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.