In this series, we gather tips to optimize your workflow in a wide range of different areas in FL Studio. Even if you are a long time user, these tips are most likely worth looking through! The advice and tips below are designed to speed up your workflow and avoid often time consuming problems and issues.
Tip 01: Zipped projects: Never lose samples again
There are a few simple tricks to avoid losing samples in your projects. Let’s say you found a very cool sample online that fits perfectly into your current project. Naturally, you would download the sample to your Desktop or Download folder then drag it into FL Studio and keep working on it. As soon as you clean up your desktop or even just backup your downloads folder and then empty it, you may run into issues with the projects using samples from these folders.
Here are two workflow options to help with this situation:
1.0 File > Export > Zipped Loop Package
This function will pack all samples used by the project, as well as images, videos and other ‘assets’ into a *.zip file with the project file. The *.zip can be loaded into FL Studio directly, without the need to unpack.
These will obviously use more space, but what is hard drive space in contrast to lost samples.
Also, FL Studio will look for the files contained inside the *.zip before searching the extra search folders, defined in the FL Studio File settings, potentially speeding up loading times.
Zipped Loop Package from ‘Sacco - Goldener Schnitt’, contains all *.wav, *.ogg, *.wv and the project itself.
2.0 Project General Settings > Project data folder
This will set the default save location for recorded audio to the same folder where the project is located, so there is no need to search for the recordings.
In comparison to ‘Zipped Loop Packages’ this will not save everything into the folder. It will only save the recorded audio or audio you drag and dropped from a plugin such as Edison inside FL Studio.
Tip 02: Versioning: Save separate project versions, never regret a bad decision in your workflow
There is a high chance that you’ve at least once opened FL Studio after a long workday and kept on working on a very important project. While this can sometimes lead to interesting results, it can also end up with bad mixing decisions. To prevent this, I strongly recommend you create a versioning system that fits your needs. If you combine this with the previous tip about ‘Zipped Loop Packages’ and you really do not care about using some extra storage space, then this is even easier to handle. Working with ‘Zipped Loop Packages’ will prompt you to select a name each time you save the file, which will prevent you from overwriting the previous version by accident and supports a versioned workflow.
I, for example, use ‘Artist Name'+'Track Number’ followed by version, sub version, sub sub version separated by underscores.
Artist is my artist name and this is the 14th project I made. Version 1_3_2- if you change small things, the version number will increase slightly, if your changes from the start of working on this version to the current version is bigger, the sub version can increase -> 1_4. For very drastic or meaningful changes, increase the main number to 2.
So here I used the date I created the project, followed by the genre this is supposed to be (yes, sometimes this is not easy to decide, in this case use the first genre you had in mind) and again followed by the same version system I explained above.
The last example is very easy if you use normal *.flp project files, just use ‘File > Save as new version’ which has the shortcut ‘CTRL+N’. Each time the project is saved, it will be a new file with a new increased version number.
’Project name_1’ or ‘Project name’ > ’Project name_2’
Another good tip is to check what the autosave function inside FL Studio is set to. Inside FL Studio File Settings, check the setting for ‘Backup’. I recommend setting it to ‘Regularly (every 5min) and the maximum backup history, depending on your available storage space or a number you feel comfortable with. I have set it to ‘999’. Keep in mind that this is not the largest setting, one step further would be ‘--’ which means that there is no limit and it will never erase old backups. Be careful here, this could eat a lot of storage space after a short time.
While samples, images and videos are not normally saved inside an *.flp file, there are other ways that can hold audio data inside the project. Edison will save the current sample loaded inside it into the *.flp file, regardless of location of the recording. DirectWave will also save files inside the *.flp file if it is set to ‘Monolithic’ mode.
Tip 03: Patcher: If you don’t find it, build it yourself
There is not much more to say. Patcher! Patcher is a modular playground for connecting plugins, creating complex routings with mathematical rules and adding your own graphical interfaces. If you’re looking for a tool but you can’t find it yet inside FL Studio, this is most likely where it will be. Mid-Side compression, Split band EQ, Mid-Side EQ, One knob multi effects, Deesser just to name a few of the built-in presets. WiseLabs, Xenofish and Youlean have made the outstanding in-house presets which are all worth opening at least once.
GUI from Aftermath Pro, made by WiseLabs.
Backend of Aftermath Pro, red are parameter links, yellow is audio and turquoise is MIDI.
Patcher is not only an effect, you can also load it as an instrument, which will give you access to cool instruments like YottaSaw or Plucker. But keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be complex to be useful.
Sometimes a really small tool can make a big difference like ‘Noiseunit’ from Xenofish:
Here you can see that even a small patcher preset can make a big difference, this tool is very helpful in the sound design process.
Patcher Tip: You can copy and paste a module by right-clicking on one -> select ‘save as preset’ but drag and drop it to an empty spot in your Patcher Map view.
Patcher Tip: If you want to change multiple things in an FL Studio menu, select each option via right-click. This will usually prevent the menu from closing each time.
One example would be right-click on an EQUO module -> Outputs -> Audio -> ‘Main Output’ or ‘Send 1’ to ‘Send 4’.
Summary & Conclusion
We hope this article has provided you with useful hints and tricks to use during future sessions within FL Studio. Using these tips and tricks will help save time and improve your creative productivity and speed when creating music in FL Studio. Be sure to check later for future updates and sequels to this blog where we will share additional advice, guidance and tricks for FL Studio. If you want to discover more tips and tricks, please click here for Volume 2 of this series.