Make An XY Pad With PreSonus Studio One's Macros

PreSonus Studio One is a powerful DAW and more so considering its relatively young age. In this tutorial we explore how to create an XY pad using the Macro feature and control it with the Remote app.  

In this article, I want to walk you through how you can use Studio One’s Macros features and more specifically how to use them to create your own XY Pad. Plus I’ll expand on this and how you can use the Remote App to control this XY Pad, especially if you don’t have an XY Pad on your MIDI Controller. So by combining the Remote app and your MIDI controller you have way more control over your instruments. Let’s jump in and see how these Macros work.

What is a Macro?

A Macro is a function that can combine multiple actions into one. So it’s a way of streamlining your production workflow. You can take a look at the available Macros by going to the Studio One menu, and the Macro Organizer or by looking at the Macro Organizer toolbar.

Macro Organizer

The Macro Organizer

The Macro Organizer toolbar shows all the available Macros that have been created. These have been broken down into Edit, Split, Zoom Audio and Musical categories. You can create new further  categories if you, for example I could create a MIDI category to save my MIDI Macros under.

Channel Editor XY Pad

I want to look at how to use Macros with instruments by creating an XY Pad. So first select an instrument track in your song. On the inspector view of the track, click on the icon that looks like a clock—this is the Channel Editor

Channel Editor

This icon launches a window with the channel strip and a selection of knobs and buttons. If you click on the downward arrow on the bottom, this expands to reveal two XY Pads. Now, to assign parameters to these XY Pads you need to click on the wrench icon that takes you to the Macro editor.

Macro editor

XY Pad Assigning

For the XY Pad you can assign a parameter to the X axis. For the first pad this will be Pad 1-X, and then for the Y axis, it’ll be Pad1-Y. Similarly, for Pad two it’ll be Pad2-X and Pad2-Y.

So to assign a parameter, first select Pad 1-X on the left. Then select one of the parameters in the Parameter section on the right, and drag it into the Target section in the middle. I’m going to set Pad1-X to the Cutoff filter on my instrument. And my Y axis will be the Resonance parameter.

Pad1 assignment

And I want to add some effects to the Pad 2. So here I’ll assign the Reverb mix to Pad 2-X and the Delay mix to Pad 2-Y.

Pad2 assignment

Now I can test how this works by holding down a chord on my MIDI keyboard and then dragging the mouse around on this XY Pad on the channel editor.

XY Pad Test

With XY Pad you can create interesting morphing sounds by dragging around in this XY field. You’ll get very different results compared to if each parameter was assigned to say for example a rotary knob or fader.

So it’s great now having an XY Pad that I can use, but how do I control this if I don’t have an XY Pad on a MIDI controller? This is where the Studio One Remote App comes in real handy.

Studio One Remote App with Macros

The Studio One App is available for iPad or Windows Mobile tablets. If you need to grab this application go to for the iPad versions, or for the Windows Tablet version.

Start by installing the Studio One Remote app on your device and then make sure they’re on the same network. Have Studio One open on your computer and then launch the app on your device. It’ll pick up Studio One on your computer and allow you to connect to it. Click the Scan button if it doesn’t pick it up and it’ll rescan your network for any new connections.

Studio One Remote App Connect

Now to access these XY Pads under the Macros section, go over to the mixer view on the app, then on the track that has the XY Pads, click on the Channel Editor button.

App Channel Editor

This opens up the Macros Control interface showing the Macros that are available on the instrument. Now when I playback my instrument I have tactile control of this XY Pad on my iPad device. So by using an iPad I have expanded the control ability on my instruments by being able to access these Macros so easily.

This interface is only showing the first XY Pad, and I can just swipe across to get to the second one. You can see the name of each parameter in the corners of the XY Pad.

What’s even better is that I can also assign parameters to knobs and buttons, giving me even more control over my instruments and effects.

Knobs and Buttons

To do this just go back to the Mapping control editor on the instrument track in Studio One on your computer and set targets for these Knobs and Buttons. 

Knob Button Assign

Now when I jump back to my iPad, I’ll see these newly-assigned parameters reflect in the device interface. 

So by using an iPad and Macros, you’re able to expand your MIDI keyboard controller with 2 XY Pads, nine extra knobs and eight extra buttons. That’s pretty insane!

And if you want to assign or delete an assignment, you simply click on it on the mapping editor on your computer and choose clear. 


So that’s how to integrate the Studio One Remote app with Studio One, and then by using Macros, how to get more expressiveness and control over your instruments. I find that this really helps improve my workflow and productions. Instead of staring at plugins and parameters on a computer screen, I can use this more tactile approach of tweaking them on an iPad or Windows tablet and get some expressive results.

Learn all about PreSonus Studio One here.


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


Ho do you save the Macro Knob Mapping or do you have to remap thing again and again ?

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