N-Drums and MIDI

Can I control drum patterns with MIDI?

OK, I know it’s probably too soon too hope for anyone to have sorted this out, but I’m gonna ask anyway.

Since the N-Drums plug-in is a VSTi, does MIDI hold the key to making it play a whole song’s worth of drums, as opposed to a single repeating pattern?

From what I can tell, each “Style” contains 20 or so patterns (designated by letters), each of which consists of up to 8 “pages” (each page is a measure of music). The missing link is how to switch from one pattern (letter) to another. One of the other threads mentioned that you can make this switch with MIDI.

Does this mean I could somehow use the MIDI piano roll to set up an arrangement that would trigger changes from one pattern to another?

Since I have never used a MIDI instrument in N before, I don’t even know where to start! Can someone at least point me in the direction of the steps I would use to test whether I’m on the right track (so to speak)?

Thanks in advance,

Hi PapaRomeo.

I am in the process of testing the cool new n-Track drums out myself, and will report my findings as I go along…

AFAIK, the drums may be played via midi (assuming you have some kind of midi keyboard connected to the computer)

Until then, I assume that the n-Track Drum VSTi may be used just like any other drum VSTi as long as you don’t load a rhythm preset into it (NB! For now, this is just guesswork!)

If it beaves like an ‘ordinary’ VSTi, the procedure is as follows:

1) In the menu, select Track - Midi - New Instrument Channel - VST - n-Track Drums. This adds a mixer channel for holding the VSTi. As a default, n-Track Drums puts the host (n-Track) in ‘Live’ mode.

2) Add a blank midi track. right-click the track, and select Output To - n-Track Drums. Now hitting some keys on the midi keyboard should result in some drum sounds. Maybe a rhythm bank needs to be loaded into the n-Track drums plugin first. Arm the track.

3) Put n-Track in ‘Record midi’ mode and start a recording. Play some keys to the beat. Now a piano roll should appear on the track corresponding to the notes played.

I hope this helps getting you started. A real ‘manual’ for the new drum machine would be most welcome…

regards, Nils

Thanks, Nils. I’ll do some experimenting tonight – looking forward to your findings.

Just so I understand, what you’re describing is essentially programming the drum track in the piano roll but using N-Drums (instead of general MIDI Channel 10) to assign the sounds to each drum?

What I’m hoping is that there’s a way to use the piano roll not to trigger drum sounds, but to signal when to switch among the pre-programmed patterns in N-Drums. There doesn’t seem to be any “arranger” function in n-drums, so I’m hoping maybe MIDI holds the key…

Thanks again for the insights!


I did some research due to the fact that I’ve never used a drum Vsti and it seemed interesting…

You can trigger the sequencer patterns by setting the midi channel to 16. The notes C1 to B2 then corresponds to sequencer pattern A to X.

OK, Fytrius! You are my personal hero right now!

Where’d you find that nugget of information?

As a reward, here’s a virtual pint for you!

Oh and one for you, too, Nils!

Can’t wait to get home to try this out!

Thanks again!

The drum machine is acutually from Nusofting (NUSofting DK+ version 1.0.) When you download the DK+ sample library, a manual for DK+ is also downloaded. It is minimal but does have some helpful stuff in it. If you go to the website http://nusofting.liqihsynth.com there is more useful information
that is given in the description of DK+ Library 1.0.

For example:

"The Factory Library in version 1.0 features 26 drum kits and 22 styles,
for a whole of about 4000 different patterns.
More will be added at each DK+ update.

Each rhythmic style features a set of 8 patterns which can be exchanged
with any other style, as they are all consistent with the same logic.

A = standard rhythm long version, 2 or 4 or 8 bars
B = variation rhythm long version, 2 or 4 or 8 bars
C = standard rhythm short version, 1 bar
D = variation rhythm short version, 1 bar
E = fill 1, 1 bar
F = fill 2, 1 bar
G = intro, 1 bar
H = ending, 1 bar

The Above structure will let you build a song recording a track of MIDI note message, ONE NOTE PER PATTERN, and then switch style while keeping the song structure as you arranged it in your VST sequencer."

So PapaRomeo, you might just be in luck…<br>Also there is a DK+ users page at http://thedkplus.dashsignature.com. Looks like some additional drum kits and other stuff might be available…no time to really check it out yet.


Thanks, PR! (how could you know I simply adore a pint of Guiness?!)

Now for my first impressions:

After having n-Track crashing on me three to four times I eventually got the drum VSTi behaving as I expected.

