FL Studio 11 on the Mac

fl-studio-11-macI came across FL Studio (formerly Fruity Loops) in the late 1990s as part of a sampler CD filled with Shareware music software. The step sequencer reminded me of Hammerhead that I had also used to program beats that I used on an album Phantoms for my music project names are for tombstones. I made FL my main DAW in the early 2000s (upon release of version 2, if memory serves) and have produced a lot of stuff with it ever since.

The one thing that was lacking, until (somewhat) recently, was a Mac version. FL Studio is still an exclusively Windows application since it is developed in Delphi (which is essentially Object Pascal for Windows) and had its backbone built on Windows-centered media technologies like DirectX. Fans who do not want to go through the hassle of setting up Bootcamp on their Macs had to use/port Wine (and similar/derived technologies like WineBottler) or even set up a Virtual Machine running a version of Windows to be enjoy FL.

But with ImageLine releasing an official Crossover package for the Mac, everything changed. The image on top is a screen shot of FL running in my OS X Lion right after I grabbed it to test. And of course an experiment is not complete without composing a track. Here’s one, titled Seven Year Itch for pseudo-band Shoe See Shoe, that I worked on using only the plugins (Sytrus, FL Soundfont Player and Boo Bass) and effects (Reverb 2) that came with version 11.

There are some bugs that come with it and it needs some setting up. I set my sample count to 512 to lessen the lag when I use my keyboard controller. Another limitation is that devices cannot be detected in real time. You have to restart the app like in older versions. Also during render, I get this looping audio. So I stop the process and click on the stop button repeatedly. It might be caused by the limiter/compressor plugin.

And another thing that consistently pops up is this:


(which also happened, I believe, in my experiments with Wine and FL) when you close FL using its own exit command. Command Q will not function after some time so your only resort is to close the app Windows style.

Overall, if only during production, it seems to be working fine. I am not sure if it’s cut out for live performance. I don’t have a set up for that since I use a Mini and don’t have an Air or a Macbook.