I’m partial to using the APC40 for performing, and with Ableton, the APC40 is just about idiot proof making everything pretty intuitive out of the box. The APC40 with FL Studio 11’s performance mode is not nearly as intuitive, because of three main reasons: 1) the orientation of the track channels in the playlist in FL Studio from right to left and the corresponding track channels going from top to bottom on the APC40, 2) the channel faders at the bottom are not assigned to the corresponding track channels above, and 3) management and routing of effects and signals is more complicated (in particular, you have to be mindful of your device Mixer Channel assignments). Also, the Markers are set pretty close to each other by default when you convert to performance mode.
However, by setting up a template you can have a pretty intuitive set up ready to go that addresses a lot of these issues without having to do a ton of manipulation of FL Studio every time.
The following tutorial demonstrates how you can create a performance mode template for the faders to correspond to the track channels with the default APC40 script that loads when you launch FL Studio 11, while also having a decent amount of distance between markers, along with some other bells and whistles that allow for a more intuitive performance mode with the APC40.
I’ve created two different versions that are available with this tutorial – one with the effects in the Mixer (non-Patcher template is v1.0a), another with Patcher running the EQ and Effects (v1.0b).
The template consists of 2 Decks (2 Track Channels in the Playlist) set up for 20 tracks per Deck. The spacing between each track is about 146 Bars. Each Deck is routed to Mixer Channel (NOTE: you still need to assign the audio files you drop onto the playlist to the correct mixer channel – I don’t believe this can be automated). The two Deck Mixer channels are routed to a virtual crossfader (i.e., an instance of Love Philter for volume control in each Channel), and contain various effects in that can be activated. There is also an instance of Gross Beat in each channel with a preset for changing the Genre of the playing track (e.g., transform a Breaks track to House or DubStep, or vice versa).
Here are the screen shots from v1.0 of the template:
Here is a zoomed in look at the audio tracks in each deck. The spacing allows you to see the transients in the waveforms which give you visual cues as to when it may be a good time to mix in other audio.
Here is a look at the various Effects and EQ plugins that are used in the template.
Here are the controls for v1.0a:
Here are the controls for v1.0b:
Mixer Cues for Each Channel to Send Audio to Different Source (for Cueing)
The video above demonstrates how the Mixer is routed from the Audio tracks to both a Cue and a Cross-fader Send for each Deck. It also shows where to set your Cue output source(s). This Mixer set up is already part of the template, so nothing needs to be done with the Mixer other than setting your Cue Output source if you want.
Preparing the Audio Tracks for Performance Mode
By setting up a template you can have a pretty intuitive set up ready to go that addresses a lot of these issues without having to do a ton of manipulation of FL Studio every time. This is not without some work required to prepare your tracks in the Deck channels. These are three steps that you should do for each full length track you put into the template:
- Drag the audio track into the playlist on either Track Channel labeled Deck 1 or Deck 2
- Edit the waveform to sync it to the playlist
- Make sure Stretch is off and Snap is set to “(none)”
- Slice or erase all extra audio before a down beat (a visible transient waveform) and drag the down beat to the beginning of a bar
- Slice or erase right before a down beat a bar or a couple of bars down so that you have a segment that can be synced
- Turn Stretch on and zoom in as far you can go to create a tempo synced loop
- Turn Stretch off and zoom out and draw the audio out for a couple of phrases (sets of 8 bars)
- Then zoom in a bit so that you can see if the beats are hitting on timing or to see if they are veering left or right of the beat/bar markers.
- If they are veering, then slice before a down beat, delete the part of the waveform you sliced off, turn on stretch and correct (repeat as necessary).
- Open the Channel Setting window and assign the audio track to either Channel 1 (Deck 1) or Channel 2 (Deck 2) of the Mixer by Changing the value in the upper Right box labeled “FX” and finally change the stretching to “Pro Default” or “Pro Transient” for best quality (no pitch shifting like the Resampling default). You want to do this last to stop the restretching of the channel every time you use the stretch feature in the playlist.
Once you’ve got your tracks prepared you should be ready to go.
The zip file containing both versions is available here and contains:
- the .flp files for versions 1.0a and 1.0b.
- the Gross Beat preset used (save in …\FL Studio 11\Data\Patches\Plugin presets\Effects\Gross Beat folder)
- the Mixer Preset for the Cue and Cross-fader set-up
- the Patcher Presets for each Deck channel’s EQ and Effects.