Streamlined use of FL Studio for MIDI editing:

I’ve been exploring FL to create beats (songs) for the BeatBuddy by exporting them as a MIDI pattern to be arranged in BBManager. After many trials, I’ve been able to work out some of the bugs and streamline the process as best I could.

Basically, if you’re using FL and want to compose your own drum patterns, I’ve found the best way is to use IL’s “FPC” plugin, which is typically used for launchpad controllers, but in this case it can make the piano roll MIDI correspond with the General MIDI Drum Map (appearing in this post) in BBManager.

Here are the steps:
0) First, Download my custom .fst Preset, and drop the file in Documents/Image-Line/FL Studio/Presets/Plugin presets/Generators/FPC

  1. Open an empty project in FL.
  2. Open FPC in the Channel Rack.
  3. Load the custom preset. There’s an arrow next to the gear icon in the upper left part of the wrapper where you can choose a new preset. Choose “Default BB Mapping”.
  4. Pick a sample you like for each instrument, then drop it onto the corresponding pad in FPC. You can add and edit samples within FPC as well (useful for velocity ranges).
  5. Right click FPC and select Piano Roll. From here, you can do all your editing/composing. It’s best to do this in chunks. So if you have an idea for a loop, fill, transition, intro, outro, etc., you should keep those as different patterns and export them as separate .mid files later.
  6. After you’ve finished creating all your patterns, you can export them one by one:
    6a) Make sure FPC is the only channel in the rack The reason is a bit technical. If there are any other channels, FL will export it as MIDI Type 1, which is not compatible with BBManager. BBManager only seems to work with Type 0. I won’t get into the details in this post, but anyway, to get FL to export as Type 0, everything should be consolidated onto a single channel.
    6b) In FL, find Tools–>Macros–>Prepare For MIDI Export. This will assign FPC a MIDI Channel (naturally drums are set to CH10 by default, you can change that if you want), so it can be imported across other software. *Note: you won’t be able to hear any of the samples after preparing for export, and there’s no undo, so you might want to save your project beforehand in case you want to revise anything.
    6c) In FL, find File–>Export–>Export as MIDI. At the top of the dialog window, you will have the option of choosing to export the current Pattern, or Full Song. If you have multiple Patterns for fills, chorus, etc., then you should go through this step for each individual file and save them as separate midi files, then bring into BBManager for arrangement.

All done!
Optional Perk: You can also pretty easily transfer your samples from FL and build a kit in BBManager. To do this, in FPC, there is a drop-down options arrow. There, you can click “save all wave files” and choose a folder. I like to use Documents/BBWorkspace/user_lib/drum_sets/New Folder to keep it organized. Now, you can build a drum set in BBManager with all the instrument samples you used in FPC, and also be able to create a song with it using the exported MIDI patterns!

Another note The FPC preset I included is meant to correspond to the General MIDI Mapping of BeatBuddy’s Default Content Drumkits. It does not factor in the instruments from Premium Library Drumkits. It’s also worth mentioning that the Latin kit uses many extra instruments that exceed the 32pad limit in FPC. If you can’t live without it, you could reproduce what I’ve done in FPC and just change the note values to reflect the Latin kit Mapping.

Caveat I’m also not entirely sure all MIDI parameters, such as velocity, panning, etc., are conserved in the transition to BBManager. It might just be rhythm, I’ll have to do some more exploring.

Please enjoy and reply if you have any questions you run into with this process!

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BB recognizes velocity, midi note on, and midi note off. Other parameters are not present. Panning can be achieved by creating stereo samples panned where you want, saving as 16bit, 44.1khz wav, and the replacing the default samples in the BB drumkit. If you intend to try this, first make sure you have an archival copy of your existing drumkit saved. (File>Export>Drumset). Then, change the name of the kit you are editing. See my tutorial on changing the names on drumsets.

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