also suffer from fat finger syndrome so I thought that the iPad might be a better bet. On previous iPod apps like Akai Synthstation or Xewton studio I end up having to resize the keyboard to fit my meaty paws at the expense of range.
So, I opted for the iPad version. First impressions are good.
I’ve been using versions of FLStudio and FruityLoops for more than a decade and was expecting a cut down version along the same lines. In the past you constructed patterns and arranged them in a playlist along with audio clips and automation lanes. You would need to create seperate patterns for each variation of a track and chain them in order. WIth the iPad version you would create a bar or more of music, copy and paste in the track editor and then zoom in and add or subtract notes to create variations.
Obviously they’ve had to simplify the layout to fit the iPad, so there’s less buttons and menus available. This is most noticeable in the mixer workaround – rather than sending audio to different inserts and sends you are given a bank of effect (delay, reverb, EQ, filter and amp/distortion) which you can set individual to select all tracks or just the one’s with the fx button activated. The quality of the effects are good, especially the reverb and fiters which also can be automated, controlled by an xy pad or linked to the accelerometer so that tilting affects the filter settings.
The app also comes with a library of drum loops and a healthy smattering of synth sounds and instruments. The electronic sounds are generally excellent and rich. You can also tinker with the attack, release and volumes. One complaint is that the guitars sound thin and “midi-ish” compared to the guitars on garageband. This is a minor quibble due to the ability to export your projects to the desktop version of FL Studio. You can always use the onboard sounds to sketch out ideas and then tinker and tweak them to your liking on your pc. The iPad also lets you save your own patterns so you can quickly build up your own arsenal of loops.
Recording live is a cinch, with the option of using a keyboard layout or pads. You can also enter notes on a grid of toggles just like its big brother. The app is also compatible with core Midi devices so you could hook up a sythstation to control the app via the camera connection quit. The app also transmits midi out so it could control external kit.
So far, I’ve found the piano roll editor far more fiddly and restricted than it’s desktop counterpart. To enter a note you click on the track editor, pencil tool, place your note, edit it’s duration and then click done. It makes inputting notes a slow process, it would have been nice to have a paint function or the ability to input a run of notes quickly.
The editor also has quantise options and the ability to input triplets and dotted notes.
Again, I’ve found cutting and pasting sction a little awkward and nonintuitive but once you realise what the buttons do (rtfm) it’s fairly straightforward.
The app comes with a strapline along the line of “The Fastest Way From Your Brain to Your Speakers” and its not wrong. Within ten minutes I’d managed to cobble together a decent enough tune, and it sounded pretty good when you consider the limitations of the iPad hardware. This app is a definite must if you already own FLStudio, it allows a quick and easy way of sketching out a tune when your away from your computer. The ability to edit and enhance your exported files on a desktop means that you have far more flexibility in getting the sounds you want and creating more complex arrangements.
Even if you don’t own FLStudio, this app is worth a punt because you are still given enough tools to quickly create interesting sonic doodles as well as complete tracks. I’ve roadtested a fair few music studios on the iPad, Xewton, SynthStation, Garageband, ims-20, but FLStudio has easily the best workflow, flexibility and range of sounds.
It works fine on the original iPad as well, I haven’t experienced any slowdown or stuttering and that’s on low latency settings 🙂

Fruity Apple

Now this is more like it…

I’ve downloaded a fair few music apps on my iPad, some have been good (Bebot, Filtatron, Thumbjam), some not so good (iHolophone, mujik). The idea of having a mini studio in your pocket is really appealing, especially when I’m away from home and feel the urge to make some noise. I’ve tried Xewton studio, akai Synth Station and ims-20. Out of these I would say that ims-20 is the best simply because of the ability to tweak everything and jam but so far all these apps have had one thing in common – it’s a bloody hassle to create a full song from scratch.

I’m excited about the imminent release of a portable imageline app cuz I’ve been using their products for more than a decade now and they encourage a good work flow. I first used fruityloops in 2001, (I think it was version 2). It had been recommended to me on a forum for Whitehouse (the band, not the jazz mag) as it came with an emulation of an edp Wasp. Prior to using fruityloops I had never created my own loops and had had to rely on ejay products which consisted of rearranging prerecorded(and very conservative) loops until you created something vaguely musical. To be able to program my own beats or automate vsts was amazing, it wasn’t long before I purchased a full copy. If I can remember rightly you had to use a seperate program to arrange your loops with audio, but I think with version 3 you were able to arrange patterns and audio on a playlist.

As fruityloops became more feature packed it morphed into FLStudio, and to be honest it is still my favourite DAW by far (Acid Pro comes a close second, Logic waaaaaaaayy  down on my list). It’s built in effects and synths are very tasty, the ability to automate anything and everything and the various beat mangling and riff generating options make it really fun to use (compared to Cubase where I would spend long periods of time staring at a blank arrange page waiting for an idea). I’ve seen some sniffy attitudes in some music forums towards FLStudio, it’s not a real DAW (it is), the sound is inferior compared to logic/reason/cubase (it’s not) or it’s only suitable for dance music (not true by any stretch).

The idea of having a cutdown version of FL on my iPad/iPod gives me nerdwood, I shall let you know whether it lives up to the hype when it is released.

FLStudio is up to version 10 now, if you haven’t tried FLStudio before , download the demo, you wont regret it. If you have a cracked version, then shame on you, the guys at Imageline have worked hard to create this, don’t be a douche and put your hand in your pocket. You get free updates for life for Chrissake!

I shall review FLStudi10 once I update my copy (probably in the next two weeks). In the mean time here’s a little vid to whet your appetite.

Drones and Groans

(Belated) happy 2011. I’ve uploaded a couple of new tracks. Ecklefleq is a droney piece stitched together from offcuts from last year’s projects and chickenskank is … i dunno what I was thinking at the time, it started of as me trying to create a slow dub step piece and ended up becoming a barnyard oddity instead.

Ecklefleq

Chickenskank

Well, the good news is that the iTeleport app is really easy to set up by following the support pages step by step instructions.
It connected first time and bob’s your uncle, there’s my desktop on my iPad. I launched FLStudio. The screen refresh was a little bit laggy but I expected that. I tapped out a pattern, pressed play and…..nothing. The app doesn’t stream audio!
Either I’ve missed something in the set up or the guy in the YouTube video is sitting next to his desktop computer and picking the sound up from that, which is a bit of a swizz.
I suppose you could use the app to control a vst but the lag between your movements and the output would make it a clumsy way of playing. You’d be better off sticking with a midi controller or using a dedicated app which transmits midi or osc.
On a plus side you can run flash on the iPad. I pointed my browser at canabalt but again, the lagginess makes it difficult to play any action games. I was able to play mahjong and card games ok but total war on my iPad is still a pipe dream.
The other selling point of iteleport is that you can access your documents from your pc, but you can do that if you use drop box or google documents.

App Envy

This looks too good to be true but I’m gonna take the bait.

The iPad is running an app called iTeleport which allows you to control your desktop / laptop from your iPad and use any applications on your computer.

I’m not sure what sort of load this puts on the iPad or whether the connection is fast enough to make full use of my music apps, but after this weekend I should be able to let you know whether this is a thumbs up or not. At the very least it should allow me to run flash sites on my iPad 🙂

Talking of Fl Studio, here’s a link to a track I cobbled together with it over the weekend. The drums need work done on them, but I’m pleased by the synth line which was played on a reBirth clone.