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Studio One 4 Pattern Editing

PreSonus Studio One Tips & Techniques
By Robin Vincent

You can make a basic arpeggiated melody more interesting by messing with the probability and repeats parameters. The latter are also reflected in the timeline (top).You can make a basic arpeggiated melody more interesting by messing with the probability and repeats parameters. The latter are also reflected in the timeline (top).

The new pattern editor in Studio One 4 isn't just for drums!

Studio One 4 introduced pattern-based step sequencing as an alternative mode to the familiar piano-roll MIDI editor. It's one of those features that makes you wonder why every DAW doesn't already have it. It's simple and intuitive in a way that's reminiscent of the creative tools we've come to enjoy in hardware. Pattern-based sequencing is most often used for drums, but as we'll see in this month's workshop, the Pattern Sequencer in Studio One can be just as easily directed to synthesizer and instrument sounds, and can very quickly generate something unexpected.

Insert Pattern

There are a few notions you need to get your head around in order to not find yourself befuddled by Studio One's pattern system. The first hurdle to overcome is how to put a pattern onto your timeline. The process feels quite convoluted at first, because there's little connection or flow between patterns and instrument parts such as MIDI clips. Ignore your desire to right-click or search around in menus: the Insert Pattern keyboard shortcut is the way to go. Click in the timeline where you want to put a pattern, select the track that it's for and hit Ctrl+Shift+P for instant pattern insertion.

The inserted pattern will default to being one bar long, with 16th-note resolution, so containing 16 steps. Changing the number of steps and the resolution will alter how your pattern is displayed in the timeline and also the speed at which the steps are played. This is best understood using a drum pattern, so, with a pattern inserted on an Impact XT track and a kit loaded, paint in 16 hi-hat steps plus a single kick drum on the first step so that you can identify the beginning of the pattern in the timeline. (You can make use of the little Quick Fill buttons that appear on the top right of the editor as rows of four boxes — these are super-handy, try them out!)

With 16 steps at 16th-note resolution, you get all 16 steps...

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Published April 2019