Digital audio workstation for your phone
FL Studio Mobile is a DAW (digital audio workstation) for your phone, developed by Image-Line. The application works on various mobile devices, or it can run as a plug-in for your desktop version. The application ships with the classic FL look and a modern interface. It also contains a few free instruments and samples, but users can use the in-app store to purchase new ones.
Make music on the move
FL Studio (formerly known as Fruity Loops) is a well-known DAW and a favorite with beatmakers. The desktop platform has plenty of tools for musicians and producers. FL Studio Mobile condenses these tools so that you can carry them in your pocket.
The mobile app isn’t cheap. Compared to most mobile programs, it’s actually pretty expensive. Even when you do purchase it, you’ll still have to buy more synths and VSTs if you want extra options.
The interface has a sleek, modern look that matches what you’d see in FL Studio 20. The buttons are a good size and the high contrast colors keep everything in perspective. Even though the colors are bright, they’re not overly so. The round buttons make better tap targets than square ones. Button layout is sensible: the only downside is the size of the keyboard.
The home screen is where all of your advanced settings are. You’re able to bounce the track to various file formats like .mp3 and .wav. You can also email the track instead of saving it directly.
Synths and clips.
FL Studio comes included with DirectWave, a sample player, and MiniSynth, which comes with thousands of presets. If you want more options, you’ll either need to become very familiar with FM synthesis, or you’ll need to purchase additional synths.
You can load up effects into your instrument racks. Adding reverb can give you a wet, roomy sound. Adding a bit of delay or chorus effect can really make a synth sparkle. All of this is done through your racks.
Mobile also has automation clips. These clips aren’t sounds, but rather they determine the levels of certain samples, instruments, or effects over time. You can really get some interesting combinations and sounds when you use automation clips.
FL Studio Mobile comes with five distinct workspaces, which are organized well, so you don’t get lost in the interface. The playlist, for instance, is where you’ll drop your samples, automation clips, and midi tracks to create the song. You can rearrange these at any time just by dragging and moving. You can also record your MIDI performances or audio from your phone’s mic.
The home screen is another workspace, where you’ll bounce your track to a sound file or share it with your desktop program. You can also share with any device on your network that has FL Mobile installed. This really makes it more accessible, since you can work on ideas in the car, and bring them back home to tighten them up and expand on them.
The rack and main mixer are where you’ll add your effects, adjust your volume, or change your panning to L and R channels. This is where a lot of the impact of your mix is going to live, so it’s important that Image-Line got the responsiveness right in this area. It feels good to drag and turn the knobs.
Your editors are where you’ll adjust your automation clips, which is a feature that the desktop version could use. You’ll also use this workspace to adjust your piano roll notes if you’re using any MIDI input or controllers.
FL Mobile has a few competitors, namely the infamous GarageBand. While the app is known for its user-friendliness, it doesn’t have the control that FL Mobile offers in terms of automation and effect controls.
Caustic 3 is another mobile-focused audio platform. While it’s not as sleek and attractive as FL Studio Mobile, it offers plenty of control. You can change settings on your effects, fine-tune your synths, and export your music projects to .mp3
A good, competitive mobile DAW
FL Mobile brings a lot of FL Studio’s power right to your phone. You can even send your project to your desktop workstation if you load Mobile into a plug-in and ensure they’re on the same network. Ultimately, FL Mobile contains good tools and is useful as a kind of pocket notebook upon which you can sketch your musical ideas.