Ap­ple macOS

The leg­endary looper makes it to the Mac. FROM US$99 | IM­AGE-LINE.COM

APC Australia - - Contents - Car­rie Mar­shall

This app, for­merly known as Fruity Loops, has been on PCs for 20 years. That ex­plains the ver­sion num­ber: tech­ni­cally, it’s ver­sion 13, but this is the first time it’s been made avail­able as a full prod­uct for the Mac.

Pre­vi­ous at­tempts used the Cross­Over com­pat­i­bil­ity layer, but FL Stu­dio 20 is a na­tive 64-bit app. It’s fast, looks great on a Retina dis­play, and isn’t too tax­ing on your sys­tem. How­ever, there are in­com­pat­i­bil­i­ties with VST plug­ins. If you’re plan­ning to du­pli­cate your PC en­vi­ron­ment on a Mac, that’s some­thing you’ll need to check; if this is a con­cern, it’s worth check­ing out the com­pat­i­bil­ity list, which you’ll find at bit.ly/flwin­vs­mac.

The main dif­fer­ence be­tween FL Stu­dio and apps such as Ap­ple’s own Logic is phi­los­o­phy. FL Stu­dio be­gan as an app for quickly mak­ing loop-based mu­sic, and while it’s gained lots of pow­er­ful fea­tures over the years, it’s still based on that phi­los­o­phy: the ba­sic edi­tion still as­sumes you won’t be record­ing vo­cals or live in­stru­ments.

Logic is much more fo­cused on record­ing and pro­duc­tion and, while it does of course work hap­pily with loops, it’s harder to learn and more cum­ber­some than FL Stu­dio. Where Logic can have new­com­ers ut­terly baf­fled, FL Stu­dio will have you mak­ing beats within min­utes. It’s telling to com­pare FL Stu­dio’s celebrity users: FL Stu­dio is dom­i­nated by mu­si­cians, whereas with Logic pro­duc­ers and com­posers dom­i­nate.

That doesn’t mean FL Stu­dio isn’t for pro­duc­tion — far from it. It of­fers up to 500 tracks of multi-track record­ing and ar­range­ment, time-stretch­ing and pitch-shift­ing, one of the best pi­ano roll ed­i­tors around, and a mixer that can be as sim­ple or as com­plex as you want it to be. There’s also a com­pan­ion app for iOS — FL Stu­dio Mo­bile ($21.99) — that you can use to cre­ate pro­duc­tions on the move.

FL Stu­dio is an ex­cel­lent au­dio app, but it’s late to the Mac: chances are, when you see a Mac mu­si­cian mak­ing loop-based mu­sic, they’ll have al­ready em­braced Able­ton Live. But if you haven’t al­ready cho­sen your pre­ferred mu­sic app, you should se­ri­ously con­sider FL Stu­dio.

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