Throughout the years, technological advancements have continuously created innovative solutions for various industries, including music production. Musicians today have more options and easier access to record-making resources.
Back in the day, an actual recording studio is the only facility with complete equipment for mixing, editing, and producing songs. But now, DAWs (digital audio workstations) make it possible to do all these even in the comfort of your own home. This makes it simpler for aspiring artists and record producers just starting out in the business since all they need is a computer with a DAW to work on their music.
Thereâ€™s plenty of different DAWs available out in the market to choose from. One of the most well-known brands is FL Studio (formerly FruityLoops). This has also been the DAW of choice for several chart-topping hip-hop stars and EDM producers. FL Studioâ€™s uncomplicated interface and user-friendly features make it great for beginners too.
Aside from DAW, ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) is also an essential tool in digital music production. Most DAWs need ASIO in reducing latency between the computer server and sound hardware. FL Studioâ€™s installation already includes FL Studio ASIO, its own built-in ASIO driver. Besides an ASIOâ€™s primary function, FL Studio ASIO lets you hear audio from FL Studio and other programs simultaneously.
Now you know about FL Studio ASIO. But there are still other things to cover for a better understanding of its role in record production. So, letâ€™s dive more into details about DAWs, ASIO drivers, and FL Studio.
What Is A DAW?
A digital audio workstation, or DAW for short, is a digital device or software with functions for recording, editing, arranging, mixing, and producing sound files. DAWs can create any audio outputs like music, podcasts, voiceovers, and sound effects. A DAW could either be in the form of an integrated independent unit or a computer application. The latter is the most typically used for producing songs.
What Does A DAW Do?
A DAW can do a lot for your music. With features for individually recording tracks and adjusting sound volumes, a DAW helps produce balanced sounds and clear-cut vocals in a song. Arranging music with a DAW is as easy as editing a text document. Musical elements like time signatures and tempo can also be set with a DAW. Hereâ€™s a more detailed description of a DAWâ€™s functions:
Â· Record and arrange music: This has to be a DAWâ€™s most essential function. Using a DAW with an audio interface, you can record vocals and live instruments and the same time. You can arrange your recorded audio with a DAWâ€™s cut, copy, and paste commands.
Â· Use virtual instruments: If you need the sound of a live instrument currently available, you can get its digital version in DAWâ€™s built-in virtual instruments library.
Â· Mix audio: After a track has been recorded, edited, and arranged, the next step is mixing. Itâ€™s a post-production process of refining the audio and adding effects to it.
Why Do You Need A DAW?
DAWs have significantly contributed to developments in music production. Recording either a single track or full album is now an easy task as long as you have a DAW installed on your computer. Since everythingâ€™s digital, you can edit and produce countless audio files as desired. If youâ€™re a student taking up audio engineering or any related course, using a DAW helps you learn more by applying what youâ€™ve been taught in class.
What Is ASIO?
Audio Stream Input/Output, simply called ASIO, is a computer sound card driver protocol for digital audio developed by Steinberg. Itâ€™s designed to provide a low-latency and high fidelity interface between a software program and a computerâ€™s sound card.
What Is Latency?
Latency is a short milliseconds-worth delay time between when an audio signal enters a system (such as a computer) and when it leaves that system. Itâ€™s usually noticeable when talking on the phone with someone whose TV is on the same channel as you. Youâ€™ll hear thereâ€™s a slight time gap, which is latency, between the sound from your TV and the sound from the phone. Digital audio signal processing and conversion possibly contribute to latency.
Why Is Low Latency Important In Computer Audio?
Latency is typical in digital audio platforms. In most audio applications, itâ€™s considered a minor issue that can already be ignored. But high latency in computer audio is a big problem in music production because even the slightest delay in audio signal transmission can set a song offbeat. What makes it worse is that thereâ€™s latency both in playback and for recording. As you layer more tracks, latency also increases.
How Does ASIO Reduce Latency?
