Recording External and Internal Audio

This section covers everything you need to know about recording external audio sources connected to your audio interface input/s and internal audio generated by instruments. Sections include:

Pre-requisites for recording external audio

Before you can record external audio sources the following settings & conditons are required:

  1. You must be using FL Studio Producer Edition or higher.
  2. An ASIO audio interface driver must be selected for your audio interface (press F10 to open the options settings, select Audio and select an ASIO driver).
  3. The recording filter must be set to record audio (Right-click the Transport Panel record button), if you are recording to disk (Playlist recording).
  4. An audio source must be connected to the soundcard/interface audio input/s (DOH!).
  5. The active audio interface input/s (from 4. above) must be selected on the Mixer track input menu.
  6. Edison must be set to record audio on the input Mixer track (see Edison recording) OR the Mixer track must be armed to record audio (see Playlist recording).

Recording FAQ

Using a USB microphone or headset

USB microphone & headsets use their own audio driver separate from your main audio interface (i.e they appear to Windows as another audio interface). To use two audio interfaces with FL Studio follow the steps in the section on recording USB audio-inputs. The solution is to select independent input (USB mic) and output (audio interface) devices using the ASIO4ALL audio interface driver.

How to record external audio (microphones, guitars, etc)

Three main methods for recording external audio are explained below, the first two record into an Edison plugin loaded into the Mixer track of your choice. The third method records audio into an Audio Clip displayed in the Playlist - please note that the clip will not be visible until the recording has been completed.

1. Quick audio recording procedure (using Edison)

Edison is an audio editor and recorder. It will record audio from any FX slot in the Mixer. You can load as many instances of Edison as you like.

If the pre-requisites for external recording have been satisfied (as described above), the 'One click recording' wizard can be used to record into Edison as follows:

  1. Select an unused Mixer track. This will be the track used by the shortcut process (see the note below).
  2. Click the microphone icon (One-click audio recording) on the 'Shortcut Panel'.
  3. Select 'Into Edison audio editor/recorder' from the drop-down menu.
  4. Follow the prompts.
  5. After recording, see section 2.5 below for options on saving/exporting the audio.

NOTE: One-click recording uses the input on the selected Mixer track. If you are recording an external audio source then record on a Mixer track that only has the external audio on it. If you have internal audio playing through the same track it will be blended with the external audio. Once blended, it can't be undone.

2. Edison recording procedure

If the pre-requisites for external recording have been satisfied (as described above):

  1. Load Edison - Load Edison in an FX slot in the Mixer track that you want to record. Don't use the Master track (all audio from all tracks is routed here). TIP: Select the Mixer track and press (Shift+E) to auto-load Edison in the first empty FX slot on the track ready to record.
  2. Input selection - Select an external input (see below). Loading Edison before selecting an input will disable the auto-arming of the disk-record function. It is possible to turn this back on (if you wish) by clicking on the Mixer track record icon associated with the track you are using.
  3. Effects - Place Edison before any effects loaded in the same Mixer track for a 'dry' recording. It is recommended to record all external audio dry as this gives you the opportunity to add and change them later on.
  4. Record using Edison - Click here to see the Edison help and normal recording setup options. You will be able to record into Edison, where it is stored in memory, and then export the audio to a sample or Audio Clip.
  5. Exporting recorded audio - There are three main ways to export audio from Edison into FL Studio:
    1. Send to Playlist button, Left or Right-click to:
      • Left-click: Send to Playlist as Audio Clip (Shift+C) - Dumps the selection to the Playlist as an Audio Clip.
      • Right-click: Send to selected Channel - Dumps the selection to the selected Channel.
    2. Drag / copy sample / move selection - Left-click on the button and drag to the desired location (e.g. Playlist Clip-track). The selected region in the Sample Edit Window (or whole sample if no selection is made) will be copied and moved to any compatible location in FL Studio. Apart from the Playlist other locations may include Sampler channels, Fruity Slicer, DirectWave, etc. Right-click to copy the selection to the clipboard.
    3. Save and load - Save the audio/selection to a file and re-import it through the Browser.

NOTES: 1. Take the time to read the next section on Mono inputs (3.4) and Monitoring (3.7) as they are also relevant to Edison recording. 2. Memory considerations: Edison records into RAM and so is not suited to recording hours of continuous audio. Edison uses approximately 20 Meg of RAM per minute of recording. If you need to record for more than 15 minutes then the Playlist (disk recording) method is recommended (see below).

3. Playlist audio recording procedure

Playlist lanes are not bound to audio inputs as they are in many other sequencers. Audio is recorded through the Mixer, to disk, and then the recording is automatically loaded onto the first Playlist track that has space to host the recording. That is, the first track where it won't overlap with existing clips. The recording is loaded as an Audio Clip.

We know this section of the help looks complex with many steps, but it provides a full description of the external-audio to Playlist recording options and full step-by-step procedure covering many of the issues people face when recording external sources. Once you understand the process it only takes 3 mouse-clicks to set up a Mixer channel to record.

