Moving Logic Pro EXS24 Sampler Instruments from One Mac to Another

Chances are as a Logic Pro user you've used (if not created your own) sampler instruments using the EXS24. In this article Mike Watkinson explores a trusted way to move these to another Mac.  

If you are the kind of person who likes to make their own EXS24 sampler instruments, then chances are you have built up a 'library' of these instruments over the years. And as time goes by, you will no doubt replace your battle weary Mac with a shiny new model. Another scenario that prompts the challenge that this tutorial addresses is where you need to take your sampler instrument library to another studio. In either case, you need to be aware of what files are required and where they live, in order for this operation to be a success.

The problem is of course that Logic Pro makes life so easy for us! However, many users don't realize that an EXS24 sampler instrument is comprised of both the sampler instrument file and the sample files (the recordings) themselves in order to function correctly. When you make your own, the sampler instrument file is stored in the following location:

User Home > Library > Application Support > Logic > Sampler Instruments

The location of 'user' sampler instrument files.

The location of 'user' sampler instrument files.

The sample files can be stored anywhere however! When the instrument was created, Logic Pro created the links between one file type and the other so the sampler instrument knows where to look. Serious samplists often keep their sample file collection on an external drive, but hit a problem when moving that external drive to another Mac – the sampler instrument files are still buried in the OS on the Mac they were made on!

So to successfully back up, move and reinstall your sampler instruments, either from an old Mac to a new one, or from one studio to another, follow these steps...

On your old Mac (and do this before you get rid of it!):

Go to User Home > Library > Application Support > Logic > Sampler Instruments and copy all the sampler instrument files to your external drive. On Lion and Mountain Lion you will need to hold down the Option button in order to access the User Library from the Finder's Go menu.

Accessing User Home>Library.

Accessing User Home > Library.

If the sample files are already on the same external drive, then all well and good, and you can proceed to 'On your new Mac' (below).

If the sample files are in any other location (other than the external drive you are using to perform the transfer) do one of two things:

  • If they are all together in one location copy them to the external drive.
  • If they are all over the place, open each sampler instrument in turn in EXS24, then open the Instrument Editor and choose 'Export Sampler Instrument and Sample Files' from the Instrument menu. Create a location on your external drive and click 'Save'.

Manually backing up an EXS24 Instrument and its related sample files.

Manually backing up an EXS24 Instrument and its related sample files.

Repeat for all sample instruments sampler instruments you want to move.

This will backup both the sampler instrument and the sample files, which are put into folders named by sampler instrument.

On your new Mac:

In order for EXS24 on the new Mac to recognise the sampler instruments, the files need to be in the following location: User Home > Library > Application Support > Logic > Sampler Instruments so copy them there from the external drive.

When you open the sampler instrument in Logic Pro it should automatically find a sample files if either of these is true:

  • The external drive is their original location.
  • You saved each sampler instrument and its sample files manually using the EXS24 Instrument menu option.

If you simply moved the sample files there after you made the instrument (and didn't manually save the Sampler instrument and sample files from within EXS24) the following dialogue will appear if any audio files exist on the hard drive of the Mac with the same name(s) as the one(s) that EXS24 is looking for:

Image 4

To force EXS24 to only look on the external drive (and ignore the internal drive files) you will need to go to the EXS24 Preferences which are accessed from the Options menu on main EXS24 window (or the Edit menu of the EXS24 Instrument Editor) and make sure 'Search samples on...' is set to 'External Volumes' then reload the problematic sampler instrument in EXS24.

Image 5

When prompted choose the correct location for the sample files and click OK.

Mike has been obsessed with music software since he first saw Fairlight's Page-R, and has tracked its development through his work as a performer, composer and producer. As a writer he has contributed articles to Sound On Sound since 1999, and currently writes their Apple Notes column. As well as being a certified Logic Pro and Pro Too... Read More


Hi Mike,

Here is the problem that I've run into regarding exs24 and hope that you can help me.

I don't have that much external sample libraries, but I am not able to load the ones that I have. I can load the factory banks, but not the ones that I have on an external hard drive (samples are there). If I try to load somethings else, I will get the wonderful spinning beach ball of death. It drives me crazy.

I have tried many things, aliases, copying the sample libraries in app support/logic (user name and osx library)... Etc, reinstalling logic. I have just ran out of options.(repairing permission didn't help)

This will happen with an empty project and also to a project that I've been working on.

Best regards,
Hi Mike

Thanks for the article, i'm having issues though. I'm trying to move some exs instruments in to sort out an arrangement from a friends session. whenever i copy the exs file in and try and load the preset in exs24 it tells me it's not an exs intrument and then greys it out. I've tried copying the samples over from the garaband source too, all to no avail.

Any ideas?



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