In this tutorial, we cover how to map midi controls in FL Studio.
You’ll learn how to link external midi controllers to FL Studio, and assign knobs and sliders to VST parameters, which you can then record automation with your MIDI Controller in FL Studio.
You can then get Hands-On MIDI Mixing in FL Studio.
Note, a MIDI Keyboard is a type of MIDI Controller.
READ: BEST MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio
Knob and Slider Terms
It can be confusing when learning how to link knobs and sliders in FL Studio.. so before moving forward, here’s helpful terms regarding knobs, sliders, mapping, linking, assigning, etc.
Sliders vs. Faders:
Sliders are also known as faders. They move vertically, and give you a nice visual for how much you’ve increased the slider.
Knobs vs. Pan Pots
Knobs are also known as rotary knobs or pan pots. They twist left to right. There’s absolute knobs, rotary knobs, or endless encoders.
Learn about the different MIDI Knob types.
MIDI Controller vs. MIDI Keyboard
A MIDI Controller controls our music programs (DAWs).
A MIDI Keyboard is a type of MIDI Controller which often has knobs, sliders, midi keys, drum pads, and pitch + mod wheels which we can map to VST parameters.
Linking, Mapping, Assigning..
If you map MIDI Controls in FL Studio, or assign a knob to a VST, it all means the same thing regarding linking your MIDI Controller to FL Studio 🙂
Let’s now move onto how to set up a MIDI Keyboard’s Knobs and Sliders in FL Studio to a Stock or Third-Party VST.
How to Map Knobs + Sliders to FL Studio VSTs
First you need to understand Project Links and Global Links.
READ: Project Links vs. Global Links in FL Studio
Project Links are only for that particular project. They take precedence over Global Links, and the VST window does not have to be focused for the linked knob to work.
Global Links create permanent controller links which apply to old and new FL Studio Projects. VST windows must be focused for custom mapped knobs to work. (Each VST Plugin is set up individually).
Previously Global links were called “Override generic links”.
Let’s tackle linking knobs in FL Studio step-by-step!
We first cover mapping knobs to stock plugins, then assigning knobs to third-party plugins in FL Studio!
Map Knobs to Stock FL Studio Plugins:
FL Studio Stock plugins allow us to RIGHT-CLICK knobs to easily map one knob to a VST parameter.
Below I share how to link knobs fast with “Multilink to controllers”.
In this example, I loaded up FL Keys (an awesome piano plugin).
I right-clicked the “RELEASE” knob, and under Remote control, we have Link to controller… and Override global link…
Either option you choose, a pop-up window will appear. Move the MIDI Knob you want assigned to that VST knob, and that’s it!
What to Choose: Link to Controller or Global Links
If you want hands-on mixing across all FL Studio projects, then use Global Links!
If you want that knob mapped JUST FOR THAT PROJECT, then use “Link to controller” (Project Link).
“Link to controller” and “Override global link” both open similar windows, but Global Link has a couple restrictions. Link to controller is called “Remote control settings” and Global Links is “Global link settings”.
The biggest difference is that a Global Link cannot be assigned to multiple knobs, whereas a Project Link can control multiple VST parameters from one MIDI Controller knob by disabling “remove conflicts”.
Map Knobs to Third-Party VSTs in FL Studio
Now we’ll cover linking MIDI Knobs to Third-Party Plugins!
We focus on Multilink to controllers in FL Studio which is the fastest way to link multiple knobs to individual parameters, and can also be used to map third-party plugin knobs in FL Studio!
Sidenote.. This is good to know, but multilink to controllers is fastest..
To map just a single knob, or to remove a mapped link, move a knob on the third-party VST with your mouse, go to Options -> Last tweaked. You’ll see “Link to controller” and “Override global link” for that knob you just moved.
The Best Way to Link Knobs in FL Studio – Multilink to Controllers
At the top of FL Studio, hover over the knob icon, and FL Studio’s top-left hint panel will say “Multilink to controllers”.
Simply LEFT-CLICK Multilink to controllers to activate it.
Now on the VST, move any parameters you’d like to link. You’ll see each one gets added right beside the Multilink to controller icon.
Don’t get too carried away and move too many knobs. It’s hard to remember the order you moved them.
Once you’ve moved the VST Parameters with your mouse, there’s two options you can take to link knobs to VSTs in FL Studio:
- Move a Knob (Project Links)
- RIGHT-CLICK Multilink to controllers -> Override global links
Project Links are used if you move a knob on your MIDI Controller. The knob links to the first VST parameter you moved. The Remote control settings window pops up, and you just move each MIDI knob to link the rest of the VST parameters.
Global Links are used only if you RIGHT-CLICK Multilink to controllers knob icon in the top of FL Studio, and select “Override global links”. (Global link settings pops up).
Remember, once Global Links are saved, they can be used in old and new FL Studio projects! They create permanent links to MIDI Controller knobs and sliders.
Once you decide on Project Links or Global Links, simply move your MIDI Controller knobs in order to the VST parameters you moved on the plugin!
This is the fastest way to link knobs to VSTs in FL Studio 🙂
If a plugin does not register your mouse movement with Multilink to controllers, try “Browse parameters” (FL Studio CC List) in a plugin’s drop-down menu. Then RIGHT-CLICK the parameter in the Browser, and link your knob and slider like shown!
Removing Mapped Knob Links in FL Studio
To remove a mapped knob or linked slider in FL Studio, RIGHT-CLICK the knob you want to disconnect from your MIDI Keyboard knob.
You’ll see a checkmark next to either “Link to controller” (Project Link), or “Override global link” (Global Links).
Click the one with the checkmark, and in the pop-up click Reset.
You can also remove multiple knobs at the same time by using the Multilink to Controllers option. After the knobs are moved, RIGHT-CLICK the Multilink to Controllers icon, and click “Override Global Links”. For each moved knob, you can then click Reset.
If things get messy, you can delete Global Links in your FL Studio Mapping folder inside Documents.
Wrapping Up: Map MIDI Controls in FL Studio
That’s how you link MIDI Keyboard faders and knobs in FL Studio.
Now you can custom map any VST parameter to your MIDI Controller for any Virtual Instrument or Mixing Effect in FL Studio!
Some VSTs give a better experience than others, but I suggest watching my Project Links vs. Global Links FL Studio tutorial.
For good mixing plugins, view Best FabFilter Plugins to Buy.
By the way.. try my my FL Studio course:
To recap.. Mapping MIDI Knobs.. Linking External MIDI Controllers.. Routing Knobs to VST Parameters.. it all means the same thing in FL Studio.. so don’t get confused out there!
Using Multilink to controllers is by far the fastest way to set up knobs to your MIDI Controller in FL Studio, and should work no matter what plugin you’re using.
Any questions? Just comment below!