Audio inputs are recorded through the Mixer tracks, the audio from these sessions is placed in the Playlist as an Audio Clip. Remember that Playlist lanes are not tied to any Mixer track, so it doesn't matter what Playlist lane the Audio Clip is on. You can move clips around as needed after recording.

  1. Pre-requisites - The pre-requisites for external recording must first be satisfied (as described above).
  2. Don't record on the Master Mixer track - When recording external audio on a Mixer track, internal audio routed to that track will be mixed in with the external source so it is best to use a Mixer track with no internal instruments routed to it. Remember that the Master Mixer track has all the other tracks routed to it, so this is definitely not the place to record external audio sources.
  3. Input selection & Mixer track arming - Select an external input (see below). The options that appear in this drop-down menu will depend on your audio interface, most audio interfaces have at least one mic and one line input, however you may need to experiment to find the input that carries your external audio. Selecting an input will auto-arm the track for recording, as indicated by the red track recording icon. If you want to use a USB mic or headset to record audio, follow the steps outlined here first.

  4. Mono inputs - If you have a mono sound source that appears in only the L or R stereo channel, you will notice that the input options are divided into 'Stereo' in the upper section and 'Mono' in the lower section. By selecting the Mono version of your input, FL Studio will record the signal into both the L and R Mixer channels.
  5. Naming & save location (optional) - If you want to select the name and location of the saved .wav file as something other than the default then Right-click the Mixer track recording icon to open the file-name/location dialog. Select a location in the browser dialog and name the .wav file to be recorded. If you use Left-click, an automatic file name will be assigned to the track. Do the same for all Mixer tracks you want to record. NOTE: Setting a custom record location folder from the F10 > Project > General Data folder setting, will mean the default location is set by you.
  6. Recording Options - Open the Mixer pop-up menu. In the Disk Recording sub-menu select -
  7. Hearing the sound being recorded (monitoring) - Let's assume you are monitoring FL Studio through headphones and not getting an echo caused by feedback from your speakers into your microphone. By default, live inputs to the Mixer are routed to the Master mixer track and back to the audio interface outputs. As the audio path through FL Studio is delayed by an amount equal to the audio interface buffer length setting, the monitored sound may echo against the live source. Latency echo can cause problems for performers (e.g. vocalists) who need to hear their live performance mixed with the song. Latency echo can be eliminated in three ways:
    1. Routing - Stop the incoming audio passing back to the audio interface by de-selecting the 'Send to master switch/knob' from the Mixer track you are recording into. Remember the send knob is located on the Master track, not the selected track. The downside is that you can no longer 'monitor' the recorded sound, although you can move one headphone cup an ear (DJ style) and listen live.

    2. Latency - If you need to monitor your input signal, try lowering the buffer settings and see if the echo can be eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels. Of course there are limits to how low the ASIO buffer can be set.
    3. Direct Monitoring - Use 'direct monitoring' if supported by your audio interface. Direct monitoring is achieved completely in hardware, routing a copy of the input signal directly to the audio interface outputs, and so eliminating latency caused by the software buffer.

      NOTE: If you use direct monitoring it will be necessary to apply the routing solution 7.1 (in this paragraph), to prevent input to the FL Studio Mixer being heard. Finally note that direct monitoring isn't common on basic (consumer level) audio interfaces, so consult the audio interface manual to see if it's available on your card. No manual? The direct monitoring options are usually found in the factory Mixer associated with the audio interface driver. Many external USB/FireWire audio interfaces have a hardware knob or button labeled 'Direct monitoring' or 'Monitor'.

  8. Recording with effects - Don't! We recommend that you record all incoming audio without effects, add them later, as this provides maximum flexibility during post-production. If you want to monitor the incoming signal with effects while recording without effects -
    1. Deselect the 'Send to master' knob on the recording input Mixer track.

    2. Re-route the recording input Mixer track to a second empty Mixer track.
    3. Load the effects you wish to use on this second track and allow that track to pass to the Master.

    The above setup ensures that the audio is recorded dry, on the input Mixer track, then passes to a second track where effects are added for monitoring. NOTE: Edison recording makes this process simpler, put Edison in FX slot 1 of the input Mixer track (so it has no Effects before it), then put any effects you want to hear below it (slots 2 to 8).

  9. The Record Button: Prepare for recording. There are two functions associated with the Record button on the Transport Panel.
    1. Recording filter - There is a recording filter pop-up menu, Right-click the Record button and make sure 'Audio' has a tick (all data-types with a tick will be recorded, click to select/deselect items).
    2. Arming - Left-click the record button to arm for recording. The button will light to indicate that record mode is activated (orange).
  10. Start recording - Finally! Press the Play button to start recording.
  11. Stop recording - When you are finished, press the Stop button. If you want all armed tracks to unarm enable the 'Disk Recording > Auto-unarm' option in the Mixer popup menu. If tracks remain armed and you press record again new Audio Clips will be created leaving previously recorded Audio Clips intact.
  12. Where's my audio? - If you are in pattern mode, the recording will appear as an Audio Clip channel. If you are in song mode AND the Mixer menu setting, Auto-create Audio Clips is on, your recording will appear as an Audio Clip wave display in the Playlist window.

