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Due Date: April 12

FL Studio (Part VIII): Mixing A Song

Most music is not a “set it and forget it” sort of product, where musicians simply hit the record button, do their thing, and then walk away. Music must be “mixed.” This mixing is a balancing act where sounds and instrument’s volume and frequency levels are changed so that while they may overlap they won’t actually interfere with each other. Think of this in terms of cooking and baking. While mixing the ingredients of a great chocolate chip cookie recipe together, too much of any one thing can ruin the taste of the cookie. There must be proper distribution of these elements in order to ensure a good end result.

Open up the FL Studio Mixer by clicking on this icon on the top menu.

You should see a mixing console that looks like this:

The FL mixer is divided up into different sections, with the larger area being the “Inserts” area and the right sidebar being the “Effects” area. When an instrument gets inserted into the step sequencer, it is also supposed to correspond with an Insert in the mixer, so that we can not only hear the sound but see the sound.

  1. Click on the FL Keys button on the step sequencer (notice how Insert 4 lights up on the mixer)
  2. Click on the Clap button (notice how Insert 2 lights up on the mixer)
  3. Click on the Hat button (notice how Insert 3 lights up on the mixer)

So, we can see that different instruments are linked or inserted into the different inserts on the mixer. Though, not all instruments are that way. And, the way our mixer is set up, it is difficult to understand what is going where.

  1. Click on the “PadWah” button on the step sequencer (notice how the Master insert lights up – we need to change that so that PadWah corresponds with Insert 5 on our mixer
  2. Find your “Channel Settings - PadWah” window. It looks like this: 
  3. Click and drag the FX box until it says “5”

Now, our Wasp instrument, with the PadWah preset will flow through Insert 5 on our mixer

Repeat this process while making sure that:

  • “Big 80s” is flowing through Insert 6
  • Sytrus is flowing through Insert 7

Play your song. You can see that all instruments are on their own individual mixer tracks.

While listening to your song, you can see the lights on the mixer track rise and fall meaning that some sounds are louder and some are softer. The louder sounds are the Inserts where the lights rise higher than the others. When mixing music, we need to make sure that these sounds are not outweighing the others so that the other sounds become irrelevant.

The controls that move up and down, on each Insert, are known as “Sliders.” These sliders can be manipulated to control the level of sound which will help us see whether the volume levels are more aligned with each other. But, first, we still do not really know what is what. Our mixer is too disorganized. We need to change this.

  1. Click (using your right mouse button) on Insert 7 on your mixer and select “Rename/Color”
  2. Rename Insert 7 to “Sytrus”
  3. Change the color to match the purple with the purple color that Sytrus is on the step sequencer (It is difficult to get an exact match but get it as close as you can)
  4. Repeat this process for the “Big 80’s” and “PadWah” and “FL Keys”
  5. Rename Insert 1 to “Kick,” Insert 2 to “Clap,” and Insert 3 to “Hat”

Your Mixer should look like this:


Now, we can star mixing

  1. Grab the Sytrus slider and drag it until it is set to 64%
  2. Grab the Big 80’s slider and drag it until is set to 70%
  3. Grab the PadWah slider and drag it until it is set to 64%

Your mixer should look like this:

Notice that the volume levels are more even (normalized) both visually and audibly (

Save your file as “My First Song Mixed”