Exploring PreSonus Studio One 3's Extended FX Chains

The new Extended FX Chains feature in PreSonus Studio One 3 allows you to route audio effects in serial, in parallel, by channel, or by frequency bands... and it's intuitive to use once you know how.  

Studio One version 3 includes the new Extended FX Chains feature. This is a great tool to expand on your audio effects. Let’s take a look at how to set up extended FX Chains, and their benefits so that you can get an idea of the advantages of having this great new addition to Studio One.

Adding an Extended FX Chain 

So how do you set up an extended chain? First create a track. I’ve added an audio track. Then in the inspector on the channel strip click on the Channel Editor button.

(01 Channel Editor button.png)

By default, the Macros window will open. Switch this to the Routing Window.

(02 Routing Window.png)

This window will show the routing of your plugins on the channel strip. To add an effect, click on the insert menu and choose an effect. I’m going to add a Chorus effect. You can also drag and drop effects from the browser panel.

(03 Adding Effects.png)

If you include another effect after the Chorus, it’ll add it to the chain.

So, you’re probably thinking, there is nothing too special about that. It’s just creating a serial chain effect. But where this tool really comes in handy is when you use the splitter feature in the routing window.

Using the Splitter

Now let’s look at using the splitter to create a parallel effects chain. Start again by adding a track and then adding an effect—this time, I’m going to add the Beat Delay. Now click and hold on the splitter icon, then drag this above the Beat Delay

(04 Add Splitter.png)

You’ll see that this adds the splitter object, which splits the signal between the Beat Delay and another side on the right. On the right now you can add another effect. Let’s add a chorus effect.

(05 Add Chorus.png)

Now you’ve created a parallel effects chain. The audio will pass through both the Beat Delay and chorus separately. Take a listen to the result. You can choose to mute each chain by clicking on the mute output and hear how it splits the chain between each effect. You’ll also notice you have different split modes: Normal, Channel, and Frequency. Let’s take a look at what each of these modes does. Normal will pass the signal equally through both sides.

Using the Channel Mode

If you switch to Channel mode, it’ll pass the left channel through the left side of the splitter and the right side through the right part of the splitter. I find this is really cool for guitar amp simulation effects. I can set up one amp combo on the left, and a completely new and different amp combo on the right

(06 Channel Mode.png)

Or maybe you have a synth line, and you want to put a delay effect on the left with a different delay time to the delay effect on the right.

Using the Frequency Mode

What I really like is Frequency mode. With this mode, you can split the effects chains up into different frequency bands. So you can literally build your own multiband effects with the splitter in this window. Let’s attempt to build a multiband distortion unit.

(07 Frequency Mode.png)

Building a Multiband Effect

For a multiband extended effect, I’m going to use the Frequency Mode on the splitter. So change the splitter to this mode.

And at the top where there is the splits option, enter four here, creating the four splits needed for our 4-band multiband effect.

(08 Splits.png)

So first I’m going to insert a distortion on each split or let’s call them bands. On band one, I’m going to add the Red light distortion. On bands 2 and 3 I’m going to insert the Ampire effect, but dial in a different setting for each one. And then on the fourth band I’ll add another instance of the Red light distortion but this time also with a different setting.

After each distortion unit, I’m going to add a modulation effect. On band 1 I’m  going for a flanger, on band two a chorus effect, on band three an Analog delay, and then on the fourth band a Beat Delay.

Then over on the left under the Frequency mode, you can choose the crossovers for each band.

(09 Multiband Effect.png)

Spend some time tweaking the settings on each effect. As you can see this is a great way to build up complex effects such as multiband distortion effects. Things like this work great on guitars, synths, and even vocals. And if you want to change up the effects in the chain you can simply click and drag and move an effect to a different band or even after the splitter. Heck, you can even add another splitter after the first segment and use a different mode with this splitter. The options are endless.

(10 Extra Splitter.png)

Saving Your Extended Effect Chain

What’s even better is once you’ve built up an extended FX chain, you can save it as a preset, and recall in on other tracks, or in other projects:

Navigate to the inspector of the track with the extended FX chain. On the Inserts section click on the downward arrow next to the + sign. This will bring up a drop-down menu. From here select Store FX Chain.

(11 Store FX Chain.png)

Here you can give it a name, description, and subfolder.

(12 Store Preset.png)

Now if you add a new track, go to the Inspector, and the downward arrow on the Inserts section, and you can choose the name of the preset we just saved.

(13 Load Preset.png)

You’ll see how it loads up all the effects that were in the extended FX chain, and if you go to the Channel Editor window, you’ll notice it has the splitter and its corresponding band effects as you saved them.

So you could build up a collection of extended FX chains and use these in your future songs and projects.


That’s how to create Extended FX Chains in Studio One, and a look at how these can broaden your production toolkit. For example, you could build multiband Tap delays, Chorus Ensembles, or even your own multiband compressor. So go in and start creating your own Extended FX Chains for your future Studio One songs.

Gary Hiebner is an enthusiastic South African Sound Designer and Apple Tech Head! Gary has been involved in the South African music industry for the decade, and in this time has also been involved in the sound design and music production for many advertising agencies and media houses. Gary is a devoted Logic and Ableton user, but he al... Read More


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