Cracking can be a serious pain when you’re creating music within FL Studio. If not taken care of, it can often get in the way of productivity. The good thing is that remedying this issue only requires a few simple steps.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the reasons why you might be getting crackling, pops, or choppy CPU problems in FL Studio so you can fix them.
Before we get started, you’ll want to make sure that you've updated to the newest version of FL Studio.
Increase the Buffer Length
Increasing the buffer length within the audio settings menu is the typical fix for any problems with choppy audio. Start by going up to options > audio settings.
Once the window pops up, you’ll need to set your device to ASIO4ALL or FL Studio ASIO.
Then, you’ll want to increase the buffer length. Essentially, when it comes to buffer length, the higher the buffer length, the more latency you’ll have when tracking. However, when you’re running several plugins and tracks in a session, FL Studio will start to crackle, pop, and sometimes stop altogether if the buffer length is too low.
Generally, we like to set it to the lowest setting possible (256) when tracking, and the highest setting possible (2048) when mixing.
Next, you’ll set the Priority, which is right under your buffer length menu, to “Highest,” and tick all of the marks in the CPU section, including multithreaded generator processing, and multithreaded mixer processing, and smart disable.
In the Mixer section, you can set “Resampling Quality” to 24-point sinc.
Lastly, you might want to go to the top and select “Triple Buffer” in the buffer length menu to see if that makes a difference at all.
After increasing your buffer length, the second-most important thing to do is set your Timebase (PPQ)
While in your settings menu, go to the Project tab and set your Timebase (PPQ) to 24. The difference between this number and higher numbers like 96 is that you won’t be able to zoom in on your audio clips as much.
The next tip is about turning on our Smart Disable.
Go to the Tools menu at the top left-hand corner of your DAW.
Then, go to Macros > Switch smart disable for all plugins.
This setting will disable any plugins that are not in use at the moment. For example, if you have a reverb plugin, it will cut after a few seconds. The good thing is that this will not affect your rendering.
Delete Unused Channels and Samples
This next tip is super handy when you’re in the advanced stage of your project.
Let’s say you have a lot of patterns in your session. This can make it difficult to tell which patterns or samples you aren’t using in your mix.
If this is the case, you can go up to the Tools menu, click Macros > Select unused channels.
This setting will mark all of your unused channels. Next, you can go up to the small arrow at the top left-hand portion of your channel rack and click delete selected. This should free up a decent amount of space in your session.
Now, you’ll be left with the samples.
Your samples are stored in RAM, and getting rid of unused samples can be helpful in increasing your overall performance.
Start by going to the Tools menu, and click Macros > Purge unused audio clips.
All of the unused audio clips in your session will be deleted and your session should be faster because of it.
Close All Of Your VST Windows
I found out about this tip late in the game, though realized it can be extremely helpful in getting better session performance, especially when you have a large project with several tracks and VSTs.
It’s easy to get in the flow and forget to close any of your plugin windows, which can be hard on your computer. To close all of your plugin windows, simply hit F12.
Don’t worry, as it will only close the windows. All of your effects will remain intact.
Plugin CPU Monitor
This next tip is fairly new in the world of FL Studio.
In sessions where you have a lot going on, you might not be sure which of your plugins is draining the most CPU.
To determine the culprit, you can go to your View menu and click Plugin performance monitor. This plugin monitor will give you info on which of the plugins in your session are eating up the most CPU.
If you click on “Total” at the top right-hand corner of this window, you’ll order the plugins by most CPU to least.
Consolidate VST Patterns
Once you determine which of your VSTs are taking up the most CPU, the next thing to do is consolidate them.
Start by marking the pattern that correlates to your VST. Then hit Ctrl + Alt + C (Cmd + Alt + C on Mac) to consolidate.
Now, when you play your track with the Plugin CPU Monitor open, you should see it disappear from the top and any crackles or pops that you were experiencing should go away unless you have any other CPU-heavy plugins in your session that also need consolidating.
Using Stock Plugins
Stock plugins don’t eat up as much CPU as third-party plugins and VSTSs, which is why it’s a good idea to use them as much as possible. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that it isn’t possible to make a unique and well-mixed track using stock plugins exclusively.
If you check out some of our templates on our website, you’ll find that most of what we use are stock plugins.
The Parametric EQ2 isn’t a super fancy parametric equalizer, though it gets the job more than done when you need surgical EQ work or filtering.
When you get to the mixing stage, it’s a good idea to start rendering tracks to reduce your CPU usage.
So, let’s say your song is mixed and you want to make some small changes to it. You can go to File > Export > Wav file, create a new folder, save it, and click Split mixer tracks.
After that, you’ll be able to drag all of the samples back into a new session so you’ll have all of your tracks in audio form. It’s important to make sure that you properly name and label your tracks before exporting.
Increasing CPU Performance
If you use Windows, this last trick is super important to make sure your CPU is running on full performance.
Go to Start on your computer home screen, go to power & sleep settings, go to Additional Power Settings, and set your computer to High Performance. For even further performance enhancement, you can go to Change advanced power settings, search for Processor power management, and set Minimum and Maximum processor state to 100%.
What Causes Popping and Crackling In FL Studio?
More often than not, crackling and popping in FL Studio has to do with audio buffer length not being long enough. However, there are also other variables that could be involved, such as the power of the computer, the types of plugins you’re using, and your DAW’s general settings.
Do You Need An Audio Interface For Producing Music?
You don’t need an audio interface for music production, though they can be helpful in many ways. For starters, if you want to get high-quality sound from pro-level speakers or studio monitors, you’ll need an audio interface that can run the audio from your computer out.
Secondly, if you want to be able to record instruments, such as vocals, guitars, bass, drums, etc., you’ll need the inputs on an audio interface to plug into. Of course, you could opt for a USB microphone, though the quality typically isn’t as good.
What Buffer Size Setting Should I Use In FL Studio?
The buffer size that you use in FL Studio depends on the power of your computer or the complexity of your project. When you’re running a complex project that has tons of VSTs or audio tracks, then you’ll want to use a higher buffer size. In FL Studio, it’s often a good idea to set your buffer size to 2048 when you get to the mixing process.
On the other hand, when you’re tracking, you’ll want to use a smaller buffer size, as larger buffer sizes will cause latency.
We hope that you’re able to use these tips and tricks to get your computer running smoothly so you can increase your workflow in your FL Studio sessions. For more FL Studio tips and tricks, covering everything from production to mixing and beyond, head on over to our course page.