In this article, I am going to share how to stay organized as a music producer when making beats in FL Studio.
Organization is VERY important when making beats, otherwise you burn out FAST.
You will learn:
- Getting FL Studio Setup and Organized
- Setting Up an Organized Music Production Desk
- Making Sure Backups are Safe and Ongoing
- Knowing Your Next Step with Music
HEADS UP.. VIEW MY PERSONAL MUSIC EQUIPMENT HERE.
Also.. here’s previous image before I updated this post from 2011!
Getting TOO Organized is a PROBLEM..
Before we get into this, you need to know that being too organized is a problem for many.
It’s like a vehicle doing a burn out.. spinning its wheels and not going anywhere. You will tire yourself out, and at the end of the day, you really didn’t do much except move some files around.
Do you need to organize and plan? Try USING PAPER AND PENCIL..
I often use paper and pencil for things like figuring out my backup plan, ideas for this website, or before recording my beatmaking courses.
The BEST FL Studio Setup and Workflow
If you have taken my FL Studio Courses, then you have seen how I layout my FL Studio windows (the Channel rack, Playlist, and Mixer).
The biggest hindrance I see when doing private beatmaking lessons with students is their FL Studio is VERY unorganized..
Want to know my secret for a fast workflow in FL Studio?
- READ: What is a VST?
(Having good sounds allows you to remain focused on your beatmaking, and have immense creativity because your sounds hit harder, and work better with sound selection).
FL Studio Window Layout:
So first is getting your various FL Studio windows snapped into place and organized. It allows for consistency because you know exactly where your windows are.
(I listed the shortcuts to the FL Studio window layout image caption above).
Setting Up a Template for a FAST Workflow
A template is super powerful.. whether that be a DAW like FL Studio, or a video editor like MAGIX Vegas.. The secret is making sure your template is lightweight, and truly speeds you up! (A template can actually slow you down if you’re not careful).
Plugin Database Organization
Your FL Studio Browser NEEDS to be organized. If it isn’t, you will lose focus fast.
The video below shows how to set up and organize the Plugin Database:
If you are confused on how sounds work as a music producer, it’s important you understand the difference between Generators and Effects, as well as what One-Shot Drum Samples are!
I’ll leave valuable articles below so you can select good plugins, be organized, and see true results in your music making.
It’s VERY important you do not use too many plugins or sounds. You just need high-quality sounds that allow for VERSATILITY and QUALITY!:
- Choose GOOD VSTs as a Music Producer
- Difference Between Generators and Effects
- What Makes a Drum Kit Good?
Setting up FL Studio to be organized, minimal, and allow you to have a fast workflow is absolutely essential. Once you have that covered, it’s onto your studio environment, like your computer screens, chair, studio desk, and such..
Setting Up a Music Studio Desk
Alright, onto your studio desk..
My desk used to be crammed with my MIDI Keyboard, typing keyboard, mouse, and computer monitors.. and then I learned about an adjustable keyboard tray! It’s absolutely game changing.
An adjustable keyboard tray is entering into the world of ergonomics. Essentially that means working in comfort with performance in mind.
The BIGGEST thing I can say about these adjustable keyboard trays is actually go into a local shop and see what they have to offer. I personally like the separate mouse pad on the side of the keyboard tray, which adjusts the angle for good wrist positioning.
Speaking of ergonomics, I held off on a proper chair for over 10 years.. finally after some pain, I did some research, and bought AN AWESOME CHAIR for the studio! If you want to be organized, sometimes you have to sit for awhile, and this allows me to work longer with little discomfort!
I talk about this chair in my podcast S2E15 – Getting Comfy + Healthy Work Environment!
Having BOTH your MIDI Keyboard and Audio Interface at Your Finger Tips
People ask me all the time, why a 49-Key MIDI Keyboard? And my reason is VERY simple. You have BOTH the MIDI Keyboard and Audio Interface right in front of you, which is EXTREMELY important for workflow!
Having an adjustable keyboard tray, 49-Key MIDI Keyboard AND Audio Interface in front of you gives the ultimate working position as a music producer.. YOU WILL SEE RESULTS!
A 61-Key MIDI Keyboard pushes your audio interface further away from you, and it’s more expensive! See my MIDI Keyboard Reviews for FL Studio!
Multiple Monitors for the FASTEST Beatmaking Workflow
As a music producer, I find myself having SO MANY WINDOWS open..
Whether I’m making music, writing emails or these articles/videos, DOING TAXES or PRODUCT RESEARCH.. doing graphic design, you name it..
Multiple monitors allows more screen real estate, and I don’t feel I have to close every window to “be organized”.. Windows 10 allows for a multi-monitor set-up quite easily now, so this is something I’d definitely consider!
