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Studio One: Let's Talk MIDI

PreSonus Studio One Tips & Techniques By Robin Vincent
Published May 2022

The External Devices window is where you tell Studio One which MIDI devices you’ve got connected to which ports.The External Devices window is where you tell Studio One which MIDI devices you’ve got connected to which ports.

We show you how to get PreSonus' Studio One DAW talking to your MIDI gear.

Regardless of your skill level, taking a refresher course on the basics is good. We often like to jump in at the deep end and get ourselves entangled in advanced features, which means we sometimes miss some of the more straightforward tools that could give us a firmer foundation from which to play. So, for the next handful of workshops, I’m going to take us through the basics of Studio One. I hope this will be of use to beginners and those curious as to whether Studio One could be the DAW for them, but I think it could be helpful for regular users too. Kicking us off is the plugging in of your MIDI gear.

MIDI Connections

If you are anything like me, your management of MIDI connections is a complete mess. Every time Studio One starts up, it complains that my MIDI configuration has changed and asks me if I want to reconnect my devices. This is usually because a MIDI controller or synth I had connected to my computer is now doing something else somewhere else in the space I like to call a studio. Normally I click No and get on with whatever I want to do in Studio One without tackling the problem, but let’s start our journey by looking at how Studio One manages connected MIDI devices. So, click Yes. If you don’t get this pop‑up you can access the same window by clicking Configure External MIDI Devices at the bottom of the home screen.

The External Devices window [shown in the opening screenshot] lets you set up any connected MIDI device. That might be a MIDI input device like a keyboard, pad controller, bank of knobs or fader console, or it could be something you want to route MIDI to, such as a synthesizer or sound module. Some other DAWs simply give you a list of available MIDI ports that you can use for a MIDI track; Studio One does not. PreSonus prefer that you set up your MIDI devices first so that they can be addressed by name, and all their features can be accessed in an organised fashion. Do note that your computer will only be aware of the MIDI ports of instruments connected via USB. Any synths that use old‑school 5‑pin DIN MIDI will need to be connected through a MIDI interface and the computer, so Studio One will have no information on what they are. The External Devices window lets you specify exactly what your MIDI devices are and where they are connected. The important thing is that there are features you can take advantage of here that will make your MIDI life in Studio One smoother and easier to manage.

Hit Add Device to add a MIDI controller or synth to Studio One. There’s a list of predefined MIDI controllers you can choose from, but more often than not, you’ll have to set it up as a generic New Instrument or New Keyboard. If you are adding a MIDI controller or wish to use the...

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