Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
Unlike many of the audio trackers and digital audio workstations out there, FL Studio offers users far more customization capabilities. At its heart, the program is basically a virtual multi-track recording studio. Using your regular computer keyboard, a MIDI piano instrument or even your mouse, you can create a song in minutes.
FL Studio relies on a graphic layout that makes it pretty intuitive. Songs are divided up by time, and you can easily click to place notes, creating drum patterns from the built in sounds or your own recorded ones. The program is compatible with a number of common plugin formats, including the popular VST standard. Where the application really stands out, however, is its capacity for tweaking.
Unlike many other DAW programs, FL Studio allows users to program almost every control, knob and slider. This means that you can make an instrument increase in volume or change sound based on a precise formula or graphical curve. In addition, users can program effects like reverb or sustain to turn on and off as needed. The event recording feature of the program even allows you to record these actions in a live format.
Although many people swear by the wide array of features FL Studio includes, some of the more advanced ones will definitely present a challenge for new users. While someone who has used Garage Band or another similar program would easily be able to pick up on the format, they will probably have to work for a while to get things just the way they want.
The best place to start with FL Studio is the browser window on the left hand side. There you can find a list of available sounds, effects and plugins. The program supports drag and drop, so you can easily take things that look interesting and insert them into your song. If you get lost in all the details, FL Studio includes some sample projects and guided tutorials.