yet another midi newbie


Alright Ntrackers,
Here’s yet another question from a frustrated newbie in the world of midi. I want to use my Alesis SR 16 drum machine’s midi instead of the analog. I bought the midisport Uno to connect it to my PC.
Now, i have the midi in to the in on the drum machine and back out. I switch to record midi and hit play on the drum machine. I can see that something is recording. Thing is, cant get any play back. I want to use the sounds from the sr 16. I have no idea what I am doing.
Someone give a brother some help!? If you would, give me the scoop! Thanks in advance for all your help. What do I do?

Midi is a means of controlling the sounds of another program (ussually computer based synth modules), thus you can’t lay down your drum machines internal sounds via a midi connection. It may record the actions and movements programmed, but will only make the sounds of the synth it is controlling. Otherwise no playback. I believe the only way to get the sounds out of your drum machine is via the analog outputs.

A few things…

First up, the midi OUT of your PC goes to the midi IN on your drum machine and vice versa.

In N-track, go to Preferences–> Midi setting–> midi devices and check that your midi output device is selected.

Also check that you have enabled midi recording, by clicking on the icon on the top row of the tool bar to the left of the metronome. It will look either like a keyboard (for recording midi), a microphone (for recording audio), or both (for recording both).

This should allow you to record midi from your drum machine (assuming it outputs midi and you don’t have to do anything sepcial on the drum machine), to N-track. You can then play it back to your drum machine.

Off course at some point you’re going to have to record the drum machine’s audio output back to N-track to include it in your song, so unless you have a good reason for recording the midi, why don’t you just record the audio from the drum machine straight into N-track and not bother with midi?



Recording midi is good if you are still working on the song.
Once you have a track as midi you can route that midi track to different instruments.

Don’t like that kick drum? Use a different one.
You can end up using different sounds from different modules or different sample libraries.

If you just record the audio out of the drum machine you are stuck with those sounds.

Also if you leave it as midi for as long as possible you may decide once you have recorded other instruments that you want to get rid of something (eg. no cowbell first chorus, only bring it in on the second chorus).
It’s easy to just edit them out of the midi track later or add things in.

Another reason is that once you have your drum track in midi it is easy to separate the instruments into separate tracks (kick on one track, snare on another, toms on anther, hi-hats another, cymbals another etc.).
This means that when you do go to convert the midi to audio each drum will have it’s own wav file and be on a separate track in your sng file allowing you to mix and apply different effects to different durms etc.

Also if you have the basic drum pattern programmed in the drum machine it is easier to edit it using N’s piano roll than on the drum machine which may not allow you to nudge notes and only allow fully quantized notes.


Thanks guys. I’ll give it a whirl.
I want to record midi for exactly what Rich said. The opportunity to switch drum sounds etc and separate to its on track. I also want to use it as a metronome.

So, I know that percussion is channel 10. Do i set the channel 10 in ntrack midi preferences? Also, is there any certain settings to use on the SR 16? I assume to leave the drum machine on omni. Do I have to assign certain drum sound numbers? Sorry. for the ignorant questions. Bear with me as I learn.

Your drum machine probably defaults to channel 10 (but you’ll have to check the manual).

N should be set to record off all channels by default.
When you record do you see the midi data on the track after you stop recording?
If so then that is working ok.

As for playback, if you have the midi out of your soundcard connected to the midi in of the SR16 then you just need to make sure that the midi track is being routed to the midi out port and it should trigger the SR16. Right click on the midi track in the timeline and go to Properties and you can select the midi routing there.

You shouldn’t have to reprogram your SR16 as the notes you played on it originally will be sent back to it.
If you plug a different drum machine in, if the notes are mapped differently between the 2 machines then you may need to either re-program the drum machine or move your midi notes around to trigger the correct sounds.


One thing to watch out for, I used to own the Alesis SR 16, and It is NOT Midi General.

It should not matter much if you are going to use the sounds of the SR 16 and route them to your line in on the sound card.

But if you already have patterns recorded on the Alesis, and want to play it back on your Computer’s MIDI In, you might have problems with the notes that are stored on the SR 16, as they are not MIDI General.