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Setting Up Your MIDI Controller Inside Studio One

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This post is part of a series called Manipulating MIDI: Setup, Sequencing and Secrets.
Discussion: Past, Present and Future of MIDI
Using the Korg nanoKontrol 2 - Part 01

Studio One 2.5 is quickly becoming my go to DAW in my studio. If you are new to Studio One or are using the free version PreSonus has made available, I want to show you how you can quickly set up you MIDI controller inside of Studio One, if it is not in the list of preset devices.


Creating a New External Device

To add a MIDI controller go to Studio One > Preferences > External Devices, and click the Add button.

If your controller is in the list of preset devices, all you have to do is click add and select it and all the knobs, sliders and transport controls will be automatically mapped for you.

However, if you have a controller that is not in the list of preset devices, you can quickly set up a new device an map all the controls once, and that mapping will be saved within the new device settings.

Use The Add Device Window To Add Your MIDI Controller To Be Used Inside Studio One
Use The Add Device Window To Add Your MIDI Controller To Be Used Inside Studio One
  1. If your MIDI keyboard is not listed in the list on the left hand side of the Add Device window, you can select New Keyboard to add your MIDI controller and then assign the controller inside Studio One.
  2. This is the list of pre-configured MIDI controllers that PreSonus has set up to work with Studio One.
  3. You can give your MIDI controller a descriptive name, which helps if you have multiple devices that you use inside of Studio One.
  4. Select which MIDI channels your controller will transmit its signal on. It's best to leave all selected unless you have multiple controllers. Also assign which physical device your new keyboard will be receiving MIDI information from (Oxygen 49 in this example).

Click OK once you have set up your new controller and you have connected the MIDI controller to Studio One, and it will show up in the list of External Devices under the descriptive name you gave it. Now all that is needed is to map the various controls in order to use them properly inside Studio One.

Clicking OK Will Add Your New MIDI Device In The External Devices List In the Option Window.
Clicking OK Will Add Your New MIDI Device In The External Devices List In the Option Window.

Mapping Your Controller

To map the various knobs, faders and transport controls to be used correctly inside of Studio One, create a new project, and in the mixer click the button on the left hand side of the mixer window labeled "External" to show the external devices. Clicking this will open up the external devices pane with a list of all your external controllers.

Open The Mixer (F4) And Open The External Devices Pane.
Open The Mixer (F4) And Open The External Devices Pane.

Double clicking on the device you just set up will open the MIDI Assignment window for that device.

If you click MIDI Learn in the upper left corner, the button will turn blue and Studio One will begin listening for incoming MIDI messages. When you move a knob or fader, or press a button on your controller, it will show up here in a list.

This is telling Studio One that the the controller is in fact there and available to assign. I suggest doing this in some kind of logical sequential order, just so the controllers aren't in random order inside of this MIDI Assignment window.

Click "MIDI Learn" And Begin Moving Your Controllers Various Faders And Knobs.
Click "MIDI Learn" And Begin Moving Your Controllers Various Faders And Knobs.
The MIDI Assignment Window Will Populate With Your Controllers Knobs and Faders.
The MIDI Assignment Window Will Populate With Your Controllers Knobs and Faders.

For most users, you will want to leave the rotaries and faders unassigned in the MIDI Assignment window, so they are free to assign within a project to various parameters like cut off, volume and panning.

You can right click on the control icon and tell Studio One that it is a fader, rotary/knob, or a button. What you will most likely want to assign is the transport controls, which is outlined below.

Set The Transport Buttons To "Button (on/off)".
Set The Transport Buttons To "Button (on/off)".

Assigning the Transport

  1. To assign the transport controls you first need to right click on all the buttons inside the MIDI Assignment window and set them to Button (on/off).
  2. Next right click each button icon-physically clicking it on your controller and verifying the button via the red MIDI signal light in the MIDI Assignment window to make sure you are assigning the correct button- and select Assign Command. The proper assignments for most transports are as follows:
You Can Search For The Correct Command In the Search Field to Quickly Assign The Transport Controls.
You Can Search For The Correct Command In the Search Field to Quickly Assign The Transport Controls.
  • Play:
    Transport > Start

  • Stop:
    Transport > Stop

  • Record:
    Transport > Record

  • Back:
    Transport > Rewind Bar
    Do not select "Rewind" as this will begin scrubbing and you will not be able to stop it via the hardware transport button.

  • Forward:
    Transport > Forward Bar
    Same as Rewind, do not select "Forward".

  • Loop:
    Transport > Select a Loop Function
    Loop Enable is assigned to the keyboard back slash key, and cannot be controlled via MIDI. I personally have mine set to loop the active selection, but you can assign it to what ever looping function you wish.

Conclusion

And that is it. you’re assignments are saved with the new device in the External Devices setting, and from here on out when you start a new project your transport controls will work properly an your various faders and rotaries will be available to assign.

Studio One is quickly becoming a shining star in the music production world because of its super-simple user interface and for making otherwise confusing tasks such as this a breeze.

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