SAVE/EXPORT FILE FORMATS

Export Project Dialog (*.wav; *.mp3, *.ogg, *.flac, *.mid)

Usually you will be exporting your project to .wav or .mp3 audio files to be played in a media player, car stereo or hi-fi. The final mix is exported from FL Studio using the export option in the file menu in a non-real time process called 'rendering'. The time taken will depend on export settings (see below) and project complexity. Rendered audio is better quality than the live sound from FL Studio. Export formats include:

NOTE: Exporting to audio is not necessary to save your project for later work, use the File menu project Save option to .flp or .zip.

Recording External Hardware

NOTE: To include sounds from external hardware such as a synthesizer, drum-machine or sampler in the final render -

  1. Make MIDI connections to the device from your computer AND audio connections from the device to your audio interface inputs.
  2. Record the sound as it is played by FL Studio (using a MIDI Out plugin to drive the hardware).
  3. Place the recorded audio as an Audio Clip in the Playlist.
  4. Render the project to audio as shown here.

Settings

We recommend watching the video global video A Digital Show and Tell (by Monty @ Xiph.org) to learn about how digital audio works. It will help you to understand what is and is not important on the audio settings.

Info

Shows information about the current project.

Looping Mode

Looping mode only applies to audio formats (.wav, .mp3 and .ogg) and determines how any decaying sound after the last bar of your project/loop is rendered. For example, the tail of a reverb of a sound may be important for the impression of smooth continuity when looping, or to prevent the decaying reverb in a 'straight' render being chopped off. If, after rendering the last bar from the song there is still sound decaying, this option sets how FL Studio should proceed. Leave remainder is the default. NOTE: If you are making loop files use .wav format, .mp3 in particular leaves a small silence at the start of the sound that will interfere with looping.

Output format/s

Select the output format/s for the project render. To save in more than one format simply select multiple options on this panel.

NOTE: Sample rate - The output (Mixer) sample rate is set in the Audio Settings window.

Wave (Lossless Uncompressed Audio)

Wave is a lossless audio format and preferred for handling audio in a production environment (use it to save all your samples, sounds and archive material). The drop-down menu contains bit-depth options for the exported wave file:

What bit-depth should I use? - Bit-depth affects the noise-floor of the sample. This determines the quietest sound that can be captured or smallest changes in loudness that can be resolved. Generally 16 Bits is enough for music distribution. Use 24 or 32 Bit for archiving music production files.

What sample rate should I use?

FLAC (Lossless Compressed Audio)

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is similar to WAV format in retaining all audio information in the encoded waveform. FLAC has the additional useful property of significantly compressing (reducing) the file size. FLAC files are typically between 20 to 30% smaller than the equivalent WAV file, all while retaining a bit-perfect copy of the original data. NOTE: This is file-size compression, similar to .zip etc, not audio-level compression.

NOTE: FL Studio automatically imports FLAC files and converts them to WAV format, when loaded on the Playlist or in plugins such as Edison or Slicex.

MP3/OGG (Lossy Compressed Audio)

MP3 (Mpeg Layer 3) and ogg(Ogg Vorbis) are both 'lossy' formats that compact the audio to save space. This means that at lower bit-rate settings you may hear unwanted artifacts often described as 'underwater sounds' or 'bubbling'. The slider sets bit-rate of the mp3/ogg audio file, as bit-rate increases the audio quality improves, but at the expense of file size.

What bit-rate should I use?

NOTES: The maximum bit-rate for MP3 is 320 kbps and 450 kbps for ogg. The relationship between kbps setting and the audibility of artifacts will depend on the material being rendered and the listening environment. You should always check your rendered files with a good pair of headphones prior to release. Sample rates - the MP3 standard only supports 3 rates (32000, 44100 and 48000 Hz). Setting the FL Studio sample rate outside these values will result in MP3 rendering errors. The MP3 conversion introduces a small silence at the start of the file in addition to the original audio. For this reason it's not suitable for use where time-alignment of the audio is critical (loops, samples, vocal tracks etc). Where possible use at least 16-Bit .wav format when sharing or saving audio in a production environment.

MIDI (Data)

MIDI is a standard note & automation data format and will save the contents of the Step Sequencer and Piano roll. As note data is saved along with FL Studio project, only export to MIDI if you intend to import the note data into a 3rd party application. To export:

  1. Make sure to save your project in its current state, the next step will replace Channel instruments.
  2. Use the macro Prepare for MIDI export on the main Tools menu that replaces all Channels with auto-configured MIDI Out plugins. This is necessary to export project-wide MIDI in the correct multi-channel format. To export individual Piano roll data as MIDI files use the Piano roll menu option 'Export as MIDI file'.
  3. Select MIDI on the Export Project Dialog and press Start.
  4. Don't save your project in this state you will lose the original Channel settings. Save to a new project if required.

NOTE: MIDI is not an audio format. If your media player can play MIDI files it is using the synthesizer/sampler built into your audio interface to create audio from the MIDI data.

Quality

Miscellaneous Options

Rendering Buttons

Command line export options

See here for some ways to launch a command prompt in Windows. This allows you to batch-process project and MIDI files.