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Boring synth stuff

Multilinking Controllers in FL Studio

Multilinking controllers was a new feature in FL 7 or 8, I don’t really remember, but it’s pretty much just an easy way to link a bunch of knobs on a mid controller to things inside FL Studio. The multilink controllers button looks like a joystick. After pressing it, teaking controls in FL Studio and then pressing it again, you can easily link those controls to knobs or whatever on your midi controller. That’s sort of fun, but there’s an even better, way more awesome thing this can do; Override Generic Links.

Maybe that doesn’t sound very exciting, so I’ll explain what it does. Usually, when you link a knob on your midi controller to something in FL, the link is absolute. No matter what you do or select, that knob will control whatever in FL until you tell it not to. This can be useful for tweaking parameters like in filters or whatever, but it has its limits. Most notably, my midi keyboard only has 9 faders and 8 knobs, and my PadKontrol only has 2 knobs. Sytrus, on the other hand, has somewhere around 600 individual parameters that can be linked to something, and even that’s sort of skimping (the filter type isn’t linkable to a controller…). My 19 little controls just aren’t going to be that useful, and I’ll spend the vast majority of my time using the mouse.

A better solution would to have context-sensitive controls; when I’m using a synth, my knobs control the synth, when I’m using something else, they control something else. I tried to do this once, using the ‘Omni’ button in the Remote control settings window, but people who make plugins almost never conform to midi CC standards. CC stands for control change, and it’s what makes knobs n stuff on midi controllers work, each knob is set to a specific CC number, like 17 or 124, and whatever is receiving the midi uses them to control stuff. Back in ye olde midi days, hardware synths and sound modules conformed to a standard with these CC numbers, to some extent. CC # 1 was for the mod wheel, # whatever was for something else, etc. This made it easy to use a bunch of different things together, but these days the CC a synth uses for the filter cutoff could be used by another for the pitch of the oscillator. Not very useful.

Multilink!

With multilinking controllers, you can do the same thing, except FL Studio is smart about it and remembers what you want to control with what. After clicking the multilink controllers joystick button and tweaking some parameters, right-clicking the multilink controllers joystick button gives a menu of options. Selecting override generic links will bring up the generic links settings window, which is a lot like the remote control settings window. Now, tweaking controllers on a midi controller will tell FL Studio which knobs you want to control, and FL Studio will remember this, only using them to control those parameters when that plugin or whatever is selected.  For example, if I wanted to control the pitch of the oscillators in 3xOsc with some knobs, I would;

  1. Open up a 3xOsc.
  2. Press the multilink controllers button.
  3. Tweak the pitch parameters that I want to control, being mindful of the order that I do so.
  4. Right-click the multilink controllers button and select override generic links.
  5. Tweak the knobs on my midi controller in the same order that I tweaked the pitch knobs in the 3xOsc.

And then I’m done! Whenever I have a 3xOsc open and selected, those knobs on my midi controller will control the pitch parameters of just the 3xOsc that I have selected! After doing this with all the most-used parameters in the plugins I use most often, I can have less reliance on my mouse, and just tweak real knobs. Of course, it should be noted that my midi controllers knobs are absolute; if I select one 3xOsc and set the pitch way up with a knob, and select another one that has the pitch way down, when I tweak the knob on my midi controller, the pitch will ‘jump’ to where the controller knob is. Also, some synths like Sytrus have a crapload of parameters. My midi controller has 10 presets that I can edit and save. I used the same CC #’s for each controller on every preset, but changed the midi channel for each preset. This way, FL Studio thinks the knobs on each preset are completely different, and I can control a crapload more things with the same number of knobs, if I can remember which knob does what.

I didn’t write a blog post yesterday because I was too busy planning out the best way to control select parameters in Sytrus with at most 10 groups of 17 controllers. Also, there’s a bunch of complex looking controls in the generic links settings window and the remote control settings window, even a little graph. Someday I’ll write about how freaking useful these are.

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One Response to “Multilinking Controllers in FL Studio”

  1. thanks for that. Will try to play around with it.


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