TopTenREVIEWS - Bronze Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

Image-Line FL Studio has been around for almost two decades. This audio production software is centered around creating electronic music with a user-friendly sequencer that beginning users can learn quickly. FL has always been considered beat-building software as opposed to a full DAW. Previous versions of FL Studio were unable to record live instrumentation like a typical DAW. Today, FL Producer Edition 11 features all of the electronic beat-building tools that you’d expect from this studio software and also the ability to record live instrumentation.

FL Studio Producer Edition 11 has come a long way from previous versions. The first version, called Fruity Loops 1.0, was simply a MIDI drum sequencer with limited production capabilities. Today, this music production software can be used in the studio, for live performances and in conjunction with other DAWs (rewire). For these reasons and more. FL Studio Producer Edition wins our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.

Recording
Compare
8.1/10
Reaper
Cubase Elements
FL Studio Producer
Pro Tools
Ableton Live Intro
Reason
Adobe Audition
Sonar X3
Sony ACID Music Studio
Studio One
9.4
8.8
8.1
8.1
6.9
7.5
6.9
8.1
6.3
6.3

Recording live instrumentation into FL Studio is different when compared to other DAWs. To record audio, you have to load an insert effect called Edison into the channel strip that you wish to use for your recordings. Edison is mainly used for recording one or two sources of audio. To record multiple audio sources simultaneously (multi-track), you have to arm the disk recording button on the mixer for each channel strip you want to record with. The fact that there are two separate ways to record audio is confusing.

The strong suit of FL Studio lies within its tools and ability to create electronic music. This music recording studio software started as software to create electronic beats, and Image Line never forgot that. To this day, FL’s piano roll is perhaps the most powerful in the digital audio workstation industry. This MIDI recording method uses step sequencers to help you compose and arrange your audio easily. Creating music is as simple as dragging and dropping loops into your sequencer grid and arranging them as you please.

Mixing
Compare
8.1/10
Reaper
Cubase Elements
FL Studio Producer
Pro Tools
Ableton Live Intro
Reason
Adobe Audition
Sonar X3
Sony ACID Music Studio
Studio One
10
9.4
8.1
8.8
8.1
8.1
10
6.3
8.8
4.4

The FL Studio mixer contains 64 tracks and a master track. The mixer features a three-band parametric equalizer that is similar to the standalone parametric EQ plugin that comes with the product. The mixer allows you to insert up to eight effects and lets you create four send effects channels. The mixer also has a stereo separation filter that lets you increase or decrease the separation between the left and right stereo channels of a mix.

Plugins
Compare
10/10
Reaper
Cubase Elements
FL Studio Producer
Pro Tools
Ableton Live Intro
Reason
Adobe Audition
Sonar X3
Sony ACID Music Studio
Studio One
10
8.8
10
7.5
8.1
6.9
5
8.1
4.4
4.4

In software based on MIDI production, it is no surprise that FL Studio has a large number of plugins to apply to your audio recordings. This software offers over 30 synthesizers, drum machines, sample pads and other effects. The studio edition of this software features more plugins than the producer edition we reviewed, so upgrading is as simple as going to the website and downloading the studio version.

This software is compatible with a plethora of different plugin formats too. You can apply your favorite VST, DXi and other third-party plugins into this music software without any complications.

If you own a different DAW but prefer the MIDI recording capabilities of FL Studio, you can actually use FL almost as a plugin for another software. This is called rewire. The entire FL Studio program can be used as a complement to another DAW, which makes this software even more versatile.

Help & Support
Compare
5/10
Reaper
Cubase Elements
FL Studio Producer
Pro Tools
Ableton Live Intro
Reason
Adobe Audition
Sonar X3
Sony ACID Music Studio
Studio One
5
7.5
5
7.5
10
10
10
7.5
5
3.1

The online forums are organized in useful ways and moderated by responsive experts. Because Image-Line allocates alert moderators to the forum, users are active in maintaining an informative dialogue with category experts. Another way in which the publisher provides excellent help and support is by uploading training videos to the Image-Line channel on YouTube.

Once you purchase FL Studio audio production software, you have access to lifetime free updates. You won’t have to worry about purchasing additional bug fixes or plugin upgrades.

FL Studio Producer Summary:
8.3/10

FL Studio is powerful audio production software, especially since the inclusion of live instrumentation recording. Creating electronic beats using samples and the virtual instruments provided is where this software excels. Recording live instruments is a bit confusing at first. However, this software is perfect for the creative musician or producer armed with a MIDI keyboard ready to produce music.

 
 
 

FL Studio Producer

Pros
This software comes with an abundance of plugins as well as lifetime upgrades.

Cons
Recording live instrumentation requires a bit of a learning curve.

The Verdict
: 8.28/10

FL Studio provides many tools for you to create music with live instrumentation or just with a MIDI controller. This software continues to be a powerhouse in the audio production business.