FL Studio 20 Beginner’s Illustrated Guide

FL Studio 20 Beginners Guide 2020

In this guide for beginners, we will talk further on how FL Studio 20 works.

FL Studio is one of the most extended DAW Softwares in the world. With the information, tutorials, and guides today, it’s not that hard to find what you need with a few clicks. However, you can often see that there is still some information that is missing. Now we will try to explain to you those micro tips that would help you as a beginner and make your production times easier.

1. What is The FL studio used for?

FL Studio is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that has extensive use across the music and recording scene. It’s a program where you can create your own music, sound design, record the voice, apply various techniques like mixing, mastering, or audio restoring.

Fruity Loops Studio is enjoying great popularity worldwide. The reason for that is because it’s easy to use, learn and you can see the results very fast if you are the music producer.

2. What can you do with FL Studio?

Great question. It’s a DAW that has unlimited potential when you know how things work. You can create dream projects and music that will be released in any Major Music Recording Labels. If your goal is not about releasing music, then you are able to create Music Samplepacks that you can also publish and start to making money with it. Other than that, you can do the technical side of music like being Mastering Engineer and Freelancer in one person and offering your service. Just stick to the one thing and get good at it, try to avoid jumping from one task to another.

3. Can you mix music in FL Studio?

FL Studio is a Complex DAW that is offering you a complete solution in one place. You can do Composing, Mixing, Mastering, Audio Restoration, Audio Editing, etc.

The mixer is the place in your DAW where you are doing most of your mixing. Why? Because when it comes to mixing, you are trying to find the best balance between the sounds to make your sounds sound better together. And that’s the place where are the essential knobs and effects. There you can also group your sounds to sound more compact and well-knit. The DAW has a very easy to use and intuitive Mixer, so you don’t need to worry that you get overwhelmed.

You can also add the plugins at the right side in the Mixer and start with the blending of your track. Just open the Mixer, then click on any “Slot” there, and it will open the menu of plugins where you can choose from (To add new plugins, select “More Plugins” options on the menu. If you are looking for some practical tips when mixing, check these 30 Tips For Creative And Consistent Electronic Music Production.

4. What is Edison in FL Studio?

Edison is a potent Sampler effect where you can cut, edit, reverse, applying effects,  add regions, setting loops, fading out, time-stretching, applying blur, or doing many actions and tweaks to make your samples sound better.


The best thing about a tool is that you can record the sounds, place them onto your playlist, and remove plugins that taking you too much CPU or RAM. Then, you can start Resamping your sounds and apply various effects, record multiple instruments into one, or whatever you like and then repeat the process. This way, you can get rid of the old version of your samples and keep only the latest version. So you can keep your project clean without sounds that are not used.

The more you are resampling it, the more your sound starts getting that heavy character and color that you are looking for.

If you are planning to resample a lot, you must find a good method on how to do that because you will probably want to use more versions of the specific sound, not just one. If that’s the case, then don’t remove the plugins that you have in your mixer. First, make sure to do a backup of your project, then record more variations of beats, melodies, or effects, whatever and record the various versions through these heavy plugins, and when you are done, and you don’t need these intensive plugins anymore, then can remove them, and save some massive amount of CPU and RAM.

Of course, you have to know which plugins are useful to use in a particular situation, but once you know it,  with resampling, you can experiment on an entirely new level. So Edison for the win!

5. Is 8gb RAM enough for FL Studio?

8GB of RAM for music production in 2019 and later is a minimum to be able to create a decent project with lots of effects, instruments, and samples. It also depends, how heavy the plugins that you are using are, and how long are the samples that are loaded. However, if you want to go above and beyond and stay one step ahead of your competition, you would be more likely to consider to acquire at least 16GB of RAM.

How To Save More RAM in Your DAW (4 Tips)

  • 1. Cut the long samples and use the only part that is playing only in your Playlist (timeline) – Huge RAM Savings
  • 2. Record the sounds from heavy VST Plugins into samples with Edison (Sampler) – Huge RAM Savings
  • 3. Go to “Tools” -> “Macros” -> “Purge Unused Audio Clips” – This will remove all samples that are not in use – Big RAM Savings
  • 4. If you have 8GB RAM, but in the program, it’s showing only 4GB, then try to go to FL Studio Directory. And open (Scaled) version.

