MIXING & EFFECTS

Mixer Functions

This section explains the various features of the Mixer, Mixer video tutorial here.

The Mixer contains 99 Insert tracks (3), 4 Send tracks (4), 1 Selected track (4) and a Master track (10). Any number of insert Mixer tracks can be displayed depending on the Mixer state (Left-click on the edge of the Mixer and stretch). To access tracks use the Track Scroll Bar (2).

Select a track by clicking the pan or fader controls, scrolling with the mouse-wheel or Left-clicking on the track label area. Once selected, the track will appear highlighted and it will have additional functions available in the Mixer Track Properties panel (9), input/output options (6, 7) and FX slots (8). Track 1 is highlighted in the picture below. For a detailed description of recording sounds from/in the Mixer see the Audio Recording page.

If your Mixer looks different to the above, use the Mixer Menu (1) > View > 'Wide tracks' option.

  1. Mixer menu - Contains view, recording, Track linking, renaming and coloring options, click here to learn more about the options.
  2. Mixer Track Scroll Bar - This will slide the visible range tracks within the Mixer window.
  3. Mixer Insert Tracks - The audio output from all Instruments loaded in the Channel window is routed to one of the 99 'insert tracks' (3). The Channel settings window, FX channel send control determines the Mixer Track each instrument's audio is routed to. If nothing is set [--], the default destination will be the Master Mixer track (10). The audio then passes through any Effects loaded into the Effects Slots (8), then through the integrated effects (3 band parametric EQ, phase, stereo separation, volume and panning - 9). Finally the audio is then sent to the master Mixer track (10). It is also possible to route the audio of a Mixer track to any ASIO output (7 - for users with ASIO enabled sound cards) or even another insert track (18). Internal re-routing is a very powerful feature allowing you to create advanced Mixer setups with groups and subgroups of insert tracks.

    The Track labels can be Right-clicked (or press F2) to rename the track or recolor it. Quick linking of channel/s: From the Channel window use the Channel selector to select the channel/s you want to route to the Mixer track, then select the desired destination Mixer track and click (Ctrl+L). There is also an option to sequentially link Channels to tracks starting from the selected track. (Shift+Ctrl+L).

    To reorder Mixer tracks select the Mixer track to move and press (Alt+Left or Right Arrow) OR place your mouse cursor over the track to be moved and (Shift+Mouse Wheel) . All linked internal and external audio sources will move with the track.

    NOTE: It is a good habit to name used Mixer tracks. This is particularly important for Multiple Output Plugins as it ensures FL Studio knows the Mixer tracks are in use. This can be important for PDC calculations, split-mixer track rendering and automatic track assignment.

  4. Send Tracks & Selected Track - Send tracks: There are 4 dedicated send tracks, although any track can serve as a send via the switches shown at (18). For convenience all Mixer tracks are pre-routed to the 4 send tracks, but the Send Level knobs (15) are turned down. Send tracks can't be directly linked to instrument channels, but they can receive audio from other Mixer tracks. The purpose of send tracks is to provide common effects (for example: reverb and delay) as opposed to adding the same effect in each insert track, wasting CPU power.

    Selected:This is a special track that automatically receives the currently selected Mixer track. Use this to host an instance of Edison for easy recording of any track. Why not put Edison there on a 5 minute recording loop as an audio logger. Alternatively use the Selected track to host Wave Candy visualization tools. Video Tutorial here

  5. Big Peak Meter - Can be hidden using the Mixer menu (1) > View > Options. Output is in dB. See Levels and Mixing to learn more about using peak meters in FL Studio.
  6. External Mixer input - There is an IN menu for each Mixer track. ASIO hardware inputs and some VSTi inputs can be selected here. For example, the IN menu is used to select external audio from Soundcard inputs for audio recording in FL Studio. Right-click to Automap soundcard inputs to mixer tracks, starting from the selected track.
  7. External Mixer output - There is an OUT menu for each Mixer track. The Master mixer track must have an output selected or you will not hear any audio from FL Studio. For other Mixer tracks ASIO hardware outputs can be selected here. Typical uses include live-use where one channel is sent to headphones for monitoring previewed samples/mixes while the main mix goes to the PA OR to create a surround sound sub-mix by sending several Mixer tracks to the relevant surround channels of your soundcard.
  8. Effects slots - Up to 8 independent Effects may be added to each Mixer track. To load an Effect: Left-click on pop-up menu arrow at the left end of the slot and use the 'select' option. If you need more than 8 Effects, use the 'Send' feature (18) to route the output of one Mixer track to another. To open an Effect user interface : Left-click on the name of a loaded Effect, loaded Effects are displayed in Effect slot 3 and 8 above. To re-order effects in the stack: place your mouse cursor over the effect to be moved and scroll the mouse-wheel up/down (the Mixer window must be selected for this to work, click anywhere on the Mixer to select it).
  9. Mixer Track Properties - For more detail click here. Parametric EQ, Stereo Separation (NOTE: this has no effect on mono signals), Pan , Swap Stereo Channels , Invert Phase . All these features can be automated. Panel (A) is the graph for the Parametric EQ. Left-click and drag left/right to control center frequency and up/down to control EQ level. Alternatively Right-click and drag left/right to control bandwidth and up/down to control EQ level. Panel (B) can be left or Right-clicked to gain simultaneous X/Y control over Pan and Volume. Panel (C) holds the controls for Plugin Delay Compensation.
  10. Master Mixer Track - All audio output of FL Studio is routed through the master Mixer track for final processing before the final output (unless an insert track is routed out of the Mixer to an ASIO output - 7). In light of this, the Master track isn't a good place to record external ASIO inputs (6) as the external and internal audio will be mixed together and recorded to disk.
  11. Small Peak Meter - See Levels and Mixing to learn more about using peak meters in FL Studio.
  12. Panning - Pan controls the position of the sound in the stereo field (left to right) and is often overlooked as a control for creating an interesting and spacious mix. This function is also duplicated in the Mixer Track Properties area. The pan works by mixing one side of the stereo track into the other, so a 100% pan is the mono-sum of the Left and Right channels. If you would like to pan using independent Left & Right level changes with no cross channel mixing use Fruity Stereo Shaper.
  13. Stereo Separation - The stereo separation filter allows you to enhance or reduce any stereo effect in the track. In the default position (middle), the stereo separation filter is disabled. Turn the knob right to decrease the stereo separation (sum L+R to mono), turn left to increase stereo separation. This control has no stereo effect on mono sounds as it works by taking the difference between the L and R channels, if there is no difference then there is no stereo to enhance.
  14. Level Fader - Acts as a 'volume control' for the track. The level fader is applied after the effects in the track (post effects). Can be automated Right-clicked and linked to controllers. This function is also duplicated in the Mixer Track Properties area. TIP: You can click anywhere on the fader track to move it, no need to click directly on the knob.
  15. Send Knobs - When the 'Send' switch is activated (18) this knob (on the destination track) controls the signal level received from the source track.
  16. Effects Enable/Disable Switch - Left-click When deselected, the Effects switch disables all the Effects in the associated Mixer track (8). At least one effect must be added to the Effects rack for the switch to be active. Right-clicking the Effects switch will open/close the interfaces for all effects loaded in the associated Mixer track.
  17. Track Recording Switch - When selected (orange) the track is armed and any audio, internal & or external (6) will be recorded to disk. Left-click - To arm. Right-click - To arm with record-file naming option.
  18. Track Send / Sidechain Enable Switch - Left-click on the destination track to enable audio to be passed from the currently selected track. When a link is made the destination switch turns orange and a send level knob appears above it. Right-click to route OR sidechain to a specific track with master routing disabled.

