INSTRUMENTS / GENERATORS

FLEX

FLEX is a preset-based synthesizer driven by an advanced synthesis engine capable of Subtractive, Wavetable, Multisample, FM & AM based synthesis. The 8 Macros control custom synthesis targets, for each patch, and allow you to focus on what's most important: making music.

See FLEX video tutorials.

FLEX Preset Browser

The Preset Browser is used to select the sounds you want to use in FLEX. It allows you to access installed Packs, download previously purchased Packs, or purchase new Packs which you can then download and instantly start to play with.

FLEX utilizes an ever-expanding online library where you can purchase and download new sounds. FLEX is one of the most versatile and inspiring plugins in the Image-Line Library.

  • Presets - There are three main ways to browse presets. Use the Up/Down arrows at the top of the list allow to step through the list, loading each preset. Left-click presets to select specific ones from the list, or use your typing keyboard arrows and enter key to browse and select presets. The loaded preset shows an Arrow icon in front of the name. The orange box shows the preset that will be loaded if you press Enter. Normally the two are coincident, unless you have been using the keyboard arrows.
  • Installed Packs - Shows Packs installed on the current system. You can select a Pack by clicking on it. Once its selected it will be highlighted in orange. The preset panel on the right updates to show the presets included in each Pack. Click these presets to browse sounds.
    • ALL - Shows all installed presets, listed on the right side. This can be useful when used with TAGS to show all 'Bass' or 'FX' presets, for example.
  • Recents - Shows a list of recently used presets. You need to play at least one note for a preset to show in this list.
  • Favorites - Right-click or (Shift+F) to toggle preset as favorite. A star will show on the preset when favorited. (Alt+F) - Toggle visibility of favorites (stars).
  • Online Packs / Shop page - This icon shows for Packs you own (but not downloaded) and those available for purchase. Click on a Pack to show the Shop page for it.
  • Tags - Preset designers have added at least two tags per preset; Type and Style (Bass/Short, for example). Select the preset categories; ALL, RECENT or FAVORITES to restrict the search when using tags.

  • Search - Click and type search terms to the right of the TAGS button. This will search preset names.

Online Packs

You can download free and purchased Packs or buy additional libraries from the integrated FLEX Shop. This means there is no need to leave FLEX to purchase and install content.

From top to bottom:

  • Shopping cart icon - Click to open the in-app shop. Login to your Image-Line account to purchase, or gain access to content you have already purchased and need to download.
  • Queued - If you select multiple Packs for download, the first will start downloading and others will be queued, showing this icon.
  • Downloading - Packs downloading show a clock icon and a progress bar below the Pack. If you close FL Studio before a Pack has completed downloading, any downloaded data will be discarded and you will need to start the download again. Hover your Mouse cursor over the download icon and it will change to Cancel download.
  • No icon - Installed section: The Pack is installed. Online section: Available for purchase. Click these Packs to select them for purchase, a tick will appear (see below).
  • Ready for download (clickable icon) - This icon shows for purchased and free ready to be downloaded. Click the icon to start the download. Some packs such as Essential Strings, Essential Pianos are free to registered FL Studio customers only, so will only be available for download once you have unlocked FL Studio. This icon will also show if a Pack has been updated and a new download of it is available. NOTE: The FL Studio Hint Bar will show the download size on mouse-over the download icon.
  • Selected for purchase - This Pack has been selected (clicked) and will be added to your cart for purchase when you open the Shop.

Purchasing Packs

Click the pack in FLEX and add it to the internal Shop cart. Then follow the on-screen instructions to purchase the pack. To learn more about the Packs, or purchase them through our Shop, head over to the Plugin Content page and select FLEX as the Instrument.

Packs available for purchase include:

Installing Packs on an Offline Computer

FLEX Packs are saved to your User data folder under Image-line/FLEX/Packs. If you need to install FLEX Packs on an offline computer, you have two choices:

  1. Purchase Packs and use the automated download and installation through FLEX, using your online machine. Then, copy the Packs from your online to offline machine. You can find the downloaded Packs under Image-line/FLEX/Packs. Packs are .flexpack files. There is a single file to copy for each Pack. For example, the Pandora Library (shown above), is contained in a file named 'Black Octopus Pandora.flexpack' (.flexpack will only show if you have set your File Browser to show extensions).
  2. Purchase Packs from our Shop. Then, download them from your Image-Line Account. Follow the download and installation instructions shown under My Account > My Licenses, for each Pack you need to install.

