We offer guidance on working with MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) in v5 of Studio One.
In our first look at version 5 of Studio One I’m going to spend some time looking at using MIDI Polyphonic Expression, or MPE. MPE is where individual notes can have their own expression data, allowing you to use pressure and other playing techniques to affect notes separately. In other words, you can play a chord and use pitch‑bend or aftertouch on each note independently within that chord. To take advantage of this expressive way of playing you need an MPE hardware controller like the ROLI Seaboard, Sensel Morph or Linnstrument, and an MPE‑compatible synthesizer or virtual instrument.
There’s very little in the Studio One 5 manual about how you get it to work. It’s something I struggled with a bit when I was writing the review because there was a key piece of information missing. Unfortunately I only got the solution moments before my deadline, but now that I’ve had a bit more time to work with it I can take you through how to set it up so you don’t fall into the same trap that I did.
I’m using a ROLI Seaboard Block, the simplest of the ROLI controllers, but the setup should be similar for any MPE controller. In the Options menu under External Devices you add a new keyboard, and for the Seaboard Block I could simply select it from the list. If your specific controller isn’t listed, then you can create a ‘New Keyboard’ and the setup is exactly the same.
When you edit the device the important setting is the Enable MPE tickbox at the bottom (see Screen 1, above). Ticking this will grey out the MIDI channel selector, because MPE needs all the MIDI channels to do its...