Impact XT features a grid of pads into which samples are loaded and played back independently, as with many popular hardware drum-sample players. Each pad has its own pitch, amplifier, and filter controls with accompanying envelopes. There are multiple stereo and mono outputs for each pad, making sophisticated output busing simple.
Impact XT is arranged as a 4x4 grid of pads, with controls for each pad. There are eight selectable banks of 16 pads, labeled A through H. Below each pad are Solo and Mute controls, as well as an Output Channel assignment. Click on any pad to select it and view its parameters, located on the right side of the interface. At the top of the window is the waveform display, which shows the currently selected sample along with controls for setting start and end points. To the right of the waveform display are the sample controls, which let you set playback behavior for the samples on each pad.
Add and Play Samples
To add a sample to a pad, drag any audio clip from the Browser, or any Audio Event or selected range from the Arrange view, directly onto the desired pad. If you drag in a selected range from the Arrange view, the range is bounced to a separate audio file and then added to Impact XT. Dragging a sample to a pad that already contains a sample replaces the old sample with the new one, by default.
To mute a pad, click the Mute button beneath the pad. To solo a pad, so that you hear only its sound, click the Solo button beneath the pad. Note that each pad has its own Pitch, Filter, and Amplifier controls.
To import a drum loop and automatically split its hits across multiple pads, hold [Shift] while dragging the loop onto Impact XT.
To copy a pad to another pad, hold [Cmd/Ctrl] and drag from one pad to another. Hold [Shift]+[Cmd/Ctrl] to swap two pads. If you would like to copy a pad from one bank to another, use the copy and paste options from the right-click menu described below. Filter, Amp, and other control settings are retained on a pad copy or swap.
A variety of useful actions can be taken by right-clicking a pad and choosing from the drop-down menu:
- Replace Sample Replace the currently loaded sample with a new one.
- Add Sample Add a sample to the pad.
- Rename Pad Assign a new name to the pad.
- Copy Pad Copy a pad to the clipboard.
- Paste Pad Paste a copied pad from the clipboard.
- Clear Pad Clear all samples from the pad.
- Clear Bank Clear all samples from all pads in the current bank.
- Play One Shot Change the Trigger mode for the pad to One Shot.
- Play Loop Change the Trigger mode for the pad to Loop.
- Play Normal Change the Trigger mode for the pad to Normal.
Multiple Velocity Layers
It is possible to add more than one sample to a pad, enabling you to trigger different samples based on velocity. For instance, you may want to have three different samples for a single snare drum pad: one soft, one medium, and one loud. This way, when you play Impact XT, the snare drum sounds much more realistic than if you use a single sample.
To do this, select multiple samples in the browser or in your computer's file system, and drag them to a pad.
When you select a pad, its currently loaded sample is shown in this display. Here, you can set sample start and end by moving the triangle-shaped markers. If more than one sample is loaded in the pad, you can switch between them by clicking the numbered buttons above the waveform display. You can click-and-drag the demarcations between the sample selector buttons to set the velocity-switching values (for use with the Velocity Layer Mode).
Add Sample (+) Choose this option to add an additional sample to this pad.
Reverse Enable this option to reverse the current sample.
Normalize Enable this option to boost the amplitude of the current sample until its highest peak reaches a point just below full scale.
Load Next/Previous Sample in Folder These buttons let you quickly swap the current sample for its neighbor in the enclosing folder. This allows for quick auditioning of a range of samples, to find just the right candidate.
Start and End Sets the sample start and end, in samples.
These controls let you fine-tune sample behavior for each pad:
Color Choose a color with which to mark the pad.
1st and 2nd Note Assignment Choose two MIDI note values to trigger this pad.
Trigger Choose One Shot to play the loaded sample once when a pad is struck, no matter how long it is held. Chose Loop to continuously loop the sample as long as the pad is held. Choose Toggle to begin playing the sample when the pad is struck, and continue playing it (even if looped) until the pad is struck a second time. Select Normal to begin playing the sample when the pad is struck and held down, and continue playing it until the pad is released.
Layer Mode This parameter lets you choose how multiple samples are treated if loaded onto a single pad. Choose Velocity to switch between the samples depending on pad velocity. Choose Round Robin to step through the samples one by one each time the pad is struck. Choose Random to choose a sample at random each time the pad is struck. Choose Stack to play all loaded samples simultaneously.
