Click through for FL’s infamous Giant Screenshot of FL 9. See, it’ll look perfect on your 40″ flat screen. Update: Despite discussion in comments, Image-Line assures us this is an image of FL9. We’ll have more shots once we try out the software, of course!

“Fruity Loops” has long proven that not all music making apps have to look the same way. FL is quirky and different. Its editing interface is built as much around step sequencers and pattern sequencing as the conventional, mixer and audio-tape-derived views. But perhaps some of its real draw is that it packs, in its mid-level-and-higher packages, it’s packed with fascinating and unusual sonic toys. FL 9 looks to continue that tradition.

And because it’s FL, if you’ve ever bought FL, you get a free lifetime upgrade to this version. (Seriously, if you’re pirating FL, stop. You have absolutely no excuse.)

New toys in this version:

  • Autogun Derived from the excellent sounds of the Ogun synth, this instrument has “more than four billion presets.” (Wait… what?) I do agree with Image-Line’s description of “rich metallic and shimmering timbres” in Ogun; that’s exactly what it sounds like.
  • Vocodex vocoder, the “last word in Vocoders.” (I thought the last word was, “No one needs a vocoder,” but I could be wrong.) Automatic speech enhancement plus up to 100 “variable-width, multi-parameter” bands does give this some interesting twists.
  • Stereo Shaper.

I think that improved performance and editing may be bigger news, however:

  • Multi-core CPU support, multithreaded generator, and multithreaded effects processing. This is the one that I expect most excites you crazy, synth-and-effects-routing mad scientists who have been pegging your CPU.
  • Improved effects: sidechaining in the limiter, mid-side processing in the reverb, export and noise reduction in the awesome Edison and Slicex audio-editing instruments.
  • Improved Playlists with “Clip Track” features
  • A “Riff Machine” for automatically generating sequences in the Piano Roll
  • Multiple controller support for defining different instrument channels. (Okay, FL experts – did I miss something? That wasn’t present before?)

What comes in the box has been expanded, too. In all the editions, you get the new stereo shaper and Autogun. In “Fruity Edition” and higher, you get SimSynth Live, DrumSynth Live, the DX-10 FM synth, and cool-sounding WASP and WASP-XT. In Producer Edition, you get the Vocodex vocoder.

Unfortunately, Image-Line still continues some confusing a la carte options, and actually eliminates its XXL edition that gave you everything. So, there’s a new Gross Beat that manipulates pitch, position, and volume in real-time, but you only get the demo with FL 9. I can’t really complain about this because FL has so much in it, but it can all get a little hard to follow sometimes.

On the other hand, if you’re an FL fan, I think you could do some serious damage with the vocoder and new sequence generating features.

I’ve always wanted to do a better job of covering FL on this site, so FL users, get in touch!

FL Studio product page
Download the demo