    Sidechaining works in conjunction with plugins that accept a sidechain feed (e.g. Fruity Limiter's compressor function or the Stereo Shaper). The direction of the sidechain signal will depend on the plugin, for example the Fruity Limiter receives a sidechain FROM another Mixer track while the Stereo Shaper sends a sidechain TO a Mixer track. Available Sidechain tracks are labeled by their track name when a plugins sidechain selector is Right-clicked. Remember if the sidechain direction is incorrect for the plugin type then the sidechain option won't show when the plugins sidechain selector is Right-clicked. Sidechain notes:

    a) Send vs Sidechain - A 'Sidechain' differs from a normal 'Routing' in that the send volume is set to zero (0). You can convert any 'send' track to a 'sidechain' track by turning the send volume to zero.

    b) Multiple side-chains - Multiple sidechain tracks can be sent TO or FROM any Mixer track. See the section on Sidechaining below.

  19. Plugin Delay Compensation - Control to compensate for plugins that introduce processing delays. For more information see Plugin Delay Compensation - PDC section of the manual.
  20. Mute Switch - Left-click to mute/un-mute the individual track, Right-click to solo/un-solo the individual track.
  21. Phase (top) & Stereo Flip (bottom) - Inverts the audio Phase (top) or Stereo channels (bottom). Try inverting the phase when sounds on different Mixer tracks seem to cancel or lose low end power. This is particularly common when mixing drum sounds.

NOTE: Most controls on the Mixer are automatable (Right-click and select 'Create automation clip' or 'Edit events').

Mixer Track Sidechaining

Sidechaining is an 'audio send' from the output of one mixer track directly into an effect plugin loaded somewhere on a second mixer track. Sidechaining allows plugins that can accept more than one audio input to process multiple independent audio streams, in addition to those passing through the mixer track where the effect is loaded. For example, the Fruity Limiter can accept a single sidechain input into its compressor trigger while Vocodex can accept a pair of sidechain inputs, one for the Modulator and one for the Carrier processing sections.

In FL Studio, there are two independent audio paths initiated when one Mixer track is linked to another using the Track Send / Sidechain Enable Switch (18).

  • A regular send path that responds to the send volume knob (15) and is audible on the destination Mixer track (when the send volume is set above 0).
  • A sidechain path that is unaffected by the send volume knob (15) and is NOT audible on the destination Mixer track UNLESS it is picked up by a plugin with (sidechain) audio input capabilities loaded on the destination Mixer track. For more information on how to use sidechain audio sends, see the Audio Input/Output Routing section.

In this way it is possible to have simultaneous send and sidechain signals from one track to another. The 'Sidechain to this track' option on Right-clicking a Track Send / Sidechain Enable Switch (18), is simply a macro that creates a send link and automatically sets the send volume to 0. Alternatively you can change any 'send' into a 'sidechain' (only) link by manually setting the volume to 0. Remember the sidechain source Mixer track will remain routed to the Master mixer track, so deselect its send/sidechain to master switch (18) if you don't want the sidechain source Mixer track to be audible.

In the example left, the selected Sidechain SOURCE Mixer track, is sending audio to three other Mixer tracks, the Master (sidechain & audio send), Sidechain + SOURCE (sidechain & audio send) & the Sidechain ONLY Mixer track (sidechain only) as determined by the position of the Send volume knobs (15) and Track Send switches (18). Remember, you don't hear the sidechain send on the destination track unless some plugin (8) on the destination track is receiving it and routing it into the regular audio path.

For more information see this video tutorial on compressor sidechaining.