Seminal dance-oriented music-making software comes to the Apple iPad
Long admired by dance music enthusiasts on a budget for its low price, free lifetime upgrades and unusual, industrial interface, Fruity Loops Studio makes the leap to Apple's iPad. The app preserves the step sequencer interface for creating drum loops but adding a large, intuitive keyboard for playing the included sampled instruments. The result is easier to use than the PC original but just as much fun.
FL Studio includes 74 instruments, 17 drum kits and sound effects as well as 42 drum loops. Start a new song, choose a time signature and tempo (you can tap to find the right speed if you like) and you're ready to create a drum track. The step sequencer lists drum parts down the left and dots for individual beats across the screen - click Play and the app cycles through a four-bar loop so you can add drum beats one at a time and build up a pattern before switching to track view and then creating more empty bars and copying the drum track across to them. It's a fast and intuitive way to get cracking.
Add a keyboard part by playing along and then edit any mistakes by correcting individual notes in the editor. Dodgy timing can be adjusted using the quantise feature which drags sloppy notes back onto the beat and you can add effects to each track. There's a great little filter that you control by rolling your finger over a pad and this shapes the sound as if you were twiddling knobs on an old-fashioned synthesiser; you can even record this ‘performance' as part of the track.
FL Studio is relatively expensive, especially compared with Garageband, the iPad gold standard - and doesn't include nearly enough instruments for our liking. The interface is wonderfully elegant though with joyous little touches, such as the ability to alter the width of the keys. It has become our tool of choice for knocking up quick loops that can be exported onto the Mac or PC as a WAV or AAC file for further work in a desktop home recording program. Alternatively, finished projects can be saved to the free Soundcloud online music sharing service.
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Easy to use and tremendous fun but needs more instruments.
Fast and intuitive; good arranging and editing controls; adjustable keyboard
Needs more instruments; no audio recording
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