How To Use Analog Gear With FL Studio
Updated: Feb 11
Analog gear and recording can add a unique warmth and character to your music productions, but incorporating it into your digital workflow can be a bit tricky. In this article, we'll show you how to use analog gear with FL Studio, including detailed instructions, recommended practices, equipment, and tips and tricks.
First, let's think about it this way in order to simplify the whole process. If you've tried to connect a microphone to fl studio that means you already basically know how this works. The microphone is plugged into your audio interface, and you speak and your voice goes into the input of the interface straight to the DAW. Analog gear is basically the same thing with the difference being you are not speaking but the external synth for example is making the sound that you record in FL Studio.
So to make all this more understandable let's begin
Table Of Contents
Let's talk about the equipment you'll need. In order to use analog gear with FL Studio, you'll need:
An audio interface with at least one input and one output that can handle the gear's audio signals
An analog device, such as a synthesizer or drum machine
A cable to connect it to the audio interface
Setting up the Audio Interface
Once you have all the necessary equipment, you'll need to set up the audio interface in FL Studio. To do this:
Open the "Options" menu
Select "Audio Settings"
In the "Device" drop-down menu, select your audio interface
In the "Inputs" and "Outputs" sections, select the appropriate inputs and outputs for your analog gear.
Recording and Using the Audio Signal
Now you're ready to start using your analog gear with FL Studio. To record an audio signal from your analog device: First, select a free channel and then:
Set the input audio to the audio interface
Arm the track
Click record and select the option you prefer.
Using analog gear to process a digital track.
Using analog gear to process a digital track in FL Studio involves routing the digital audio signal through the analog gear and then back into FL Studio. Here is one way to do this in FL Studio:
Connect the output of your digital audio source to the input of your analog gear using a cable.
Connect the output of the analog gear to an input on your audio interface.
In FL Studio, create a new audio track and select the input on your audio interface that is connected to the analog gear as the input source.
Record-enable the audio track and press record to capture the audio signal that has been processed by the analog gear.
After recording, you can use the audio clip that has been recorded to replace the original digital audio source in your project.
You can also use the same process to route the digital audio signal through multiple analog gear in series or parallel, using different effects and settings on each device.
It's important to note that when using analog gear to process digital audio, it's recommended to use a high-quality audio interface to minimize noise and distortion, and to keep the gain levels low. Also, you can use an external mixer to adjust the levels and effects of your analog gear before it hits FL Studio.
Using an external mixer to adjust the levels and effects of your analog gear before it hits FL Studio:
Using an external mixer to adjust the levels and effects of your analog gear before it hits FL Studio is recommended because an external mixer allows you to fine-tune the audio signal before it is sent to FL Studio. This allows you to add effects, adjust levels, and shape the sound to your liking, giving you more control over the final sound and helping you achieve the desired result in your music production.
Connect your analog gear (such as a synthesizer or drum machine) to an external mixer using audio cables.
Adjust the levels of each analog instrument on the external mixer to balance the overall mix.
Add any desired effects (such as reverb or compression) to individual instruments or the overall mix using the external mixer's built-in effect processors.
Connect the external mixer's output to the input of your computer running FL Studio.
In FL Studio, set the input of the desired track to the input that the external mixer is connected to.
Use FL Studio's mixing and effects tools to further shape the sound and achieve your desired result.
1. Use a high-quality audio interface:
Using a high-quality audio interface is recommended when using analog gear with FL Studio because a high-quality audio interface will provide a cleaner and more accurate signal transfer between the analog gear and FL Studio, reducing the amount of noise and distortion in the audio signal.
2. Keep the gain levels of your analog gear and audio interface low to minimize noise and distortion:
Keeping the gain levels of your analog gear and audio interface low is recommended to minimize noise and distortion. When the gain levels are too high, the audio signal can become overloaded, resulting in a distorted and noisy signal. By keeping the gain levels low, you can ensure that the audio signal is clean and free from unwanted noise or distortion.
Using a single piece of gear.
Integrating outboard gear into a studio setup is a straightforward process, whether you are using one piece or multiple pieces of gear. When using a single piece of gear, the signal is run from the audio interface to the input of the outboard gear, and then back to the audio interface after being processed.
Using multiple pieces of gear.
When using multiple pieces of gear, a patch bay can be used to switch between recording different gear and to chain them together for serial processing. It's important to note that when using multiple pieces of outboard gear, a rack mount is recommended for easy storage and organization.