6. Does Slicex come with FL Studio 20?

It depends on which FL Edition you will buy. You can choose from 4 FL Studio editions Which are:

  1. FL Studio Fruity Edition (This edition doesn’t include Slicex)
  2. FL Studio Producer Edition (Include Slicex)
  3. FL Studio Signature Bundle (Include Slicex)
  4. FL Studio + ALL Plugins Bundle (Include Slicex)

Find more info and compare these editions at the official Image-Line website here.

7. How do I add samples to FL Studio?

1.  Adding Samples Into Browser

Follow these steps to see all your samples on the Left Side in the “Browser” so producing will be comfortable for you just by picking sounds that you are searching for at the moment.

  • 1. Go to “Options” At the Top
  • 2. Click on “File Settings”
  • 3. Click on  “Set User Data Folder”
  • 4. Find FL Studio 20/Data/Patches and click OK


It will ask you to Restart FL. After doing that, it will refresh all the samples that you have added into the “Patches” directory in your FL Studio 20 installation folder.

2.  Adding Samples Into Playlist 

The first method (Drag & Drop)

  • 1. Click on a sample that you want to use and drag it on your playlist (timeline) or onto the pattern’s channel.

The second method (Open In channel)

  • 1. If you want to rewrite the sample with some another sample, Right Click on the Sample and choose “Send to selected Channel or Focused Plugin” this will completely replace the original sample or plugin with new that you’ve used.
  • 2. In case you want to create a new original sample and don’t rewrite anything, choose “Open in New Channel.”

3.  Adding Samples to Audio Editor (For tweaks, improvements)

If you want to edit your sample a bit further, choose the option for “Edit in Audio Editor” that will open the “Edison” plugin, and you can make these micro tweaks and improvements like remove the silence, cut, duplicate regions, fade-in, fade-out or whatever you like in this magic FL Studio tool.

4. Adding Samples to Various Tools

You are also able to edit your samples in FL premade tools like Slicer, Slicex, and Granulizer. You can easily add your samples by using the same method as above.

Slicer and Slicex are excellent if you are looking for editing and making your drums to sound more “micro,” but also tp quantizing them properly if the beat itself hasn’t right placed and is “off the grid.”

On the other side, Granulizer is a favorite VST tool when it comes to Sound Design. It’s a very straightforward and smart tool that you can find fascinating sounds just with a few tweaks.

8. How to Add and Copy New Pattern in FL Studio 20

To Add New Pattern

  • 1. Go To “Pattern Section” between Browser and Playlist
  • 2. Right Click on “Pattern 1”
  • 3. Click on “Find Next Empty (no naming)


To Copy Pattern

  • 1. Click on Pattern you want to copy
  • 2. Click in the Playlist (That will create a specific pattern)
  • 3. Left-click on the Pattern’s arrow and choose “Make Unique”

This will create a copy of the same pattern, but it will make a new Layer (New Pattern), so you can make any changes you like with ease because it’s backed up.

9. How do you duplicate in FL Studio 20?

There are two methods to duplicate in FL Studio 20 where you can apply both in the Playlist but also in the Piano Roll:

First Method (Duplicate)

  • 1. Go to the Playlist Panel At the Top and choose “Select” to select Patterns or Notes that you want to duplicate
  • 2. To keep it simple, we’ll use the Keyboard – After you have made your selection, hold CTRL B to start replicating your sounds, samples, or notes.

How do you duplicate in FL Studio 20?

Second Method (Copy/Paste)

  • 1. Choose “Select” to select Patterns or Notes that you want to copy and paste
  • 2. After that, just use CTRL C and CTRL V to paste the elements

The difference between these two is that when you duplicate, items are added on the grid, so you don’t need to worry about doing some additional work with your mouse if you want to use them in a row. Meanwhile, when you are using copy and paste, it just creates the copy that isn’t even well placed on your grid, so duplicating is a better alternative to multiply your elements (whether it’s notes, samples, patterns, automations, whatever)

Third Method (Move Your Mouse)

This is an adorable feature from FL Studio that came a year ago. Who knows, maybe that’s the reason why so many users have fallen in love with FL.

