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How do YOU use FL Studio? (title changed for controversy)


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Hey guys, this FL Studio forum needs some life again.

Why not post the different ways we work in FL Studio to give ideas to more inexperienced members? They can try one of the many ones that could get posted in here and choose the one that works for them best.

Sometimes being exposed to other workflows is helpful because they may not think of everything.

I'll start:

I write entirely in MIDI patterns.

-The Step Sequencer: I have all my channels in categories. The three main groups I have for electronic are percussion, synth, and acoustic. I also have audio clips and automation clips. Sometimes for other genres, I might have "Kontakt" as its own group, or just "acoustic" and "synth".

-The Piano Roll: When I double a melody (or anything) to be in harmony or an octave up/down, I change the new set of notes's color so I can select them by color and move them around/edit them easier.

-The Playlist: I have one instrument per track. If I layer stuff to be consistent and to be one thick element (like different drum samples together or two pads for better timbre), I give the track that element instead of each layer getting a track. This is usually easy when I have more than one layer in the same pattern. After each element, I keep automation clips in the same track as the element to consolidate and save vertical space (plus it's easier to tell what the clip is doing) I write everything in patterns and spawn them to the playlist. To make variations, I clone clips and make them unique. I name and color each track and use "Auto Name Children" to rename the patterns and color them. Sometimes I open up the pattern blocks editor to reorganize which pattern is assigned to which number.

I never use pattern blocks.

-The Mixer: I usually have one track per instrument and make a separate track for each combination of effects I want to apply to a specific set of instruments. For instance, I might route a bunch of drum samples to each own track, and then have mixer combination tracks. One for all the hi hats, one for everything, one for all the layer loops, and maybe one for the kick and snare. I do this by routing the mixer track output not to the master, but the selected mixer track of choice.

-TO RECORD: I usually record right into the playlist. After I record, I delete everything on the mixer track I recorded into and use that same track to process the recorded audio.

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Interesting topic. Guess I'll post my workflow =D.

When it comes to organizing my instruments, I usually categorize everything in Drums, Synths, EWQLSO, Bass, FX sometimes I might use a Perc filter if I have enough, if not then I'll just throw all of my perc sounds into the drum filter.

All of my drums beats, I usually use the step sequencer although I'm tryin to get away from that for a more natural sound so I'll probably start using the piano roll.

I've been drawing everything from the drums as I've stated above, to my synths and bass. I'm just now getting into recording midi data for my synths and bass now I'm working on doing that for the drums as well.

For the playlist, all of my automation and audio clips go into the clip editor and all of my instrumentation goes into pattern blocks(I'm a sucker for the blocks lol xD.)

The mixer, I try to route everything into it's own seperate track, but if sounds are close enough in timbre then I'll put them into the same track but I'm slowly starting to put EVERYTHING in it's own mixer track it just seems way more effective that way as some of you probably already know lol xD.

But yeah that's my overall workflow.

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I guess my workflow is sort of different but it's what I'm used to.

I work in parts, meaning I make a new pattern for every new part. I name my parts A-B-C and so on. Sometimes I use other structures though.

I have my instruments sort of wherever, since I don't like leaving the piano roll so often. You can use the "back" or "forward" mouse buttons to pop up the menu where all your instruments are, or you can click one of those buttons on a ghost note to start editing that part. I have done a few songs using only on pattern too. I have also made songs the "normal" way, building with short looping patterns with variations.

Mixer is fairly simple, I tend to just select all my instruments and ctrl+l to auto map them. Drum and bass is normally on the top for me.

Automation is something I'm experimenting with. I often use the playlist to edit automation. When I feel it's faster to just record the automation I do it that way.

When it comes to composing, I like to start with a chord progression then proceed with a melody and just fill in the rest. If I'm lucky I don't hit too many road blocks.

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I mainly write stuff in the piano roll(mouse musician REPRESENT), but occasionally I'll use a MIDI instrument to play something if I'm having trouble because I'm using some crazy subdivision or something.

