FL Studio 12 is now fully touch-compatible. But for those of us without a touch screen, it can still be used in regular mode with the mouse. The revamp has brought a great new look to the application and that extends to the mixer too. Let’s see how the new mixer design can help your workflow, and unearth some of its secrets!
#1—Resize the Mixer
In the title bar is a size chooser for the new mixer and your options range from compact through to extra large. The smaller views are better suited to getting lots of stuff on the screen at any one time and are easier to manage using the mouse. The wider views offer a much better hands-on tactile surface if you are in touch mode. One good trick is to split the mixer window off to a second, touch-compatible screen and mix with your hands. This is also an interesting approach if your main PC isn’t touch-enabled but you want to add a touch screen to it without replacing the whole thing.
At the base of each channel in the mixer is a routing section that displays with green lines showing to which other channels that channel is being sent. If you select a channel and then click on the Send To enable button on any other channel, the first will be sent to the second. In this example, the channel is being sent to the effects buss send channels, represented by the virtual wires leading off to the right, and to the master out, shown by the single wire leading to the left. To break any of these connections, click the small green arrow above the enable button on the target channel. The wire will disappear and the first channel will no longer be sent to the second.
#3—Mixer Contextual Menu
If you right-click on any mixer channel you get a ton of options. Among the most useful are the ability to rename or re-colour the channel, open the Edison module to capture the track straight to an audio file, solo the track, edit its routing, create a group, dock it or move it left or right in the mixer. If you choose the File menu here you get access to various Mixer State commands that let you save and load mixer track states. This means any channel setup can be stored or loaded with a couple of clicks. Imagine you spent ages setting up the perfect vocal channel : you could call it up in any other project using this trick.
#4—Fader Contextual Menu
If you Alt-click on any fader you can return it to its default position. Right-click on the fader and you get another contextual menu. Here, interesting options include the ability to create an automation clip for the channel, link it to a hardware controller, override the generic link, and copy or manually enter a precise value for the channel’s volume. Manually entering volume levels can be a great way to make very small changes, like when you need changes to a track to be just slightly quieter or louder than you can accurately achieve with the
#5—Graphical Effects Chooser Menu
For any channel in the mixer, you get ten insert effect slots in the area on the right and this changes its view based on the channel you select. Clicking on an effect slot will bring up the familiar text-based effects chooser menu. However right-clicking on the same area will show a graphical menu featuring all installed plug-ins and you can double-click on any one to load it into a slot. Helpfully they can be instantly sorted by type by simply mousing over the category fields at the base of this window.
Channels have easily accessible EQ sections located underneath the inserts section in the mixer. You can dial in EQ using the sliders or the X/Y grid and control shelf frequencies and widths using the six dials below. It’s not quite as advanced as a plug-in-based EQ but it works well and is great for quick tweaks to tracks.
#7—Editing FX Settings
At the base of each channel is a sort of bell-shaped icon located above the clock icon. This is the enable/disable effect slots control and when it’s lit, the effects slots for that channel are active. By right-clicking on the same control you can instantly open the graphical editors of all the effects connected to that channel. This is a quick way to make changes without having to go via the slots area to the right of the mixer.
From the toolbar at the top of the mixer you can switch on waveform view for channels. When active, this shows scrolling waveforms for any channel as it generates signal. The cumulative effect looks really cool but also serves a purpose: it gives you a great visual overview of the project playing back including what is loud, what’s quiet, what’s about to start and what’s about to end.
#9—Link All Parameters
Click on the drop-down menu at the top left of the mixer to reveal its control panel. Here, amongst similar options to those you find contextually elsewhere in the mixer, you can choose an option called Link All Parameters. This lets you assign external hardware MIDI controllers or internal controllers to automatable mixer parameters inside your project. This means any volume and panning available in the mixer. It’s useful to know about as it lets you quickly set up hands-on control or automation recording.
In the mixer, Shift-click on a track’s title icon and you get a quick menu that lets you rename and re-colour it. Click on the track icon in this area and you get a choice of a whole bunch of other icons that can be quickly swapped in. These even include large number icons which can be handy for things like busses, for identifying tracks at a glance.
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