Getting Started With Handy Drums Plugins – STUDIO ONE

Introduction #

To get going quickly with Handy Drums plugins, ensure you have installed the plugins you intend to use.

Before using the software, you must authorize it by entering the serial number (license key) you received with your purchase. Here is how to authorize Handy Drums. Alernatively, you can run it in the FREE TRIAL mode.

Handy Drums Plugins: What they are and what they are not #

Handy Drums are virtual drum instruments. They can be used as plugins inside DAWs or as standalone apps. Think of Handy Drums primarily as sound modules that can be played live using a MIDI controller or by routing MIDI loops into them. They are the software equivalent of acoustic drums and percussion instruments and, as such, require a “performer” to play them (either a human being or MIDI loops).

We designed Handy Drums to be straightforward to use and to give you a beautiful, produced, finished drum sound right from the get-go.

They can also be used as standalone apps on Windows and MacOS computers. In that case, you can either play them live using MIDI controllers (eg. electronic drums) or by playing loops directly inside them using the built-in MIDI Loop Browser (Handy Drums v2.0+ only).

Handy Drums are not drum machines.

How To Load Handy Drums inside Presonus Studio One #

Option 1 #

In Studio One, virtual instruments are loaded into “Instrument Tracks“.

To create an Instrument Track, under the main menu, select:
Track > Add Instrument Track.

Then, add a virtual instrument to the newly created channel.

  • If the Studio One “browser” is not open, locate the “Browse” button in the bottom right corner.
  • Under the “Instruments” tab, look for the GoranGrooves folder and select a Handy Drums plugin of choice.
  • Drag Handy Drums onto the track that you created previously. The plugin will load, and the user interface (GUI) should open. 

Option 2 #

Alternatively, you can combine the two actions above by going to:

Track > Add Tracks.

  • Select the Instrument tab “new instrument” radio button, and from the drop-down menu, then navigate to a Handy Drums plugin of choice.
  • Click OK, and an Instrument track with Handy Drums pre-loaded will be created.
  • You can always open it by clicking the small instrument icon on the track.
  • Ensure everything works as it should by auditioning plugin sounds by clicking on the drums and percussion icons above each instrument fader.

! Note: If you cannot find Handy Drums in Studio One, ensure that you installed a VST version of it, and that Studio One knows “where” to look for it. Handy Drums are installed in the default location for their respective VST versions (Win, Mac), and Studio One should scan them by default.

If you change this location, point Studio One to the new location and rescan the plugins.

Playing a Drum Loop Through Handy Drums #

To play a drum groove through the Handy Drums plugins, you must drop an existing MIDI drum loop onto an Instrument track with the Handy Drums instrument loaded or create a loop from scratch right on your Instrument track.

We will explore two ways to import an existing midi loop into Studio One.

Option 1 (when you don’t want to preview the loop): #

  • Locate the loop you want to import using your folder browser (or Finder if on Mac).
  • Drag the desired loop directly onto your instrument track and into a desired position on the timeline.

Studio One may separate the MIDI type 1 loops into multiple tracks (e.g. percussion and drums) if the loops contain multiple tracks. In this case, we must also route the newly created track to the Handy Drums instrument to hear it.

If you use type 0 MIDI files, which by their nature can have only a single track, you should get only a single MIDI track upon import.

Option 2 (when you want to preview the loop): #

  • Select the Instrument Track you want to hear the MIDI loops through.

(Make sure you already have a Handy Drums instrument loaded on that track, as shown previously).

  • Go to Studio One’s browser and select the “files” tab. Navigate to a folder containing midi loops. 

When you select a MIDI file, player buttons will appear at the bottom.

  • Double-click or click the play button to hear the file. You may want to enable the “cycle” button to hear the midi file looped repeatedly.

Studio One may separate MIDI files into multiple tracks (such as drums and percussion) depending on the MIDI file type (type 0 vs type 1).

  • Click on the arrow in front of the loop to view and preview them individually.

When you are happy with the choice of loop, drag it to the timeline in the arrange window.

Audition MIDI Loops Before Importing Into DAW Project #

Beginning with Handy Drums v2.0, all plugins and standalone apps come with a built-in MIDI Loop Browser. This allows you to browse and audition any drum loops on your system and then import them via simple drag-n-drop.

MIDI Loop Browser is shown here in Cubase but with identical functionalities in all DAWs.

In addition to previewing and importing MIDI loops, the functionality can also bookmark any folders or loops for quick access. It can also sync tempo and playback controls with your DAW and allows you to play MIDI files inside Handy Drums without the need for a DAW.

The dedicated document covers the MIDI Loop Browser in detail. Make sure to read it to take advantage of its capabilities fully.

Drum Mapping Handy Drums / Handy Grooves Inside Studio One: #

You can find detailed references to our drum mapping for each plugin here.

Studio One’s MIDI editor can map drums in several formats (piano, drums, score).

To select a drum map for an instrument track, click on the “drums” icon.

You can begin by loading a GM drum map and then editing it further with meaningful names such as Kick, Snare, etc.

To make editing existing grooves more manageable, you can hide unused instruments by clicking on the menu icon next to the drum map and selecting “hide unused.”

Create And Save Drum Maps #

Handy Grooves loops follow GM MIDI wherever possible, so the default GM Drums map should match with most notes. Note that Handy Grooves utilize Handy Drums’ “Variable Hats” on notes G0 (31) and A0 (33), which will not have names assigned by the “GM Drums” map.

You can name the variable hats by clicking the spanner icon and double-clicking in the space where their name should be. After this, you can save the map as a preset. 

Studio One drum maps are saved as presets with the extension .pitchlist.
By default these presets are saved in:

C:\Users\”username”\Documents\Studio One\Presets\User Presets\Pitch Names\

To locate a preset on your computer, right-click the preset and select “Show in Explorer.”

Export Drum Maps #

Knowing this, you can also export/copy them to a different computer or use maps from other computers to import into your session. 

Import Drum Maps #

To import a Studio One Drum Map preset (.pitchlist) into the session, click the “spanner” icon and drag the file directly onto the pitch names section.

Then click the “pitch names” menu to save it.

Enabling Multiple Plugin Outputs Inside Studio One #

Setting up multiple outputs in Studio One is quite simple.

  • Open the Handy Drums instrument GUI and click on the “outputs button” in the wrapper above it.
  • Enable the outputs you would like, and new tracks will appear in the mixer.
  • Next, route Handy Drums components to the newly created output tracks and test how they work.

Now that everything is working well, let us dive deeper into Handy Drums features and functionalities.