Choke This parameter lets you specify the relationship between different pads, such as those set up to play closed and open hi-hat cymbals. Choose Self to allow a pad's playback to be stopped when the pad is played a second time (rather than continue to ring out). Choose a Choke group (1-32) to tie the playback of this pad to all other pads also assigned to that choke group.
Quantize This parameter lets you limit your ability to play a pad to a preset rhythmic value. Choose from Off (no rhythmic limits), Bars (once at the start of each bar), Beats (once per quarter note), 1/2-Beats (once per eighth-note), and 1/4-Beats (once per 16th note).
Follow Tempo Enable this option to automatically timestretch the current sample to fit the tempo of the Song. This is most effective when using rhythmic loops, such as drum samples.
Offsets Introduce a playback offset of up to 2.5 seconds at the start or end of the loaded sample.
All Notes Off Press this button to end playback for all currently playing samples.
Edit Sample This button lets you specify individual settings for the currently selected sample, rather than changing those parameters for all samples, as done by default. If after you've made custom alterations to one sample, you wish to reunify all samples under the same settings, press Reset.
You can modify the pitch for each pad’s sample using the Pitch controls.
- Transpose Adjusts the transposition in semitones for the selected pad. Variable from -48 to +48.
- Tune Adjusts the tuning, in cents, for the selected pad. Variable from -100 to 100 cents.
- Pitch Envelope (One-Shot Trigger Mode Only)
- Attack Adjusts the amount of time from when the pad is triggered to when the envelope value is reached. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Hold Adjusts the amount of time the envelope value is held after the attack period and before decay begins. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Decay Adjusts the amount of time it takes after the hold period to return to the envelope value. Variable from 0.98 ms to 20 s.
- Pitch Envelope (Loop and Normal Trigger Modes Only)
- Attack Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach the Env value from the original pitch of the sample once a sample has been triggered. Variable from 0 to 20 s.
- Decay Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach the sustain level after reaching full volume. Variable from 0 to 20 s.
- Sustain Adjusts the Sustain level. Variable from -∞ dB to 0 dB. The sustain period continues until the sample trigger stops.
- Release Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach the original pitch after sample trigger has stopped. Variable from 0 to 30 s.
- Env Adjusts the detune range of the pitch envelope in cents. Variable from -4 to +4 octaves. (The default value is 0, meaning the pitch envelope has no effect.)
- Vel Adjusts the maximum detune value, in cents, that pitch is affected by velocity (the maximum detune value when triggered note velocity equals 127). Variable from -4 to +4 octaves.
Each pad features a variable filter to allow anything from subtle tonal shaping to heavily processed filter sweeps.
- Cutoff Adjusts the cutoff frequency of the filter. Variable from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
- Res Adjusts the resonance of the filter. Variable from 0 to 100.
- Filter Env (One-Shot Trigger Mode Only)
- Attack Adjusts the amount of time it takes for the filter cutoff frequency to move from the frequency value to the envelope value once a sample has been triggered. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Hold Adjusts the amount of time the envelope value is held after the attack period and before decay begins. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Decay Adjusts the amount of time it takes to return to the cutoff level after reaching the envelope value. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Filter Env (Loop and Normal Trigger Modes Only)
- Attack Adjusts the amount of time it takes for the filter cutoff frequency to move from the frequency value to the envelope value once a sample has been triggered. Variable from 0 to 20 seconds.
- Decay Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach the sustain level after reaching the envelope value. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Sustain Adjusts the sustain level, which is the mix of the signal filtered at the envelope value with the signal filtered at the frequency value. Variable from -∞ to 0 dB. The sustain period continues until the sample trigger stops.
- Release Adjusts the amount of time it takes the filter to reach the frequency value after the sample trigger has stopped. Variable from 0 to 30 seconds.
- Env Adjusts the range of the filter envelope in octaves, relative to the cutoff value. Variable from -8000 to +8000. (The default value is 0, meaning the filter envelope has no effect.)
- Vel Adjusts the maximum value in octaves affected by velocity . Variable from -100 % to + 100 % (the maximum value when triggered note velocity equals 127).
- Filter Type Selects the filter type. Choose from LP24 Ladder, LP24 Zero-Latency, LP12 Ladder, BP12 Ladder, HP12 Ladder, LP12 State, BP12 State, HP12 State, and Eco Filter (lowest CPU use).