Tips and Tricks
Use plugins like the TAL-Dub-X to add extra analog warmth to your digital tracks.
Using a plugin like the TAL-Dub-X to add some analog warmth to your digital tracks is a great way to add character and warmth to your digital productions. The TAL-Dub-X is a delay effect plugin that emulates the sound of vintage tape echo units and can add a sense of warmth and depth to digital tracks. It's simple to use, just add it to the track you want to add warmth to and adjust the settings to taste.
Experiment with different analog gear and find the one that works best for your production style and sound.
Experimenting with different analog gear is a great way to find the perfect sound for your production style and sound. Each piece of analog gear has its own unique characteristics and can add a different flavor to your music. It's important to try out different analog gear and find the one that works best for your sound.
What are the benefits of using analog gear with FL Studio?
Using analog gear with FL Studio can bring a variety of benefits to your music production. One of the main benefits is the unique warmth and character that analog gear can add to your sound. Analog gear, such as synthesizers and drum machines, often have a distinct sound that is different from digital gear and can add a sense of warmth and depth to your music that is difficult to achieve with digital processing alone.
Another benefit of using analog gear with FL Studio is the ability to add texture and movement to your sound. Analog gear often has a more organic and dynamic sound, as opposed to the more precise and predictable sound of digital gear. This can add a sense of movement and life to your music, making it more interesting and engaging for the listener.
Additionally, using analog gear with FL Studio allows you to add another layer of creativity to your music production. Analog gear often has a more hands-on approach than digital gear, allowing you to tweak and experiment with different settings and effects to create unique sounds. This can lead to new and interesting production techniques and can help you to develop your own signature sound.
Finally, using analog gear with FL Studio can help you to achieve a better balance between the warmth and character of analog gear and the precision and control of digital gear. This can lead to a more polished and professional-sounding production and can help you to stand out in the crowded music production scene.
Recommended gear to start with with a limited budget.
Some good options for affordable analog synthesizers include:
Korg Volca series: The Korg Volca series offers a variety of affordable and portable synthesizers, such as the Volca Bass, Volca Keys, and Volca FM, that can add a unique warmth and character to your music productions. These synthesizers are easy to use and have a wide range of sound design possibilities.
Behringer Model D: Behringer Model D is a clone of the legendary Minimoog Model D, it is an authentic reproduction of the original analog synthesizer, with a great sound and a very affordable price.
MeeBlip anode: MeeBlip anode is a digital-analog hybrid synthesizer that offers a wide range of sound design possibilities. It has a simple interface and is easy to use, making it a great option for beginners.
Analog sound effects devices that can be used with FL Studio:
Electro-Harmonix Small Stone: The Electro-Harmonix Small Stone is an affordable and classic phaser pedal that can add a unique and warm modulation to your audio signals. It's simple to use and has a great sound.
MXR Carbon Copy: The MXR Carbon Copy is an affordable and classic analog delay pedal that can add depth and dimension to your audio signals. It's simple to use, and has a great sound.
Boss BD-2 Blues Driver: The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is an affordable and classic overdrive pedal that can add warmth and distortion to your audio signals. It's simple to use, and has a great sound.
Affordable and effective analog compressors and EQs that can be used with FL Studio:
ART Pro VLA II: The ART Pro VLA II is an affordable and versatile compressor that can add depth and dimension to your audio signals. It's simple to use and has a great sound.
Warm Audio WA-2A: The Warm Audio WA-2A is an affordable and classic optical compressor that can add warmth and character to your audio signals. It's simple to use and has a great sound.
Behringer EQ700: The Behringer EQ700 is an affordable and classic 7-band graphic equalizer that can add clarity and definition to your audio signals. It's simple to use and has a great sound.
All of these devices are affordable and easy to use, making them great options for someone on a limited budget. They can add a unique character and warmth to your music production and can be used to process and create a wide range of audio signals, including vocals, drums, guitars, and more. They are also small and portable, so you can easily take them with you wherever you go, and integrate them into your digital workflow with FL Studio.
Using analog gear with FL Studio can add a unique character and warmth to your music productions. With the right equipment and setup, you can easily incorporate analog gear into your digital workflow and take advantage of its unique sound. With the above tips and tricks, you can get the most out of your analog gear and FL Studio, and you'll be making the music you've always wanted to in no time.