The best Image-Line FL Studio Review 2021

The best Image-Line FL Studio Review 2021

Image-Line FL Studio has become a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW), known to longtime fans as Fruit Loops (the original name of the app, when it debuted in 1998). While it is still clearly significant for producing electronic music “in the box”, unlike recording live musicians playing intense instruments, you can record or create almost any type of audio project with it. And now, Mac users can join the fun for the first time. If your Image-Line FL Studio memory is close to the roots – when the Belgian company’s audio editing app looks more like a 1980s Amiga tracker than a proper DAW. Ready to be surprised at how far the program has come.


Versions and Installation

Image-Line FL Studio is available in four editions. Success ($ 99) is entirely for in-the-box music production and lacks the skills to record or manage audio clips. It includes a good selection of syntheses and effects plugging, as well as automation support, step sequins, piano roll, and event editor. The Producer ($ 199) adds Syrups Synch as well as the ability to record and edit or pitch audio clips with a microphone. Signature ($ 299), the version I tested included Newton Pitch Correction and Time Editor, the full version of the direct wave Sampler, the treatment Harmless Additives and Subtractive Synch, a video player, and a few extra guitars and drum plug-ins. The All Plugging Bundle (99899) comes with Poison, Gun, Morphine, and body-modeling-based Sakura nationals for the unique string-instrument sound, the most extra-expensive image-line synthesis.

The best Image-Line FL Studio Review 2021

Regardless of which version you purchase, you get free lifetime updates from Image-Line Free and include full number corrections as well as point updates. This is an amazing advantage; Not only do other manufacturers expect to receive an upgrade fee at least every few years, but most have moved on to subscription and/or membership-type plans that carry money from your account each month for continued support. The Image-Line has been under consideration for almost 20 years, chances are good it won’t go out of business from tomorrow.



Image-Line FL Studio is sharp and easy to read despite the vector-based complexity, especially on retina-class monitors. The UI is fully scalable, even on multiple displays. It supports multitouch; with a suitable touch-screen monitor on a PC, you can use it as a live physical mixing board and transfer multiple feeders simultaneously.

Starting from the left, the browser works with all your presets, instruments, audio clips, project files, and other composite content. The channel rack contains some of the sound generators that are being used in the current project. The list of patterns shows all the clips used. The playlist serves as the main management window and looks a lot like other DAWs. You can also bring piano roll and step sequence, both of which allow you to edit closer. The mixing console and meter bridge view can be set to multiple sizes. You can adjust or hide any of the boundaries of this window as you see fit. If you’re used to previous versions of Image-Line FL Studio, get ready to rejoin; several key pieces have been moved around, such as channel racks and pattern menus.

For the first time, Image-Line FL Studio supports time signatures – you are no longer limited to just 4/4. You can set time signatures for both patterns and playlists and you can play multiple time signatures on top of each other.



The way each project works starts with Pat Pattern 1 as a collection of patterns, which you can find at the bottom of the transport. To speed up the process you can start a song by simply clicking on the 16 note step sequencer buttons or by clicking the button to the right of the channel. To add a new word, select Plug-in Preset> Generator and drag whatever you want to the channel rack over an existing channel or after adding a new one first.

The best Image-Line FL Studio Review 2021

Instead of recording from a MIDI keyboard, click the record button and then choose everything at the bottom of the dialog box asking what you want to record. When you’re done, CTRL-Q allows you to quantify the notes recorded in that pattern. When you create new patterns, you drop them into the playlist, where you can duplicate them again, or zap with the right button if you change your mind. The notes are easy to cut and paste, drag them around, adjust their size, etc.; the pattern is automatically lengthened and snaps to make the building process faster. As you work, you can alternate between-song mode, listening to everything, or pattern mode to concentrate and develop individual patterns.



Most of the instruments included are fun to play and tweet, but usually a little simpler and in some cases older. The relatively small download size of the program indicates this at the moment; you can’t expect a 75 GB piano multinomial with any program that is less than one gigabyte for full download.

The best Image-Line FL Studio Review 2021

The flip side is something that works; you can thank Image-Line FL Studio’s smooth sound for its easy automation and manipulation. Most of the synch presets bundled at Image-Line  FL Studios seem to be high-pass (excluding drums and bass), which makes blended dance music easier and clearer. For example, there aren’t plenty of frequencies, giant pads, and synch stab that sound impressive alone but it’s virtually impossible to sit properly in a mix without heavy EQ engraving. The master bus limiter cannot do any work very quickly if you decide to enable it while working.



There are some obvious limitations; you can simply produce exceptional work using Image-Line FL Studio. The preloaded demo song looks as polished and catchy as you would expect from any finished master and it is perfectly made in Image-Line FL Studios. This includes dozens of demo tracks; the program is a great way to learn what is possible and you can sort each one to get your own ideas for the words.


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