Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!
Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…
Synthesizers, or synths for short, are incredibly versatile instruments that can produce a wide range of sounds, from classic analog tones to futuristic electronic textures.
- Recommended Reading: What Is A Synthesizer? Unlocking the Magic Of Sound Creation
While they offer endless creative possibilities, using a synth in your digital audio workstation (DAW) like FL Studio can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re just getting started.
But don’t worry; I’m here to guide you through the process!
However, keep in mind that the principles we’ll cover can be applied to various hardware and software synths you might encounter in your music production journey.
My goal is to help you navigate the world of synthesizers within FL Studio, from connecting your hardware to inspiring you to craft unique sounds that elevate your music.
So, whether you’re a seasoned producer looking to dive into the world of hardware synths or a beginner taking your first steps in synthesis, this guide will provide you with the essential knowledge to get started.
Let’s embark on this sonic adventure together!
How To Use A Synth In FL Studio
Volca Keys x Universal Audio Volt 2
The Korg Volca Keys is a compact analog synthesizer that offers a rich palette of sounds.
It’s a great choice for integrating hardware synths into your FL Studio setup, and one of its notable features is a built-in headphone out jack.
What’s particularly handy about this headphone out jack is that it can also function as a standard line out, which is great for connecting to audio interfaces like the Universal Audio Volt 2.
Step 1: Gather Your Cables
To connect the Volca Keys to the Volt 2, you’ll need a few cables.
First, you’ll require a 3.5mm to female 1/4″ adapter.
This adapter will allow you to convert the Volca Keys’ headphone out signal (which is a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack) into a format compatible with the Volt 2’s combo XLR/TRS/TS input.
Step 2: Connect the Adapter
Plug the 3.5mm end of the adapter into the headphone out jack of your Korg Volca Keys.
This adapter will act as a bridge between the synth’s output and the audio interface.
Step 3: Instrument Cable Connection
Next, take a standard instrument cable (a 1/4″ TS cable) and plug one end into the female 1/4″ end of the adapter you just connected to the Volca Keys.
Then, plug the other end of the instrument cable into the front of the Universal Audio Volt 2 interface.
Step 4: Interface Configuration
Now that you’ve physically connected the Volca Keys to the Volt 2 interface, it’s time to configure the interface in your FL Studio project.
Make sure your Volt 2 is powered on and properly recognized by your computer.
In FL Studio, go to Options > MIDI settings and make sure the input is set to the Volca Keys. It will likely be labeled as a generic controller, so don’t fret.
From here, make sure it’s enabled by clicking the small green button towards the bottom left.
This will allow you to actually record notes which is obviously super important. More on that in a bit.
For MIDI output, we’ll want to assign the device to a port so that FL Studio can control the Volca Keys. For this, you can choose whatever you want as long as it doesn’t conflict with other devices.
I set mine to port 1. A port is simply a reserved connection in which FL Studio and the Synth can communicate.
Step 5: Add a MIDI Out
Head up to Add > MIDI Out.
From your channel rack, click it and make sure it’s set to Port 1.
The port and MIDI channel must match.
If you’re unsure what channel your synth is set to, you can check the global options for your device or just cycle through the 16 channels until sound is playing.
Step 6: Audio & Mixer Settings
Hit F9 to open your mixer and decide where you want to record. For this demo, I chose Mixer Insert 1.
This is where audio input will be enabled.
Before we can begin recording, let’s make sure the audio settings are set correctly.
Head on up to Options > Audio Settings.
To record, we’ll need to ensure that the device is set to ASIO 4 ALL.
- Recommended Reading: What Is ASIO 4 ALL? Unleashing Low-Latency Audio For Music Production
If ASIO 4 ALL isn’t available, just use FL Studio ASIO.
Go back to your mixer and notice that you’re now able to use the drop-down menu to select the input where the Volca Keys is located.
Now we’re pretty much set. You should hear notes playing as you press the pads on your synth.
There’s one final step though.
Because the Volca records in mono, we need to set it to stereo. To do this, simply direct your attention under Insert 1.
See the small black knob to the left of the fader (pictured above)? Turn it all the way to the right and voila, sound should be coming through both of your monitors.
Step 7: Recording
Now that we’ve got sound coming out of the Volca, it’s time to lay down some weird sh**. xD
First, go to your Playlist View by hitting F5.
Then hit F9 to open the mixer.
Arm the insert we assigned earlier by going to the bottom and pressing the record button.
Hit the record button at the top and you’ll get a dialog box asking you what you want to record.
Select “Audio, into the playlist as an audio clip”.
Now press play and start recording!
If you’re a sample-based producer like me, recording into Edison is way cooler since you can chop up whatever you want and assign it to a pad like the Novation FL Key.
To do that, simply choose “Audio, into the Edison audio editor/recorder.”
Now start playing!
Now you can chop it up!
Interested in how to do exactly that?
Check out my How To Sample In FL Studio guide which covers Edison and much more.
Now that you’ve successfully connected your Korg Volca Keys to FL Studio via the Universal Audio Volt 2 interface, the possibilities are endless.
The world of synthesis offers a vast playground of sonic exploration, and with FL Studio as your canvas, you’re free to paint with sound in ways you never thought possible.
Remember, the sky’s the limit when it comes to recording and producing with a synth in FL Studio.
You can sculpt lush pads, craft intricate leads, or dive into the depths of experimental sound design—all with the touch of a knob or the press of a key.
Don’t hesitate to experiment, tweak parameters, and explore different modulation possibilities.
Synthesis is about expressing your unique musical vision, and FL Studio is the perfect tool to bring that vision to life.
As you continue your journey into the world of synthesizers and electronic music production, keep honing your skills and exploring new techniques.
Whether you’re crafting melodic masterpieces, driving basslines, or atmospheric textures, your synthesizer and FL Studio are your partners in creativity.
So, embrace the adventure, experiment fearlessly, and let your imagination run wild.
With dedication and creativity, you’ll unlock the true potential of your synth and FL Studio, creating music that’s truly one-of-a-kind.
Happy synthesizing, and may your musical journey be filled with boundless inspiration and innovation!
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this How To Use A Synth In FL Studio and came away with some valuable insight.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Were you able to get up and running? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,