FL Studio Tutorial Series: Lesson 11 – Using VST Instruments

Welcome to lesson 11 in the FL studio’ tutorial series.

This lesson continues our set of lessons on adding and managing content in FL studio.

FL Studio Tutorials
FL Studio Tutorials

In this lesson, we’re going to focus on how to add and use VST plugins’ specifically VST instruments in your pattern and song structures,

VST plugins are virtual instruments or effects that can be used in any DAW or digital audio workstation that supports their use,

many are free online many more are available for a fee, in downloading a VST plug-in you’ll most likely download its packaged as a zip file,

inside there may be an installer name set up but in many cases of free VSTs there only be a file called a DLL file and maybe a folder with some presets or other data.

You would need to extract or install the contents of the zip file to a dedicated folder that you want to use for your VST plugins,

once you’ve added plugins to your folder you now need to tell FL Studio where that folder is so that it can add the contents to your available effects and instruments,

to do so go to options file settings, in the pop-up window that appears you see the bottom half is labeled VST plugins’ extra search folder,

here we can add our VST folder by clicking on the folder icon beside it, another pop-up will ask you to navigate to and select your VST folder.

To access your vsts the method will depend on whether they’re instruments which load in the channels of the step sequencer or if their effects which load into the mixer and will be explained in a later lesson focusing more heavily on the mixer,

forgetting about effects, for now, let’s load a VST instrument into our step sequencer, right-click on any channel already in your step sequencer and choose to insert then mouse over the list of available instruments we have already been using and go to the word more at the top,

a new list will pop up showing all available instruments FL recognizes

at the bottom of this list should be a section labeled VST plugins’,

in that section there should be any VST plugins’ you have available there’s no filter to show only instruments or only effects here so you may accidentally open an effect,

you’ll know you’ve opened in effect if you get a pop-up error stating can’t load an effect into a channel as frustrating

as this can be until you learn the names of your vsts you’ll have to use this process,

you may also see a box with an F in it to the left of each plug-in name this is to set a plug-in as a favorite so that loads in the immediate insert or a place menu without ou have to go to more to find it,

if you later add any plugins to your folder while FL is open you’ll need to go to the bottom of the more left and choose one of the Refresh options to reveal any new plugins.

Once you’ve chosen an instrument it’ll load in a new channel, the VST may have its own graphics interface that will most likely appear,

if it does not go to the channel settings menu for that channel and click the plug-in tab, you can experiment with any controls on the GUI to alter the sound of the VST or some come loaded with presets to access the presets of any instrument,

not just a VST, you can go to the main drop-down menu of the GUI mouse over presets and see any available to you,

if the list is massive like we see here you can go to the end of the list and check tree display just sometimes open the list under categorized sections,

likewise, you can also use these arrows to navigate from the next or previous presets.

Some VST have presets that can only be changed using a selector that’s embedded in the interface itself,

a final option is to randomize the preset which can give some interesting results sometimes good sometimes bad, this tool can be found also at the bottom of the preset list for any instrument,

a word to the wise though if you do explore randomizing presets first turn down your volume as Somers can push the comfortable listening boundaries for sure,

after choosing a preset the VST instrument is now ready to be programmed

again I’d love to discuss how to add a VST effect right now but I feel we must first review the mixer which I’ll do in a later lesson.

Now you should have a means for adding VST plug-in content to FL Studio and for adding VST instruments to your step sequencer.

Thus ends our lesson on using VST instruments.

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