Questions & Answers

(Ergonomics) Adding plugins via double-click and a dropdown menu

+31 votes
asked Mar 19, 2018 in Look and Feel by tobiasarnold (810 points)
edited Mar 22, 2018 by tobiasarnold

Currently, there is one little ergonomic issue preventing me from enjoying Studio One. To add plugin instruments or FX from the plugin browser, I have to grab and drag them into the arranger view. I am using an iMac with the magic trackpad, and drag 'n drop is just terrible with trackpads. Since I work almost exclusively with *a lot* of plugins, I just hate the experience.

PLEASE add a simple option to right-click on any plugin in the plugin browser and have dropdown menu entries to:

- Add plugin to a new track

- Add plugin to the currently selected track

That way, one wouldn't have to hold the trackpad pressed while moving things around. Even without the trackpad and using a mouse, I find the drag 'n drop approach annoying and would prefer a dropdown menu.

It should be quick and easy to implement and would improve the workflow.


Edit: As suggested in the answers, adding a plugin via double-clicking it in the plugin browser is also an intuitive option that is currently missing in Studio One.

9 Answers

+5 votes
answered Mar 22, 2018 by tobiasarnold (810 points)
Best answer

Suggestion to you guys: How would you like a combined approach:

- Double-Click on a plugin in the plugin browser would add this plugin to a new, empty track.

This is the common case to add new VST / AU instruments to the arrangement and an intuitive thing to do. If you double-click a FX plugin, it should be inserted to a new FX channel. This way you can easily create things like reverb sends.

- Right-Clicking on a plugin in the plugin browser would reveal ONE additional dropdown option:

Add plugin to selected track(s)

This would allow to comfortably add plugins to one or multiple existing tracks without having to drag them around, in combination with the double-click for new tracks, it would be quick and intuitive and the combination of both wouldn't clutter the dropdown menu with multiple entries.

0 votes
answered Mar 21, 2018 by Scoox (16,820 points)

Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with relying on the browser, however you have a point. I think finding things in a menu is also very fiddly, but how about this: Select track, then double click the plugin in the browser to load into the selected track. If more than one track is selected, show a warning that you are loading several tracks before going ahead.

+1 vote
answered Mar 21, 2018 by tobiasarnold (810 points)

In response to Scoox:

Double-clicking would be an appropriate solution, but it is very important that it also works for adding the plugin to a new, empty track.

It should automatically do that, when no track is selected. Although there's a risk that you might forget to deselect all tracks, which can become annoying if you forget it more often. I'd love to see that doubleclick functionality, since I actually tried that intuitively. But I'd prefer it in addition to a dropdown menu entry. :)

You see, I have used Propellerhead Reason for around 10 years and always added instruments and fx with a dropdown menu to the instrument rack, and habits being used for such a long period of time are hard to get rid of. And since I switched to mac with the trackpad, drag 'n drop is even worse to a point that I don't use Studio One at all, even though I like it and invested in the Professional version.

Since Studio One has this efficient single window UI and is being used on notebooks as well, I can imagine a lot of notebook users would find it more comfortable to use with their trackpads.

+4 votes
answered Mar 21, 2018 by robertgray3 (42,610 points)
The first time I opened Studio One I instinctively tried to double click a VSTi in the Browser to put an instance on a new track. I still zone and out and try this occasionally. It's so intuitive, I bet it's that way for a few others as well, maybe consider adding this as part of the FR and revise it to "Double clicking or right clicking to add plugins to new/existing tracks"

I love drag and drop for tracks that are there, but for new tracks it would definitely be more comfortable to double click. Speaking as someone who adds virtual instruments to new tracks many dozens of times a day.

As for double clicking to put it on the selected track vs a new track- I feel like personally track selection awareness may become an annoyance with that option. Maybe that would be best served with a mouse modifier or tobias's suggested drop down option? like Shift double click or something like that?
0 votes
answered Mar 22, 2018 by tobiasarnold (810 points)
I have updated the feature request title and tags to contain the double-click option.
+1 vote
answered Mar 24, 2018 by jonnylipsham (14,860 points)
You do not actually HAVE to drag and drop. You can click the + sign on the channel and that opens a drop-down menu of plugins you can scroll through and select.
0 votes
answered Mar 24, 2018 by robertgray3 (42,610 points)

jonnylipsham: I get your point and I frequently use that method when I'm in a mix. But when I'm focusing on composing and testing arrangements, there's some work that I would prefer to do from the browser. This way I can keep the mix window minimized since I have one monitor and maximize the vertical space for the arrangement.

Tobiasarnold, good points. When you propose the system like that, everything seems logically consistent. Adding things to existing tracks with either a menu option (great for touchpads) or the current drag and drop system (great with a mouse), and then creating new tracks with double clicking and affecting multiple tracks with a right click option (great for everyone).

Obviously when you're in the mixer or focusing on your second monitor with your mixer the menu options that jonny mentioned are fast and efficient.

0 votes
answered Mar 24, 2018 by tobiasarnold (810 points)
edited Mar 24, 2018 by tobiasarnold

jonnylipsham: You're right, and I am aware of that possibility. However, it is a very long multi-step process to get the result I want, and at the same time, the purely intuitive and quick option I would expect does not work.
That's why I forgot it existed. To me, it is not even a considerable option.

Let me explain it a bit more in detail:

Imagine you're a composer who only works with software instruments and samplers. You're in the arranger view, and you want to simply add new instruments to new tracks, so you can keep adding elements to your song. And you do that in the creative flow, trying not to lose focus on what you are doing. Currently, there's drag 'n drop, which is very uncomfortable to do with a trackpad.

The only alternative is to:

- Move cursor to the top left and click the + sign. (Alternatively: Press T)

- Manually type in a name for your track, since this interface doesn't automatically use the name of the plugin you're about to choose as the track's name. (If you drag 'n drop, StudioOne does.)

- The first time you add an instrument track that way, you have to select "instrument" as the track type to add. (At least the interface will keep that.)

- Then you have to make sure the next option is set to "New instrument".

- Then you have to click the dropdown menu to select an instrument. It's a scrollable list of just... everything available. You have to find what you need in this mess (I own many plugins! wink ), select it and click OK to close the dialog.

Congratulations! You now have a new instrument on a new empty instrument track! yes


Honestly, wouldn't you agree it is much better to simply double-click a plugin from your plugin browser? That nice area designed to sort and offer all your plugins? It's a very natural thing that I've tried intuitively, and it's missing. Thanks to robertgray3 I know I'm not the only one who tried this. And to me, it is so logical, it's shocking it hasn't been implemented already. I consider this a purely basic UI feature.

It's the same with adding plugins to existing tracks. You can do it from other places, I believe from the inspector and the mixer, but the point is, that's what the plugin browser is made for (at least by all logic, it should be) and it currently only allows you to drag 'n drop.

That means, you have the choice between drag 'n drop and a cramp in your fingers if you use a trackpad, or to seek out a complicated multi-step way to add your plugins somewhere entirely different than the browser, in which you have your categories, your favourites, vendors...

0 votes
answered Aug 12, 2018 by DrummaMan (3,250 points)
In Cakewalk's Sonar, all one had to do was Right-Click in the FX Bin (SOP's "Insert") on each track and you would get a drop-down menu of your plugins.

In Console View (On a dual-monitor setup) this was extremely convenient.

But Sonar's Plugin Manager also allowed for better organizing of plugins, so it was a lot easier to rip through the custom folders directly to the plugin you needed...