- Drive This lets you specify an amount of filter overdrive, to add fullness and saturation artifacts to your sound.
- Punch This control lets you add a range of percussive attack to the start of each note. At the lowest setting, dynamics are unchanged. At higher settings, the sound becomes more aggressive and more readily pops through the mix.
- Soft This control lets you switch between two differing analog-modeled processing circuits within the filter. Engage Soft for a mellower, darker tone. Disengage it for a brighter, more aggressive sound.
To adjust the amplitude for each pad, use the following parameters:
- Gain Attenuates or boosts the amplitude, in dB, of the sample assigned to the selected pad. Variable from -144 to 20 dB.
- Pan Adjusts the sample’s stereo pan for the selected pad. Variable from fully left to fully right.
- Amp Env (One-Shot Trigger Mode Only)
- Attack Adjusts the amount of time from when the pad is triggered to when maximum amplitude is reached. Variable from 0 s (no attack, sample starts at maximum amplitude) to 20 s.
- Hold Adjusts the amount of time the maximum velocity is held after the attack period, before decay begins. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
- Decay Adjusts the amount of time it takes after the hold period to reach an amplitude of -∞ from the maximum amplitude. Variable from 0 s to 20 s.
Amp Env (Loop and Normal Trigger Modes Only)
- Attack Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach full volume once a sample has been triggered. Variable from 0 to 20 seconds.
- Decay Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach the sustain level after reaching full volume. Variable from 0 to 20 seconds.
- Sustain Adjusts the sustain level. Variable from -∞ to 0 dB. The sustain period continues until the sample trigger stops.
- Release Adjusts the amount of time it takes to reach a level of -∞ after the sample trigger has stopped. Variable from 0 to 30 seconds.
- Vel Adjusts the maximum amplitude value, in dB, affected by velocity (the maximum amplitude value when triggered note velocity equals 127). Variable from 0 to 1.
By default, the Pitch, Filter, and Amplifier controls act on the pad you most recently selected. To make editing easier when working on multiple pads, you can enable Pad Focus by clicking the [Pad Focus] button at the top of the plug-in window. When this mode is enabled, "focus" shifts to whatever pad you most recently played, letting you edit parameters for that pad.
Pad Focus and Control Linking
When in Pad Focus mode, if you use Control Link to assign a hardware control to a Pitch, Filter, or Amplifier control in Impact XT, that hardware control is linked in Focus mode. This means that the hardware control acts on the assigned parameter not only for the originally assigned pad, but for whatever pad is most recently played. Using Control Linking under Pad Focus mode can make editing many pads a faster and easier process.
Using Multiple Outputs
Impact XT provides 16 stereo outputs and 16 mono outputs for each pad. To change the output routing, click on the Output selection box below the desired pads and choose the desired Output Channel for each pad. If the Output Channel does not already exist in the Console, it is added automatically. Alternatively, Output Channels can be chosen from the Inspector (F4).
If you are using a single instance of Impact across multiple Tracks, you can quickly assign its outputs by group-selecting the Impact channels and using the “Assign in Ascending Order” option from the Output routing menu of the Inspector.
This is very useful if you would like to program each of your drum sounds on a separate Track!
Working with .soundx Files
Given that it's so easy to create new sample kits in Impact XT, you may find that you want to exchange them with other people. To export the current patch as a .soundx file for other Impact XT users to try, click the menu button and choose Export Sampler File... To import a multisample or soundx preset file into Impact XT, simply drag-and-drop it onto the plug-in window.
File Sharing with SampleOne XT
Once you've created some samples you love in SampleOne XT, you can import them to Impact XT using drag-and-drop. To do this, click and drag your chosen sample from the sample list in SampleOne XT, and hover your cursor over an Impact XT tab at the top of the Instruments window. Impact XT is then shown, and you can drop your sample onto any pad. You can also select multiple samples in SampleOne XT, then click and drag the group into Impact XT as described above.
By default, when multiple samples are dropped onto a pad, they are all assigned to that pad and are played interchangably, according to the current Layer Mode. To distribute multiple samples across multiple pads, press and hold [Shift] before dropping them. The first sample is assigned to the selected pad, and each subsequent sample is assigned to subsequent pads in ascending note order.
Looking for a little personalization? Try clicking the PreSonus logo at the top right corner of the Impact XT window for a selection of new color themes.