Basically click on the element you would like to copy and move your mouse – that will automatically create the copies for you. Keep it simple and draw something big!

10. How to Align (Quantize) Notes in FL Studio?

  • 1. In Piano Roll go to “Snap To Grid”
  • 2. Choose the option to set the appropriate Quantization
  • 3. Go To Piano Roll Options -> Tools -> Quantize
  • 4. Make the changes and click OK

You might also align your notes to place them exactly on your Grid by using CTRL + Q To Quick Quantize.

How to Align (Quantize) Notes in FL Studio?

11. How do I zoom out in FL Studio 20?

First Method (Using Playlist Options)

  • 1. Go to the Playlist Options
  • 2. Click on the Zoom and then Zoom Out
  • 3. Or use the “Page Down” on your keyboard.

Second Method (Mouse Dragging)

  • 1. Click on the Edge of Scrolling Bar in the Playlist
  • 2. Hold and Zoom it out as you like

Third Method (Using Mouse Wheel)

  • 1. Move your Mouse To the Playlist’s Scrollbar at the top
  • 2. Click and hold the mouse wheel
  • 3. Move with your mouse as you need
  • How do I zoom out in FL Studio 20?


12. How do I delete multiple notes on FL Studio?

  • 1. In your Piano Roll choose “Select”
  • 2. Select the notes that you want to remove
  • 3. Use delete button

13. How do I set Automation in FL Studio?

Method 1 

How To Automate Mixer Parameters in FL Studio

  • Open Mixer
  • Right-click on the parameter you want to create Automation for
  • Click “Create Automation Clip”

Method 2 

How to Set Automation in FL Studio Effect and Instrument Plugins

  • Open desired FL Studio Plugin
  • Right-click on the Parameter you want to create Automation clip for
  • Choose “Create Automation Clip”

Method 3

How To Set Automation in FL Studio For Third-Party Plugins

  • Make a tweak with the desired parameter in Third-Party Plugin
  • Then go to -> “Tools” -> “Last Tweaked”
  • Then choose “Create Automation Clip”

It will detect and recognize your movement by using the Mouse or your MIDI controller. In case you cannot find the latest parameter/macro that you’ve tweaked with, then go to “Tools” -> “Next to Last Tweaked.”

14. How do I remove things from FL Studio?

There are lots of things that you may remove within your project. Let’s describe to you more profound and how you are able to remove things so you would use these shortcuts in the future with easiness.

  • To remove things from your Playlist, just use your right mouse button and hold when you want to remove automations, samples, or patterns.
  • To delete things from your Channel, right-click on the Sample that you want to remove, and click Delete -> OK
  • If you’re going to remove notes, it’s also explained above that you can use the select button and remove only notes that you will select, or secondly, you can also use the right mouse button as an “eraser.”
  • In case you are looking to remove the specific plugin from your Mixer, left-click on the plugin in the Mixer Plugin’s chain, then -> “Plugin Options” -> “Delete” -> “OK”

Also, check this video on how to remove Unused Channels:

15. How do I move my piano roll to a playlist?

It’s not possible to move the piano roll to a playlist. However, probably your question is how to add notes that you’ve created in Piano roll and import them into your playlist (timeline.) Yes, it’s possible by importing patterns onto your Playlist.

In that case,

  • 1. you want to go to -> “View Channel Rack” or just click the F6 that will open the channel rack.
  • 2. Then, find the Channel Rack where you have made the melodies, beats, or whatever in your Piano Roll.
  • 3. Click on the Pattern that you want to import into a Playlist and then just click in the playlist and  your pattern will be added
  • 4. You can also Drag and Drop Patterns from the new Additional Section and bring them into your Playlist.

How do I move my piano roll to a playlist?

16. How To Sidechain in FL Studio 20

There are three main ways how to make a sidechain in FL Studio. First is by using FL Limiter, second is Peak Controller, and Third is by creating your own customized Automation Clips.

