Is FL Studio good for Orchestral Music production?

Discussion in 'FL Studio' started by GetWrekt1, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. GetWrekt1

    GetWrekt1 Noisemaker

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    I'll start with saying I've been producing many kinds of music in FL for a few years now. I've composed Heavy Metal songs for my old band and still occasionally just write metal tracks with multiple instances of heavy plugins/sample libraries. I have produced Synthwave/Retrowave, Disco, Ambient music and many sound design projects which include, again, multiple instances heavy ass synth plugins like Diva, Serum, Zebra2, Luftrum Lunaris and NI Pharlight sample library etc.

    My PC is almost 8 years old but I have managed to pull through all this production by either bouncing tracks, switching effects off that I don't need when composing or just straight up disabling tracks I don't need. FL 20.7 update has optimized a lot of stuff recently and I have to face even less lag than the very first few versions of FL 20.

    I like exploring genres and currently I'm interested in Orchestral music production. And by that, I don't mean just EPIC ORCHESTRAL TRAILER MUSIC with lots of BRAAAHMS. I actually mean proper Orchestral style music. It could be Baroque, could be renneisance, could be neoclassical, or it just could be modern movie score composer-ish like Hans Zimmer, Olafur Arnalds and Thomas Bergersen. Or video games score such as soundtracks from Dark Souls, Final Fantasy, Hollow Knight etc.

    Usually there's a fuckton of layering when it comes to composing pieces like that and I haven't had that kind of experience... of having like 200 instruments template for a track (albeit not all of them are playing at once). So I decided to join a community where they do produce Orchestral music.

    The entire community is based on the words: FL Sucks.
    Why? Apparently FL is ONLY good for edm hip hop hurr durr.

    I'll list a bunch of their complaints down here:

    * You can ONLY work in a pattern based workflow in FL (lmao fuck off)
    * "Can attest to FL being dogshit at stuff except EDM" (god)
    * Most of the stock FL plugins suck (Frankly, I don't give a tit about those. I own many Waves and Slate Digital plugins by now for the ones they complain about)
    * FL sucks at recording (I mean I record my guitars all the time idk what they're on about)
    * FL has shit support for MIDI keyboard instruments (I mean, yeah you have to manually configure every CC, kinda true)
    * The Remove DC Offset option in FL doesn't work (I am unsure about this one)
    * Tempo Automation in FL studio sucks compared to Cubase or Studio 1 (Again, I've had no issues in like forever but I've also never tried out other DAWs to know more about this)
    * 125 tracks limit is bad (ok)
    * FL without BRSO for orchestral music is bad (Fine I'll agree with that)
    * Transposing in FL is garbage (I haven't used any other DAW so I can't really tell if it truly is garbage compared to them)
    * Changing what notes play on what section takes like a good 30 seconds or longer
    * "Freezing in FL kind of sucks massive dong. It's such a chore. in cubase its just one button"
    * Events editor in FL sucks (can't comment)
    * FL sucks because the video player in FL sucks (what now)
    * Some people think FL has the best and cleanest piano roll while others think it's dogshit (I like it because yeah clean)
    * FL sucks ass at midi and it doesn't accept CC's. Apparently one guy spoke to the devs and devs won't just fix it even though it's super easy to fix.

    I believe we're done, thank fuck for that.

    Now, as I've noted a few times, I have never used another DAW than FL before. I'm kinda intrigued to either try Cubase or Studio 1 but at the same time, do half of their complaints make any sense?

    I'm still learning orchestral music production so I haven't hit the stage where I can confidently tell whether what they're saying is true or not. But I know for sure that I've gotten used to FL very nicely, I've produced music on it that are not JUST EDM and I really, really don't want to learn a different DAW unless I really have to.

    If the workflow in FL really does suck that much compared to Cubase, S1 or Reaper, I'll accept it and work interchangeably between two DAWS. But if most of the complaints are people being nitpicky, I'm not willing to go for that extra hassle.

    PS: I know many YouTube videos exist that show how well people can compose Orchestral music in FL. There's guys like Alex Moukala and what not and even though they occasionally complain, I have never heard complaints of this level other than this new community I've joined.

    So I need help from you guys to help me head to the right direction,

    Does the overall Orchestral music production workflow in FL suck so much that it's better to switch to Cubase, S1 or Reaper?

     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  3. joseclon

    joseclon Member

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    In orchestral music, you will use a lot of MIDI notes and MIDI editing.
    So, you need a DAW that allow you to manage MIDI properly.
    Ask yourself: can you manage MIDI properly with FL?
    If the answer is yes, then ok,
    If the answer is no, then you have to move to a new DAW with appropriate MIDI functionality.
     
