Work­ing with Logic’s EXS24 sam­pler


Logic’s EXS24 is one of the most pow­er­ful in-DAW sam­plers avail­able and for Logic Pro users look­ing for a quick way to trig­ger sam­ples, go the whole hog with more in-depth sound de­sign, or al­most any­thing in-be­tween, it’s a very ca­pa­ble plug-in. For starters, it comes with a large Fac­tory li­brary which of­fers a com­pre­hen­sive ar­ray of sounds across myr­iad gen­res.

For sam­plists keen to get their hands dirty with orig­i­nal creations, how­ever, sam­ples are im­ported and or­gan­ised via a click of the Edit but­ton which lies to the right of the name of the cur­rently loaded sam­ple. This launches the In­stru­ment Ed­i­tor, into which sam­ples can be dragged from the Fin­der, the Au­dio File win­dow, or di­rectly from an au­dio file in an open Logic project. In­stantly, this will set up a new Zone, with a hor­i­zon­tal set of parameters to let you con­fig­ure the freshly im­ported sam­ple. You can choose its orig­i­nal Pitch, tune the sam­ple and set its Vol­ume and Pan val­ues.

You can also set its Out­put Chan­nel, so that mul­ti­ple sam­ples can be trig­gered to ap­pear at dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal out­puts on your au­dio in­ter­face. You can set a Key Range for the sam­ple, as well as de­cid­ing whether it will re­spond to a Pitch in­put (or not), trig­ger in one-shot mode, or play back­wards, via the Re­verse op­tion. Sam­ples can be or­gan­ised into Groups, as well as hav­ing Ve­loc­ity restrictions en­abled, so that Ve­loc­ity lay­ers can add their weight to the grow­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion of your Sam­pler In­stru­ment.

The list of po­ten­tial avail­able parameters goes on; click and hold the View menu in the In­stru­ment Ed­i­tor and you’ll see all of the avail­able op­tions for your sam­ple – you can add more here if they’re not shown by de­fault. As you’d ex­pect, this in­cludes the ca­pa­bil­ity to add loops to sam­ples and, not un­sur­pris­ingly, if you se­lect this op­tion, you’ll see col­umns to se­lect Start and End points for a loop. It’s more in­tu­itive to set loop lengths with a graph­i­cal, rather than nu­meric dis­play, how­ever, and this is made pos­si­ble by click­ing the down ar­row next to the name of the im­ported sam­ple’s au­dio file. This launches an op­tion to Open In Sam­ple Ed­i­tor which will then show you a re-size­able pic­ture of the sam­ple’s wave­form ready for your ed­its.

Once you’re done im­port­ing and edit­ing sam­ples, you can save your changes to en­sure that the Sam­pler In­stru­ment you’ve made will be added to the EXS24’s user li­brary. Then, it’s back to the front of the in­ter­face to fur­ther en­hance your sound’s po­ten­tial. The cen­tral sec­tion of the in­ter­face below the in­stru­ment name of­fers a highly ca­pa­ble res­o­nant fil­ter, with High and Band-pass op­tions along­side four strengths of low-pass fil­ter, while three LFOs, two main En­velopes and a sep­a­rate Time con­troller are of­fered for in­ter­nal mod­u­la­tion.

The EXS24 of­fers a sim­i­lar set of mod­u­la­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties to Logic’s own ES2 synth, with a band of ten routers spread across the mid­dle of the in­ter­face where you can pick Des­ti­na­tions, Sources and in­ter­rupt­ing Via con­trols, en­abling you to add mod­u­la­tion wheels, phys­i­cal ro­taries, slid­ers or other trig­gers to your mod­u­la­tion op­tions. These can be fur­ther ex­panded out­side of the EXS24, as a full set of MIDI con­trollers can be used as mod­u­la­tion sources, while there’s also a Side-Chain op­tion to al­low any in­com­ing sig­nal to be used as a trig­ger for your sounds too. Do you want your sam­pled pi­ano’s fil­ter sec­tion to be warped and trig­gered by an in­com­ing beat loop? No prob­lem, that’s what this op­tion is for.

As we’ll see in our first walk­through, cre­ative sound op­tions can be brought to per­cus­sion sounds us­ing loops on in­di­vid­ual drum hits to cre­ate vari­a­tions to one-shot sam­ples. In the sec­ond walk­through (which you can also watch in video form) we’ll see how the EXS24 can be in­te­grated quickly and creatively into Logic’s work­flow.

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