FL Studio Power Tips (Hip Hop Production)

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Image-Line Fl Studio

We hope you made the most out of your free Holiday minutes, because it`s time to get back to work. We`re opening this year with “FL Studio Power Tips” topic. As Hip Hop producers never sleep, it`s only right to hit you with this kind of article opener.

Let`s face it. Everyone loves a cool tip. Especially when it`s powered up with the first hand insight from your fellow producer/content writer, myself. I work within the Fl Studio for 8 years now. And, I will try to pull out every possible thing I could remember to help you get better at audio production from any given angle. FL Studio heads, you ready? Here we go!

 

FL Studio Starter Tips

Production takes not only a huge amount of time, but patience too. And yes you can here some producers do it in a blink of an eye, still, if you`re really into music as a pure art, you`ll take a deeper dive.

To fully understand your passion, and to preserve uniqueness, you have to put a lot of time into working to get it right. And yet, in time, you will find out that it will eventually take you much less time to FL Studio produce than when starting out.

And it`s only logical, because you will learn some ways of making your time as productive as possible, with lesser mistakes and arrangement blocks. But, how to keep your creativity going wider without getting stuck into the looped mindset of schooled knowledge? Thinking about too much Fl Studio technicalities instead of your own audio signature?

FL Studio

Inside the FL Studio

With practice and learning to focus your attention on the right things. The most useful ones. That`s when patience kicks in. Your will and its strength will determine your involvement.

 

Don`t get caught on the “easy” word

Even though FL Studio is considered to be one of the “easy” DAWs, it`s a bit too underestimated. Especially in the last couple of years, where guys from Image-Line really made sure any Fl Studio producer feels like a Pro.

FL Studio

The look of the audio project in FL Studio

And Home production on its self has become the Milestone of the Next Gen portable creativity. Music production has never been closer to a cosy learning curve and professional audio production outcome.

Knowing that 90% of the credits for that go to the one and only capable DAW, FL Studio, all the fallen chips are finally sorted out. So the word “easy” shouldn`t be taken so lightly. It only means you can keep up the smooth workflow. But the actual audio production hustle is a whole another level of compact wisdom.

 

Check your performance status

And before you go all crazy on us with con reports, check your performance status first. FL Studio is not the only DAW that will have glitches in your production. And yes, as any software, it will always need something new to be fixed and approved.

FL Studio

FL Studio 12

But, that`s not the whole story. The main thing you need to be paying attention is your computer performances. You need to be aware of your machine`s capabilities. And how much you can really use out of your CPU and RAM capacity.

I mentioned this before when touching the audio production and FL Studio production. The detailed review of the “FL Studio 12” is available at this linkso make sure you cover that, before you get to this power tips. 

 

 FL Studio Power Tips – The Shortcut Way

As with any DAW, FL Studio will be most attractive to work within after you get the handle of some pretty cool shortcuts. First off, there are typical toggle keys or the F commands. Like F5 for playlist, F6 for Step Sequencer, F7 – the Piano Roll, F8 – Sample Browser and F9 for the Mixer. 

FL Studio

Fl Studio 12 workflow

Most useful and most frequent action that will keep your workflow clean is the CTRL + S for saving the current project you`re working on. I love this shortcut. Every step I make I just quickly press the save command and overwrite the saved project as I go. Of course there`s an auto-save option that you can set the time of saving for in the settings menu. Which is also activated while I`m in the FL Studio working.

Also if you need a separate project version for Mixdown referencing, for comparing  your steps so you can have a complete picture there`s a save new version shortcut for which the keyboard action is CTRL + N. 

FL Studio

Inside FL

Second most useful button is undoubtedly the “export as”  function call. Depending on the wave form or the type of the file you want to be exported, FL Studio offers couple of options. CTRL + R is my most used for exporting .WAV audio format. Then there`s CTRL + Shift + R for the MP3. And if you`re in need of the MIDI, the FL Studio keyboard shortcut is CTRL + Shift + M. 

