FL Studio

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FL Studio
FL Studio 11 just logo.png
Original author(s)Didier Dambrin
Developer(s)Image-Line Software
Initial releaseDecember 18, 1997; 22 years ago (1997-12-18) (as FruityLoops)
Stable release / June 23, 2020; 41 days ago (2020-06-23)[1]
Written inDelphi[2][3]
Operating systemmacOS, Windows
Available inEnglish, Dutch
TypeDigital Audio Workstation, proprietary (nonfree)

FL Studio (until 2003 known as FruityLoops)[4] is a digital audio workstation (DAW) developed by the Belgian company Image-Line. FL Studio features a graphical user interface with a pattern-based[5] music sequencer. The program is available in four different editions for Microsoft Windows and macOS.[6]

Image-Line offers lifetime free updates to the program, which means customers receive all future updates of the software for free after one time purchase.[7][8] Image-Line also develops FL Studio Mobile for iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.[9]

FL Studio can also be used as a Virtual Studio Technology (VST) instrument in other audio workstation programs and also functions as a ReWire client. Image-Line also offers its own VST instruments and audio applications. FL Studio has been used by numerous highly visible hip hop and EDM producers, including Porter Robinson, Madeon, Soulja Boy, Martin Garrix, and Deadmau5.[10][11]


The first version of FruityLoops (1.0.0) was developed by Didier Dambrin and was partially released in December 1997.[12] Its official launch was in early 1998, when it was still a four-channel[13] MIDI drum machine.[14] Dambrin became Chief Software Architect for the program,[8][15] and it quickly underwent a series of large upgrades that made it into a popular and complex digital audio workstation.

FruityLoops was renamed FL Studio in 2003, after the threat of a lawsuit from Kellogg's and to improve the software's marketability.[4] Software piracy was a major issue in the company's early days, and it took nearly five years for the company to earn money from users purchasing legitimate licenses.[10]

On 22 May 2018, a macOS-compatible version of FL Studio was released.[16]



FL Studio comes in several editions with different levels of functionality. The free demo version includes all of the program's features, all plugins, and allows users to render project audio to WAV, MIDI, MP3, and OGG.[6] Projects saved while in demo mode, however, can only be opened once FL Studio and its plugins have been registered. Also, instrument presets cannot be saved and the audio output of some instruments will cut out momentarily every few minutes until the program and its plugins have been registered.[17]

FL Studio Express[edit]

This version allows for step sequencer-only editing and is intended for 64-step loop creation.[6] Each pattern can consist of an unlimited number of instruments—either samples, native instruments, or VST instruments. Instruments in the pattern can be routed to the Mixer tool for effects processing, and effects as of version 10.0 include Delay, Delay Bank, EQUO, Flangus, Love Philter, Vocoder, Parametric EQ & EQ2, Multiband Compressor, Spectroman, Stereo Enhancer, Wave Candy, Wave Shaper, and Soundgoodizer. There is no piano roll, playlist ability, automation, audio recording, or VST/ReWire client.[18]

Fruity Edition[edit]

The Fruity Edition allows users to access the playlist, piano roll, and event automation features, which allow for complex and lengthy arranging and sequencing. There is also VST/ReWire support so that FL Studio can be an instrument in other hosts such as Cubase, Sonic Solutions, Logic, and other software. As of version 10.0 this edition includes the Simsynth Live synthesizer instrument, the DrumSynth live percussion synthesizer, the DX10FM synthesizer, and the Wasp/Wasp XT synthesizers. There is no audio recording feature.[18] In FL Studio 12, this edition was given (spline-based) automation.

Producer Edition[edit]

The Producer Edition includes all of the features of the Fruity Edition, as well as full recording for internal and external audio and post-production tools. It allows for hand-drawing point and curve based splines (referred to as "Automation Clips"). Plugins include Edison, Slicex (loop slicer and re-arranger), Sytrus, Maximus, Vocodex and Synthmaker. It also allows for waveform viewing of audio clips and the ability to add cue points.[18]

Signature Bundle[edit]

This edition includes the Producer Edition as well as a series of plugins such as the Fruity Video player, DirectWave Sampler, Harmless, NewTone, Pitcher, Gross Beat and the Hardcore Guitar Effects Suite.[18]

All Plugins Bundle[edit]

The All Plugins Bundle includes the Signature Bundle along with extra plugins, particularly synthesizers.


