An easy introduction to sampling, Fruityloops has one of the easiest and most intuitive interfaces around.
It can play any .wav file as a sample to be sequenced and use its own in-built beat slicer and plug-in soft-synth generators, in addition to supporting DirectX plug-ins which can be used for anything from adding distortion to compressing sound. New in version 3 is support for Cubase VST instruments (VSTi), which are plug-in software synthesisers that are often simulations of retro analog keyboards, valve and tube products. DirectX instruments (DXi), currently being developed by Cakewalk, are supported by the latest Fruityloops.
Fruityloops offers full pitch, resonance, effects, and envelope filter controls for each sample, and a lot more. External MIDI control, an unlimited number of channels and between four and 64 notes per pattern make the program even more compelling.
After testing the full version, I would have to say that the new pluck and piano roll features (which give your patterns and samples a more human effect) are absolutely inspired. My only gripe is the loss of the ability to solo a sample/pattern with a simple right click, replaced by a much more cumbersome right-click menu.
Fruityloops comes in two versions, Pro and Full, which can be downloaded from the Web, as well as a recently released boxed version distributed by Intelliware. The two versions do differ in features, but most of what is available can be tested using the demo version on this month's cover disc. This is a save-disabled version but you are free to render to .wav or .mp3. Fruityloops is currently only available under Windows.
Fruityloops Full 3.0
Price: Full $US49; Pro $US99
Distributor: Image-Line Software