In this tutorial, we will present you the best settings for CPU optimization in FL Studio.
Are you tired of hearing pops, clicks and static when you play your beat? Does your CPU usage bar look like this?
Well, one thing you should notice right away is the difference between the CPU usage (the red bar that says 100) and the RAM usage (251MB). Many people will tell you that you need to upgrade your RAM. These same people will recommend that you have 8GB of RAM or more. This is nonsense.
The minimum requirements are listed here on Image Line’s official website. They recommend having at least 4GB of RAM or more, not 8. I personally have never used or even seen anyone use more than 2.5GB in an FL Studio project. Most projects won’t use more than 1GB of RAM. In the example above, I’m merely using a quarter of a single GB, yet my CPU usage is clocked out at full capacity. This is the most common scenario when dealing with optimization issues.
The quick fix for this is changing the buffer length on your selected soundcard. You can find this option by going to the main tool bar and selecting “Options” and clicking “Audio Settings.” There, you’ll see your Input/Output Device.
In the past, I would recommend downloading and installing the ASIO4ALL driver, which is also an option when you install FL Studio. Recently, FL Studio has created their own driver called FL Studio ASIO, which I found performs on par, if not better than the ASIO4ALL driver. This too is an install option. By switching to the FL Studio ASIO driver and increasing the buffer length to 2048, I was able to dramatically decrease the CPU usage.
This is the same project as before, just with the increased buffer size. One thing to note is that when you increase the buffer size, you increase the latency in the project. So if you’re using a midi controller, you’ll notice that when you move a control, these will respond slower than before with the lower buffer size. I personally will use lower buffer sizes early on when I’m using my midi keyboard. That allows me to have a more natural performance when I use my keys to play my VSTi’s. After I record my midi, I’ll then increase my buffer size (if needed) to do my mixing as I add more CPU intensive plugins.
Another workaround is to convert your midi to audio. This frees up your CPU from having to operate your VSTi’s when your playback your project. In FL Studio 20, there are more options than ever to convert to audio.
- Solo your midi and hit CTRL+ R to Export to WAV
- Click the white dot, disk recording icon, on your FX insert your channel is linked to, which will turn the dot red, and hit ALT+R to render to WAV.
- Right click your pattern in the pattern selector on the playlist and select either “Quick Render,” “Render,” or “Render and Replace.”
Another option that can hinder your CPU performance is your sample rate. I recommend keeping your project at 44100 because this is the same quality that your final audio will be rendered to in the first place. You’ll barely hear a difference, if at all, when increasing this, so it’s not worth the CPU usage. You’ll notice that some third party plugins, like Omnisphere, can’t even operate any higher than 48000, so in that case it isn’t even an option to go any higher. 44100 is CD quality, so you’re more than fine using that.
You might have noticed that I have “Mix in buffer Switch” and “Triple Buffer” selected. These two options also help the buffer by processing directly from the selected driver and giving a slight increase of latency to smooth out any additional pops and clicks.
Further down the Audio Options page, you’ll notice a section that says “CPU.”
The two “Multithreaded” options allow your CPU to use multithreading, which is a common feature for modern CPU processors. I won’t get into detail about what it does exactly, but it helps with CPU efficiency.
“Smart Disable” was a game changer when this was introduced in previous versions of FL Studio. This allows you automatically turn off plugins when they are not in use. Selecting this option here, will only enable the use in general. You still have to turn it on through the drop down menu of each individual plugin, or go to “Tools,” “Macros,” and select “Switch Smart Disable For All Plugins.”
If we continue further down the Audio Options page, you’ll see the “Mixer” section. Under “Resampling Quality,” I recommend using 2-point linear while you’re creating your project, and using the higher settings, up to 512-point sync, when rendering or exporting your files.
This will allow you to have lower CPU usage during the creative process and the highest quality when you convert to audio.
Now, if we click the “General” tab I the settings menu, you’ll see the “Advanced” settings in the bottom left.
The two most important options here are “Auto Keep Long Audio On Disk” and “Force High Performance Power Plan.” In projects that are using a lot of RAM, it’s usually because of the amount of audio in the project. By keeping the long audio on disk, it allows the hard drive to act as a source of memory instead of your RAM. Forcing high performance power plan does exactly what it says, but it’s not as dramatic of a difference as the previous options I’ve listed so far.
The last tip I have is a little obscure. It will only dramatically affect people who use larger monitors. If you click the “Project” tab, you’ll see an option called Timebase (PPQ).
This controls how far you can zoom into your project on the playlist, which is super helpful for those who work on larger screens. I personally have mine set to 144. The default setting is 96. But let’s say you have yours set to something crazy like 768 or 960. Well, this is dramatically going to drain your CPU usage, almost as much as having a lower buffer. You’ll notice a huge drop in CPU by switching over to 24ppq. Just switch it to a higher setting whenever you need to zoom in on the playlist and you’ll be good to go.
Out of everything I discussed here, I think the most important features to optimize your CPU settings are your driver, the buffer length, rendering to WAV, smart disable, and resampling quality. I personally use everything option listed in this post because my current CPU is an older AMD processor. I’ve found the AMD’s are more energy efficient, but the Intel processors are more powerful, even when the same specs are listed. They simply perform differently. So if you’re in the market for a new CPU, like I am, I would choose an Intel Processor over an AMD. That, combined with these FL Studio settings, should keep your projects running smooth.
For additional music production tips, tricks and FL Studio tutorials, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, INFLIGHTMUZIK.