The conversion of an analog audio signal into digital ones potentially increases latency. This happens when the signal passes through several other layers of intermediary Windows operating system. Each layer adds a split millisecond of latency before the sound reaches the speakers.
An ASIO sound card driver reduces latency in digital audio by bypassing the regular audio path so that the software connects directly to the sound card hardware. Each bypassed layer results in reduced latency. This way, ASIO offers an alternative way of separately accessing multiple audio inputs and outputs.
What Is FL Studio?
FL Studio is a DAW (digital audio workstation) developed by Image-Line, a Belgian software company. Previously known as FruityLoops, it was renamed in 2003 to avoid a legal dispute with Kelloggâ€™s. FL Studio features a graphical user interface with a pattern-based music sequencer. It comes in 4 different editions compatible both for Microsoft Windows and macOS.
What Can You Do With FL Studio?
FL Studio features a MIDI synthesizers and samples library that you can load and play live. It also has a digital piano roll wherein you can manually input and edit notes, allowing you to compose and arrange songs. You can also record external sounds such as that from a microphone, playback the whole audio piece, and add effects through the mixer. Completed outputs can be saved in FLP or ZIP formats. They can also be exported to WAV, MP3, or OGG.
FL Studio can also be used as a VST (Virtual Studio Technology) instrument in other audio workstation applications and serve as a ReWire client.
What Are The 4 Different Editions Of FL Studio?
FL Studio comes in 4 different editions, each uniquely varying from one another. Here they are with their key features:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â FL Studio Fruity Edition: This is the best option if you only need to do basic functions like composing music using the piano roll
FL Studio Producer Edition: This is the most popular edition. It provides advanced functions for full song creation and microphone recording.
FL Studio Signature Bundle: This is a bundle that includes Producer Edition + most advanced plugins. If you want to get FL Studioâ€™s best plugins at a lower price, this bundle is a great choice.
Â· FL Studio All Plugins Bundle: This is a bundle that includes Producer Edition + all native plugins currently sold. If you want to get all FL Studioâ€™s plugins at a lower price, this bundle is a great choice.
Does FL Studio Have ASIO Driver?
FL Studio includes two ASIO drivers in its installationâ€”FL Studio ASIO and ASIO4ALL. Both ASIO drivers have these two advantages:
Â· Speed: In general, ASIO drivers allow lower CPU overhead and buffer settings than the standard WDM Driver.
Â· Multiple audio devices: This feature is distinct to FL Studio ASIO and ASIO4ALL. It allows you to select inputs and outputs from separate audio devices. For example, you can use a USB microphone input and a headset output simultaneously.
What Is ASIO4ALL?
A DAW needs an ASIO driver to properly communicate with connected audio devices and maintain low latency. ASIO drivers reduce the slight delay between the computerâ€™s sound card and DAW. If you donâ€™t have a native ASIO driver on your computer, you can install ASIO4ALL. Itâ€™s a stand-alone ASIO driver compatible with most software DAWs and runs on almost every Microsoft Windows version. ASIO4ALL can also serve as a backup if your DAWâ€™s native ASIO has trouble working.
What Makes FL Studio ASIO Different From ASIO4ALL?
FL Studio ASIO is integrated into the FL Studio software, while ASIO4ALL is a third-party ASIO driver. Since ASIO4ALL is generic, its operation on FL Studio may vary from other DAWs. If it doesnâ€™t work, you may use FL Studio ASIO instead.
Thereâ€™s definitely a lot to learn if you choose to enter the world of music production. Technology has kept up with modern times and provided convenient solutions for creating music. Combined with their talent, passion, and knowledge, DAWs like FL Studio makes everything easier for musicians. Using a DAW allows for greater creativity and faster record production.
With digital music production also comes the issue of latency. And technology once again solved this problem through ASIO drivers. These may either be native to a DAW or an independent device. FL Studio features both types. Thereâ€™s the built-in FL Studio ASIO and the independent ASIO4ALL. You can use whichever of the two as long as it works for you.