I’ve been using FL Studio since the late 90s. During this time there have been a few key techniques that I’ve learned and folded into my workflow that were extremely helpful.
Adding drum kits to FL Studio is one of the things that I started doing over the years that really helped me stay more organized and also increased my productivity.
It’s a pro-level, power move that can even leave some feeling as if they have superhero-like powers 🙂
me installing new drum kits to my fl studio is the equivalent of thanos adding another infinity stone to the gauntlet
— Simba 🦁 (@DrettiFranks) March 19, 2020
This article will explore adding drum kits to FL Studio in more detail including:
- Basic file system drag and drop
- Adding kits to FL via Preferences
- Staying organized with one root kit directory
- Removing drum kits from FL Studio
This should be an easy and quick process for you to begin using right away!
What Is a Drum Kit?
Let’s take a quick step back for a moment and examine just exactly what a drum kit is. And, how a drum kit correlates to a real drum set and real drumming.
A popular, quick, and easy way to create modern music is by using loops. These can be four or eight bar loops of drums that can be used for the backbone of a beat or song. But what if we don’t want to use loops, make our own, or want a more customized drum feel to our songs?
Beyond loops, there are single shot samples. They’re usually packaged together into what’s called a sample pack, or drum kit. A drum kit is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of one shot sample sounds of single drum set elements.
Depending on the sound you’re hoping to achieve in your track there are options for digital drum kits and analog drum kits. The former being drum sounds designed with a computer, drum machine, or synth. The latter being actual drums, drum sets, and percussion instruments that have been recorded and converted into digital files. There are even drum kit sample packs that combine analog and digital drum sounds.
Finding drum kits is pretty easy. They’re all over the web and people have been using them for years.
it’s 2012 u just opened ur cracked version of FL Studio and just finished downloading the Lex Luger drum kit. Life is good
— SwuM (@swum) January 14, 2019
In addition, there are also custom drum kits that you or a friend or co-producer may create. You could even round up a bunch of one shot drum sample sounds that you’ve acquired and organize them into your own personal drum kits for your production.
Years and years of drum kits, beats, fl studio projects, and more packed into this external HD pic.twitter.com/l9njV8bmhE
— lilraygun.nft (@lilraygunski) June 21, 2020
There are even more uses and reasons to use drum kits such as drum panning can be tapped into while using drum kits vs. loops.
A main conceptual takeaway is that drum kits are collections of organized drum sounds that can be used to better facilitate the modern music production and creation process.
Staying Organized with Drum Kits
Beyond the technical, how-to bits, organization is really one of the core concepts and reasons why drum kits are so useful.
Perhaps you play the drums and are getting into modern digital audio production using FL Studio. Not only will using drum kits provide some sense of familiarity, but they can also help with the transition into the digital drumming world.
But rather than extending your arm a little more to really hit that ride cymbal, it’s exactly where you know it will be. Nicely organized into a drum kit easily accessible in FL Studio. Take it a step farther with a MIDI drum pad, and even though it’s miles apart from an actual drum set it’s a lot better than dragging samples from all over, named who knows what to the timeline, and arranging them into a beat.
You could be a strictly digital musician, or maybe even the best snare drummer in the world, in both cases the organization offered through adding drum kits to FL Studio should assist greatly with the song creation process.
The excellent news is that drum kits are simply directories or folders on your computer. There are files, named properly, in these directories, and generally speaking, one directory is equal to one drum kit.
How Do I Add a Drum Kit to FL Studio?
The quick and dirty way to add a drum kit to FL Studio is simply by dragging the directory from your operating systems file explorer right into FL Studio. It’s as easy as that.
The way I go about this is to leave FL Studio maximized and then switch applications (Alt + Tab/Cmd + Tab) to the file explorer. I make sure that the file explorer window isn’t maximized and resize it to about a quarter size of the whole screen. This is to leave space to see FL Studio when your application switch. This makes it really easy to drag the directory into the FL Studio Browser, usually displayed on the left side of the user interface.
After you drag the drum kit you’ll see it displayed in the FL Studio Browser.
Now, before you start dragging all your sample packs into FL Studio let’s look at another powerful yet simple way to accomplish basically the same thing.
NOTE: There really are no major or significant differences between doing this on Windows or an Apple computer. On Windows, you’d use File Explorer and on Apple, you’d use Finder. In addition, there really are no massive differences between versions of FL Studio here either. Everything is essentially identical.
Adding Kits Through the FL Preferences
Technically dragging and dropping and adding kits through the Preferences do the same thing. What’s different, at least for me, is the mentality around managing and organizing drum kits. Another cool thing is that you’ll be provided with a nice list of all drum kits that have been added to FL Studio.
In the FL Studio Options menu select Preferences and then the sub-preference category File Preferences.
About half way down the screen that appears you’ll see a data grid area with rows that looks something like a mini Excel spreadsheet.
To the left of each row, you’ll see a folder icon. Simply click that icon to open a system dialog to browse to a directory on your hard drive. Once you’ve selected the directory you’ll see a path appear in the row of the folder you clicked.
Multiple directories can be added if you wish. Before you start adding a bunch of directories let’s go back to the discussion about organization.
We can use the directories on our file system to organize our samples into drum kits and also organize those drum kits into a library.
Using One Root Drum Kit Directory in FL Studio
My suggestion to you after many, many years of making digital music and working with computers is to take the time to name and organize your files. The time investment spent into doing so can pay off time and time again.
Having a solid foundation of drum kits at your disposal is THE way to work professionally with another artist. You can’t expect someone you’re charging studio time to work with to sit with you and shift through sample after sample to find that “perfect” kick. It’s just not a reality.
Having that solid organization is absolutely crucial.
One potential, very basic approach could be something like this.
Once you have built and organized a nice directory on your hard drive somewhere you can technically just drag it into the Browser however I like using the Preferences within FL Studio.
Part of the reason why is that it always provides that nice little view of the database of current directories you’ve pointed FL Studio at. Maybe you had a late night sesh and forgot that you drag and dropped a random directory and this would provide an opportunity to spot that and clean it up. Getting organized is part of the battle, staying organized is the war!
Removing Drum Kits from FL Studio
Removing drum kits that you added through the Preferences or by drag and drop is the same. So that’s part of the reason it’s important to understand both ways.
To remove a drum kit you added to FL Studio select Options and then Preferences and then select File Preferences.
Then in the list of directories you’ve added to FL Studio click the file path you want to remove. It will become selected and change colors.
Simply delete the whole path using the Delete or Backspace key. Then exit the Preferences window and the drum kit will no longer display in the FL Studio Browser.
Like many things, the web is full of other great sources of information about drum kits and FL Studio. There are other perspectives and approaches but at the heart of everything, I implore you to keep the organization aspects of this article in mind. I’ve been doing this for a really long time and that one key tool has saved my musical butt more than once.
If you’re still having trouble or not understanding the why or the how here are some useful videos that might help explain.
Adding Drum Kits with FL
Finding packs folder with FL on Mac
Here are some of the other sources of information utilized to research and write this article:
- How to import downloaded drum kits into FL Studio →
- I downloaded a drum kit from r/drumkits, how would I import it into FL Studio? →
- How do I add a drumkit from pack to channel rack? →
You should now understand technically how to add drum kits to FL Studio in two ways. You should also be able to remove drum kits from FL Studio. You’re also geared with information about file organization with some ideas on how to manage your drum kits in FL Studio.