Main Controls

Sculpt, alter and play with the sounds to fit into the project you are working on.

Analysis

The icons along the top select (from left to right):

  • Logo - Shows when no sound is detected. NOTE: You can double-click the display to cycle through the available GUI themes.
  • Waveform - Displays the audio waveform. The oscilloscope sync is locked to the lowest MIDI note played. Right-click to disable or enable 'Pinch' view (tapers the ends of the waveform).
  • Spectrogram - Displays a moving trace of the audio signal. Color hue represents intensity (level), vertical position represents frequency (20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, bottom to top is represented) and horizontal position represents time.
  • Vectorscope - The Vectorscope measures the differences between the left and right channels of a stereo input and can provide information about stereo content, panning and phase. The flying spot - follows the positive and negative amplitude oscillations of the left and right input waveforms. See Wave Candy for a more detailed explanation.
  • Frequency histogram - Shows the frequency spectrum, low frequencies left, high frequencies to the right. The height of the display represents the relative strength of those frequencies.

Macros

There are 8 Macros per preset. The total number of active Macros (colored slider handles) and their target varies from sound to sound. Macros usually point to controls not available on the main plugin UI. FLEX has 100's of possible synthesis parameters that designers may link to a Macro, 'Unison' for example. Automating macros is a great way to impart unique character to presets.

Pitch

Controls the main Pitch output from the plugin.

  • +/- buttons - These change pitch in semitones. Hold (Shift) for octaves. The maximum range of the control is 2 octaves up or down (24 semitones).
  • Slider - Changes the pitch in cents. Hold (Alt) for finer control.

Filter

The Main Filter is under the control of the preset designer, and may be a high, low, notch or other style filter.

  • Cutoff - Filter cutoff frequency.
  • Resonance (Res) - Filter resonance introduces a frequency boost just prior to the cutoff slope. This gives the sound a metallic or 'resonant' quality.
  • Envelope Amount (Env Amt) - Modulation of the filter cutoff envelope.

Envelopes

Envelopes are a modulation triggered by note on, velocity, hold and release. These aspects of the note can then control parameters in the preset related to filters or volume respectively. The controls here act as multipliers to the default envelope length of the preset, with the range of these varying from preset to preset.

The AHDSR modifiers control either the Volume or Filter envelopes as follows:

  • Attack (A) - Time taken to reach the 'Hold' level.
  • Hold (H) - Initial level at which the sound is played when a key is held.
  • Decay (D) - Time taken for the level to decay to the 'Sustain' level.
  • Sustain (S) - Defines the 'Sustain' level, when a key is held.
  • Release (R) - Defines how quickly the sound decays to silence on release (note off), if at all.

Effects

The bottom row of panels are all master effects. They are present in each preset and usually have embedded a state of the controls. This means that while the preset will usually already have a good sounding default state, you can turn these off, on or tweak them to your liking. NOTE: There may be additional effects applied to patches, not accessible from these controls.

Master Filter

Choose from one of the many filter types available in FLEX.

  • Cutoff - Filter cutoff frequency.
  • Resonance (Res) - Filter resonance introduces a frequency boost just prior to the cutoff slope. This gives the sound a metallic or 'resonant' quality.
  • Filter Types:
    • Low pass 6 - Low pass, 6 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Low pass 12 - Low pass, 12 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Low pass 12 Alt - Low pass, 12 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Low pass 24 - Low pass, 24 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Low pass 24 Alt - Low pass, 24 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • High pass 6 - High pass, 6 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • High pass 12 - High pass, 12 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • High pass 12 Alt - High pass, 12 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • High pass 24 - High pass, 24 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Band pass 12 - Band pass, 12 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Band pass 12 Alt - Band pass, 12 dB per octave slope, starting at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Low shelf - Boost/cut all frequencies below the cutoff (like a Bass control).
    • High shelf - Boost/cut all frequencies above the cutoff (like a Treble control).
    • Notch - Very narrow band of frequencies are cut at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Peak - Very narrow band of frequencies are allowed through at the Cutoff frequency.
    • Phaser 1 - Phasing effect. The phasing is under the control of the Cutoff knob.
    • Phaser 2 - Alternative phasing effect. The phasing is under the control of the Cutoff knob.
    • Phaser 3 - Alternative, alternative phasing effect.. The phasing is under the control of the Cutoff knob.
    • Vowel - Resonant filter that can make spoken vowel type resonances. Use the Cutoff to change the a,e,i,o,u sound.
    • Comb+ - Series of very narrow band peaks. Looks like a comb.
    • Comb- - Series of very narrow band cuts. Looks like a comb.
    • All pass - Changes the phase of frequencies in the sound, without actually cutting or boosting any.