On June 21, 2011, Image-Line released FL Studio Mobile for iOS and in April 2013 for Android. Both support the ability to create multi-track projects on mobile devices including iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads.,[9] Android 2.3.3 and higher Smart Phones and Tablets.


On September 2, 2013, a new standalone app for Windows 8 was released. It is a Groovebox-style application optimised for touch-based music creation.[19]

System requirements[edit]

FL Studio 20 works on Windows 7/8/10 (32-bit or 64-bit versions) or on macOS 10.13.[7] FL Studio requires a 2 GHz AMD or Intel Pentium 3 CPU with full SSE1 support. It requires 2 GB of free disk space and 4 GB of RAM is recommended.[7] The website states that "the more powerful your CPU, the more instruments and FX you can run."[20]

FL Studio processes audio using an internal 32-bit floating point engine. It supports sampling rates up to 192 kHz using either WDM or ASIO enabled drivers.[8]

Program features[edit]

  • Version 9 introduced support for multi-core effects processing and improved support for multi-core instrument processing.[21]
  • Version 10, released on March 29, 2011, included a new project browser, fixed some bugs, and smoothed envelope points. It also introduced Patcher, a modular workflow environment capable of chaining together an unlimited number of instruments and effects.[22]
  • Version 11, released on April 19, 2013, included multi-touch support, improved tempo automation, new plugins such as BassDrum, GMS, Effector, Patcher, and new piano roll features (VFX Key Mapper, VFX Color Mapper).[23]
  • Version 12, released on April 22, 2015, added a new vectorial UI, updated plugins, multi-touch support, a redesigned mixer, improved 32 & 64 bit plugin support and improved file management.[24]
  • Version 20, released on May 22, 2018, skipped versions 13 to 19 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the program. It introduced native macOS support, multiple time-signatures, MIDI conversion to audio, unlimited playlist arrangements, improved Plugin Delay Compensation, the return of the Step Sequencer Graph Editor, In-situ rendering ("freezing"), and other improvements.[25]

The mixer interface allows for any number of channel configurations. This allows mixing in 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 surround sound, as long as the output hardware interface has an equivalent number of outputs. The mixer also supports audio-in, enabling FL Studio to record multitrack audio.[26][non-primary source needed]

FL Studio supports audio time stretching and pitch scaling, beat slicing, chopping, and editing of audio, and as of version 12.9 it can record up to 125 simultaneous audio tracks.[27][non-primary source needed] Other key features include a digital piano roll. Audio can be imported or exported as WAV, MP3, OGG, FLAC, MIDI, ZIP, or the native project format with an .FLP filename extension.[8]

The demo allows users to save projects, but does not allow re-opening them. Tracks may be exported to any of the available file formats.[28][non-primary source needed]


FL Studio comes with a variety of plugins and generators (software synthesizers) written in the program's own native plugin architecture. FL Studio also has support for third-party VST and DirectX plugins.[29] The API has a built in wrapper for full VST, VST2, VST3, DX, and ReWire compatibility. Many of the plugins also function independently as standalone programs.

Virtual effects[edit]

FL Studio is bundled with a variety of sound processing effects, including common audio effects such as chorus, compression, distortion, delay, flanger, phaser, reverb, gate, equalization, vocoding, maximization, and limiting.[15]


FL Studio is bundled with 32 generator plugins (October 2011). Some are demos whilst some are full versions.


FL Studio has been praised for its simplicity, power, and ease of use.[10][30][31] Jamie Lendino of PCMag wrote that "While [FL Studio is] still clearly geared for electronic music production 'in the box,' as opposed to recording live musicians playing acoustic instruments, you can record or create just about any kind of audio project with it."[32] Criticisms include a difficult audio recording system[32], poor support for bulk manipulation of instruments[32], and an unappealing user interface[33][34].

Notable users[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]