INSTRUMENT PLUGINS / EFFECT PLUGINS / CHANNEL SETTINGS
The Wrapper is a software interface/layer between instrument / effect plugins and FL Studio. All controls are common to all plugins (FL native & VST), while the plugin options (6) only appear on Wrappers hosting VST format plugins. The Wrapper provides compatibility with the VST 1, 2 & 3 standards (the screenshot below demonstrates the Fruity Wrapper hosting the 'Drumaxx' VSTi plugin). More information on installing and using 3rd party VST/DX plugins here.
There is a native and a VST wrapper, FL Studio automatically selects the appropriate Wrapper depending on the plugin type loaded. There are several control options:
1. Plugin Menu
The Plugin Menu contains various plugin-specific commands, including preset management. The commands displayed will depend on the
type of plugin being hosted. NOTE: The Save preset as command can be dragged and dropped on a compatible target.
- Piano roll
Opens a Piano roll for the selected channel.
- Presets - Contains a sub-menu with preset handling options for the effect:
- Randomize gives random values to the published (i.e. known to FL Studio) plugin settings. When enabled, selecting a preset will load a random 50% of the settings, so you can quickly mix
different presets and create new effects.
- Hybridize blends between the previous and next selected preset.
- Tree Display displays the settings in a 'tree' view. The Presets menu is disabled if there is no effect assigned to the plugin slot.
- Browse presets - Opens the presets menu in the Browser (not all plugins have presets shown here however).
- Save presets as - Save the current preset as a single preset file in the Browser. The menu item can also be dragged and dropped on a compatible location. e.g. The
Browser, the Channel Rack or another instance of the same plugin to copy the preset.
- Add to plugin database (flag as favorite) - Adds the plugin to the currently open sub-directory of the Plugin database folder in the Browser. This is a special browser folder that works in conjunction with
the Plugin picker to help organize and load plugins into projects.
- Spare state
These options are useful for saving plugin settings, making edits, then comparing the original vs edited versions.
- Store in spare state - Saves the plugins current settings in a temporary buffer (spare state).
- Flip with spare state - Swaps the plugin's current settings with those in the spare state.
- Link all parameters... - Opens a dialog to link automatable plugin parameters to 'tweaked' hardware controllers in sequence down the 'parameter list'.
There are several options for skipping parameters or jumping to new locations in the list.
- Basic operation - Select 'Link all parameters' from the menu, and move the first hardware controller to be linked (the link is made to the first
item in the 'Current parameter' list). When you move the second hardware controller it will be auto-linked to the next parameter and so on, until the end
of the parameter list is reached or the link dialog is closed.
- To skip a link, Left-click the Skip button at the bottom of the link dialog (immediately left of the 'Accept' button).
- To jump directly to a parameter, use the Current parameter menu (top most in the link dialog) and select the target parameter you are interested in. You can then continue auto-linking from that point in the list by moving hardware controllers as before
OR jump to another parameter in the list using the 'Current parameter' menu as previously described.
- Browse parameters - Allows you to see the list of automatable parameters in the Browser. Embedded CC Parameters: Every instance of the Wrapper has 128 CC (MIDI Control Change) parameters in a parameter list. These parameters transmit CC data directly to the plugin (for plugins that read CC data directly) and can be linked like any other parameter to a MIDI or internal controller. Thus, you can send CC data directly to the plugin instead of linking to a specific knob on the plugin interface. These parameters can also be set in conjunction with the Omni mode associated with the Remote control settings 'link' dialog to send CC data to any selected plugin and to save MIDI controller assignments (see the VST Control section for more details).
- Allow threaded processing - Improves multi-threading and multi-core CPU performance. NOTE: Some 3rd party plugins may perform worse with multi-threading on. If you are experiencing
choppy or broken sound (the GPO/Kontakt Player for example), try turning this off. To permanently disable multithreaded processing for the plugin (even for future FL Studio sessions) disable the
'Processing > Allow threaded processing' option and save it for the plugin type.
- Smart disable - Stop processing the plugin when inactive. Reduces CPU load. There is a global Smart disable on the F10 Audio settings panel
OR 'Smart disable' Tools > Macros > Misc > Switch smart disable for all plugins.
- Make editor thumbnail - Places a small thumbnail image of the plugin interface into the Browser > Plugin database so that the plugin is easily identified. NOTE: the Browser view must be larger than 'Compact' for the thumbnail image to display.
- Detached - Detaches the Plugin from the FL Studio desktop so it can be moved to a monitor that does not have the FL Desktop stretched across it. NOTE: Detached plugins now are seen by Windows and FL Studio as separate applications. The plugin will stop responding to MIDI input if you tweak the UI. Refocus FL Studio to continue MIDI play. Further reading: See the sections on Plugin GUI Scaling and Audio Settings > Auto close device to learn more how this affects workflow.
- Help - Opens the plugins in-line help (if any).
2. Detailed Wrapper Settings (Show/Hide)
||Wrapper settings - opens and closes the additional settings details as discussed below.
