Master Pitch in FL Studio

For most of us, the master pitch in FL Studio pretty much remains unused and unchanged in almost every project. For me specifically, this is because at one time over the course of my use of FL Studio, I tried to use it and I did not fancy the results. If you’ve encountered this problem, well, don’t worry, you’re not alone. If used correctly, the master pitch can let you hear what your song/beat would sound like pitched up or down and can also be used to create interesting effects. First, we’re going to look at the basics of the master pitch.

Master Pitch 101

The master pitch can be found in the toolbar section of FL Studio. For FL Studio 20 and later versions it is represented by a knob. (Highlighted in red below.) Its pitch will be indicated in the hint bar in cents.

master pitch FL Studio knob

For FL Studio version 12 and below it is a fader.

The pitch is shown in cents and not semitones so it is important to know that 100 cents = 1 semitone. Also note that 1200 cents = 12 semitones = 1 octave. I will be using semitones in this illustration because they are used more commonly.

The master pitch has a range of 24 semitones or 2 octaves meaning when it is all the way to the right it can shift the pitch up to a maximum of 12 semitones or 1 octave and, to the left, it lowers the pitch to a maximum of 12 semitones or 1 octave.

How to use Master Pitch

If you try to change the position of the master pitch you will notice that some elements may pitch shift while others may not. This is because you have to manually enable the plug-ins’ or sample’s pitch to be affected and vice versa. Let’s do this practically to understand it better.

In this illustration, I want to change the master pitch to listen to the loop I created in a couple of different pitches and select which one it sounds the best in.

master pitch loop FL Studio

How to use the master pitch on:

Stock FL Studio Plug-ins

To link plug-ins that are native to FL Studio follow these steps:

Step 1: Click on the plug in in the channel rack to open it.


Step 2: The next thing is to change to the ‘Miscellaneous functions’ page on the plug-in. Do this by clicking on the wrench icon located at the top right of the plug-in window. (Highlighted in red below.)

miscellaneous functions wrench icon FL Studio

If it is not visible you will have to enable ‘Detailed settings’ by clicking the gear icon at the top right corner next to the plug-in’s name. (It will turn green when you hover the mouse cursor over it and remain green if the detailed settings are enabled.)

‘Detailed settings’ gear icon FL Studio

Once you click on the wrench icon it will open the miscellaneous functions page.

miscellaneous functions page FL Studio

Step 3: The function that we are interested in is ‘Enable main pitch’ located at the bottom right of the window above the keyboard.

Enable main pitch FL Studio

All that’s left to do now is turn on the ‘Enable main pitch’ function.

Enable main pitch function FL studio

When it is turned on the plug-in’s pitch will be affected by the master pitch. For example, if FL Studio’s master pitch is raised by 2 semitones, the plug-in’s pitch will also be raised 2 semitones. Alternatively, if you don’t want the plug-in to be affected by the master pitch you can disable the function and the plug-in’s pitch will remain at the same pitch even when the master pitch is changed.

Note: The steps listed above are the same and are applicable to FL’s stock plug-ins as well as audio samples and third party plug-ins. The only difference is that audio samples and external plug-ins require a few more additional steps. Follow the steps in this section first and then move on to the steps listed for audio samples and/or third party plug-ins.

Audio Samples

The process of enabling the main pitch on audio samples is similar to the one listed above, however, there are some few extra steps that follow.

Here, I want the ‘Reversed Keys’ and ‘Chords Bright’ audio samples to be affected by the master pitch.

audio samples fl studio

I will follow the steps in the previous section to activate the ‘Enable main pitch’ function on both samples.

enable main pitch fl studio

Once you have followed the steps in the previous section and activated the ‘Enable main pitch’ function in all the audio samples that are to be affected by the master pitch, you will have to:

Step 1: Go to Tools> Macros> Switch all clips to> Realtime stretching.

Realtime stretching FL Studio

This will ensure the audio samples are pitch shifted accordingly by the master pitch and that their timing remains the same.

Third Party Plug-ins

Affecting third party plug-ins with the master pitch requires some extra measures. In this instance I will be using Xfer Serum.

Step 1: For any third party plug-in, first follow the steps in the stock FL Studio plug-ins’ section to activate the ‘Enable main pitch’ function.

enable main pitch FL Studio

The ‘Enable main pitch’ function is now on.

Step 2: Once it is enabled, click on the plug icon at the top right corner to go back to the plug in window.

plug in icon fl studio

It will take you back to the plug-in window.

plug in window fl studio

Step 3: Once you are back on the plug-in window, locate the plug-in’s pitch range settings. In Serum, the pitch range settings are located at the bottom left corner of the plug-in. (Highlighted in red below.)

plug in pitch range settings FL Studio

The top number represents the maximum number in semitones that the pitch can be shifted up to (the pitch bend up range) and the bottom number represents the maximum number of semitones that the pitch can be shifted down to (the pitch bend down range).

Step 4: You will have to change the pitch range of the plug-in to match the range of the master pitch. The range of the master pitch is 24 semitones meaning it can shift the pitch up by 12 semitones or down by 12 semitones. This means for the pitch shift in Serum to match the pitch shift of the master pitch we will have to match the master pitch’s range. To do this, I will input 12 semitones as the pitch bend up range in Serum and 12 semitones as the pitch bend down range.

pitch bend up and bend down range FL studio

The pitch range parameters can be easily located in Serum, for other third party plug-ins you may need to do a deep dive into the plug-in or some online research to find it. It is crucial to match the pitch range of the plug-in to that of FL Studio’s master pitch, otherwise, the pitch shift won’t work correctly.


For me, this is particularly useful since I can shift the master pitch to whatever I’d like with no worries and listen to which key my music would sound best in. I can also go a step further and automate the master pitch to create interesting pitch effects in my composition or to transpose it to another key later in the song. That’s how it works for me, with a little practice you can find out how it could work for you, so as always, have fun experimenting.

Gasgoine K
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