Other useful shortcuts that will speed up your workflow include:

  •  ALT + DEL for deleting the channel strip
  • ALT + C to clone the channel. ALT + G for grouping the selected channels
  •  I`m in love with the CTRL + L for routing selected channel to the mixer track
  • the classic CTRL + C and CTRL + V FL Studio shortcuts for copy and paste channel steps and CTRL + X to cut them
  • Shift+Up-Arrow – Move selected channel/s Up ; Shift+Down-Arrow –  Move selected channel/s down
  • Shift+Ctrl+Left-Arrow – Shift Steps Left and Shift+Ctrl+Right-Arrow – Shift Steps Right
  • most frequently used the SPACE BAR for Playback and Pause
  • R – Recording 
  • Ctrl+M – toggle Metronome
  • Ctrl+I – toggle wait for input to start recording

 

Most useful Mixer shortcuts

 

Now, as for the FL Studio Mixer, the working environment gets much more easier with the hot fingers sliding down the keyboard with these most useful shortcuts:

  • Alt+Left-Arrow / Right-Arrow – Move selected mixer track/s Left/Right (my favorite for the Mixer track arrangement, when sorting out buses and types of instruments, groups etc.)
  • already mentioned CTRL + L for channel linking 
  • Ctrl+Shift+Left-Click – this is crucial to me when doing my Mixdown sessions. Especially in the part when you`re in Gain Staging and leveling out the Volume by playing with channel Volume Faders. You can select multiple channels and move their Volume up simultaneously. I do this with drum snares for example after already setting up their individual volumes, but still need to up the overall volume, regardless their BUS Volume. 
  • F2 – Rename selected mixer track
  • S – solo current track
  • Alt+R – Render Armed tracks to .wav

 

Most useful Playlist shortcuts

FL Studio

FL Studio Playlist

The FL Studio Playlist is another main thing here and the shortcuts that will ease your production job are:

    • Alt+T – Add Time marker
    • Ctrl+A – select all
    • Ctrl+C – copy selection
    • Ctrl+D – deselect selection
    • CTRL + V – paste selection
    • CTRL + X – cut selection
    • Ctrl+Alt+G – grid color
    • Ctrl+Left-click – select
    • Del – Delete selected clip/pattern source data
    • PgUp / PgDown – Zoom in / Zoom out
    • Right-click – Delete selected clip/patter
    • Shift+C – Select all Clips according to the currently selected Clip source
    • Shift+G – Group selected Clips
    • Shift+Left-Arrow/Right-Arrow – Move selection Left/Right
    • Shift+Up-Arrow/Down-Arrow – Move selection Up/Down
    • Shift+Left-click (on clip/pattern) – Clone (drag while holding clip/pattern) – so cool! 

 

Piano Roll Shortcuts

FL Studio

FL Studio Piano Roll

Piano Roll can be much funnier when used like this:

  • B – paint tool
  • C – slice tool
  • D – delete tool
  • E – select tool
  • P – pencil tool
  • Y – playback tool
  • Z – zoom tool
  • Alt+F – flam
  • Alt+L – Open Articulate tool
  • Alt+Q – quantize
  • Alt+U – open chop tool
  • Ctrl+Q – Quick Quantize
  • Ctrl+U – quick chop
  • Ctrl+Up-Arrow/Down-Arrow – Transpose selection UP/Down 1 Octave
  • PgUp / PgDown – zoom in / zoom out
  • Shift+Left-click – Clone (drag while holding clip/pattern), release Shift after dragging to unlock vertical movement

 

FL Studio Power Tips – The Untricky Way

FL Studio

Working with FL in Home Studio

More of useful FL Studio power tips and tricks are on the way. After showing you the most needed keyboard shortcuts, we jump onto the tips and tricks you can use to control other details, like audio clips, automation actions etc.

First thing I want to mention when FL Studio hustle kicks in, is the editing of the audio clips. Most of the time I work with the MIDI files. But for me, learning to operate the audio clips, MIDI or WAV has given me the space to expand my creativity. Not to get too much into editing, because it`s a whole new science to go through.

But, working with audio clips serves me best when making those sampled beats, working with voice clips and for most parts with my remixing and mixing projects when focusing on my Dj skills. 