1. Using FL Limiter

  • 1. Add Two Sounds Into Mixer To Practice Sidechain
  • 2. Make “Insert 1” Kick and “Insert 2” Bass
  • 3. Go to “Insert 1” and click on “Enable Send From Insert 1 To Insert 2” at the bottom of the Mixer
  • 4. Go to “Insert 2” and add FL Limiter
  • 5. In FL Limiter go to -> “Comp”
  • 6. Under “Sidechain Input Number” add “1” that represents “Insert 1”
  • 7. Now you can control your sidechain by tweaking “Thres”, “Knee” and “Ratio”
  • 8. You can also tweak the knobs that belong under the “Envelope” section – TIP – If the sidechain is pretty big and fat, you can make thinner by “REL” (Release) Know under Envelope section.


With this method, you can not only customize the sound and just hear it but also see as it pumps and if the sidechain is natural or very bumpy. Even after you tweak the knobs, you will notice as the Bass changing the character according to the values you will set.

Just learn when the sidechain sounds make your sound more natural and transparent. That way, your audio will be more professional, and sidechain will be more hidden and not so evident to your listener. Yes, this technique is necessary to use nowadays, but also letting people know about it too much is not always win.

2. Using the Peak Controller

This is another method on how you can sidechain the signal of your sound.

To set it up correctly, you have to follow the exact same process as when we added FL Limiter. Now, you will have a different knob to play within this tool. Maybe this method will work better for you, but for me, FL Limiter is a primary tool when it comes to the sidechain techniques.

3. Using the Automation Clips

This is a way more customized options if you want some freedom. Let’s say you want to apply sidechain on your bass to play nicely with a kick.

  • 1. Click on the Sample or Sound you wish to edit
  • Right Click on the “VOL” knob at the top of the Sampler
  • Click on “Create Automation Clip”
  • Customize and shape the automation according to your kick

17. How do I install plugins in FL Studio 20?

  • Install your plugins into one folder that you want to use for your Plugins
  • Go to “Options” then “Manage Plugins”
  • In the “Plugin Search Paths” click on the First Icon
  • Choose the folder where plugins were installed
  • Click “Find Plugins” at the top

You can also create multiple folders with your plugins and then rescan them all.

Check this video in case you need to further help:

18. Types of Workflows How To Make a Track in FL Studio

Did you ever ask how you should make and approach to creating your music to get the best results that would work great for you as a Music Producer? Here are tips of different approaches (workflows)  that you might choose from and use them during your production journey.

1. “Spontaneous” Approach

This would be the exact opposite of the Perfectionist. This is a great approach in case you want to get some traction and expose yourself to your audience a bit more what’s good, especially if you just starting as a producer. Not only for that, but mainly because people love progress. If you bring them something new and better after time, they will compare where you were before and how did you improve yourself, so then they will respect you even more, and also they will come with love back to your old tunes.

That said, there is nothing wrong with this approach. It’s not about that your production will sound bad or unquality; you are just moving forward faster and don’t stick to the details too much. So you are doing things more in the Momentum.

As it was said, use this type of approach if you are a beginner and need to get the attention of the potential audiences.

2. “First Things First” Approach

Probably the most used method of how producers are working on their projects.  This kind of workflow will bring you the clarity to your project and keep your mind prepared to create new things with confidence because you are working step by step.
The next reason why this would be good to stick with is that you are setting up your mind to work consistently and bringing the real results. You can also set up the deadlines for your projects to be done with this approach.

Choose this way of producing music if you want to: have clarity, achieve new goals, being consistent, have your own sound signature.

3. “The Perfectionist” Approach

If you don’t want to go for quantity as much as quality, choose this option. If you check carefully, you will see that there are some few Artists at the Soundcloud that have just very few tracks uploaded, but they have some ridiculous feedback. How is that possible? Well, they’ve been noticed by people very well, and people can hear the quality of the sound, especially when we are living in the time of comparing with others. Comparing is everything, and if you want to stand out of the crowd, go for it! Even with free tracks on Hyppedit, you can get enormous feedback, mainly if your track has a drive.

Choose this one if you want to become a one and only for the majority.

4. “Experimental” Approach

If you are a well-known person in your field, and you want to bring something unusual and unique to your audience that nobody has a clue about, choose this way of production even just for a little time.

This would also be called as many people out there saying “Outside the Box” approach. Where you really create your own specialized space and bring new possibilities to the sound.

Use this approach if you are an established Musician, looking for sound design or just to let others know about your presence.

19. How do I reset FL Studio 20 (Quick & Easy)

  • Close FL Studio 20
  • Go to “Image-Line” Folder
  • Then go to “Shared”
  • Open “Start”
  • Find and open “FL Studio 20”
  • Double click on “Reset Settings”
  • All done

20. What Does Fruity Limiter Do?

FL Limiter is an effect plugin that limiting the level of the signal for a given threshold. The limiter is mainly used for Mastering purposes. Still, when you are using FL Limiter, you can do some additional things like creating the Sidechain effect (that is described above), You can also use it as a compressor plugin with dedicated knobs and functions.

21. What is Maximus in FL Studio?

Maximus is a Multiband Maximizer that is an extremely versatile plugin that you can use for Mastering as same as Mixing purposes. It’s a great tool, especially for compressing and limiting,  but other than it covers many other tools like De-Esser, Noise Gate, Expander, and Ducker.

22. How do you add a fade in FL Studio 20?

First Method (Using Sampler)

  • Zoom in Sample where you want to add a fade
  • Click on the sample to open Sampler
  • Under “Declicking Mode” choose from the last four options
  • Drag the sample as you need



Second Method (Using Automation Clip)

  • Click on the sample you want to edit
  • In the Sampler, right-click on “Vol”
  • Click on “Create Automation Clip”
  • Right-click on the automation start point
  • Then click “Copy Value”
  • Click on “Paste Value” where you want to apply the fade
  • Use the Fade according to your needs

23. How do I turn up the volume in FL Studio?

There are many options on how to turn up the volume. You can add the volume in the Sampler, VST plugins, or in the Mixer.

1. Method – Using FL Sampler 

Knob 1 

  • Use the “Vol” knob

Knob 2 

  • Go to “Miscellaneous functions” at the top of the Sampler
  • Use the “Vol” knob

Knob 3

  • In the Sampler turn the “Precomputed Effects” on
  • Use the “Boost the gain” knob

24. How To Shift the Placement of the Sample in FL Studio

This is helpful, especially if you need to have sampled aligned properly.

  • Go to Sampler
  • Use the “SMP Start” Knob
  • Tweak until it’s perfectly “On the grid” in the playlist

25. Can you master in FL Studio?

FL Studio comes with its stock Mastering Package. These plugins are Maximizer, Fruity Multiband Compressor, and Fruity Limiter. Even though the FL Studio has these Mastering Plugins, it’s good to consider to look for some additional plugin effects that you would really need when it comes to Mastering. Those plugins would be Exciters, Imagers, Tapes, Saturators, etc. 

Also, if you are looking for more information, check our post How To Master Your Music At Home.

26. How To Optimize Audio Settings in FL Studio 20 (To avoid lagging)

  • Go To Your ASIO Driver
  • Enable “OUT” your External Audio Interface
  • Set ASio Buffer Size to 2048 In case you have lags and stutters
  • Set Both Latency Compensations “In” and “Out” to 1024
  • Close ASIO Driver
  • In “Audio Settings” under “Input / output” turn on follows: “Mix in buffer switch”, “Tripple buffer”, “Safe overloads”
  • Under “CPU” turn on all four options

You can also check a similar guide for beginners explaining how FL Studio 20 works here.

Final Words

Here is the end! All of these tips were purely dedicated to FL Studio beginners, and we hope that you have found something helpful in there. This DAW is very intuitive, and you can fall in love with it just after a few tweaks! Anyway, if you want to stick with the one DAW for a long time, make some testing and compare other DAW software to determine which most suits your standards and then start using it.

Viliam Šulek

MusicGearo is a blog site created by passionate music producers for the music lover who wants to build a home studio or purchase various music performance or production gear.It also addresses those who already own home studios but need to learn how to get the most out of the gear they already own.

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