3 & 4. Preset Browser & Window Controls
Preset browser - This is for presets saved by the user and some plugins that publish their presets to the Wrapper. In this case, clicking on the left/right arrows will step through presets. Right-clicking here will open the preset menu for the plugin.
||Minimize / Close - Minimize plugin interface / Close plugin interface.
5. Plugin Interface
Plugin interface - Use this to switch back to the Plugin interface after using one of the other Channel Settings tabs.
6. VST Wrapper Settings
Settings - These options are only available when using VST plugins and provide advanced VST plugin wrapper controls. Click on the screenshot Settings or Processing tabs above to see the help for that tab.
- Info - Displays any information published by the plugin, such as: Plugin Name, Type (32/64 Bit), Category & processing latency.
- Options - Options are saved per-plugin, saved options are used each time the plugin is loaded, until they are deleted.
- Autosave - Automatically saves the options set in the wrapper Settings and Processing tabs. Settings are remembered the next time the plugin is loaded (this option is on by default).
- Save - Saves the options set in the wrapper. Saved options are used each time the plugin is loaded. Use when automatic saving is disabled.
- Delete - Clear the options for the currently loaded plugin. Default settings will be used next time the plugin is opened.
- Reset - Reset plugin options to the default state.
- Bit size - This option tells the Wrapper which Bit size version of a plugin to load for both FL Studio 32 and 64 Bit. It's useful when you want to always use a particular Bit size of a plugin (say a 64 Bit sampler in FL Studio 32 Bit) OR one Bit size is more stable than another across all versions of FL Studio. There are three options, Native, 32 Bit and 64 Bit:
- Native - The Wrapper will load the Bit-size plugin to match FL Studio 32 or 64 Bit (the native Bit-size).
- 32 or 64 Bit - The Wrapper will always try to load the set Bit-size in all versions of FL Studio (32 and 64 Bit). If the set Bit size can't be found the Wrapper will use the one that is available.
- Load preset/bank - Allows you to import a standard VST bank (FXB) or preset (FXP) in the currently hosted plugin instance. A bank replaces all of the programs for this plugin instance, while loading a preset replaces only the currently active program.
- Save preset - Allows you to export the current patch as a VST preset (FXP).
- Save all - Exports all programs in the bank as individual VST presets (FXP).
- Reload plugin - Reloads the plugin and resets it to the default settings.
- Refresh plugin properties - Checks plugin properties, such as, the number of inputs, outputs and latency. Can be useful if these were not registered correctly on loading or for properties that have changed after the plugin was loaded.
- Input port / Output port - Select the MIDI input and output ports respectively. MIDI ports are independent communication channels within a given MIDI connection. When the same port numbers is set on an MIDI input and output device the plugin and other MIDI device will be able to share exclusive MIDI data.
- Send note off velocity - Sends the note release velocity to the plugin along with the 'note off' message. Note off velocity is set in the Piano roll and can be edited using the integrated event editor.
- Send pitch bend range - When selected, the MIDI pitch bend range selected to the right of the switch will be passed to the plugin. Plugins that support pitch bend range will respond correctly to host bend instructions. This is not selected by default as some plugins interpret pitch bend range messages as a filter 'reset' message, causing problems.
- Graphical User Interface (GUI)
- Check properties on display change - Some plugins send a display change message when some properties have changed, such as the selected patch. This option allows FL Studio to detect the change and ensure data is correctly copied between FL Studio and the plugin.
- Invalidate plugin editor - Sends the plugin's 'idle' message. When FL Studio receives the idle message the plugin GUI can be refreshed. Try de-selecting this setting if the plugin has graphical display glitches.
- Don't allow stealing keyboard focus - Prevents the plugin from stealing keyboard input from other plugins when the interface is selected with the mouse. NOTE: This won't always work. In particular bridged plugins always steal keyboard focus if focussed.
- DPI aware when bridged - Must be used with 'Wrapper Processing > Make bridged'. VST plugins with native rescaling will then use the Operating System display scaling. See Rescaling VST plugins for more details.
- Notify about parameter changes - Normally this is on so FL Studio is notified precisely what plugin controls you have been touching, and the police can be alerted. This data is also used for Last tweaked parameter linking and the undo history (when 'General Settings > Undo knob tweaks' is selected). As some badly behaved plugins continuously send parameter change messages to FL Studio this will reset the 'Last tweaked parameter' value and make it impossible select and link some target of your choice.
|| > Processing. Click on the screenshot Settings or Processing tabs below to see the help for that tab.
- Compatibility Options - Not all plugin developers work strictly to the letter of the VST/2/3 plugin specification (sadly). In this case there may be graphical, audio or other issues (crashing) with a plugin. These options are provided to help in such cases. NOTE: If you are troubleshooting plugins, see the section on 'Plugins behaving badly' for more tips. If you report plugin issues to developers expect a lot of finger pointing and blaming the other guy. No we don't really expect you to remember all these options, to understand what they do, or even to find them in the manual. They are here mainly so Tech support can tell you to flip a switch when some plugin is acting up, and you start pointing the finger at FL Studio. These options keep the peace and make everyone happy.
- Allow threaded processing - Switch to turn multi-core enhanced processing on/off. NOTE: A plugin will be multi-core threaded only if this, the Global Multithreaded options and the Wrapper menu - 'Allow threaded processing' options are on. The threaded processing option here is provided since it can be saved using the 'Settings' tab 'per plugin type'. This is useful to prevent plugins that are not multithread safe running in this mode in future, regardless of the other settings.
- Make bridged - Only VST plugins can be 'Bridged'. Bridging opens a plugin in a separate process outside FL Studio. This means Windows sees the plugin as a separate program and we can do more things with it. Non-bridged plugins are invisible to Windows, inside FL Studio. Both 32 and 64 Bit plugins can be bridged. There are four cases where bridging VST plugins is useful, if these don't apply, don't bridge:
1. Memory management (only useful for FL Studio 32 Bit) - Bridging removes the plugins memory allocation from FL Studio's memory space to an independent process under Windows. Bridging is particularly beneficial for sampler and ROMpler plugins that consume large amounts of memory loading samples. The maximum memory available to the bridged plugin will be at least 2 Gb for 32 Bit Windows and at least 4 Gb depending on your version of 64 Bit Windows (see 2). To reduce the memory burden of Audio Clips and Sampler Channels use the 'Keep on disk' option.
2. Running cross-bit-depth VST plugins - Bridging allows 32 Bit VST plugins to run in FL Studio 64 Bit and 64 Bit VST plugins to be used in FL Studio 32 Bit. 32 and 64 Bit plugins are auto-detected and the Bridged mode will be set accordingly. The memory available to the plugin depends on the Windows bit-depth as described above. NOTES:
- 2.1 Memory - 64 Bit plugins running on 64 Bit windows will have access to the maximum memory available under your Windows version.
- 2.2 CPU and Stability - We recommend using 32 Bit plugins in FL Studio 32 Bit and 64 Bit plugins in FL Studio 64 Bit, where possible. Bridging introduces an additional layer of processing and so a small CPU overhead (approx 1-2% per plugin). It can also decrease stability for some plugin. If a plugin crashes, please report it to Tech support and we will fix it, or point the finger at the developer.
3. Protect FL Studio from crashing plugins - If a plugin crashes while in Bridged mode then it is less likely to bring down FL Studio at the same time. Try using Bridged mode with plugins that are unstable or crash. If you just read point 2.2 (above), you are right, this is a paradox!
4. Rescaling VST plugins - High resolution monitors will shrink VST plugin interfaces. Bridging opens the plugin outside FL Studio so it can respond to Windows System scaling. Use the following options:
- Ensure processor state in plugin callback - Only deselect if you are having unexpected issues including noises, DC offset, volume spikes, plugin crashes etc.
- Notify about rendering mode - The plugin is informed when FL Studio is rendering so it can switch to a higher quality output, if possible. This must be selected to achieve HQ rendering from plugins that support different real-time and rendered quality. Try deselecting this option if a plugin is not rendering correctly. NOTE: Native FL Studio plugins respond to the HQ for all plugins render option.
- Send loop position - Sends information about the song loop start and end positions to a VST plugin. This setting is calculated by the wrapper and is not available until FL has looped once.
- Process inactive inputs and outputs - Some plugins mark one or more of their inputs/outputs as 'inactive' even though they are being used. By default, FL Studio doesn't process inactive inputs/outputs, so no sound is produced. This option ensures FL Studio processes 'inactive' outputs.
- Use fixed size buffers - This option can be useful in fixing rendering errors such as glitching and or timing issues. FL Studio shares data with plugins using variable sized chunks of data (buffers). Some plugins require fixed sized buffers (the VST spec allows hosts to use variable size buffers, but no-one cares about specifications it seems, so we provide this format since FL Studio uses variable sized buffers). If the additional options are both off (see below) the fixed buffer size option uses 2 ms. The disadvantage is that fixed size buffering can introduce an extra delay, depending on the audio buffer size selected in the Audio settings (F10). This delay is doubled for effects plugins. However, in some cases this setting may fix unwanted rendering delays and/or audio glitches caused by some plugins. Options:
These two options are only to be used if the default 2 ms 'Fixed sized buffers' does not work. In general, both these options should be off.
- Process maximum size buffers - FL Studio block size is used as the fixed buffer size, the block size is the maximum processing size, as determined by FL Studio itself. NOTE: The block size is typically a much bigger than the processing buffer size, leading to even bigger latency.
- Use maximum buffer size from host - Same as the above but the plugin is also informed of the block size being used by FL Studio. A few plugins can make use of this data to synchronize their processing.
- Connections - These options determine audio input and/or output routing for the plugin and are necessary only for multi-input or multi-output plugins such as a compressor that accepts side-chain inputs or a sampler with multiple outputs for separate effects processing.
7. Miscellaneous Wrapper Settings
||Miscellaneous Channel Settings - These are available for all Instrument Channels, click here for full details or on the section of interest below.
Plugin Credits: Frederic Vanmol, Didier Dambrin