Optimizing FL Studio performance
These tips will help you to get the most out of your computer's CPU and memory. Generally, items that reduce CPU load are far more important than memory usage, unless
you are experiencing memory errors or the projects memory requirements exceed your installed RAM. Further information is available
in the FL Studio Optimization
Top things to check
- Audio settings - One of the most important settings is to select an ASIO audio interface driver from the Input / output menu. Look first for an ASIO driver that installed with
your audio interface OR if one is not available use the generic ASIO4ALL driver. Whichever driver you use, download the latest from your audio interface
manufacturer or from www.asio4all.com. Make sure the Buffer length setting
is not less than 10 ms (441 samples). Buffer lengths below 10 ms will eat significant CPU power with little or no perceived change in program responsiveness.
- Increase the audio buffer length - The Buffer length setting is found on the Audio settings page. You will need to click the 'Show ASIO panel' button there, to see the
settings if you are using an ASIO driver (as you should be!). Starting from 10 ms (441 samples) keep adding 5 ms (220 sample) increments until you notice a drop in CPU usage. Buffer lengths over 50 ms (2205 samples) make live
playing difficult but will be fine for mixing CPU intensive tracks where you are making adjustments to controls rather than recording a performance. NOTE: sample latencies quoted assume 44100 Hz sample rate is set.
- Is your CPU running at full speed? Do you have some wimpy energy saving/CPU throttling
mode engaged. If you are serious about your music production then you will be prepared for, at least, some melting of the polar ice caps. See the Windows 'Start > Settings > Control panel > System & maintenance*** > Power Options'.
*** Whether or not this sub-menu shows depends on your windows settings. Set your power management to 'High performance mode'.
- Bridged plugins - Make sure you are using plugins that match your version of FL Studio (32 or 64 Bit). We've noticed many people switch to FL Studio 64 Bit while their VST library is still 32 Bit. If FL Studio can't find 64 Bit equivalents of the plugins it will bridge 32 Bit versions to 64 Bit mode. This uses more CPU than 32 Bit plugin on FL Studio 32 Bit or 64 Bit plugins on FL Studio 64 Bit. It's about 2% extra per plugin, so a couple won't matter but 10+ definitely will. Bridged plugins may also just behave badly causing pops, glitches and possibly crashes. Make sure to install 32/64 Bit versions of ALL plugins to match FL Studio. For more details see FL Studio 32 vs 64 Bit FAQ
More things to check if required
- Multithread support - Make sure Multithreaded generator processing and Multithreaded mixer processing are selected on the Audio Settings panel.
- Smart Disable - Enable Smart disable on the Audio Settings and then run the Tools Menu > Macros Switch smart disable for all plugins. This will disable effects & instruments when they are not making any sound and can decrease CPU usage significantly. If this global option causes issues with any plugins it can be disabled for those individual plugins using the wrapper menu setting 'Smart disable'. NOTE: Smart Disable is active only during live playback, it is temporarily disabled when rendering.
- Disable 'Reset plugins on transport' this can cause significant glitching on start/stop events when using VST plugins.
- ASIO Options - Under the ASIO settings try the Mix in buffer switch and Triple buffer options.
- PPQ setting - The PPQ setting sets the event resolution for the current project. Settings above 192 PPQ can have a significant impact on CPU
load. Generally use 96 PPQ unless you need the extra temporal resolution.
- Competing & background programs - Close all non-essential programs that may be competing for resources, e.g. Instant messaging programs (AIM, MSM/WLM, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger), torrents, web browsers, audio/video players, etc. If you experience intermittent issues, check for scheduled activity like virus scans, backups, windows updates, disk defragmentation, even Wi-Fi & Blue-Tooth adapters have been known to cause issues, particularly if they are constantly re-making flaky connections.
- For projects heavy with audio-tracks - Turn OFF 'Keep on disk' for any Sampler and Audio Clip channels. This ensures samples are pre-loaded into memory avoiding underruns caused by disk-to-RAM swapping delays OR zoom out the Playlist, (Ctrl + Right-click) on a blank area, so all Audio Clips are visible prior to pressing Play. This forces Audio Clip data to be cached into RAM.
- Reduce the plugin count - Try to reduce the number of plugins (instrument and FX). These are the most CPU hungry parts of the program.
- Freeze mixer tracks - Render some Channels to audio and then mute the instruments in the Channel Rack or delete them. Remember that
FL Studio records mixer tracks so you will select several mixer tracks to record, then mute or remove the Channels feeding those mixer tracks.
- Limit Polyphony - Use the maximum polyphony setting to reduce the maximum polyphony of channels (see Miscellaneous
Channel Settings). This often reduces dramatically CPU usage in complex melodies. You can still set FL Studio to ignore the maximum polyphony settings
when exporting to wave/mp3 file (see Exporting to .wav/.mp3/.mid).
- Disable MIDI - Disable all the 'Enable MIDI...' options using the Options menu as MIDI processing uses CPU resources even when not in use.
- Extend your memory - Check the manual page on the CPU & Memory panel. Adding more physical RAM can improve responsiveness where data was previously
saved in the Page File.
- Hardware issues - Unplug unused HDMI, USB, BlueTooth & FireWire devices if you are experiencing unexpected CPU spikes and glitches to discount these as causes.
- See also - Buffer underruns & maximizing FL Studio performance.