    Audio Clip placement - Audio Clips will be placed in the first track with enough room to fit the Audio Clip, without overlap with existing Clips, although you can move it anywhere you like afterward. If you want to ensure your clips are placed sensibly you can right-click track headers and select 'add one' to make room for further takes below existing ones.

    The recorded audio data wil be saved to disk will be in one of three locations:

    Mixer track routing - All recorded Audio Clips are routed to the same Mixer track the recorded input track was routed to (usually the Master). So, if you record on Mixer track 10, and Mixer track 10 is routed to Mixer track 3, then the Audio Clip will also be routed to Mixer track 3.

Loop recording

Loop recording is the process of repeatedly laying down audio-takes while FL Studio loops a project. This technique is often preferred by instrumentalists or vocalists who want to repeat a phrase/section of a song until they get the perfect take, there are two loop recording methods available:

Recording Internal Mixer Audio (Freezing Mixer Tracks)

FL Studio allows you to record the output of one or more Mixer tracks to .wav files and to auto-insert them as Audio Clips in the Clip Track area (optional). Mixer track recording, or freezing, enables you to quickly replace real-time effects and instruments with pre-rendered audio, thereby reducing CPU load. This type of recording also allows easier rendering of separate Mixer tracks (track stems, as they are called) for additional processing in 3rd party applications.

There are two ways to record a track - non-realtime recording, which results in the highest audio quality and realtime recording (interactive) that allows recording of ASIO inputs.

Non-realtime recording Playlist (Mixer track freezing)

To perform non-realtime export of Mixer track/s, also known as 'track freezing' and auto-create an Audio Clip. See the Freezing tutorial video here that follows the steps below:

  1. Mixer track arming - Click to arm the record icon on Mixer track/s you wish to record. In the browse dialog that opens, select a location and name for the .wav file to be recorded. An orange disk icon indicates that the track is ready to be recorded.
  2. Recording Options - Open the Mixer menu. In the Disk Recording sub-menu:
  3. Rendering / Freezing(Alt+R) - From the Mixer menu go to the Disk Recording sub-menu and select Render to Wave File. A rendering settings dialog will appear. Adjust the relevant settings and press OK to render the armed track/s. NOTE: Some of the options available for rendering a full song are not available for track recording (e.g. rendering to mp3 or MIDI file, saving an NFO file with the Audio Clip, and saving ACIDized audio).
  4. Freezing? - If your intention was to freeze Mixer tracks you can disable all effects on each track rendered and disable plugins feeding those Mixer tracks.
  5. Where's my audio? - If you are in pattern mode, the recording will appear as an Audio Clip channel. If you are in song mode AND the Mixer menu setting, Auto-create Audio Clips is on, your recording will appear as an Audio Clip wave display in the Playlist window.

    The Audio Files that were recorded to disk will be in one of three locations:

    1. The folder set at Step 1 (above) OR
    2. The FL Studio installation folder ...FL Studio\Data\Patches\Recorded. This folder is shown in the Browser OR
    3. If you have set a custom record location from the F10 > Project > General Data folder setting, your audio files will be there.

    NOTE: ASIO inputs are disabled while recording in non-realtime.

Alternatively, there is a 'Split mixer tracks' option on the Export project dialog that will create a .wav file for each active Mixer track in the project. Great for creating track stems when importing audio into a 3rd party application.

Realtime recording Edison & Playlist

As an alternative to off-line rendering, as described above, you can use Edison or the track recording icon to capture audio from any number of Mixer tracks, live:

  1. Select your recording location - Either load Edison into an FX slot of the Mixer track you wish to record OR for Disk/Playlist recording Arm Mixer tracks by pressing the disk icon.
  2. Disk recording - If you are recording to the Playlist then turn OFF the Mixer menu > Disk recording > Latency compensation option. There is no latency for internal audio sources.
  3. Effects - In the case of Edison, you have the option of placing multiple instances of Edison on the same Mixer track, with or without other effects loaded before or after each instance. In this way you can record dry and wet (with effects) versions of your Mixer track audio (to record a dry version, make sure Edison is in slot #1). In the case of disk recording any effects on the track will be recorded, if you don't want this, disable the effects now.
  4. Record - Click here to see the Edison help and normal recording setup options. You will be able to record into Edison, where it is stored in memory, and then export the audio to a sample or Audio Clip. For disk recording the process is as described in the sections above, however this time it is internal audio that is recorded.

Mixer reference diagram

Full descriptions are available on the main Mixer page.

NOTE: Most controls are automatable (Right-click and select 'Create automation clip').