 

FL Studio Cloning

FL Studio

Cloning the clip

What exactly do I mean. Very useful thing is cloning. You clone a clip by opening the drop down Menu clicking inthe left corner. This cloning means that FL Studio allows you to “make the clip unique”. This means you can make it a completely new, independable instrument which you can further adjust as you wish.

Without affecting the original sample. Also, when working with WAV audio clips, you have the “make the clip unique as sample” to physically clone the audio and make a separate sample for messing around. Moving on.

 

Automate In Style

FL Studio

FL Studio Automation

One of the coolest things in FL Studio and any given DAW really is automation. You can automate pretty much anything you want. Automation gives you not only the countless creative ideas and options. But also a good, balanced mix, clean audio image, dynamic versatility and professional sounding environment. 

And although it`s one of the easiest controls to activate (right-clicking on the parameter you want to automate and choosing “create automation clip”), its actual setting and handling varies. It can be really simple to set, but it also can be, well, not tricky, but time-consuming or tedious. Depending on your main goal, sometimes I spend half of the day just for some FL Studio automation painting. 

Fl Studio

FL Studio 12 Automation

Most of producers are using automation when adding filters and/or in MIxdown session, to control the project`s volume and individual instrument volumes. But automation can be used in pitch bending, panning and basically anything you can think of. Furthermore, Automating when creating your own effects and unique riffs is super effective skill to own. Here`s a great video tutorial on Automation that you can use as a reminder.

Update (power trick): If you want the automation clip of one plugin to be used on another (or the same plugin) in the same way, after you insert a new plug-in to desired channel, go to the parameter you want to automate, right click and pick LINK TO CONTROLLER. When a small window opens, in the INTERNAL CONTROLLER`s section drop-down menu choose the automation clip that you want your new plugin to be controlled by. 

FL Studio Edison Tricks

FL Studio

Working with Edison

Most appreciative audio production tips in FL Studio come from learning to work with Edison. Your workflow will get super-slick after you pick up on these couple of very useful power tips and tricks. 

First thing to insert into your FL Studio practice is the use of the presets. Now, this is a bit tricky in a way that it can make your producer life easier by saving your personal settings of the plugins, mixer channels, instruments etc. But don`t get too much used to it. Using presets on everything can open a lot of unneeded mistakes and make your project sound artificial. So be careful here. Because same principal applies to Edison. 

Second, once you get the hold on Edison`s workflow, your producing skills will rise faster than ever. In the list below are some of the most effective and strongly useful shortcuts and power tips and tricks to make your job smoother. I will try to update this article as much as I can in the future and keep you updated with the latest tips as I go with my own practice and FL Studio experience. 

Here are some dope keyboard shortcuts for Edison:

  • CTRL + A – select the whole sample
  • CTRL + Del – trim off the unnecessary sample parts
  •  ALT + left arrow – reverse the whole sample
  • CTRL + L – loop tuner
  • ALT + A – opens the Amplifier for direct manipulation of the sample`s volume
  • CTRL + R – insert reverb
FL Studio

Recording in Edison

Bonus tip: Recording in Edison – on the right side of the Record button in the Edison window, is a drop-down Menu that lets you select different types of recording. On the bottom of that list, pick “Record On Play”. This will allow you to record in Edison from any part of the FL Studio Playlist you`ve previously selected. Cool right?

 

 Hits Don`t Lie

Finishing off here, couple of things to remember before you start applying the new tricks. To be a producer, focusing on our genre of Hip Hop, you need to be open to a lot of versatility. Creatively. And technically. Take your time, don`t go rush into things and just apply some trick because you`ve read or hear about it.

Collect your thoughts, see what are your main goals, what you want to achieve. And see what the applied change does to your production project. Do a lot of referencing.  This is so important to understand.

FL Studio

Home Studio work with FL

Reference everything not just when mixing and mastering. But every step you make in FL Studio. After all, Hits Don`t Lie. Your hits included. If you got to that level of professional sound, spacing and arrangement, then you got it all. Hits speak for themselves, so learn to be patient and to listen. 

More update coming, so make this topic alive as much as you can. Be with you soon! Happy producing FL Studio gang! 

Self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer)

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