Ableton with electronic drum kit

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Hungry_Man
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Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by Hungry_Man » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:36 pm

Hiya. Have searched this topic but found nothing relevant

I'm looking to use an electronic drum kit with a new live project. I produce using ableton so am thinking of using ableton to kick out some breaks and backing tracks and then playing the main patterns on the electronic pads.

I have no electronic drum equipment at present but understand that u need a 'drum brain' to translate the triggers from the drum pads into midi notes.

What I'm wondering is if I can buy a super cheap drum brain with no intention of using the built in sounds, using it purely to send midi to ableton, and then trigger all the drum sounds in real time (from a MacBook Pro). It would rely on very low latency (5ms or less) between hitting the trigger and hearing the sound.

The other option is to spend more on a brain with decent sounds (Having used the alesis dm8 I'm very impressed with the quality of the sounds), use these sounds for playing live, and using ableton for backing tracks only.

I'd appreciate views from people with experience in this area. Any tutorials or links would be appreciated too.

theophilus
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by theophilus » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:20 pm

if you go with something like the dm8 you can go either way - it has sounds and sends midi over USB.

the alesis trigger i/o is fairly cheap and decently functional for a trigger box without sounds. keep in mind you still need pads, and they aren't cheap - so going with something like a dm8 pro (which you can get for ~550 or less) that has fairly decent pads (similar to the dm10 i used to have, but with a larger snare pad), a decent brain, and transmits midi over USB as well, might be a good direction. you'll be hard pressed to find anything much cheaper than that, even if you're willing to accept far worse pads. the dm8 ones can be converted to mesh fairly easily too (though i never did mine)

h3rtz
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by h3rtz » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:28 pm

Hey,

Let me share my experience although it doesnt match 100% with what you want to do. I have an alesis control pad which basically is a midi controller with 8 large pads and a roland drum kick pad + 'real kick pedal' hooked up with it. I tried it with several drum plugins.

My favourite on is addictive drums. Good sounds, nice responsibilty. Afaik xln worked out an update dedicated to the use of edrums which includes hihat pedal support (open close)

Battery not so good because less multisamples. I never really figuered out how to set it up.

Bfd had too high latency on my system. Also i didnt like the sound so much.

For some reason i never tried edrums with drum racks. Actually i should check it out.

My generql feeling is that you need a plugin that uses multisamples and has low latency. Hihat is always an issue. 5ms sounds good but consider the speed you are playing. The faster the more latency matters.

All the hardware drum modules including roland yamaha and alesis i tried were worse soundwise and also in terms of responsiveness than the afforementioned plugins.

I am not a pro drummer but i played a lot on different kits throughout the years. The feeling on pads is very different. It is less direct and can cause timing issues due to the
the distance to the monitors and latency. You got to get used to it.

I find my minimal setup works pretty well now. I am using it to find beats for my tracks. i get easier into the groove doing the drummer thing than hitting tiny pads with my fingers. I wouldnt be too confident using it live though because of timing. I found that using a real hihat can help since that is your 'metronome' and should deliver instant feedback.

Hope that helps.

simmerdown
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by simmerdown » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:08 pm

For some reason i never tried edrums with drum racks. Actually i should check it out.
from all i can see there is no way to midi map directly to a pad in drumrack...someone would have to verify that

you can set up hits in clips and map to those, group and record audio off that group, that works pretty well

Chris TT
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by Chris TT » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:24 pm

I bought a Roland HD-1 earlier this year (cheap end of line deals seem to still be on) and hook this up to Live using a midi cable (both standard 5-pin and "5-pin to usb" work perfectly).

I use this primarily to play Addictive Drums - this has loads of edrum preset mappings and worked straight off with the HD-1.

To give me more pads for cymbals, ride and the all important cowbell I've added a 4 pad version of the Alesis Control Pad (£50).

The Control Pads are so simple to set up as you can hit a pad then scroll through a list of midi notes until the pad triggers the note you require - this makes setting up a DrumRack or Battery session so simple (If you can't change the pad assignment on other midi kits and use Battery the software has a learn function anyway, hit learn for the cell then hit the midi pad and it's set!).

I'm far from being a good drummer but even my bad drum playing is so much better than my frustrated attempts at guitar playing and is so much fun!

Any of these midi set ups is perfect for playing any kind of sounds you can hit along to other loops running from Live.

Given how cheap you can get Alesis Control Pads for it might be worth buying one and seeing how well it meets your needs.

Hungry_Man
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by Hungry_Man » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:40 pm

Thanks alot for your input guys. This is exactly what I needed. I think I will go for a cheap drum brain and use the software route with ableton as host to trigger the drum samples. I have Battery so that would probably be my first port of call.

Alesis percpad is tempting. I think more likely tho I will put together a simple electronic kit from 2nd hand pads on ebay. The drum kit feel and posture is one of the things I miss. If I can get a V-drum snare for €50 or so and take it from there, i'll be a happy bunny

BlackMath
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by BlackMath » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:45 am

Alesis trigger i/o put you have to assemble/find your own pads...
Roland Spd-30 8 pads plus you can add external triggers like kick pedal.
Hat pedal, seperate snare.

If you know how to wire piezo elements that you can get super cheap online
You can make a trigger out of anything.. Real simple with a little research for the wiring diagram
Simple positive/negative solder job to a stereo or mono jack depending on the number of zones
I used old telephone books with the piezo in between the pages and adjust sensitivity with page density from the top of the book cover

Old rubber drum practice pads work well with a quick drill mod
Im high

ChiefNugget
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Re: Ableton with electronic drum kit

Post by ChiefNugget » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:16 pm

simmerdown wrote:
For some reason i never tried edrums with drum racks. Actually i should check it out.
from all i can see there is no way to midi map directly to a pad in drumrack...someone would have to verify that

you can set up hits in clips and map to those, group and record audio off that group, that works pretty well
To remap my cheapo Yamaha DD55 pads I created a MIDI rack to place in front of the drum rack. The DD55's pads are set to fixed notes. I used a bunch Pitch effects set to the range of only the incoming note from one pad each. Put one Pitch per chain and create a chain for each pad. You can map the note change for up to eight edrum triggers to different drum rack pads in the MIDI rack macros.
I need a baby sit my boys and work the day job plug-in.

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