Yeah, you know, Fruity Loops. ImageLine had to change the name some time ago because the folks at Kellog's thought it was too close a name to "froot loops".
Well, I am now the proud owner of FL Studio "fruity" edition, which is basically the step sequencer, piano roll style. Korg DS-10, the original one of course, is cool and all but you've got to mix it up a bit and explore other things. Well, the lure of the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) was too strong to resist and I had to give in.
Yeah, synths are nice but, you gotta admit, samples open up a whole new perspective in music making. FL Studio has a pretty nifty sampler called DirectWave and you can download a bunch of sample banks - DWP program files - for it. For now and for quite some time, I am only interested in real instrument sampling and it seems that the free DWP programs should keep me busy for a while.
FL Studio is pretty easy to use although you may want to watch a few tutorials on youtube and/or get a book about it (see amazon). Unlike the DS-10, the step sequencer is polyphonic within each channel. This means you can play several notes at the same time - like play the lead and the chords - on the same channel or voice.
My biggest beef with the Korg DS-10 is the sound quality, especially when you play around with the velocity (volume) within the sequencer. Yes, you can typically get clicks at the beginning of the note being played - quite annoying. Well, the other problem is the synth engine itself. Having just 2 oscillators, a LFO and a bunch of effects is not something to write home about. After a while, you need and want more. Should probably have considered the DS-10+ on the DSi as the next step but I still wouldn't be able to use samples, so why not go straight where I need to be with a real DAW like FL Studio? Exactly.
Now, a potential problem with FL Studio and the other DAWs out there is that there's so many things that you can do that it becomes overwhelming and you end up doing nothing. Personally, I will keep doing what I have been doing on the DS-10, that is, work one channel at a time layering up to 4 voices (channels). Because you can do proper chords, you don't have to use the layering technique to write songs. You can do the harmony (chords) first and the melody second, or the other way around, potentially using a single channel. Not a big fan of this classic way of making music but you never know.
The Korg DS-10 still rules all though.