FL Studio VST

FL Studio as a Plugin (VST)

FL Studio can be loaded and used as a VSTi instrument in a compatible host application. In this mode, the output is sent to the host and the play/stop events and tempo are synchronized. Controlling FL Studio channels and parameters using MIDI messages is also supported. Additionally, you can send each mixer track to a separate output, if the host supports VST plugins with multiple outputs.

Installing FL Studio VST

Normally, FL Studio will ask you where to copy the VST connection to during the installation. However, if you didn't install the plugin at that time, or you want to install it on more than one host, in the Windows Start Menu, select Programs > FL Studio > Advanced > Install Plugin Version. You will see a dialog where you can set the plugin folder of the host where you want the connection installed.

Basic use of FL Studio VST

Add an instance of the FL Studio VSTi plugin or the Multi FL Studio VSTi plugin. Open the editor of the plugin (for more information on how to work with plugins, check the manual that comes with your host application). Click the FL Studio button (as shown) to access the FL Studio interface. Now you can continue to work as usual - load projects, edit instruments and melodies. However, the audio output of FL Studio will be sent to the host application. Also, when you play in the host application, FL Studio will be synchronized. You can select whether FL Studio should follow its own tempo or the host tempo using the Slave tempo option in the Audio Settings.

The Time Offset setting in the plugin editor sets how many bars FL Studio should start playing before the host plays. Select a negative value to have FL Studio start later than the host. Due to issues with VSTi plugins (which are not FL Studio-related), it is always preferable to leave one bar time empty at the start of the song, either using the Time Offset option, or by leaving an empty bar in both the FL Studio Playlist and the host sequence.

NOTE: To hide the FL Studio interface and work in the host, don't use the minimize button as it will also hide the host window. Use the close button so that FL Studio remains active.

Using multiple outputs

You can send to the Host DAW from any Mixer track. Here the Master Mixer channel is being sent out the FL 1 stereo output from the Mixer channel OUT control:

FL Studio plugin connections can be either single or multiple output versions. The single output version sends the whole audio output of FL Studio as single pair of channels (left and right channel). The multiple output version allows you to link each mixer track in FL Studio to one of 16 possible stereo outputs. You can then mix each stereo output separately in the host. To select the output for a specific track, in FL Studio, open the Mixer window and use the OUT routing menu from the Mixer. You can route from the Master Mixer track to gain all Mixer channels or the individual mixer tracks as needed. NOTE: Not all hosts support VST plugins with multiple outputs. In these cases, use the single output version of the plugin.

Controlling FL Studio channels & patterns from the host

All FL Studio channels can be controlled via MIDI messages from the host. To do so, create a MIDI channel in the host, select the FL Studio connection plugin as an output and check the instruments list. If the host supports custom instrument names, all FL Studio channels will be listed. Select the name of the channel to control. Remember to assign the track a unique MIDI channel number (out of 16 available).

You can also control any automatable FL Studio parameter from the host. This feature works exactly like using MIDI remote control with an external MIDI device. Link the parameters as usual to the corresponding MIDI controller number and MIDI channel. Select whether to record MIDI messages from the host application during recording sessions from the Audio Settings.

To trigger patterns directly from your VSTi host, use the Playlist Live Preview MIDI channel (see MIDI Settings.)

Issues with the VST connections

Slide notes, per note, shift, pan, cutoff and resonance are not supported by the MIDI standard; you will need to use FL Studio for sequencing to access these features.

When running the VSTi connection from Cubase™, drag and drop operations in the Browser will not work.