  4. Nick12

    Nick12 Platinum Record

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    Well, it's currently a fact that FL Studio is not made for orchestral production in my opinion. It can definitely work, but it's absolutely not perfect. The thing about FL Studio for this genre is that you need workarounds. It will take some time before you understand all of this and also before you have set everything up. Once it's done, then I think it can definitely work, yeah, absolutely.

    My better soundtracks are all made in FL Studio and people say it can easily fit with the best tracks of known top composers, which are made in different daws. I work with FL Studio, but especially for the easy workflow. I don't know, but I feel like my mind is just so fresh while working with FL Studio. If I had to work in Cubase, then I will easily stress out.

    If I am right a daw like Cubase already has all the workarounds what you basically need for FL Studio all integrated, but also one of the most terrible things about Cubase is that you need this stupid, stupid, stupid and again stupid dongle, hahaha. Also be aware that Cubase has a higher learning curve for most people. It really depends on yourself if you can live with the disadvantages, but in the end you have to find out which daw you are most comfortable with.

    Besides that I think Image-Line doesn't even care about making their daw FL Studio appropiate for orchestral production, because some good features were already made in the past on their forums, but they haven't done anything with it. :dunno:
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
  5. Barry T

    Barry T Ultrasonic

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    I used to be an FL Studio apologist as well, I was involved in the community and even won some awards from the devs. I thought I would never switch and always defended its (many) shortcomings.

    I produce Pop, EDM and Orchestral music - I can tell you this: 3 years ago I tried Studio One out of curiosity and frustration with FL; on the VERY FIRST day I made a full song after years of writer’s block.

    It has been 3 years now and I’ve never opened FL again, unless a client sends me a project and I need to.

    I’d say give it go. Maybe it will ‘click’ with you like it did for me, maybe not.

    For orchestral music, organizing things and setting up templates is a breeze in S1 vs FL. Also v5 introduced a lot of amazing features dedicated to film scoring.
     
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  6. Nick12

    Nick12 Platinum Record

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    Yeah, I agree. Settings things up in FL Studio can cost you so much time. I am currently experimenting in Studio One aswell.
     
  7. Krugen

    Krugen Member

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    Dear lord, no
    while FL may be good for edm, trap and hip hop, it definitely does not shine in orchestra music
    well.. I guess it CAN work, but I'm sure you can do better with another DAW

    Ideally, you might want a DAW with a score editor included. You might need to give the score to performers to replay whatever you wrote
     
  8. 23322332

    23322332 Platinum Record

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    Well, you can make any type of music in any daw, it's about your skills, not about the daw. It's just easier to do certain things in some daws.

    Reaper should be good for orchestral, but you also probably need to customize it with scripts that can be downloaded from their forum (for articulation switching and probably other stuff, depends on your own workflow). Reaper is also the most stable, lightest performance and gets every month plenty of bugfixes, so it's N1 DAW atm for many people.

    S1 version 5 also should be good.For new users S1 should be pretty easy to learn.
     
  9. GetWrekt1

    GetWrekt1 Noisemaker

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    See, I know what I do in FL, I do very fluently without any issues usually. I was mostly looking for someone to tell me that, "Yes FL does have very inferior MIDI editing than X DAW" or, "It really doesn't matter that much." But yes occasionally I will find some issues in FL that end up becoming very frustrating.

    It absolutely will, I agree with that. I'm JUST getting started and still figuring out how to set up orchestral templates and tbh it does kinda seem like a chore to set up on FL. It can work, I totally believe that, but will it be worth the effort is my question haha.

    Absolutely. I despise Steinberg for that dumbass dongle alone. I might never end up trying Cubase. I'll just try S1 or Reaper instead.

    Hmm, I won't say I'm an apologist either but I do believe that FL can be a beast for producing multiple genres of music. However, what you said makes perfect sense to me and now I am very very intrigued to try out Reaper and S1, primarily S1 since it seems very close to Cubase without the dongle dumbassery and also seems close to FL in a way of speaking.

    Absolutely! I wholeheartedly agree to that, hence why I'm wondering why the hate for FL in terms of orchestral. But yeah, if enough people are saying that FL indeed isn't good for orchestral, there must be something wrong.

    Coolio, I'll try a demo of both Reaper and S1, see which one suits my workflow best.