I usually start a mix by getting a really basic sound of what it should be like, then working on the drum sequencing, then a basic arrangement, then I'll go ahead and make the instruments more in-depth and complicated. After that, I'll usually apply effects, change the arrangement, add breaks and transitions to the arrangement, change the instruments again, then continue from there!

I always start every mix by applying a compressor to the master, using FX 1 as "Beatmain" and putting a reeverb 2 on it with the smallest decay + room size. I apply 1 mixer track to an instrument, and each piece of percussion gets routed to "Beatmain" to add presence.

As for arrangement, I usually like to start with a slow section of the harmony, then drop a simple beat, add melodic sections, put in a break, and transition into the full drop, then continue the track from there. The formula gets changes a lot, but it tends to happen.

As for the playlist itself, I always keep the automation clips bunched up near the bottom, so I know where to find them(always under the main song). The beat is usually placed at the top, and the size of the track for the beat is usually minimized, but when I'm doing a lot of slices for whatever reason, I will often have them on normal size.

When sequencing, I will always make each part, and give them a name. The melody loop section will be called "Melodyloop", the intro will be called "intro", and so on. I will usually alter the pattern until it sounds fine, afterwards, I will split the main pattern into individual patterns(split by channel) and work from there. I end up cloning patterns nonstop to get variations :P

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I have tried out a couple songs with pattern blocks up in the tracks area, but it doesn't quite suit my style. I appreciate that it's easier to see at any given point in the song which pattern has... say, the drums, but I use the Playlist for automation and audio clips and I find putting pattern blocks along with those makes it harder to see everything, even if the grouping makes more sense. To change anything, you have to scroll through the pattern block list anyway, so I'm also saving a step. The only time I put pattern blocks in the Tracks is if the data directly relates to an audio clip, like vocoding or if I'm using an instrument as a controller, e.g. gating.

I used to label patterns but I got out of the habit for the sake of speed. It really comes back to bite me towards the end of a project if I don't label, and I need to start doing it again. I always label in the mixer.

I only learned about cloning patterns three years ago and it's done wonders for making variations within my songs. It's my primary way of working now.

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I have tried out a couple songs with pattern blocks up in the tracks area, but it doesn't quite suit my style. I appreciate that it's easier to see at any given point in the song which pattern has... say, the drums, but I use the Playlist for automation and audio clips and I find putting pattern blocks along with those makes it harder to see everything, even if the grouping makes more sense. To change anything, you have to scroll through the pattern block list anyway, so I'm also saving a step. The only time I put pattern blocks in the Tracks is if the data directly relates to an audio clip, like vocoding or if I'm using an instrument as a controller, e.g. gating.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but when I looked at 9.8 beta, the entire pattern block section seemed to be gone. If this is true and carries forward to 10, you may wanna get used to the Playlist exclusively :)

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Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but when I looked at 9.8 beta, the entire pattern block section seemed to be gone. If this is true and carries forward to 10, you may wanna get used to the Playlist exclusively :)

Looking at the plan for FL 10, you would appear to be right. That's a little disheartening, but I could probably live with it. :|

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Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but when I looked at 9.8 beta, the entire pattern block section seemed to be gone. If this is true and carries forward to 10, you may wanna get used to the Playlist exclusively :)

Actually, no. There's an item in the options that lets you turn pattern blocks on, and I believe they're carrying it as a legacy option until version 12, so you'll be fine for a good 4-5 years, which should give you enough time to change :P

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To change anything, you have to scroll through the pattern block list anyway, so I'm also saving a step.

Slightly incorrect. If you have a pattern clip in the tracks view, you can double click that clip to edit the pattern.

I never use the pattern block view (I use the pattern number thing way up top).

Concerning pattern blocks, it's becoming a legacy option that you need to manually turn on in the FL Studio versions following the current 9.

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Slightly incorrect. If you have a pattern clip in the tracks view, you can double click that clip to edit the pattern.

I never use the pattern block view (I use the pattern number thing way up top).

Concerning pattern blocks, it's becoming a legacy option that you need to manually turn on in the FL Studio versions following the current 9.

Nice, I never knew that. That certainly makes it easier to deal with.

