How to Convert Audio to MIDI in FL Studio

While editing audio is much more flexible than ever before, converting audio into MIDI can add another level to our ability to change a recording. Gary Hiebner shows how to do this in FL Studio.  

Being able to take audio files, decode the transients and pitch data, and then convert this data to MIDI is a super handy feature. And this can be done in FL Studio. For example you could browse through your audio drum loops pull them into FL Studio, extract the note data and then use this converted MIDI pattern with another drum instrument in your song. Or maybe you want to record your song ideas down singing/humming them into a microphone. Then you can convert these audio ideas to MIDI and assign them to other instruments. Let’s take a look at how this is done. 

Step 1 - Adding Audio into Edison

First add Edison to an FL slot in the mixer (use F9 to bring up the Mixer if it is not showing). Double-click it to bring up its user interface.  Drag and drop an audio file into Edison’s waveform editor. 

Drag and Drop Audio into Edison

Now go to the Step Sequencer (use F6 to open the window if it’s not already open), and add an instrument via the Channels menu. I’m going to add an instance of the FL Keys.

Adding Instrument to Step Sequencer

Step 2 - Convert Using the Tools Menu

Now jump back to Edison, and go to the Tools menu (the icon for the menu item is a wrench), then choose ‘Convert to Score and Dump to Piano Roll’ under the Analysis submenu. Go back to the Step Sequencer window and notice how FL Studio has placed a pattern in the channel with the instrument.

Convert to Score

Step 3 - View Your MIDI in the Piano Roll.

Open this pattern up in the Piano Roll and see how Edison has converted your audio to a MIDI event with different note lengths, pitch data and velocities. You can go in and edit this MIDI data if you want. 

Piano Roll MIDI

Step 4 - Recording in Audio and Converting It

Alternatively you can record in audio ideas into Edison, and then convert these to MIDI. First make sure you have set up the correct audio input in Mixer. Choose your input on the input source on the mixer.

Input for Mixer

Then go into Edison, and make sure you have ‘On Input’ enabled.

Enable On Input

Then click the Record button and Edison will record in the external audio input. Hum or sing in an idea, and when you have finished hit the stop button. You can playback the audio to check it recorded the idea correctly.

Record Audio

Now do the same steps as mentioned earlier, go to the Tools menu and choose ‘Convert to score and dump to piano roll’

I have assigned this to a synth instrument. So instead of trying to play in my synths parts, I can hum in the ideas and then convert then to MIDI. How neat is that?

Step 5 - Conclusion

That’s how easy it is to convert your audio files to MIDI. You can take rough audio sketch ideas, convert them to MIDI and then assign them to some of FL Studio’s awesome instruments. Or you can use your collection of audio loops, convert them to MIDI and assign the MIDI to new instruments. This really gives you extra songwriting flexibility. For further FL Studio tips and techniques check out the following tutorials:

https://www.askvideo.com/course/fl-studio-101-introducing-fl-studio

https://www.askvideo.com/course/harmor-synthesis-on-steroids

Gary Hiebner is an enthusiastic South African Sound Designer and Apple Tech Head! Gary has been involved in the South African music industry for the decade, and in this time has also been involved in the sound design and music production for many advertising agencies and media houses. Gary is a devoted Logic and Ableton user, but he al... Read More

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