Delay

This unit is based on Fruity Delay 3.

  • Time - Time delay between echoes.
  • Feedback - Level of the echo sent back into the plugin. Level can be set to values above 100%
  • Mix - Amount of filtering of the echoes.
  • Color - Low-pass filtering of the echoes (cutoff frequency).
  • Mod - Sine wave shape modulation of the delay time. Creates a less regular delay period, and so more complex sound.
  • Delay Types
    • Fake stereo - Pseudo-stereo delay effect based on a single, monophonic delay line with summed L/R signal and 2 different tap points for L & R delay.
    • True stereo - Echoes are stereo. The Left and Right channels are separately delayed. Offset controls pre-delays for the Left and Right channels to create left-right bouncing / panning effects. Feedback is likewise per channel, so the left and right channels stereo content is maintained.
    • Ping pong - Echoes are mixed stereo, with the left and right channels alternately flipped on each delay loop to create the left-right bouncing effect. If you are using a stereo source you will hear the channels swap or bounce on each echo. If you use a mono source, you will need to adjust the Pan to create stereo ping-pong effects. Pan acts the same way as panning in the FL Studio mixer to pan the input to the plugin.

Reverb

Use reverb to simulates acoustic spaces.

  • Decay - Controls the decay time of the reverb, this is the time it takes for the signal to decay to -60dB (1/1000 of the maximum amplitude). Use low decay times for small rooms (good for fattening drum sounds), and long decay times for large rooms (halls or church-effects).
  • Size - Use this knob to set the size of the virtual room being simulated (the display will give you feedback). For realistic effects, the Room Size should be adjusted according to the decay time. Small rooms sound better with a short decay time, large rooms sound better with longer reverb times.
  • Mix - Sets the relative level of the reverberant (wet) signal.
  • Color - Adjusts damping of the high frequencies in the reverb signal. Damping refers to the rate at which the high frequencies decay. This effect causes the sound to become gradually muffled and warmer.
  • Mod - Modulates the reverb time, to break up 'metallic' ringing sounds associated with artificial reverb. Small values make the reverb sound smoother and more natural. Extreme modulation values can add a detuned sound to the reverb.

Limiter

Select from compression, limiting and distortion effects. This unit is based on Maximus. NOTE: The threshold is represented by the top of the peak-metering bars.

  • Pre - Pre-compression gain. Useful for raising the level of a band into the active compression region.
  • Mix - Compression mix. Partial values reflect a state of parallel compression.
  • Type:
    • Limiter - Hard limiting.
    • Warming - Soft saturation style compression.
    • Heating - Saturation style compression.
    • Distortion - Distortion-prone compression.

Output Volume

The volume slider controls the final output from FLEX. This is the last control in the effects chain.

FLEX Logo Bar (lower panel)

There are several functions here:

  • Left side arrow - Expand and collapse the Preset Panel.
  • Main bar - Shows download progress or patch information (when the developer has provided it).
  • Logo - To check the version number, hover your mouse over the logo and look at the FL Studio Hint bar. Click the logo to show a menu:
    • Show panel locks - Panel locks prevent settings on the locked panel from changing as you browse presets.
    • Theme - Choose a color scheme. You can also cycle through the themes by double-clicking the Analysis window.

Plugin Credits

Code: Daniel Schaack

User Interface: Miroslav Krajcovic (tormented by design committee)