When you’re starting in music production, selecting the digital audio workstation (DAW) you want to work with might be an overwhelming effort. Luckily for you, there isn’t a correct choice, just plenty of recommendations. Each of them shines in its own way, but one stands out from the rest in the sheer number of features.
FL Studio, formerly known as Fruity Loops, is a popular DAW choice for many hip hop, pop, and electronic producers. It’s also an excellent choice for novices who are just starting, as it’s easy to use and has an excellent user interface that’s easy to navigate. Plenty of successful producers use it, such as Soulja Boy, Madeon, Deadmau5, and others. Even one of the most successful video game music producers, Mick Gordon, uses it.
It’s become a capable audio editor and mixer over time, and it has no equal as a production tool. If you’re still wondering whether FL Studio is the right choice for mixing and mastering, you don’t need to look for any other DAW.
FL Studio is very good for mixing and mastering as well as the others, if not better. It has a unique and simple workflow, a fantastic step sequencer and piano roll, and other great features that let you output excellent tracks.
Mixing and Mastering
Mixing and mastering are two of the base components of any production, so it’s essential to get it right. Mixing is the start of post-production, where you try to get every single element of the track to work together as a whole. It mainly consists of panning, level, equalization, and occasionally compression on an individual track basis. If your track doesn’t sound too great at this point, you may be using the incorrect sounds together or an excess of them.
Mastering, on the other hand, is the step that comes after finishing the audio mix. It usually involves achieving a sense of balance and consistency across an album to prepare for distribution. You also want to process your audio mix to make it sound loud and good. Mastering mainly consists of applying multi-band compression, equalization, and limiting.
Many producers often try to mix and master simultaneously, only to end up with a mediocre result. They are separate processes, and you should devote your attention to each one at an adequate time, as they have their own goals. Focus on making a good mix, and then you can try and master it. To help you get there, we are briefly mentioning some tips and facts to get the most out of FL Studio’s powerful and unique features when mixing and mastering.
FL Studio lets you route any channel to any insert track currently in the mixer. This routing enables you to customize your mixer’s layout by deciding which channel goes to each track. It also lets you sum multiple tracks to a single mixer insert track, allowing you to modify multiple instruments by processing one mixer track.
Using reverb sends effects lets you apply one effect to all tracks. A good thing to notice is that you can use any track as a send, not just the appointed ones, as routing a track to another track makes it the send track.
You can also effortlessly create a submix audio track via contextual pop-up windows, letting you control the volume of all the tracks assigned to the submix. It also enables you to add effects such as a compressor or equalizer to modify them as a whole.
A recommended equalizer is the Fruity Parametric EQ2, which is a seven-band parametric EQ. It’s advantageous when you want to see which frequency areas the individual tracks are adopting. Wave Candy is also another excellent spectrum plugin with several features to help you analyze the audio.
FL Studio also lets you handily mix wet and dry signals, netting you an audio blend with both the original and processed audio. This process is called parallel compression. You can create automation clips on any track to automate parameters such as effects and instruments.
There are also many useful export options, including a zipped loop package, but the handiest of them is the option to export mixer tracks as separate ones. This feature lets you move your project between DAWs or enable someone else to mix and master your song.
Add a low cut to everything below 40 Hz using Fruity Parametric EQ 2 if you want more space on your mix, as this cuts every inaudible frequency. Regarding multi-band compressors, the recommended ones are Maximus and Fruity Multiband Compressor.
Fruity Multiband Compressor is better for people learning compression as it has a better in-depth manual and good visual feedback, but Maximus is the most powerful of the two. You can include some saturation per band using Maximus, which is a process known as harmonic exciting.
After compressing, you might need to make more EQ adjustments as some details might be lost in the process. Adding another Fruity Parametric EQ 2 can get them back, but it isn’t a compulsory process, so only use it when you need to.
You can use Fruity Reeverb2 to simulate acoustic spaces, but overdoing it results in washed out and muddy sounds. It’s preferable to use it on isolated instruments.
Usually, the last added effect is the Fruity Limiter, which lets you increase the sound mix’s overall perceived volume. You do this by setting the limiter output to -0.1 dB and increasing the Gain. Once you’re satisfied, apply dithering and export into a lossless format to get the best audio result.
FL Studio is one of the best digital audio workstation software available on the market. Everything you need to make the best professional sound mix is in the stock version of FL Studio, so all you need is practice.
It gives you every instrument you need to combine your recorded tracks to form a stereo audio file and the tools to master the previously mixed audio to prepare it for distribution.
There isn’t another DAW with nearly the same amount of resource tools like this one, making it the best option for people who’ve just started in music production.