Fruity Loops Studio 10 Producer Edition by Image Line review

Latest version of the classic home recording software
Photo of Fruity Loops Studio 10 Producer Edition by Image Line
Download $199.00

Twelve years after it launched, Fruity Loops still flies the flag for step sequencers of the kind beloved by fans of dance music – think Roland TR-808 and MC-303 – who enjoy the authentic style of the interface, but appreciate the benefits of composing using software rather than an expensive (and sometimes clunky) piece of dedicated hardware.

Four versions
Fruity Loops Studio 10 comes in four versions – Express ($49; around £30), which is good for producing simple loops; Fruity ($99; £61), which adds more arrangement and editing features (for example a piano roll); Producer (the version reviewed here, priced at $199/£122), with audio recording and editing on an unlimited number of tracks; and finally the Signature Bundle ($299; around £184) which includes a whole bunch of powerful extra plug-ins like the Sytrus synth and Hardcore guitar effects suite.

Every edition features Fruity’s distinctive – and let’s face it, slightly bonkers – interface, which is designed to mimic the appearance of various devices such as hardware sequencers, effects units, synths and so on. While many features aren’t immediately apparent, the help file’s decent enough and the experience is such fun that enthusiasts won’t mind exploring – after all, we’re creating music here, not a PowerPoint presentation.

Improvements
Version 10 contains a slew of improvements and bug fixes. We particularly liked the larger, more expansive mixer layout, the ability to turn the contents of the current piano roll into sheet music and save it as a PDF, the improved horizontal zoom in the playlist, piano roll and event editor, the ability to size playlist tracks individually, and the fact that you can sync the piano roll and playlist so that when you’re editing they move in time together.

Fruity Loops plays nicely with other music software thanks to its ability to host VST plugins and its ReWire support – and although the audio recording/editing side still feels a little tacked-on, it’ll produce top-quality results no matter what kind of music you’re making. Deep down, though, it still probably prefers dance.

Company: Image Line

Contact: not supplied

Positives
  • That interface - you'll either love it or hate it.
Negative
  • That interface - you'll either love it or hate it.

Verdict

Incremental improvements with each release continue to make Fruity Loops a good choice for music makers who prefer electronic/dance styles. It's versatile enough to handle most kinds of music, though, and should attract the mavericks who enjoy its unconventional, steampunk-style interface. Each version gives purchasers free updates for life. Bravo.