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Creating a Sampled Drum Kit in Logic Pro 7

Built-in EXS24 mkII sampler can assemble unique instruments based on high-quality audio samples By Frank Moldstad

EXS24 mkII sampler interface

Apple's Logic Pro 7 is the only DAW on the market that comes with a built-in sampler as part of the application, EXS24 mkII. Although there are several third-party sampler plugins compatible with Logic Pro 7 and other DAWs, having one integrated into the host program is a major asset.

Software samplers enable you to load recorded instrument samples into memory and play them via a controller keyboard just like synthesizer patches. But there's a huge difference in the sound quality between synthesizer emulations of instruments and actual recorded instrument samples. Most listeners will be able to tell if a stringed instrument sound is generated by a synth, but they'll have a harder time distinguishing between a sampled violin and the real thing. EXS24 mkII comes with a large sample library, and there are numerous third-party sample collections that can be purchased to extend the choices.

In this tutorial, we're going to look at how to create a custom instrument from individual samples in EXS24 mkII's sample library. While EXS24 mkII includes a variety of predefined instruments that don't have to be built, there's nothing like a unique instrument tailored to your exact needs. By assigning various samples to specific keyboard zones, you can assemble an entire orchestra as one "instrument." Or, an entire drum kit, as we'll do in this example. 

To start building a custom instrument, you open Logic Pro 7's EXS24 mkII Instrument Editor [Audio>EXS24 Instrument Editor]. This brings up an empty window with a keyboard at the top. The empty space at the bottom is your workspace, which will soon be filled with Zone dialog boxes for the samples that make up your instrument.

At the very top of the Instrument Editor are four drop-down menus. Go to the first one, Instrument, and select New. Then go to the third menu over, Zone, and select New Zone. When you do this, a small gray box called Zone 1 appears below the keyboard, with a bunch of parameter settings in it. The first of these parameters is labelled Audio File. Click it to browse through the EXS24 mkII's factory samples, which are all installed by default in the Logic folder in Application Support. [Macintosh HD>Library>Application Support>Logic>EXS Factory Samples].

There are several drum kit folders in the list of samples, including Dry Standard Kit and GM Standard Drum Kit. For this tutorial, we'll use the GM Standard Kit folder, which has 38 sampled drum sounds, including various kicks, snares, toms and crashes. Scroll through the list and click on one of the Kick drums; I chose Kick BB 21.aif. Its name appears in the Zone 1 Audio File parameter.

Kick drum assigned to Zone 1, indicated by white bar under keyboard, which has been sized from C0-C1 (see Zoom Range settings in the small box above).

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Related Keywords:Logic Pro 7, sampler, EXS24, instruments, Drum Kit, Instrument Editor

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