FL Studio (formerly Fruity Loops) is a DAW that focuses on being highly customizable. It is mostly known for its advanced piano roll and easy to use interface, and is used by many big EDM musicians. With a quick and efficient transition between its Pattern and Arrangement(Playlist) modes, the workflow can be boosted to great lengths.
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Pro Free lifetime updates
With the producer or signature bundle, updates are free forever.
Pro Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
Pro Excellent for visual learners
All the stock plugins look really nice and really show users what is being done, it's a great way to learn mixing theory for a beginner. This approach makes FL Studio easy to learn compared to other DAWs.
Pro Very comprehensive plugin suite included
You have basic and advanced plugins right out the box.
Pro Easy to learn DAW
The FL Studio DAW utilizes drag and drop, and can generally be learned quickly without any prior knowledge. There are also a lot of resources to help begginers and experienced users learn.
Pro Fully open: accepts a variety of formats
Accepts VST/VSTi (v2,v3) Wav, Aiff, Rex, Acid, Apple Loop, Ogg, Mp3 as well as almost every video format including Mov and Mp4.
Pro Intuitive piano roll
Piano roll is a FL Studio's instrument step sequencer. It is considered to be among the most intuitive and flexible tools for quickly creating patterns and manipulating all aspects of each note. A single left click inserts a note, while a right click deletes it. It's possible to mute notes, splice them, stretch them, add shuffle, etc quickly.
The Piano Roll caters for those new to Music Theory as well, containing an array of chords from which to choose, be it a Major, Minor, Minor 5th, Minor 9th, what have you.
Pro Good for the studio
Some DAWs are good for live shows, some DAWs are good for production, but the FL Studio DAW has carved its niche in the studio recording arena.
Pro Each update is major
When Image Line releases an update, it's safe to assume that there are major improvements in there.
FL Studio has a very unique sampler which allows all kinds of sounds to be experimented with, be it a siren, a water drop, or more commonly, the infamous "Progressive House" Kick. The Sampler also allows the user to retune a sample to any key he/she desires.
Pro Unlimited creativity
With tools in the piano roll like the "Riff Machine", and the "Randomize" tool, you can literally let the computer automate the production if you want. In addition to plugins like "Gross Beat", Slicex, DirectWave, the ideas can be limitless.
Pro Sample/MIDI Manipulation in the Playlist Mode
The Playlist mode comes with various tools for cutting out sections of a sample, midi arrangement, or otherwise. One can also clone, mute, solo out, and stretch a sample by any degree, although the sample's key will change.
Pro Perfect for engineering because of the production style workflow
The workflow for creating beats in FL Studio is among the fastest which make mixing and mastering a breeze inserting plug-ins and routing on the mixer.
Pro Fully vectorial UI that will scale to virtually every screen
Because most DAWs don't scale well yet.
Pro Can import/export 32bit audio
Just as the internal engine bit depth, there's no loss in quality.
Pro Scalable interface
The interface adapts to the screen size it's used on.
Pro Patcher: Modular environment
Patcher is similar to Max for Live in Ableton and The Grid in Bitwig and allows you to build your own complex generator and effect chains.
Pro The only DAW with a VJ graphic generation suite (ZG Editor Visualizer)
No other DAW has that.
Pro It comes as VSTi and Rewire
So you can use it inside another DAW. There's no other DAW capable of doing that.
Pro Smooth UI
Compared to other DAWs, FL's UI moves at full monitor refresh rates while others are somehow laggy.
Pro Supports resampling
Supports resampling (non stretch) which is something some DAWs don't support.
Pro Imports video for scoring
You can open several video players.
Pro Reasonable and liberal license
Buy once, and you're allowed to use it on every computer you own.
Pro Inbuilt cross 32/64bit plugin bridge
You don't need to install/configure a third party bridge.
Pro Non-invasive DRM
Forget copy protection USB-dongles and phone-home activation. Just import a reg key file and your license is activated.
Pro Powerful Sound Editor
Edison is a great way to record and edit samples, sound effects and is a very easy way to create sample packs and sound libraries.
Pro Amazing sequencer to input midi
Pro Has the best startup sound
Pro It is the only DAW where you can program real scratching sequences (Turntablism)
You can make your own scratches with the "Fruity Scratcher" or "Wave traveller".
Pro Flexible internal linking engine
Its linking engine and controller plugins are very flexible and useful all across the software. For mixing and also for performance mode.
Pro Shows other instrument notes in background if needed
Pro It's possible to run FL Studio on Linux via Wine without a noticeable performance impact
Version 12 of FL Studio includes a new Generic ASIO driver that's capable of achieving same low latency performance as the native Windows version. Instructions on how to set up the DAW to run on Linux via Wine can be found here.
Pro Complete control over multiple Launchpad Pro animation lightshow projects
Live can, but working with more LPs is a pain.
Pro Great support & community, lots of tutorials
Pro Well-functioning mobile version
Pro Large number of effects (approx. 70)
E.g. GrossBeat, Newtime (tuning), Patcher (own complex generators and effect chains), Maximus, Soundgoodizer...
Pro A lot of good synthesizers and instruments (over 30)
E.g. Harmor, Flex, Sakura, Sawer, Sytrus, Poizone...
Pro FL is famous for its great sequencer
Great software for creating rhythms.
Pro perfect for arrangement and homerecording
Pro Flexible non-linear workflow
Pro Very flexible timeline
Pro Best stretching algorithms in the market
Pro Developed by a team of friends
Con Not intuitive for track based recording approach
Con Shortcuts are weird
Con Audio recording not as good as the other DAWs
Recording audio is always a problem in FL Studio.
Con The Browser is archaic
Every time it has to refresh, it closes the entire menu. So if you just navigated several dropdowns to find an automation parameter of a third party plugin and you want to automate a second parameter, you have to navigate back to that dropdown all over again. Searching within the browser is a slapped on feature that only shows you a single result at a time, and you have to press a hotkey to cycle through them one by one. Really, your browser in FL is the Windows File Explorer, or Finder in OS I assume. The FL Browser is workflow molasses and should be avoided at all costs except to find samples you already know the location of.
Con The GUI is very difficult to see
The color scheme of GUI is terrible. They use a lot of dark and similar color for the GUI. And not skinnable without special knowledge of hack.
Con Most controls are hidden
In the mixing console, mid, bass, and treble are not explicitly stated as they should be.
Con Lack of other midi keyboard brands
Con The soundfont player will trash your projects, no 64-bit version available
Remember that nice project with a soundfont in it ? Yeeeah, load it again and prepare to face stuck MIDI notes and a trashed project.
Con Not great for Mixing
Every channel should have input gain controller and extra plugins should be added for more creativity.
Con Has a slight tendency to crash
Always save before loading a new VST or doing something important: FL is prone to crashes.
Con Brak ARA (komunikacja audio np. z Melodyne/VocAlign)
Con Limited number of 125 mixer channels (500 tracks) and 10 effects slots
You can use the Patcher plugin or routing to the next channel, but it does not always work efficiently and properly
Con No Dolby Atmos / Surround
It is more like a Fisher Price My First Daw than a real, truly professional DAW.
Con No channel folder and channel grouping in mixer
Con Crashes when loading plugs
Con Bad sound for expensive piano plugin
Rendered using the same MIDI note and compared it to the render on other daws, it's really bad.
Con Can not customize the GUI
Can not change the UI as you like.