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Monday, 11 March 2013

FL-Studio - Resetting "Init Song With This Position"

This is a problem that I was stuck with for a while. Today I finally took the time to search for the solution on the internet, and the solution was readily available on many forums including Image-Line's.

The Feature
Init Song With This Position is a feature of FL Studio to enable the user to set a particular knob/slider/control to a certain value at the beginning of a song.

Any control, knob, toggle, slider from FL Studio's main application interface can be assigned an initial value this way. These include mute/unmute, volume, pan, mixer sends, tempo (coarse/fine), master volume, master pitch, etc. 

Once you set an 'Init song with this position' on a control, that control will revert its value to the set value every time you hit play on your song (even when you are not at the beginning of your song). Even with initial values set for a control, it is still possible to record automation on it, since 'Init song with this position' is not automation data in itself.

To use it, right-click on the control (knob/slider/button), then select 'Init song with this position':
Right-click on the control you want to init
Click on 'Init song with this position'
I can think of many uses for this feature. The most helpful situation for me, would be when I am going to use a physical controller's slider (Korg NanoKontrol2 for me) to affect the values of a FL Studio knob for example. I may actually mess up the value if I accidentally bump on my physical sliders positions (or someone changed the slider positions while I am away from my computer for a while). 

If that control has recorded automation, there would be no problem with this since during playback automation will automatically get the control back to the correct values. However, if that control has no automation set, that value would be lost and I would not be able to know what it was originally set at. 

This is where the 'Init song with this position' comes in very handy. It behaves like an automation snapshot that remembers that value without writing automation data on that control.

The Problem
Having knobs initialised with a certain value, without knowing how to remove that initialisation, can be annoying. Say at the beginning of my mixing stage I have 16 tracks. I do a rough mix of the levels, and I set the 'init song with this position' for each fader on each track.

Later on I tweak the levels of track 6 while the song is playing, from -10db to -5db. I'm happy with it, and I stop the playback. I play back the song again wanting to hear another part of the song with the new level at track 6, and lo-and-behold, my track 6 level jumps back to -10db because the track is initialised to that value.

One of the solution could be to set track 6's levels to -5db, and re-initialise this value as initial position on track 6's volume, before playing again to hear this new level for another part of the song. This could work but imagine having to keep setting initial value like this.

This is just one example. Another crazy example would be if a track's mute state was set with 'Init song with this position'. Every time you play the song, that track jumps to be muted, or un-muted as dictated by your init value. I don't know about you, but in my workflow I need to keep changing the states of mute/un-mute/solo. So having them init-ed and keep jumping to a certain position at the start of the song is unthinkable. (You can also accidentally produce this phenomenon if you are in automation enabled record mode, and you solo/mute/un-mute tracks during your playback. its really painful to undo).

The Solution
From the discussion threads on a few forums, the solution involves 2 steps:
  • In the browser panel (F8), go to 'current project' -> 'initialised controls'. There will be a list of controls that have initialised values. See the diagram below.
  • select from the list of controls those that you want to remove the 'init song with this position' from.
Browser panel's Initialized controls folder shows a list of controls that have initialised values.
Delete these to remove the initialisation.
This should successfully remove the init state of the control, and now the value should not jump to any pre-init-ed values upon playback.

All this while I appreciate the usefulness of this but was afraid to use it because I did not know how to reset the initialising. Now I am confident to use it, knowing I can remove it any time I want to.

If you have a better workflow please feel free to drop a comment :)

Some helpful links on this topic: