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Virtual Instruments

Studio One® comes with a powerful and well-supported set of instruments, as well as the ability to host third-party instruments (Producer/Professional). It also supports ReWire technology, so it plays well with other ReWire-capable applications, such as Propellerheads Reason.

Content for Studio One's instruments is supplied with every version of Studio One (except Free), often in the form of Soundsets. Studio One includes a collection of Soundsets, and many more can be downloaded from PreSonus® Exchange. Best of all, you can build your own Soundsets with the free Sound Set Builder extension, available from PreSonus Exchange.

A Soundset is a file containing just about any kind of data Studio One knows how to read, including audio files, Audioloop and Musicloop files, presets, groove templates, and Impact drum-kit maps.

When Studio One starts up, it mounts each Soundset it finds as if it were a disk and makes the content available in the Sounds tab of Studio One's Browser. It's a quick way to put a whole lot of sounds at your fingertips. Every version of Studio One (except Studio One Free) comes bundled with Soundsets, so everybody gets in on the fun.

Here's the kicker: Using the free Sound Set Builder extension, you can package collections of your Studio One data for your own use or to share on PreSonus Exchange. And, of course, you can grab Soundsets other people post to Exchange and drag them directly from the Browser into your Song.

Sound Set Builder is a free Studio One extension that lets you create your own Soundset files. Your Soundsets can contain Audioloop and Musicloop files you create or use, presets for Presence and Mojito, Impact drum kits, effects presets, and more.

Making Soundsets is easy to do. First, download the Sound Set Builder extension from PreSonus Exchange and install it. Next, make a folder in the Browser and collect all the data you want in the Soundset into it. When everything is as you want it, right-click on the folder and choose the Pack Sound Set from Folder command. Ta-daa!

To see a video about using Sound Set Builder, click here.


Presence™ has it all in one package: sample player with up to 96 synthesizer voices; 9 high-quality filter types; 7 onboard effects; performance controls; support for SoundFonts and SFZ files (as well as PreSonus Soundset files); and plenty of included content.

Each voice has a filter and amplifier, plus two envelopes and an LFO for modulation. Presence really comes alive when the nine high-quality filter types are enabled: You get 12 dB/octave and 24 dB/octave, analog highpass, bandpass, and lowpass emulations; plus 12 dB/octave "digital" highpass, bandpass, and lowpass filters.

Presence has a dedicated envelope generator for the amplifier and another for pitch and filter-cutoff modulation. Similarly, there’s an LFO for pitch, filter, and amplifier modulation and another dedicated to vibrato.

When the sound is nicely dialed in, Presence has all the processing you need to finish the job: chorus/flanger/phaser, seven-band graphic EQ, auto pan, delay, distortion, pattern gate, and reverb.  With all of this goodness onboard, Presence will save on mixer plug-ins because the sound coming into the mixer is already complete.


  • Up to 96 voices, each with filter, amplifier, two envelopes, and LFO
  • Reads PreSonus Soundset files, SoundFonts, and SFZ files
  • High-quality filter mode with nine filter types
  • Full complement of onboard effects
  • Shape sounds with pitch modulation and vibrato, pitch bend, and modulation wheel
  • ​Comes with Soundsets containing hundreds of sounds, acoustic and electronic


Impact™ is a multichannel sample player configured as a virtual drum machine, with a 4-by-4 pad matrix. Each pad has its own pitch, filter, and amplifier, with a dedicated envelope generator for each, plus its own output assignment.

Impact is stuffed with tools for leveraging and manipulating the samples it plays. There are five different play modes, plus velocity layering and round-robin playback. Play a sound that's in one of Impact's four play groups, and any others playing in the group will be silenced.

If velocity layering still doesn't get the realism you want, maybe a little transient shaping will do it. Just use Control Link to make a pad's sample-start offset respond to velocity, or even automate it note by note. And while you're making those delicate tweaks, you'll love that you can solo or mute each pad individually.

When you finally get everything sounding exactly as you like, you can route each pad to any of the eight stereo or eight mono outputs so they can be appropriately processed and mixed.

As with Presence, there are lots of Impact presets in Studio One's included Soundsets, and more are available for download from PreSonus Exchange. Or just roll your own using Sound Set Builder. Nothing says you have to stick to drum sounds, either.


  • Familiar drum-machine interface
  • Each pad has its own pitch, filter, amplifier, and output channel
  • Eight stereo and eight mono outputs
  • Velocity layering, round-robin, and random-selection playback
  • Play groups keep monophonic instrument sounds realistic
  • Presets come with Studio One, with more downloadable from PreSonus Exchange
  • Make Soundsets with your own sounds


Mojito is a monophonic subtractive synthesizer that manages to pack in all of the popular features of the classic analog synths. Mojito is a monster bass machine, and it’s great for leads and effects.

Mojito provides pulse and sawtooth waveforms, both rich in harmonics, which are passed through an analog-style, resonant, 24 dB/octave lowpass filter that can be modulated by key position, ADSR envelope generator, velocity, and a tempo-syncable LFO, singly or in combination.

Need a little more growl? The Drive control will "overload" the virtual filter circuit to get it. Where’s the beef? Dial in the Sub Oscillator and get action going an octave below the main oscillator. Maybe the sound just needs fattening, so crank in a chorus or flange effect with the onboard modulation processor.

Mojito is monophonic—but it's certainly not stripped down!


  • Analog-style "bass machine" and lead synthesizer
  • Fat-sounding resonant 24 dB/octave lowpass filter with Drive control
  • Sub Oscillator for deep low end
  • Flexible filter modulation
  • ​Onboard chorus/flanger


SampleOne™ is a sampler with all the basics: adjustable keymap range and loop capabilities, amplifier and filter envelopes, and LFO-modulation parameters. It offers a resonant multimode filter with lowpass, bandpass, and highpass responses, each at either a 12 or 24 dB/octave cutoff slope.

Naturally, SampleOne is integrated tightly into Studio One. For example, adding a sample to SampleOne is as obvious as dragging an audio file from the Browser, or an Audio Event from the Arrange view, into SampleOne's sample list. Drag a selected range from the Arrange view to the sample list, and Studio One will bounce the range to a new file and load the file. Right-click on an Event in the Arrange view, or on an audio file in the Browser, and choose the Send to New SampleOne command to create a new instance of SampleOne and load the sample. Do this with a REX file in the Browser, and the slices get mapped across the keymap.

Multiple samples can be loaded, and all sound as a stack when a note is played. SampleOne plays up to 32 voices at once before it needs to start stealing notes from voices to play new ones.

For each sample, you can adjust the playback range, loop it, change its root note, and tune it. You can further tweak the sample with the amplifier, filter, and LFO modulation.

SampleOne is easy to use, yet it’s a powerful tool for creating an endless array of sounds.


  • Drag-and-drop audio files or Events within your song to load them
  • Stack multiple samples, play up to 32 voices at once
  • Resonant multimode filter with lowpass, highpass, and bandpass responses
  • Separate ADSR envelope generators for pitch, filter, and amplifier-waveform modulation LFO
  • Change root note, tuning, sample range per sample
  • Intuitive, fast, and flexible

Using virtual instruments and ReWire with Studio One (videos)

When it comes to virtual instruments, Studio One is a thoughtful and considerate host. 

Let's start with the basics: how to play and record with a virtual instrument in Studio One.

Themuzic explains how to output from a virtual instrument to multiple channels in the Console.

Lightningmusic shows us how to host plug-ins on networked computers for use in Studio One. This is a very cool way to put "extra" computers to use.

Here's how to ReWire Reason into Studio One, optionally lock/unlock Studio One’s tempo to Reason, and bounce the output of Reason to a new audio track.

Chris Knox discusses using virtual instruments in Studio One.

The folks at AskAudio magazine offer this article on doing subtractive synthesis with Mojito.