Image-Line's FL Studio, now on it's 12th version, is a well-known music production suite and the most popular beat processor on the market, due no doubt to its longevity. Formerly known as FruityLoops, the first release of this digital audio workstation was two decades ago in 1997. It's especially popular among the pop and hip-hop genres due to its compatibility with synthesizers.
- The ability to record, mix and master music
- A slew of built-in plugins for equalizing, limiting, compressing and more
- Perhaps the easiest DAW to use while still maintaining a professional finish
- The best beat processor on the market
- Great for music that focuses on synthesizers and artificial drums
- Light weight and suitable for a laptop
- Not the most powerful DAW by any means
- Looked at as amateurish by some
- Not the best DAW for music that focuses on an organic sound or heavy acoustic recording
Turn on a pop radio station for more than five minutes and there's an extremely likely chance that one of the songs that played was made in some version of FL Studio. And it's not just pop: No genre is truly safe from this behemoth among DAWs, or digital audio workstations. It precedes the likes of Avid's Pro Tools, Apple's Logic Pro and even the old workhorse Audacity to be one of the oldest and most well known music production applications ever. Notable users, just to name a very small few, include Soulja Boy, 808 Mafia, Avicii and Afrojack. What makes the software so popular is its balance of power and ease of use. Any sort of music can be made on FL Studio, but it's a favorite among the rap and dubstep scenes because of its beat processing abilities. It's incredibly easy to remix, deconstruct or simply create some very fine music. Additionally, the software is easy to enhance with industry-leading VST plugins, like Amplitube, Auto-Tune or iZotope's Ozone. It's compatible with pretty much any recording hardware, whether it's USB, Firewire or even wireless. Creative disk jockeys are even known to use FL Studio live during shows, as its looping features can be invaluable for performers. There's no doubt that some of the more modern music studio software is more powerful, but that doesn't mean that they are as easy to use. Even so, it's not uncommon for producers to produce beats or synthesized tracks in FL and then export them to software that's better suited for top-of-the-market needs. Overall, FL Studio is a must-have for amateur producers and masters alike.