Audio Filetypes Explained: The Best Way to Export Your FL Studio Project
So you’ve finished your project with FL Studio. Now you want to save it to a sound file, one that’s playable on iTunes, Windows Media Player, your smartphone, or a CD. Sadly, FLP files (project files for FL Studio) won’t play on such devices. You’ll need to export your final project to a WAV, an MP3, a FLAC, an OGG, or MIDI file.
This article will break down the EXPORT option on FL Studio, and each option within the EXPORT window.
When you click File and select Export, this should show up.
(Exporting allows you to create a finished sound file with a process called “rendering.”)
Click wav, mp3, ogg, flac, or MIDI. After naming the file in any of those options (not Zipped, Project bones, or Project data files) you should see the screen below.
The above window gives you the options for rendering.
MODE – The drop-down menu besides “mode” shows either “full song” or “pattern.” Choose “full song” to render the entire track or “pattern” for just a pattern you would like rendered.
TAIL – The options beside this are cut remainder, leave remainder, and wrap remainder. If there is a sound remainder at the end of your project crossing the bar line (such as a long reverb sound), “cut remainder” cuts it, “leave remainder” leaves it as is, and “wrap remainder” overlaps the remainder onto the beginning of your sound file.
(When I make songs, I choose “leave remainder.”)
The five formats to which you can export your track are WAV, MP3, FLAC, OGG, and MIDI.
A WAV file is a lossless audio format, preferred for untouched quality, akin to CD tracks. WAV files do have untouched sound, but they hold more disc space than MP3s, FLACs, OGGs, and MIDIs.
WAV bit depth determines the quietest sound for capturing or the smallest changes in loudness able to be resolved. In general, “16bit int” is ideal bit depth, and it’s enough for distributing music. Use “24bit int” or “32bit int” for archiving music production files.
The ideal WAV file quality is 16 bit and 44.1 kbps.
MP3 and OGG
MP3 and OGG are “lossy” files, compressed to save disc space. In files such as these, you may hear unwanted artifacts known as “underwater sounds.” The higher the bitrate, the less likely you’ll hear these “underwater sounds.”
The “bitrates” are the highest frequency that can be captured by the sample. Making these lower will reduce the file size but decrease the sound quality. For both MP3’s and OGG’s, 64 kb/s is used for low quality demo tracks, and 128 kb/s is the ideal quality, used for web streaming and emailing music.
FLAC (free lossless audio codec) files retain all audio, like WAV files, but with the additional option of compressing the file size.
The “compression level” for FLAC (level 0 to 8) reduces the size of the audio file. It doesn’t matter which one you use; this only affects encoding time.
For ideal bit depth of FLAC, choose 16 or 24 Bit.
MIDI is not an audio format. It is a standard note and automation data format, and it will save the contents of the Step Sequencer and Piano roll. Only export to MIDI if you wish to import the note data into a third party application.
For the options in the “quality” section, I suggest leaving them unchanged once default. Only worry about “split mixer track.” This option, when selected, allows you to save each mixer track to its own file. For instance, if you had a string, a piano, and a horn in your FL Studio project, rendering with “split mixer track” selected will save the string, piano, and horn to their own sound files.
Note: I recommend either rendering as WAV in 16 bit format or MP3 in 128 kb/s format. This way, there are more media players on your computer that will allow you to play your rendered project.
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