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I use pattern blocks for instruments/percussion, and clips for automation (and of course audio clips, when applicable). I abuse the clone pattern and split by channel options. :P

I will usually go though and label all of my patterns, instruments and mixer channels once I've got a good foundation for a mix, but I usually don't keep up with it after that. my projects end up pretty disorganized, usually at least 100 patterns. and I never use channel grouping beyond the basic 'unsorted', 'audio clips' and 'automation clips'.

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Most of my stuff is done for OHC nowadays so I can't -afford- to waste time labeling stuff.

I don't use pattern blocks anymore--everything is pattern clips, for better or for worse. I've pretty much gotten used to the new workflow. I make very liberal use of the "make unique" function that you can get by right-clicking a pattern block--it's what i use to make a "1 2 1 3" series of drum variations, for example.

I use both the step sequencer and the piano roll. For drums I use the step sequencer for oneshot samples and the piano roll for slicex-chopped loops. For all my synths and melodic stuff I use the piano roll EXCEPT when I'm doing something in swing time and I want to have it in swing, which forces me to use the step sequencer, though i usually convert it to piano roll to get the actual notes down.

I use the same template for everything that has mixer channels for all of my drum stuff set up already so I don't have to waste time setting up all of the compression, light reverb, light overdrive, etc.

I still use the "stupid weird old" way of doing sidechaining (linking threshold to the peak controller) instead of the new actual sidechaining.

I don't have much organization in the playlist, though I do tend to keep similar parts in the same row. Mostly my playlist clips tend to just extend to the right and downwards slowly as the song goes on.

I have no hardware, not even a midi keyboard. Nothing is done live.

For automation, I shift-click select the portion of the track that I want the automation to happen at and then create an automation clip. Except for things that are purely toggled on and off (such as a 1-measure plugin turn-on/turn-off)--for those I use edit events and add it as a pattern clip.

I never use channel groups. Commonly I'll have synths in the "audio clips" group just because that's where my focus happened to be.

I never use the "pattern selector" thing on the top of the screen--to select a pattern I either click the clip directly in the playlist or click its name using the bottom half of the playlist window.

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You're stupid, weird, and old.

In all seriousness, you should come to grips with the new sidechaining. It's much more elegant in sound. :D

Not the first time I've heard that. I'm holding on because I haven't yet figured out to get the new method to sound the way that I want it to. But yes, I definitely know that what I'm doing is weird and old. =P

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Not the first time I've heard that. I'm holding on because I haven't yet figured out to get the new method to sound the way that I want it to. But yes, I definitely know that what I'm doing is weird and old. =P

What you're DOING isn't stupid, weird, and old.

I said YOU'RE stupid, weird, and old. GET IT STRAIGHT YA OLD COOT.

Anyways, have you played with the attack and release knobs on the limiter as opposed to just thres and ratio? this helps TIME the compression better.

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In Fruity loops, I usually work hard on pattern. The playlist is only for each part. So my playlist looks like ramp. Always down. I don't like repetition.

Using a lot of piano roll and especially LFO for dubstep.

Each instrument/vsti are named after what I planned to use. Every mixer claim their name(Exception for drum, snare and hihats that goes in each a category).

At the end it is organised cause if I don't finish it and get to work and can't finish or polish it right now I need it to be clear when I come back.

I use a lot of 'Edit Events' since I don't like automation.

That's pretty much my workflow.

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Thanks for the workflow info, everyone. I definitely have a better idea for how to tackle this month's ORC. :mrgreen:

Wow, that was quick. Thread goal accomplished,

BUT LET'S KEEP GOING!

I also want to add that I made an FL Studio template to preroute mixer tracks and MIDI Out channels for Kontakt, if anyone wants but doesn't feel like routing the whole damn thing in every new project.

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My workflow is amazing.

I make stuff as i go on, taking special care to not label or organize anything. then I just flip through all these presets till one sound good, but then I decide it isn't so instead of deleting it I mute it and make another channel. I EQ as I go on until it sounds like mud in the end. i also add reverb to everything.

Export. Done.

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