Monitor Arm (For Comfort)
Monitor arms allow you to clear off your desk, and bring the screens closer.
They can also pivot and swivel to get the right angle for your neck and eyes!
There are also options for dual-monitor arms, and many different styles. I would suggest one for a very comfortable work environment, improving on ergonomics and comfort.
This has been a recent addition (in 2022), and was totally worth it. It has helped my eyes tremendously!
What Size of Computer Monitor for FL Studio?
I’m currently on a 24″ monitor, but you could go a little smaller to have more screens within view, otherwise your monitors have to be further back to see them all!
Note, we don’t need an expensive monitor with super accurate color reproduction for making beats, but depending what you do on a computer, you may need to think about those things.
In order to use 144Hz you usually have to enable this in your monitor’s properties in Windows!
An Automated Back-Up Solution for Music files
It’s VERY important that you have your music production computer backed up at all times.. there’s a couple ways you can do that which I’ll share in this section.
A USB Hard Drive for backing up is the EASIEST way to get started backing up.
My golden rule is to have a hard drive AT LEAST 2 TIMES the size of your computer’s storage. You may ask why.. My reason is backup software will say “You don’t have enough space” if your backup drive is too small.
Trust me, it’s not worth it. Backing up is SO BORING.. and if you get an error that your backup is not working, YOU DO NOT want to spend the time going in and figuring out what’s going on.
Your goal is an automated backup solution, and the extra $50 for a bigger drive will save you TONS of headaches.
For example, if you have two hard drives in your computer for a total of 2TB of storage, I’d say get a 4TB USB External Hard Drive.. either Seagate 3.0 USB Drive or Western Digital Drive.. I also have heard Toshiba Hard Drives are good, too.
How to Buy a USB Hard Drive
- DO NOT BUY A USB DRIVE THAT REQUIRES SEPARATE POWER.. (it’s SO ANNOYING).
- Buy USB 3.0 for FAST SPEED
- Make sure the external hard drive is AT LEAST TWO TIMES the size of your computer’s storage!
Internal Hard Drives for Backup
If you use too many USB Hard Drives it can be messy because it not only eats up many USB ports, but it can also consume a lot of your USB Bandwidth, and slow down your computer sometimes.
An internal drive is a nice option for backing up (in addition to a USB Hard Drive), if you know how to open up your computer and install an Internal Hard Drive.
My suggestion here is be careful with “performance internal hard drives” because they can be a bit loud for music production if you are recording with a microphone. It’s too bad Solid State Hard Drives (SSDs) are still quite expensive when it comes to 4TB+, because they are silent and fast, but that’s the state of computers right now.
My golden rule of AT LEAST 2 TIMES larger than your computer storage also applies (but you may want to go 3-4 times larger for an internal backup hard drive because of the much more affordable price).
(HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive.. they are the old school disk platters hard drives which are affordable, but create noise. A 5400RPM is fine for recording and making music.. it’s mainly a CPU on your computer that matters for music production. Internal drives are quite affordable, which is why I suggest the 3-4 times larger).
Again, be careful of “performance hdd drives” as they are noticeably loud. Purchasing the right internal hard drive is actually tricky as there are many types like “surveillance hard drives” or “NAS hard drives”. Western Digital color-codes their stuff.. the Black is their performance (loud).. my previous blue was nice and quiet…
Cloud Backup Storage for Music Production
The best way to store your music files is in the “cloud”.
It’s important you have your backups going on, as well as protected off site (such as cloud storage), in case anything happens.
You may even want to look into a firebox, or something similar, as well, where you can store manually backed up hard drives into, and once in awhile plug them in to back up.
You need to make sure the hard drives plugged into your computer are backed up. There are many software out there that will do automated backups.
I personally like one that allows you to do differential backups so that your computer isn’t ALWAYS doing a full backup of your computer, which takes forever, and is quite CPU intensive. It’s important to set this up on a schedule where you most often ARE NOT using your computer inside the in the software.
Please leave a comment below if you’re looking for backup software for windows to help with this automatic backups.
Your Next Steps as a Producer Being Organized..
So there you go..
If you’re just getting started as a music producer using FL Studio, I want to tell you that being organized will actually give you time to make beats when you want.
Your next steps are making sure you are storing your files away in the right folders, or your new organized system just won’t work!
As mentioned, write this down with a paper and pencil.. figure out your own custom music folder, and where you’re going to store your files like your producer logo, video editing files, your beats, drum kits, and your personal files if you use one computer for everything.
The question I have for you is.. what do you need to organize from this list I’ve written?
Comment below with your answer!