4.3 Instruments: Samples & Presets

Now we take a look at those components that create sounds: samples and instrument presets. To insert one of the many factory pre-defined instrument presets into the Beat+Bassline Editor or Song Editor, click the 4. button in the sidebar. It works just like a browser. You can now choose a preset and drag it into the song editor. Everything that you can do in the sidebar browser with presets, you can also do with samples (just click the 3. button in the sidebar). Furthermore, you can click and hold your mouse on the name of a preset or sample. LMMS will then let you listen to that particular instrument, as a kind of sound test. You can then drag the instrument into the editor.

If you add VST instruments to your preset collection, you should never use this preview feature on these VST presets!

You can also double-click an instrument in the browser. This will place the objects directly into the Beat+Bassline Editor, or you can right-click on the instrument in the browser list tree, and LMMS will open a context menu. Here you have the option to send this instrument into an empty slot in the Song Editor or to replace a current active instrument with this new instrument. The active instrument is the one that is highlighted in the Song Editor, and has its GUI opened, in other words has been mouse-clicked.

Always use the send to active instrument option when ever you need to load a VST instrument preset (more on this: How to use VST instrument presets).

When you insert an instrument, the instrument's GUI editor window will open. You can also see this GUI by clicking on the instruments grey name button in the Song or Beat+Bassline Editor. When you click the name button, it will change to lightgray. This instrument is now the active instrument. The name button acts as a toggle for the GUI editor window. Instrument GUI's have five tabs: PLUGIN, ENV/LFO, FUNC, FX and MIDI. The PLUGIN tab changes with the type of instrument. All other tabs are standard for every instrument, however the ENV/LFO tab is only available on the kind of instruments that can use this feature. VeSTige, LB302 and ZynAddSubFX plugins do not present this tab. An in-depth explanation of how to use the features on the various tabs can be found in the Working with instruments section.

If you want to remove an instrument completely from your song, click on its gray toolkit icon and choose "Remove this track".

Instruments are divided into factory provided and user specified. Subfolders in your file system can be used to organize the instruments or samples hierarchichally.

Later you may like to create your own instruments from scratch. The sidebar's 1.button opens the instruments plugins. These are empty default preset templates that you can use for your own instruments. Drag them into your project and play around with all the settings on the GUI. Some hints and tips on how to create 3-OSC instruments can be found in Making TripleOscillator patches. You can of course also make changes to the factory-defined instruments and save those as your own. Overwriting existing factory-defined instrument is not recommended.