I do have some issues, though.

When ‘Live’ is on, the transport controls (start, stop etc.) take about two to three seconds to react. Is this normal?! I use ASIO drivers with a buffer latency of 5 ms, and this seems to be OK in all other respects.

Also, when ‘Live’ is on, the metronome (assigned manually to n-Track drums rimshot) plays even on playback if ‘Recording’ is checked in ‘When to Use’ in the metronome setting. The live button should have no influence on this.

The midi Echo is acting up, too. apart from the fact that the display is sticky (menu won’t go away when ‘Live’ is on), the behaviour is a bit hard to understand. The button stays in until midi Echo is turned off again. Without midi Echo set to Auto, no sound is triggered in n-Track Drums by the keyboard, so this has to be on for the drums to sound.

I find it rather interesting to check this feature out, but I guess that for serious work I’ll stick with sfz and NaturalStudio - for now, at least…

regards, Nils

Well, I feel a little foolish now.
I downloaded and installed the drumkits, and somehow overlooked the manual.

I’m sure there’s lots more to be uncovered in any case.

Thanks for all your help!

I can’t address the troubles you are experiencing, although some of the metronome problems seem to have been mentioned among the changes in the latest build (there’s a new one up today). I haven’t really tried recording over the drums yet – although I did replace the drums on an existing track with a repeating N-drums pattern and it mixed down fine…

Thanks again!

Oh, and here’s a beer for tspringer:

Rock on,

Thanks PR!

I want my beer. I think that I deserve it. I went the long way to find it out.

I noticed that Help in the menu didn’t work but I saw in “About n-track drums” the reference to nusofting.com and DK+. Well, I didn’t find any manual there either so I downloaded the demo of DK+. There the Help was functioning. Only to discover later that the .htm manual file IS there in n-T drums folder also - the “linking” just doesn’t work for n-T drums.


I want my beer too. By the way, I couldn’t even find the drum plug-in in ntrack until Mark A pointed me toward it.



By the way, I couldn’t even find the drum plug-in in ntrack until Mark A pointed me toward it.

So do I get a beer too?

OK, OK, sorry for the oversight, fellas!
THere should be enough here for everyone…

If it runs out, we’ll send someone out for more…! :laugh:

(Printing out the html manual now!!)

Say, I heard a mention of beer?.. I can play real drums!

:) ?


Quote (Mark A @ April 12 2006,03:05)

Nothing like a virtual party. :)

So in general, and aside from small issues, are you guys getting on with the virtual drums? Is this a pretty successful addition to n-Track?

Hey, Sloom. Welcome to the party… :cool:

I spent an hour messing with N-Drums last night. It still shows great promise, but I haven’t made it do what I want it to do.

On the plus side, the samples and patterns that came with it, along with the additional kits etc. that you can download, are first rate, and really sound good. And the plug in has a lot of cool features that make it possible to program really realistic sounding drum tracks. (Don’t worry, it won’t put a good real-life drummer out of business, though…)

On the downside, I couldn’t make it do (yet) what we’ve been discussing here: switch between patterns on the fly to follow a song structure.

I set up a new MIDI track, set it to Channel 16 per the manual, outputting to N-Drums. Then I manually entered notes in the C1 to B2 range, which are supposed to trigger changes from one pattern to the next. But all I got was a single repeating pattern for the duration of the track. Unfortunately, I don’t have a hardware MIDI keyboard hooked up, so I haven’t tested the possibility of triggering patterns by hitting keys.

I remain convinced that what I want to do is possible – the manual certainly suggests that’s how it’s supposed to work! But so far it’s not working. Since this is the first time I’ve ever even tried messing with MIDI in N-Track (or anywhere else), I’m not giving up. If anyone has any pointers or settings I should check, please let me know. So close, and yet so far! ???

It’s a little early for another beer; going to get some coffee. :O


So… Hey- thanks! 'Think I’ll go ahead and open one up now!

So… I haven’t loaded the new version yet (with drums), but I’m just getting into MIDI, and do need a decent drum program, so I think I’ll get into it this weekend. I’ve worked a deal with a guy on Harmony-Central, and will have a Roland MIDI keyboard in a week or so. I’ll post what I can get to happen with it! Meanwhile I’m gonna have a run at it in Piano Roll, I guess… which, frankly, I don’t get on well with! I’ve said this somewhere before, but I find it a pretty tedious way to make music.

But one deals, right? :)

I found that you had to use notes C3 upwards not C1. That worked for me from the piano roll.