FL Studio, beloved to its users by its original name “Fruity Loops,” has long had a Playlist mode that could be used to assemble simple live performances by jumping to sections of your music.

But a new alpha mode takes this mode far further. It’s still based on the Playlist, but can add clips dynamically – including Audio, Automation, and Pattern. While still in early testing, developer Image-Line has released some information about how triggering works, as well as the video above. And oddly enough, just like the video we saw earlier this week in Renoise, it employs a Novation Launchpad controller. (The impact of the monome on the market is really hard to overstate.)

More details from the developers:


Keyboards – There are 12 Clips assignable to each Playlist Track (one octave of a MIDI controller per track)

Launchpad & Mouse – Unlimited Clips assignable to each Playlist track.

Other Pad based Controllers – Limited only by the number of MIDI note assignable pads

At the moment there is basic scripting to define extra pages on the launchpad, you’re able to define actions for buttons, among transport ones, notes & controls.

The CPU load is similar to the project as it would play normally.

Performance Mode [Image Line forums]

It’s not quite an Ableton killer – not yet, anyway, especially as it lacks Ableton’s unique Session View paradigm for working in this way. It’s even a bit short of some of the hacks we’ve seen for Renoise. On the other hand, if you’re an FL fan you should be able to make your performance plenty sophisticated – and since just trigger clips isn’t everything, you might also want to play along with an instrument or sing. And I could see this catching on. It’d be great to see something other than Ableton in live laptop performances. Variety is the spice of life.

Rating: very, very promising.

Previously (this week, no less): More Renoise Step Sequence Goodness: Launchpad + Lauflicht (Other Controllers, Too)

Thanks to Dario Lupo for the tip!

  • Brian Tuley

    I read somewhere that Proem uses FL for his tunes.  His work is awesome, but I've always found FL to be too tedious to work in.  That's just me though.  I like the linear simplicity of Live, but then other folks may favor FL.  Choices are good.

  • Peter Kirn

    You read correctly. 😉 (Proem did the CSS on this site!)

  • While I am not a FL Studio user, I primarily use Ableton, I think this is a great thing because Ableton has really slowed down on adding new features and innovating and a little competition could be great in pushing them to get creative again with some of their solutions.

  • Peter Kirn

    I don't think Ableton has to be deficient in any way to desire other choices. You can't really be serious about laptop music with everyone using one tool. We need a robust market – free software and proprietary software, DIY tools and full-blown tools, non-linear and more linear/playlist-based – in order to really have a lively live performance scene!

  • @Brian Tuley: FL Studio is tedious to work with? Strange, I find Ableton Live anything but linear and quite difficult to handle compared to the very effective and time-saving workflow of DAWs like FL Studio or Renoise (I basically get easily into anything that either works like a tracker or that uses a classic step-sequencer). Well, everyone has got their personal favourites, just as you said. 🙂

    If the FL Studio live-mode receives further improvements/additions in the future, then it might be something to look at closely. There are not enough suitable alternatives to Ableton Live that one could seriously consider to buy right now when it comes to performing live on stage – and that's a shame.

  • Sure, this doesn't seem to be doing much that Live does do already, except for the GUI. I really like paradigm of live manipulation of a timeline. Visually, it makes a lot more sense than the little pie chart things in Live's session view.

  • Peter, that's cool to know about the cascading style sheets.  Maybe you could do a Proem entry on this blog sometime, to spread the word around about his music?  I find his work to be standout, a cut above most the electronic music I hear.  I mean, his stuff is top notch, right up there with Aphex Twin or Venitian Snares, in my humble opinion.  He incorporates the melodic into his highly detailed rhythmic structures very nicely.  I'm definitely a fan.  

    Anyhow, just a suggestion for your radar.  I'm sure you have priorities…. …….

  • Pal

    Deeflash stole what I was going to post. 🙂

  • A quick tip: it is possible to do exactly the same in Ableton Live: press record, switch to an arrangement view, trigger clips – and voila! (In reply to Josh: consider it too a live manipulation of a timeline.)

    I personally stick to Ableton: a) I bought a brand new DAW from them for $49; b) I can record automation live in session view with my LPD8, and that's well, all I need to be happy :]

    Despite all that, it's nice to see other companies think about live aspect of music. Keep 'em new features coming, Image-Line!

  • @Brian, you might also want to check Alva Noto and Richard Devine. I am very much into their stuff and like Proem as well.

  • Brian Tuley

    Thanks.  I'll check out Alva Noto.  I'm looking forward to the new Richard Devine EP.  The sample demo sounds sick!!!

  • For those interested in alternatives, you might check our live oriented product called "Rack Performer".

    While clearly not on the same level as the aforementionned products (but also not in the same price league), it's built from the ground up for stage performance.