You are here

Studio One: How To Build A Sampled Synth Instrument In Presence XT

PreSonus Studio One: Tips & Techniques By Robin Vincent
Published July 2024

The first step to sampling your synth is to program a basic run of notes at different velocity levels.The first step to sampling your synth is to program a basic run of notes at different velocity levels.

We show you how to build a simple sampled synth instrument in Presence XT.

Did you know you can build your own sampled instruments in Studio One? Presence XT has an Editor with the power to let you build multisampled, multi‑velocity, multi‑articulation, scriptable instruments. You may not have encountered it before because it’s not included by default; you must buy it as an add‑on. However, as many people now receive their PreSonus software products through the Studio One+ subscription, you might find that you already own it.

You’ll find Presence XT Editor under Studio One Add‑Ons in your online My PreSonus products list.

Sampling and building your own software instruments and sound libraries can be an interesting, if sometimes tedious, undertaking. If you’ve used any orchestral library or other intricately sampled software instrument, then you’ll have some idea of the complexity and level of detail these things can run to. There are often multiple samples for every note, in every articulation, with some sustaining, some retriggering and some only happening on the release of a key. There’s a whole artform to it, and a world of possibility.

For this workshop we’re going to start with the small and simple stuff. Our aim is to capture the sound of our favourite MIDI synth patch at a handful of velocity levels across a couple of octaves. You could ask why we’d do such a thing when we could use the synth as a sound source? There are several reasons why you might sample your synths. You may not have the room to have them set up all the time; this lets you use your favourite sounds without digging the hardware out. It might be a monosynth, but you’d like to play it polyphonically. You might have borrowed it from a friend. Or, for our purposes, it gives us a chance to learn how to make instruments in Presence before we go to the trouble of miking up acoustic instruments. 

Sampling Strategy: 3 Notes

To keep this simple, we’re not going to sample every note at 127 velocity levels. A modern sampler is quite capable of pitch‑shifting to cover a number of notes without it sounding ‘sampled’. So, I suggest we sample C, E and G across two octaves. We can sample each note at four velocity levels, to give us some dynamic variation in the sound. The beauty of sampling a MIDI synth is that we can set up the notes and velocity levels in a sequence that will play the synth exactly how we need for the sampling. With an acoustic instrument, you’d have to play the notes yourself with different strengths that you’ll have to decide upon and try to replicate consistently with each note. That’s not easy to do.

So, in Studio One, create a track for your MIDI synth, create a clip and open the piano‑roll editor. When sampling any instrument, you want to give yourself the best chance of capturing something that will be easy to isolate, replicate, edit, sustain and play. You’ll have to decide how long you will hold the note. That might depend on how the sound evolves and modulates and whether the held note has a suitable portion that could be looped to sustain the sound. You should also be aware of any release and fade to the sound. I’d recommend turning off any effects on the synth, as these can be added back in later with the effects engine in Presence XT, so you’re not waiting on reverb tails or delay taps to fade away into the distance.

With those things...

You are reading one of the locked Subscribers-only articles from our latest 5 issues.

You've read 30% of this article for free, so to continue reading...

  • ✅ Log in - if you have a Subscription you bought from SOS.
  • Buy & Download this Single Article in PDF format £1.00 GBP$1.49 USD
    For less than the price of a coffee, buy now and immediately download to your computer or smartphone.
  • Buy & Download the FULL ISSUE PDF
    Our 'full SOS magazine' for smartphone/tablet/computer. More info...
  • Buy a DIGITAL subscription (or Print + Digital)
    Instantly unlock ALL premium web articles! Visit our ShopStore.

Claim your FREE 170-page digital publication
from the makers of Sound On SoundCLICK HERE

Buy Related Tutorial Videos