FL Studio 20 Review

FL studio’ 20 is finally here, and inthis review I’m going to show you some of the key features and changes in thisnew major update. FL Studio is now finally available on Mac, which is greatnews for the Mac users out there. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, they’veskipped version 13 and went straight to 20 instead. The main reason for this isto celebrate the 20th anniversary of FL Studio. Believe it or not, this piece ofsoftware is now 20 years old! How about that!It sure has come a long way from those early days. I won’t be coveringeverything, because there’s a lot to dive into, but I’ll cover the most excitingstuff. So, let’s get to it: Arguably the most important feature so far has to dowith the PDC system. PDC, or a PDC as it’s called, stands for “automatic plug-indelay compensation”. This system is always working in the background, making surethat all your sounds stay synchronized. Whenever you add a plug-in, it willalways introduce some latency to your project, and if that’s not compensatedfor then your various sounds won’t be in sync. To solve this, every DAW out thereuses delay compensation. In the earlier versions of FL studio the PDC has alwaysbeen somewhat flawed. It doesn’t always work, which will be obvious to anyonetrying to connect external gear such as the Access virus for example.

The PDCalso breaks down when you start doing fancy routing in the mixer. Like if youtry to use a Send track for example, then the Send track won’t be delay compensated.There are workarounds that can make life easier by using a third track forexample, but that doesn’t always work either. The good news is that now, in FLStudio 20, the PDC system has been completely redesigned. It should nowsimply just work all the time, which is great. You won’t have to worry about thePDC failing. This is huge! It’s one of those things that people have beenrequesting for years, and now it’s finally coming. I can’t even imagine howmany man-hours it must have taken to get this done. While changes to the PBC may not be that noticeable when you first open FLStudio, something that definitely IS noticeable is the mixer. You’ll quicklynotice that you now have more mixer channels than before. There’s now a totalof 125 mixer tracks available, and this is just the beginning. There’s more tocome. While we’re in the mixer, if we go here, you’ll see that we also have a fewextra layouts to choose from too. Another thing you’ll notice early onwhen you open the playlist is that there’s been an increase in the trackshere as well. We now have a total of 500 tracks which should be more than enoughfor most people. The grouping functionality has also been slightlyimproved. There’s now an arrow displayed on the parent track whenever a group ismade. This is a lot more intuitive compared to the earlier versions. You canalso choose to completely hide collapse tracks, which is awesome. Any improvementthat will help with organization is more than welcome. Unfortunately I didn’t getmy favorite feature request fulfilled this time though, as I was hoping for atrue folder track architecture that would allow you to make groups withingroups and such.

I’m told that this functionality is going to getimplemented further down the line though, so hopefully my wish will come true inthe not so distant future. While we’re in the playlist, another keyfeature that’s being added is the time signature changes. People have beenasking for this for a long time and many of you probably don’t need this, butthose who do will be thrilled to finally have this feature. The same goes for the piano roll. Another new feature is the consolidateoption. This makes it easier than ever to freeze a track. You now simplyright-click here, and consolidate the entire track. You can also choose to consolidate aselection of tracks or clips. This is an awesome workflow improvement.Unfreezing something still requires some work though, so it’s not a hundredpercent perfect yet, but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction, andthis functionality will of course be also improved upon in future updates, soI’m confident that those who keep asking for a true freeze and unfreeze functionwill be happy in the end. You can also render your patterns to audio directlyfrom the picker panel. Another major feature added to theplaylist is the option to have multiple arrangements. This is similar to thescratch pads you’ll find in studio one for example. This is a major improvement!We can now make several versions of the same project and have it all availablefrom this menu. You can simply choose between them instantly like this. This ishuge, definitely something I’ll be using. Quite handy if you want to experiment,but you don’t want to mess up the original arrangement. If this was any other DAW, I’d go as farto say that this feature alone would make it worth the upgrade. But as youknow, FL studio has lifetime free updates, so you only pay once.

I just can’t get over how great this is.Now there’s no need to keep alternate arrangements and such at the end of aproject anymore. If I wanted to make a radio edit, I could just copy everythingover to a new playlist and have both versions available within the sameproject. Just be careful not to delete any channels, as those are shared by thedifferent playlist versions. Well, moving on. Now we have the option tomake Clips solid. That looks quite nice indeed. They’vealso fixed that thing with the border, so now it looks more like it does in logic.The next feature has to do with recording. If you record directly intothe playlist you’ll notice that as you record, the waveform will now be animatedin real-time. This is a great improvement. Soon thiswill work when recording MIDI as well. You have probably also noticed thechanges to the toolbar by now. The aim here is to make it morestreamlined and customizable, as well as maximize the space available. The patternand song mode button has also changed. Now displaying text instead of justchanging color. Not everyone is happy about this, but I’m fairly sure this wasdone to make it easier for people who are colorblind, or those with impairedsight, and you can’t really argue with that.Speaking of visibility: Another feature that has been added is the highvisibility feature. This generally makes things more obvious. If I turn it onyou’ll see what I mean. If I open my playlist and my mixer forexample, you can now easily see what’s open and what’s not.

I actually like thisa lot. Another useful upgrade. Speaking of upgrades, the dumps score log feature now allows you to choose different time settings. You can choose to dump just thelast two minutes for example. Another small but important upgrade is that themetronome is now delay compensated by default. Some of you might have noticedthat if you turn on the metronome in a large project, it will be out of sync. Thesolution for this was to manually route it to a mixer track in order for it tobecome delay compensated. I even made a video about how to do this. From now onthis won’t be a problem anymore, which is great news. All of those small updatesand fixes like that really add to the whole, making your favorite DAW just somuch better than it was before. If you go to the sampler, you’ll notice that thepre-computed defects are now back. There’s also been changes to Edison andfruity reverb too, and much more as well as a bunch of bug fixes and generalimprovements. For a full list of improvements and bug fixes so far, checkout the link in the description below. There’s a lot more coming, and the bestthing is that all these features are free, since FL Studio, unlike other DAWscomes with free lifetime updates. I hope you’re as excited about these newfeatures as I am. I’m curious though, what kind of features are the most importantto you? What would you like to see added or changed in FL Studio? Let’s have alittle discussion in the comments below. I hope you liked this video, and if youdid, then please give it a thumbs up. As always, if you have any questions, justlet me know in the comments below. Feel free to check out my other videos too ifyou haven’t already done so. Thanks !

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