Recording External and Internal Audio

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

Pre-requisites for recording external audio

Before you can record external audio sources all the following conditions must be met:

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

Recording FAQ

Using a USB microphone or headset

USB microphone & headsets use their own audio driver separate from your main soundcard (i.e they appear to Windows as another soundcard). To use two soundcards 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 (soundcard) devices using the ASIO4ALL soundcard 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)

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 (6 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 disk icon (17) 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

We know this section of the help looks complex with many words, 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:

  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 (6 see below). The options that appear in this drop-down menu will depend on your soundcard, most soundcards 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 orange disk icon (17). 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 (6) 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 disk icon (17) 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. Monitoring the sound being recorded - Monitoring is hearing the sound as it is recorded. 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 track and back to the soundcard outputs. As the audio path through FL Studio is delayed by an amount equal to the soundcard 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:
  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 -

    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.
  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.

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

    NOTE: All new Audio Clips are routed to the same Mixer track the recorded input track was routed to (usually the Master).

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:

    1. Load Edison - Select a Mixer track and press ( Shift+E). This loads Edison in the first empty FX slot ready to record with 'Slave playback to host' and Record 'On play' enabled.
    2. Select your input - Select your live audio input from the Mixer INPUT menu.
    3. Make a Playlist selection - If you only want to record a section of the song, highlight the section of time in the Playlist, hold ( Ctrl) and then click and drag along the bar-count at the top of the Playlist. If you don't make a selection then the whole song will Loop record.
    4. Start recording - Press Play in FL Studio and record as many takes as you need into Edison. Each time Edison loops section Markers will be placed in the recording (these are useful for later).
    5. Stop recording - Stop FL Studio and click on the record button in Edison to disable it.
    6. Start playback - Press Play in FL Studio and the first take in Edison will play in sync with the Playlist (slave mode is on), looping when the Playlist does.
    7. Audition takes - With Edison focused use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to select a different takes in Edison. Each left/Right-click will jump to the next/previous section.
    8. Send the perfect take to the Playlist - Press ( Shift+C) to send the current selection in Edison to Playlist. NOTE: Edison will automatically set the sample properties to the current project tempo so that the recording will stretch as the project tempo is changed.

    NOTE: The Edison method does not allow for 'sound-on-sound' recording where layers of audio are built up on each pass, for that use the Playlist method, below.

    1. Select Loop record mode - The switch is on the Recording panel.
    2. Select 'Blend Recording' from the Recording panel.
    3. Select Song mode - From the Transport Panel.
    4. Make a Playlist selection (optional) - If you want to Loop record over a section of the song, highlight the time-line section in the Playlist. Hold ( Ctrl + Left-click) and then drag along the bar-count at the top of the Playlist. If you don't make a selection then the whole song will Loop record.
    5. Monitoring options - To mute loop recorded Audio Clips switch Blend recorded notes Off. To hear loop recorded Audio Clips, turn it On.
    6. Arm record mode and press Play to start recording - When FL Studio reaches the end of the Playlist data or selection it will dump the recorded audio to the Playlist as an Audio Clip and loop back to the beginning of the selection to start recording a new Audio Clip.

      NOTE: Each time around the loop FL Studio must save .wav files, create channels and new .wav files. On some systems there may be audio glitches in the first few ms of each loop. Adding a bar lead in at the start of the loop section where you are not performing input audio will avoid this problem, should you experience it.

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 - Press the disk icon (17) 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 (1). In the Disk Recording sub-menu:
  3. Rendering / Freezing( Alt+R) - From the Mixer menu (1) 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 (16) 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:

    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.

  1. Mixer menu
  2. Mixer Track Scroll Bar
  3. Mixer Insert Tracks
  4. Send Tracks & Selected Track
  5. Big Peak Meter
  6. External mixer input
  7. External mixer output
  8. FX slots
  9. Mixer Track Properties
  10. Master Mixer Track
  11. Small Peak Meter
  12. Mute Switch
  13. Pan Knob
  14. Level Fader
  15. Send Knobs
  16. FX Enable/Disable Switch
  17. Track Recording Switch - Left-click: arm/disarm. Right-lick arm and name file and set save location.
  18. Track Send / Sidechain Enable Switch

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