    Cheers you guys! Y'all are amazing
     
  10. GetWrekt1

    GetWrekt1 Noisemaker

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I believe Logic X Pro and Cubase have score editors built in to them, but logic is out because I'm on PC and Cubase is out because of that fucking dongle. No worries because my cousin owns Presonus Notion AND Studio One. I can just use his system to get my scores out if I ever need it
     
  11. Valnar

    Valnar Producer

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    just show them alex moukala's youtube channel, remember when everyone said FL is just for techno and then 9th wonder came along and made it a hip hop DAW? you need individuals like him to show them the opposite
    and yes, if i could pick between FL or cubase and logic i would go with the latter but its not so important, the only DAW that i dont like for orchestral is ableton cause the piano roll sucks

    tbf alot of composers just write their score in notation software and import it into their DAW so they get less distracted and not overwhelmed
     
  12. juggz143

    juggz143 Ultrasonic

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    Listen I also made the leap from FL to Studio One but my personality likes jumping around and switching things up constantly so it wasn't about FL per se and I definitely still use them both quite frequently.

    Instead of giving a personally biased answer, give Alex Moukala a listen and judge for yourself. He absolutely nails orchestral music in FL.

    I just picked a random example but check his channel out before your final verdict.

     
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  13. xbitz

    xbitz Rock Star

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    yepp, with these ones



    so needs some plugin wich can handle MIDI articulations and should save your RAM using Kontakt

    and ...
     
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  14. GetWrekt1

    GetWrekt1 Noisemaker

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    There's a slight problem over there... The community I joined where they shit on FL studio... is none other than Alex's discord server!
    I fucking know right?
    Granted that Alex isn't really active there but even then, his discord community members act like they never saw Alex's compositions in FL. Some even claimed that Alex ONLY does trailer music when he does a lot more stuff than just those lmao.

    I got into Orchestral production specifically because of this man, and now HIS community members are telling me that FL is shite lol. I'm so confused right now hence why I posted this thread.

    Thanks for the links, although I know most of these tricks by now I still appreciate it!
     
  15. juggz143

    juggz143 Ultrasonic

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    Welp, on the flipside, Presonus did integrate their Notation software into Studio One 5 and they added some new features around key switches which may be of use to you. So there's that. :dunno:


    See not biased at all, lol...
     
  16. Barry T

    Barry T Ultrasonic

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    I’m also a fan of Alex Moukala. Most things are definitely possible in FL, as most DAWs these days have similar functionality.

    For me it’s the sheer damn SPEED and flow of S1 that’s a winner. I have over 200 projects/gigs per year and I think I would jump off a bridge if I had to do all that in FL.

    Once you get into easily setting up macros and shortcuts in S1, it feels like flying. I recently bought a Razer mouse with 16 buttons and I can drop in a synth + fx chain with one click of a button!
     
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  17. Yellow Raven

    Yellow Raven Producer

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    hello
    frankly it's what you mean by Orchestral music production that needs to clear. do you mean orchestral music or games and movies or real orchestral ? and by real i mean like (Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky and beyond)
    frankly if it's the first i think you can get by using FL it's not easy but it can be done
    but if it's the second, i don't think one who is considering this seriously can do it using FL. your best bet is Logic, Cubase or Studio one and notion because notation, at least in my opinion is essential. i mean how are you supposed to manage all this music only in your head, without a visual feedback.
    of course this is only my opinion, i am not Ravel or even Hans zimmer but i've been listening to orchestral music for a long time and reading scores of such music which i also believe is essential.
    orchestral music is a whole new world especially the modern stuff, it is mind boggling
    best of luck to you and i hope to listen to your stuff soon
     
  18. xbitz

    xbitz Rock Star

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  19. GetWrekt1

    GetWrekt1 Noisemaker

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    Again thanks to all of you for your input, you guys have been a massive help. I have decided to try out Presonus S1 within a day or two and will hopefully start sharing my stuff soon. Thanks for all the best wishes and help!
     
  20. Valnar

    Valnar Producer

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    its a trash community then, just leave them
    you dont know how many musician communities suck ass on discord, im in a few dozen but only active in two because they are decent
     
  21. Meteo Xavier

    Meteo Xavier Member

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    Best Answer
    If we've been able to do orchestral music since before we even knew HOW to do orchestral music, FL Studio will be fine. I admit I've never used any other DAW except FL Studio and while I'm working on my orchestral skills without really wanting to be tip-top at it, there shouldn't be any REAL reason FL Studio can't do what you want it to do.

    It wasn't designed specifically for orchestral music and samples like other DAWs were, but that doesn't matter. Trying to make a computer sound like you're actually at Carnegie Hall requires pulling some tricks and getting clever with obstacles as the basic fabric of reality, so the question is whether a major DAW like FL Studio is "good" for orchestral music production is really superfluous.
     
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