Midi drum/instruments

I’m new to digital recording and I’ve been goofing around with MIDI and I have a couple of ideas I want to throw down to show to band members and I want to sequence the drums in MIDI. When I go to track properties there’s no acoustic drums in the instrument list. I can do drums in Guitar Pro but it’s really clumsy using numbers to indicate different drums and I would perfer to do it in N-Track. The sounds exist on my PC because they sound fine in Guitar Pro but they’re not in the list of instruments. Is there a way I can add it? I don’t think I can use soundfonts because of my soundcard (Realtek AC’97)

Hey BSmith,

In the track properties, try changing the channel to 10 (this is the standard MIDI percussion channel). After this, if you go to the Piano Roll, you’ll see the standard percussion instruments to the left, and you can draw drum events.

If you still don’t hear any drums, then you may need to select your MIDI device under File/Preferences/Settings/MIDI Settings. [edit: One that’s commonly available is the “Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth”]



Others may disagree, but i’d suggest that the easiest way to get started with midi drums is to add SFZ to your song and load the nskit lite soundfont. Then you can program drums using the Piano Roll. Just be sure to direct the output of the midi channel you’re using to SFZ.

There are other, faster methods. But this is a good way to get started.


Thanks guys, changing the channel to 10 worked like a charm. I don’t think I can use soundfonts due to my souncard being crap.
Now all I need are some tutorials on mapping the drums. :)

With SFZ or any of the other freebie vsti soundfont players, you can ignore the quality limitations of your soundcard. Take a look at Shareware Music Machine for freebie soundfonts and players; it is a good place to start.

Good luck!

'til next time;

Woah I think I need more memory. I only have 256mb right now and the software keeps saying that there isn’t enough ???

Not necesarily. I had this problem and it was nothing to do with memory. Are you using sfz? You need to play with the settings and try loading the soundfont using different settings (different resolutions?) in the little drop down boxes. I can’t remember the details and I don’t have my DAW to hand, but I’m sure someone will fill in the gaps :)

SFZ has several memory settings all the way from eat every bit of RAM available to use no RAM and stream from disk. Look for the drop down box in SFZ and tweak accordingly.

Thanks again guys, you have really been most helpfull. Gonna go get a new pot of coffee and get started. Seems I’ve only scratched the surface with this stuff. I finally figured out how to use triplets in the piano roll, maybe I’ll post a clip when I get my stuff working. I think it’s great you can use odd time signatures too, I hate adjusting riffs I wrote in 7/8 so they will fit into 4/4 because of a drum machine’s limitations :D

SFZ is a great little tool. You may find that the PR16 setting works best for you. With this setting, SFZ only loads the instruments it needs instead of the entire soundfont.

As far as RAM goes, you can do digital music with 256. But upgrading to 512 will make a big diff.


What others said, in adition to what TeeJ said, there’s an (even less) ram intensive mode : This is from the SFZ Faq…

“DFD Disk Streaming mode. sfz will play the samples directly from Disk, without loading them to memory. This mode takes the smallest memory amount, and allows for playing sample sets larger than available memory space.” This is the mode that Bubba refered to.

PR16 takes only the samples you use (like TeeJ said) , and if they happen to be 32 bit, it loads them as 16.

With DFD your machine’s IO will work harder but ram will be saved (more possible real time play ‘dropouts or clicks’).With PR16 it will be more ram intensive, but the PC’s I/O will be slightly less hammered…