Channels and instruments: Each channel in FL Studio contains one instrument plugin. Instruments are usually synthesizers or sample players, used to create the melody and percussion
in a song. FL Studio supports the VST, AU (macOS) and FL Studio's own native plugin formats. Native instruments are the most flexible with 'per note' slides
and Right-Click automation linking. The Channel settingsMixer track selector (shown below) determines the
Mixer track routing for the selected Instrument.
Use instrument tracks - Drag the preset from the Browser or Plugin Picker database ((F8)) to a Playlist Track header OR Right-click a Playlist Track header and choose a plugin instrument to associate with the track. This will link the Instrument Channel, Playlist Track (including a default Pattern) through to a Mixer track. See here for more details.
Use the plugin picker - Open the Plugin Picker database ((F8)) and double-click an instrument OR drag to a Mixer track and the instrument will be routed to this track and the Mixer track auto-named after the plugin.
Use the 'Add plugin to rack' (+) button - As shown above.
Replace an existing instrument channel - Right-Click on a Channel Button and select 'Replace >' from the pop-up context menu.
Insert a new instrument channel - Right-Click on a Channel Button and select 'Insert >' from the pop-up context menu. The new Channel will be added above the Channel.
Drag or send an instrument preset from the Plugin Database - Drag the preset from the Browser to the Channel RackOR drag a preset to a Mixer track and the instrument will be routed to this track and the Mixer track auto-named after the plugin OR right-click the preset and select 'send to selected channel'.
NOTE: FL Studio includes only the DEMO VERSIONS of some instruments. Trial plugins show '(Trial)' on their wrapper title. You can purchase the full versions of these instruments at www.image-line.com.
How to see more than one Instrument at a time
To open multiple plugin interfaces - Hold (Alt)/(option) and click the Channel's Button on the Channel Rack. Keep doing this for each new instrument you wish to remain simultaneously visible. Alternatively, click the LED icon of the Channel you wish to remain open and then click the new Channel button. To disable the auto-close interface behavior you can also deselect the F10General settings option Auto select linked modules.
Playing Instrument Channels with a Controller
If you have a keyboard or other controller this can be used to play/control Instrument Channels. FL Studio listens in 'Omni' mode so any connected controller will play the selected channel. If you have more than one controller you can use these to simultaneously play separate instrument channels. For information on how to do this see Controllers and Instrument Channels
VST / AU Effects: FL Studio installs with a generous suite of high-quality instruments so there is no need to purchase anything else in order to produce professional quality tracks. However the internet is
bursting with instrument plugins, a great place to start is www.kvraudio.com.
The Plugin database & Plugin picker
The Browser contains a special Plugin database folder that works in conjunction with the Plugin picker to help you organize and retrieve plugins based on a visual display.
Instrument / Generator Plugins
This section contains links to the help for all instrument plugins that are installed with FL Studio.