With a new name and a new interface, FL Studio is reestablishing its place as a full-featured and affordable audio-production program. Competition in the world of all-in-one music-creation suites has grown considerably since Fruity Loops first started breaking beats.
The photo-realistic mixing-board interface, littered with small, unlabeled icons and burdened with a confusing file browser, makes the learning curve steeper than it should be. Once you clear that hurdle, though, this enjoyable product will have you making music in no time. The Fruityslicer makes short work of chopping up breaks, and the simple step-based drum machine lets you create your own. You can bind FL Studio to other programs via VSTi and DXi plug-ins. A full selection of software instruments is included so you can start playing immediately. All the usual suspects are there, from vintage, buzzy, analog imitators to wacky sound effects and generic voice samples.
FL Studio offers a tremendous value for what you get. Comparable products cost nearly twice as much. FL Studio's quirky sound generators and interoperability make it a great addition to any studio. Be warned, though: several versions of FL Studio are available, so more features are included as the price goes up.