This FL Studio tutorial will teach you the best FL Studio settings to optimize FL Studio performance, which includes how to set up FL Studio on Windows.
We talk about the best FL Studio audio settings (setup and configuration), and how to get a good workflow in FL Studio.
Related: Best Export Settings for FL Studio
This article is explained as if you have a weak CPU, but even recent low-end computers are powerful, and can handle music production well!
How to Configure a Music Production Computer on Windows
Let’s first look at your Windows audio settings to make sure they aren’t degrading your FL Studio experience, as sometimes Windows enables “audio enhancements”, which are not good for music production, as they skew the original audio.
Windows “Sound Control Panel” Window
We disable “audio enhancements” in Window’s Sound Control Panel. On Windows 10/11 there’s two ways to access it:
- Settings -> Sounds -> Sound Control Panel
- Right-Click Speaker in Taskbar -> Sounds
The fastest way to access this “Sounds” window is to RIGHT-CLICK the speaker in your taskbar, and select “Sounds”. You will then be presented with the “Sounds” window.
This Sounds window gives total control of Windows audio!
We are focusing on Playback and Recording tabs:
Here’s what we’ll tackle in this Sounds pop-up:
- Disabling unused audio devices
- Set as Default Device and Default Communication Device
- Disabling Windows Audio Enhancements
Disabling unused audio devices
This one is up to you! .. I like the workflow!
Disabling unused audio devices allows Windows to always use my audio interface as the default device. (Sometimes software can load another audio device.. this prevents that!)
On the Playback tab, right-click each device and Disable the ones you do not use. (You can always Enable them if you mess up!)
Also disable unused audio devices on the Recording tab as well!
There can be many audio devices like video cards, computer screens with speakers, the motherboard soundcard.. I don’t use them, so they are disabled.
Set as Default Device and Default Communication Device
Set your audio interface as “Default Device” and “Default Communication Device” so software knows the audio interface is default.
Whether I’m making beats in FL Studio, or doing a Skype FL Studio lesson, audio will always be routed through the audio interface!
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Disabling Windows Audio Enhancements
Right-click an audio device on the Playback tab, then click Properties.
Speaker Properties is where we disable windows audio enhancements.
You’ll also want to Disable “Spatial sound”:
These types of “audio enhancements” are not good for mixing music because we are not hearing the music as is.
If the listener chooses to enable these options, that is their choice for LISTENING PURPOSES.
But for beatmaking, mixing, and mastering, we want to hear music AS IS for accurate audio decisions.
- LISTEN: FREE FL Studio Podcast!
That wraps up how to disable windows audio enhancements for better audio in FL Studio. Let’s cover more Windows settings to improve FL Studio performance.
Enable Performance Mode on Windows (Power Plan)
Windows has different power plans inside Power Options. These are useful depending on the task you’re doing.
For example, if using doing product research while on laptop battery, an eco power plan makes sense, because you want longer life!
For music production, we want performance, so it’s best to select a high performance power plan.
To set a power plan in Windows, type “Choose a power plan” in Windows search bar, then select High Performance.
You’ll notice “Change plan settings” beside a power plan . You can customize things like turning off a computer monitor or putting the computer to sleep after a certain amount of time.
“Change advanced power settings” has many more advanced configurations.. be careful in there.
Note, in FL Studio’s Settings -> General tab, you can select “force high performance power plan” as well. I personally do both 😁.
Bonus: Windows Start-Up Apps
One last thing to mention on our Windows settings before moving onto the best FL Studio settings, is start-up apps.
I explain start-up apps in Windows Shortcuts for Producers course.
In short, when booting Windows, certain applications are run which can either slow down the boot-up process, or use valuable CPU resources (especially if your CPU is old!)
Example.. I disable Cortana, motherboard’s audio software, etc.
Access start-up apps by typing “Task Manager” into the Windows search bar, then select the “Startup” tab.
Windows lists apps by “startup impact”. Organize the column to show “high” at the top, then disable as you see fit.
Don’t be too aggressive on disabling start-up apps.. just unnecessary software you NEVER USE.
Best FL Studio Settings for Performance
Now onto how to setup and configure FL Studio for the best experience.
The Windows settings are usually the biggest gotchas, so make sure you double-check those settings first!
To optimize FL Studio, the only thing you really need to do is select an ASIO Driver!
What’s the Best ASIO Driver for FL Studio?
