Getting Started With Handy Drums Plugins – FL STUDIO

To get going quickly with Handy Drums plugins, first, make sure that you have installed the plugins you intend to use.

Before using the software, you must authorize it by entering the serial number (license key) you received with your purchase. Here is how to authorize Handy Drums. Alternatively, you can run our plugins in a FREE TRIAL mode.

Handy Drums Plugins: What they are and what they are not #

Handy Drums are virtual drum instruments. They can be used as plugins inside DAWs or as standalone apps. Think of Handy Drums primarily as sound modules that can be played live using a MIDI controller or by routing MIDI loops into them. They are the software equivalent of acoustic drums and percussion instruments and, as such, require a “performer” to play them (either a human being or MIDI loops).

We designed Handy Drums to be straightforward to use and to give you a beautiful, produced, finished drum sound right from the get-go.

They can also be used as standalone apps on Windows and MacOS computers. In that case, you can either play them live using MIDI controllers (eg. electronic drums) or by playing loops directly inside them using the built-in MIDI Loop Browser (Handy Drums v2.0+ only).

Handy Drums are not drum machines.

How To Load Handy Drums Virtual Instrument Inside FL Studio #

There are several ways to add Handy Drums (or another virtual instrument) as an instrument inside FL Studio.

For this example, we will show you a straightforward way that will automatically route everything for you to get you started quickly.

  • Start by making the “playlist” window visible by clicking on its icon in the toolbar at the top.
  • Next, click on the + icon and select “More plugins“. 
  • In the “Find” field, type in “handy,” which will shortlist all currently available Handy Drums.
  • Double-click on the Handy Drums instrument of your choice.

Handy Drums will load and be ready for use.

A few things will have happened in the background:

  • Playlist Track will be renamed and connected to a Channel Track.
  • Channel Track will be created with Handy Drums loaded into it.
  • This channel track will then be connected to a Mixer Track.
  • Mixer Track will be renamed and connected to the Main output.

Rescanning Plugin Locations in FL Studio #

If you cannot locate Handy Drums in FL Studio, ensure that you installed a VST (or AU) version and that FL Studio knows “where” to look for them. Handy Drums are installed into default folders for their respective VST versions, and FL Studio should scan them by default.

If you changed this location, point FL Studio to the new location by going to:

ADD > Manage plugins

  • Then click the “add folder” button and select the folder where your Handy Drums VST version is installed.
  • Click on the “verify plugins” radio button, and unselect all other “scan options” buttons.
  • Click the “Find installed plugins” button.

Playing A MIDI Drum Loop Through Handy Drums Inside FL Studio #

There are several ways to play a MIDI file inside FL Studio.

We will show you one of the more accessible options to get you started quickly.

To play a drum groove through Handy Drums plugins, do the following:

  • Ensure you have loaded a Handy Drums plugin of your choice as described above.
  • With that same track selected in the “playlist” window, open a “piano roll” window.
  • Find the desired MIDI file using your browser (or Finder on Mac) and drag it directly onto the “piano roll” window.

Audition MIDI Loops Before Importing Into DAW Project #

Beginning with Handy Drums v2.0, all plugins and standalone apps come with a built-in MIDI Loop Browser. This allows you to browse and audition any drum loops on your system and then import them via simple drag-n-drop.

It is shown here in Cubase but with identical functionalities in all DAWs.

In addition to previewing and importing MIDI loops, the functionality can also bookmark any folders or loops for quick access. It can also sync tempo and playback controls with your DAW and allows you to play MIDI files inside Handy Drums without the need for a DAW.

The dedicated document covers the MIDI Loop Browser in detail. Make sure to read it to fully take advantage of its capabilities.

Enabling Plugin / Instrument Multiple Outputs Inside FL Studio #

  • Open the Handy Drums GUI by double-clicking on the track it’s loaded in.
  • Next, click the “detailed settings” gear icon in the top left corner of the wrapper and then click “VST wrapper settings” (plug+gear icon).
  • Go to the “Processing” tab.
  • Click the “Auto map outputs” button to map all outputs automatically.

(You can also route each output manually by right-clicking and selecting its mixer channel)

  • Next, route Handy Drums components to the newly enabled output tracks and test how they work.

Rename Tracks To Match Instrument Names #

It is a good practice to name the tracks to match the component name inside Handy Drums, i.e., Snare.

To do that,

  • Open the mixer by clicking the “View mixer” button.
  • First, note which mixer channel your components are coming out of by clicking on Handy Drums components and watching which mixer channel corresponds to it.
  • Right-click on the mixer channel you want to rename, or press F2 (win) and type the relevant name.

Now that everything works well, let us dive deeper into Handy Drums features and functionalities.