I have been left absolutely seething with my last experience with FL 12. Newer doesn't always mean better, and it's especially true here.
Before anyone turns round and tell me it's the way of the future, let me just say that I download and installed FL 12 today and got horribly reminded of the reasons why I stayed away from FL 12 in the first place. Back when it was released, I had fears that it would be bad when they took away Fruity Soundfont Player for the 64-bit iteration. Now I've seen it for myself and I've seen enough:
- As I said above, Fruity Soundfont Player doesn't work in the 64-bit iteration. It does keep my data, of course, but it's not good enough now, is it? It tells you to open the 32-bit edition instead -- which, if you have been running an X64 system, is not readily available unless you burrow through drive C:/. It's almost like that person at the till in Tesco's or something who has been left waiting for 15 minutes, only to be told later that the till has problems. It's simply not good enough. Previous iterations of the software have supplied both the 32- and 64- bit versions in the Start menu, this one doesn't. But this is the least of my woes...
- Just because there is the option of downloading a free soundfont player, e.g. DSK SF2, doesn't mean that the sound quality is guaranteed to be spot-on. Compare the same piano in Threnody in C Minor versus this sample I recently exported. YES, IT'S. THE. SAME. PIANO. When I go for an Akai Steinway soundfont, I expect it to render well. If an external soundfont player cannot give me the kind of quality that supposedly worse first-party soundfont players can give, then what's the point of getting one?!
- My composing habits are such that I make cracking stuff out of soundfonts, at least the vast majority of the time. About a smidgeon of my inventory consists of external plugins, and maybe Sytrus, one of the few other first-party generators I use regularly. While it may be a challenge to do something apart from using soundfonts (and the Fruity Soundfont Player), the fact still remains that I have a recognisable sound and composing style, one which people can tell is mine from several miles away. Take soundfont rendering away and you take away my sound.
- FL 12 decided to completely ignore those of us who work in more time signatures than just 4/4 and took off the beats-per-bar selector completely. Now you could turn round and tell me that this problem can be circumvented with the use of time markers, but TIME MARKERS ARE FOR FUCKING PLAYLISTS, NOT PIANO ROLLS. I do not want to be disconcerted throughout my experience of laying down patterns and selecting various instruments. I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE 20 MINUTES TO DO WHAT SHOULD HAVE TAKEN ONE SECOND TO COMPLETE.
- Various pieces of mine are going to be in 3/4, 5/4, 6/8 or 9/8 and it seems that every other composer is neglected for the most common user who uses, pardon the pun, common time. What's worse is that any project of mine that runs in 3/4 or 6/8 time, for example, is going to be thrown completely out of wack when I run it on FL 12 -- as is to be expected!
- FL 12 has its own brightness setting. It may be useful to most people, but isn't to me because I have a habit of keeping my brightness at minimum. For those of us who are trying to save power, this feature isn't really welcome.
To its credit, FL 12 does do some good things:
- The Browser bar, which was just a mere hindrance in FL 11 and previous, is now an absolute doddle to use in FL 12 because you now drag and drop plugins from the Browser. Now technically, you could select plugins in the same manner as you did in previous versions of FL, i.e. by right-clicking a channel on your step sequencer, but the drag-and-drop option might be more convenient to some of us.
- The mixer, while significantly narrowed down, allows for TEN effects at a time. Ten! Not eight.
- I do not have experience with this, but apparently it's a lot easier to record and handle recordings on this version as well. Ask @Lich for more info -- I think he has the patience of several saints to be able to deal with this and I respect him very much for that.
Perhaps it's good I had that screen wipe, installed FL 12 and got this rude awakening. Now don't EVER ask me 10,000 times why I'm still sticking with FL 11. If later versions of FL actually deal with the problems I mentioned above, I would be most grateful -- but I've had enough of nightmarish composing experiences for a lifetime. It feels just as bad to me as watching something that has scarred me for life.