FL Studio comes bundled with a couple ASIO Drivers:
- FL Studio ASIO
The short answer is ASIO Drivers perform significantly better than a “Primary Sound Driver”.
The long answer is not all ASIO Drivers perform the same. You have to test what works best on your system.
Typically, you’ll want to use your audio interface’s ASIO Driver (if you have one), which usually gives the lowest latency and stability. The next option is ASIO4ALLv2. (Then FL Studio ASIO).
ASIO Drivers don’t effect sound quality.. just CPU performance.. (People get tricked because “windows audio enhancements” are enabled.. TURN THEM OFF!)
What are the Best ASIO Settings?
The short answer for the best ASIO Settings is to set “buffer size” low when recording or making beats, then increase “buffer size” when mixing/mastering.
When talking about ASIO, you’ll also hear “buffer size”, “buffer length”, or “sample size”, as well as the dreaded term “underruns” (glitches, pops, and instability!).
Processing audio is very hard on a CPU, and very low latency requires lots of CPU power!
So it’s a balance between how powerful your CPU is, how low you can set your “buffer size”, while NOT getting any “underruns”.
If you set your buffer size too low, it makes your CPU work really hard. If you set buffer size too high, you’re just increasing latency.
256ms is a good starting point. See if you can notice any latency, and if so, then see if your CPU can go lower.
Image-Line says there’s “diminishing returns”.. in other words, your CPU runs extra hard with little improvement to latency on a VERY low buffer size.
Best Practice for Routing Audio and Plugins
I’ll go through these really quick, just so you’re aware of them.
How to Use CPU Cores Effectively in FL Studio
With computers so powerful nowadays (even my old i7-7700K can keep up), focusing on wise CPU core management is a creative roadblock. In other words, I prefer to “do what I want” in the mixer, rather than be careful to only route audio a certain way.
And recent CPUs can EASILY handle this! 🙂
In short, audio can only use one CPU thread at a time, meaning when routing audio through plugins, the CPU has to wait for each step to complete, and other cores can’t help in parallel!
If that didn’t make sense, here’s an example:
If you route a virtual instrument to a mixer insert, then route that mixer insert to another mixer insert, only one CPU thread is used the whole way.. that’s why single thread speed on a CPU is so important for music production!
If using a weak CPU, then sure, you can be cautious with audio routing, but with modern CPUs (2022), this should not be an issue!!!
That’s the basics of single thread speed (from what I can understand).. but you’ll notice FL Studio has an option to increase performance with Multithreaded processing..
Heads up! These settings are on by default 🙂
In FL Studio’s Settings -> Audio tab, you’ll see “Multithreaded generator processing” and “Multithreaded mixer processing”.
These spread the work over multiple CPU cores.
In order for this to fully work, you also need to enable “Allow threaded processing” in the wrapper menu (2), and “Allow threaded processing” in the Wrapper Additional Settings menu (3):
Smart Disable FL Studio
The last one we’ll cover for FL Studio performance is “Smart disable”.
Smart disable is such a powerful feature because it disables plugins if they are not in use! This dramatically reduces CPU usage, and it is also on by default now 🙂.
Smart disable can be applied per plugin, through F10 settings (global Smart disable), or in Tools -> Marco -> Switch smart disable for all plugins.
The image above shares “global Smart Disable”
I use global Smart disable, and if any plugins are “behaving badly” as Image-Line says, then disable Smart disable on certain plugins.
Other Useful FL Studio Options to Enable:
Here’s some more quick FL Studio options to enable:
I like to enable undo knob tweaks in Settings -> General (with at least 100 undos!).
Also, while FL Studio does not use your GPU (graphics card) for most things, it does for some, such as ZGameEditor Visualizer (see tutorial).
LEARN: how to enable FL Studio to use graphics card
And.. one last thing.. on really weak CPUs, you can try to disable FL Studio animations for better performance, but modern CPUs will not have a problem, and it makes dragging things around more enjoyable in FL Studio!
Conclusion: The Best Settings for FL Studio
What did you think? Did you apply any of these settings? Do you have any to add?
RECAP: In short, make sure you set up Windows properly as mentioned above!
And for FL Studio, the most important thing for performance is enabling an ASIO Driver. (First try your audio interface ASIO, then ASIO4ALLv2, then FL Studio ASIO).
One last side note is computer parts.
Running FL Studio on your SSD will improve performance a bit, not significantly, but it’s worth mentioning!