How to stream FL Studio over Zoom without lag

What Is FL Studio and Why You Should Use It

In David Byrne’s ‘bible’ for audiophiles, How Music Works,” the Talking Heads frontman writes: “Music resonates in so many parts of the brain that we can’t conceive of it being an isolated thing. It’s whom you were with, how old you were, and what was happening that day.”

To form an intricate connection with an ethereal idea is to dive deep into one’s creative realm and extract value that can impact the world around us. In order to do that, we may need a little help. It’s certainly not a coincidence that FL Studio is self-described as “the fastest way from your brain to your speakers”, as it intends to facilitate the creative process by providing a software that is easy to use. This allows you to lighten your workflow and, in the process, your mind. 

In continuing development for over two decades, FL Studio has been adopted by many of the world’s top DJs and music producers, thanks to its built-in features that streamline complex productions, including effects chains, audio sends, advanced automation, and sidechain control. Furthermore, it has the exceptionally helpful function of allowing tracks to hold notes, audio, and automation. 

FL Studio is a sort of one-stop-shop and a dream come true for anyone in the music business who needs to let their creativity run wild.

Issues Streaming FL Studio Via Zoom

The global pandemic forced us to be crafty, using existing software as a workaround to satisfy our professional and creative needs. It quickly became apparent that we need more software designed from scratch to cater to remote collaboration. 

Zoom is a competent alternative, but it doesn’t quite address issues like latency and resolution. This video conference program simply wasn't built to ensure the type of audio quality required by professionals in the music industry, and it certainly wasn't built to endure heavy CPU usage, especially since Zoom itself already eats up a lot of your computer’s RAM. 

These issues become particularly bothersome when using FL Studio alongside Zoom, but fortunately we’ve got you covered.

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What You Can Do About it

Let’s say you want to collaborate with a producer or an artist in real time using FL Studio. Most likely, you’re going to end up streaming your work via OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) straight to YouTube and then take your collaborator’s call on the phone. 

That’s not so much a solution as an awkward workaround that isn’t conducive to a good creative flow and won’t even solve your lagging issues. Not to mention the echo problems that will come from it. Fortunately, we have more tenable solutions for you. 

If you have a Windows-run computer, all you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Install Voicemeeter. As per the company’s own description, it’s “an audio mixer application endowed with Virtual Audio Device used as Virtual I/O to mix and manage any audio sources from or to any audio devices or applications.”
  2. Open the software and set up your I/O (Input/Output) according to these specifications. Output A1 should be your interface ‘ASIO driver’ (by ‘ASIO driver’ we mean: a computer sound card driver protocol for digital audio), and hardware input should be your interface driver or microphone. Also, make sure you enable the "mono" toggle to stop the sound from stemming from your left ear only.
  3. Set FL Studio to use the "Voicemeeter Virtual ASIO" driver. Like this.
  4. On Zoom, choose the virtual output instead of your interface or microphone. There’s a chance you may have to reboot Zoom in order for Voicemeeter to pop up as an output.
  5. You should now have no latency issues. Just make sure to give it a test run before making some magic with your collaborators. 

It’s worth noting that the above solution gets a bit trickier if you use a single client ASIO driver for the output device. Voicemeeter allows you to select a single client driver but may stop Zoom from making sound. This means having to route Zoom’s audio back through to Voicemeeter. While undoubtedly inconvenient, this process will get the job done. 

Alternatively, you can also look into SAR (Synchronous Audio Router). This software allows users to create similar virtual inputs and outputs, and lets you use them as inputs and outputs from FL Studio. The set-up process (available on the company’s website) is a little more complex, but it’ll solve your issues. 

Okay, by now you might be asking yourself “that’s great, but I don’t have Windows. I have a Mac. What do I do?” Here are a few solutions:

1. Use a different software like Evercast.

This highly-advanced and easy-to-use collaborative tool was built from the ground up to service creative professionals of all industries. It’s designed for every stage of production and features an easy set-up. Anyone who has used Zoom before will quickly understand its interface. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about what operating system you have. Evercast is  supported on PC, Mac, Linux, and even on iOS. Ultimately, it solves all your low latency issues and allows you to stream in full HD. It also offers live video and audio chat, allows you to draw on screen, and encrypts video streams. 

You can watch a demo of how it works here

2. Try looking at Zoom as a presentation instead of a discussion.

This will enable you to run a Zoom screen-share-only meeting or webinar, which will allow for a smoother stream and optimized sound quality. 

3. Look into Soundflower

Soundflower is a Mac OS X system extension that allows applications to pass audio to other applications. 

It’s free and pretty intuitive. When running it, Soundflower presents itself as an audio device, which allows FL Studio to send and receive audio with no other support needed. Just follow the instructions we laid out above for Voicemeeter and you should be good to go.

4. Use Zoom and FL Studio alongside OBS

This solution was briefly mentioned above, but you can always try using Zoom and FL Studio alongside OBS (Open Broadcasting Software). This open-source tool is commonly used for live video production, live-streaming, and video recording, but since the tool is very user-friendly, you may be able to optimize it for your audio needs.

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