In this FL Studio Mixing tutorial, you will learn how to get a perfect mix with FL Studio Native/Stock plugins.
You can also download the free FL Studio mixer presets, and individual presets for FL Studio Limiter, Maximus, Delay, and Reverb. I will show you step by step, how to get a perfect mixdown. Along the way, I will also share some outstanding FL Studio mixing tips and tricks.
Before we start, first take a look at the before and after mixdown. I have only used native FL plugins for this project.
Are FL Studio stock plugins good for Mixing & Mastering?
FL Studio native plugins with the DAW provide the best mixing environment for music producers and mixing engineers. It has all the necessary plugins for mixing and mastering any kind of music or sound.
When I started making music back in 2020, the first thing I bought was the all-plugin bundle of FL Studio. As a beginner, of course, I joined various Facebook groups hoping to get some guidance from senior producers. Most of them told me, “FL Studio stock plugins are not good for sound design and mixing”.
Nonetheless, I didn’t buy any other VSTs and kept using native VSTs. As I started learning more about these stock plugins, I realized how wrong those people were. To this day, I haven’t seen a synth like Harmor or a dynamic processor like Maximus.
The reason why producers think native plugins are bad is that they compare these plugins with the generic VSTs based on hardware. As an FL user, one thing you should realize is that FL Studio and its plugins are not designed according to the trends. These plugins are made for breaking creative limits and are designed based on the most basic principles of sound, music production, and creativity.
To master FL plugins, you need to isolate yourself from the generic plugins and adopt a new way of thinking, a thinking which is based on the very nature of sound itself.
Mixing using stock FL Studio plugins
Now, let’s start with the mixing process. A quick disclaimer, the goal of this tutorial is to make you familiar with the plugins, their settings, and how to use them to get a better mixdown. On the way, I will also discuss some great mixing techniques as well.
Kickdrum is the most important element of the EDM song. It sets a reference for balancing all other elements. A good kickdrum is very essential for a good mixdown. We are going to use Parametric EQ2 and FLStudio Limiter to process our kickdrum.
To get a better mix every time, first, you need to understand the sound. That is how we are going to do things. In the case of a Kickdrum, we have 3 main elements – The initial punch which is achieved by a sharp pitch drop, the sub which is at the end, and the top end which is mixed with the transients.
Our goal is to enhance the initial punch, tame the sub and tail, and make room for the melodic elements. For this purpose, first, we will use an equalizer to enhance the low mids, remove frequencies below 30Hz, and remove harsh tones and unwanted harmonics.
The next step is to control the transients of the Kick using a Compressor. We will use the FL Studio limiter for this purpose. We are going to use compression, Noise gate, and Saturation to get a nice punchy Kickdrum. The following image shows the ideal setting for Kick compression.
here are the steps to find the best compression settings for drums –
- Start by dropping the compression threshold to zero, increase the soft knee and compression ratio.
- Isolate the initial transient/punch by increasing the attack value, If the kick drum is long, you can also decrease the release a bit.
- Once you get the transient, start increasing the threshold level. The threshold can be around the maximum slope.
- A great way to control the release of your drums is to use the noise gate. A noise gate can tame the release tale and control the sub as well as the tail. However, be careful with the setting since the Noise gate is very sensitive to the threshold.
- Lastly, Use a saturation knob to get a soft low end getting controlled harmonics and soft tone.
The goal during processing the clap sound is to remove the unwanted harmonics, add harmonic excitation, get a tight compression, and place the sound in the stereo field. The last step Stereo Field placement is extremely important, it is also one of the secrets of pro mixing engineers.
Follow these simple steps to enhance and mix the clap-
- Use Parametric EQ2 to enhance the main frequencies around 800-1000Hz, if there is excessive noise, remove them.
- Use drum room reverb to enhance the Reverb. Increase the High-Frequency damping to add excitation to the harmonics.
- Use the FL Studio limiter to compress the sound and Tame the reverb tail using the Noise gate.
- Send the clap sound back in the stereo field using the Fruity Stereo Shaper.
A snare drum is similar to the Kick in terms of sound design. However, it has a short decay time and higher fundamental frequency. We will put the snare drum in the front space of the stereo field. The reason why we do that is that snare drums have relatively short decay. They can also be tuned to the synths and Kick(as they have a definite fundamental). While clap is relatively long and has sharp noise, it can hinder the synth sounds in the stereo field.
Follow these simple steps to get a great-sounding snare drum.
- Use parametric EQ2 to enhance the area around the fundamental harmonics and tame the tone of the sound.
- Use the Fruity limiter as an expander and use the noise gate to Enhance the punch and control the tail.
Hi-hats carry the rhythm of the drum on both macro and micro levels. Its mixing process heavily depends on the length of the sample, the density of the sound(notes per bar), and the type of noise used. In our case, we are using a simple progressive hi-hat pattern.
We are going to enhance the stereo field, Add a tail and enhance the wet character of the sound. Follow these simple steps to get a great-sounding hi-hat-
- Use parametric EQ2 to get a Tonal balance as per a Pink noise profile or Mixdown’s tonal balance.
- Add reverb with maximum high damping to enhance metallic character.
- Use a compressor and noise gate to enhance the attack and control the reverb tail.
- Use the Fruity stereo shaper to add left-right delay; this will create a wide stereo image. At the same time send the hi-hats to the back.
Thanks for reading! So far you have learned how to process and mix Kick, Clap, Snare, and Hi Hats using native FL Studio plugins. In the next part of this series, I will teach you how to mix basses. In the meantime, If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments.