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Superior Drummer Master Class

Lesson 19 of 26

Mapping MIDI in a DAW

Rikk Currence

Superior Drummer Master Class

Rikk Currence

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Lesson Info

19. Mapping MIDI in a DAW

Lesson Info

Mapping MIDI in a DAW

So right now we're going to quit to track solo. We're not going to save this. I know what you're thinking. Always safe. I'm gonna open pro tools and we're using pro tools. 11.1 point three. And we're gonna do this. There are probably many of you that use pro tools I am going to create. Um, I don't want to open a reason says, you know, Ah, it's create a blank session. Let's just start from scratch so we can see what's happening. We'll call it mapping, which is great, Will save it. It's gonna open. Boom. You're gonna get a blank session. So this is probably good primer for later this afternoon, anyway, because you would think a lot of people know this stuff and you may, But sometimes you forget. So in pro tools, specifically, you need to kind of tell what kind of tracks A lot of people, a lot of programs excuse me, do the same thing and we want a master fader so that we can hear what we're gonna do, right? So this would be the master, and then we're only gonna have superior going. So wha...

t we want to do is a new track, and you want to make sure that you don't try and lot's appear on an audio track again. I know that sounds ridiculous, but you would be surprised how many people load or try to loads appear on on the track and will email or contact us and say, Hey, it's not working and well known I can't find it. It's not a plug in. It's a virtual instrument, so the first thing you need to make sure that it's stereo and you need you'll see what's called an instrument track. Every dog has this designation an instrument track, and it means it's a track set up to host a virtual instrument. So we'll create that. I always change the color to blue because I'm a creature of habit, so I'll just write in. Superior here would change the track names so you can follow along. So then we're gonna go to our inserts, right, and we're gonna It's a multi channel plug in. You'll see it in pro tools. It's arranged by manufacturer for me. I'm gonna load Superior drummer now where this actual mapping comes into play when you're working with many is really cool. So I'm gonna toggle my screen over, and I'm gonna close this for a second just so you can see what we're doing. So this is our track. I'm gonna make it very big. Um track. Hi. Excuse me. It's extreme, and I'm actually gonna turn the grid on. Um, it's gonna be nice. And I think what we're going to do is bars and beats, of course, and make everything quarter note. I'm gonna blow this up a little bit, okay? Most of this stuff you should be familiar with if you're not, this is not the right class for you. Because unfortunately, don't have time to teach you how to use your Daw. But again, just like we talked about maximizing superior drummer toe work with itself and even within your Daw, you should probably learn as much as you can about how the many functions in your doll work in order to get the most out of superior drummer. So very simply, we have no song, but you can already see on the track. You can see a keyboard here. You kind of see the shadow of it. And it's it's really the same for most Midi tracks and most jaws. But if I open superior and it come to grooves and this is my favorite part, I don't even have to hear it. Let's just go to this particular groove pack grab here this first we like this. Just take it and drag it to your dog. You don't have to do anything right. And then you can set your loop markers. I'm gonna make this a little bit smaller just so I can set a loop marker in my Daw and then you can play. Now, what you're seeing from many standpoint right here with this is the ultimate sort of example of mapping. This is the mapping we've been working with all day. You cannot see this in superior Drummer itself. Okay? And let me let me reiterate that in Superior Drummer there is no piano roll editor or sequencer. It's literally just working with sound and mid eclipse one at a time. So this information is not available to you in Superior Drummer. So if you were just tuning in or if you weren't familiar, if you didn't know how to edit your performances, you need a Daw in order to string all of your midi together so that you can see where the mapping is at. And in most Dawes. If you double click the actual MIDI, you can open the MIDI editor. So actually, the mini editor in pro tools could be opened a number of ways. I'm gonna open it like this and just kind of take a look at what we've got here. This consume a little confusing, but I want to show you a few things. You see a series of dots to make this little bigger right? Simple enough on as the actual cursor is moving past that it's triggering the sound that it's assigned to. So this would be the idea of mapping the keyboard mapping that we have applied here is here horizontally right up. So you see, C one, obviously, that's your kick drum, right? Well, when I have the midi controller plugged in a pro tools, it is. But here it is, right here. You can click on it or make it go now a pro tools you can just undo erase. No, but this is showing you all of the different velocities because you have your velocity is down here, right they're all different. If you click on one, it's gonna tell you if you look actually in this corner as I grab it quick on one, you see that that 76. So when you're actually working with the MIDI file again, it could be a little confusing. The first couple of times realize that this is going to go all the way up. You have all kinds of sore in the fourth octave there we keep rolling. If there's nothing programmed past a certain active, sometimes it'll just stop to save CPU and ram. Right? But here we are in our groove is living right where we wanted to live. Makes sense. So you see, let's talk about articulations for a minute. That's a high hat, writes little open. That's not too different articulations because they're on two different Midi notes. Correct. So again, in a programmed performance. If you're using an again, I can only speak super intelligently about to track many. All this stuff is taken care of for you. The actual performance articulations have been mapped in by the drummer who's played and we've captured it, and we know that he did this in the groove is that so? All of the different variances in subtle nuances of the performance are already captured. They're there for you to manipulate And you can work with them any way you want to move notes around. Make things loud or soft. You can do whatever you want to in your doll with the Midi. If you're playing a recording this midi it's a whole other story All of these variances All of these differences need to be hammered out by hand via the keyboard or played by the Eket and then accommodated for in the software is everyone follow me. Did I lose anybody when we went in? Approach rules? Drew, we have anything. You have a question. Please explain when I use one kid is simple. But when build Ekstrom with different kids Avatar snare New York. Hi, Hat. How do you map? High hat hits snare articulations with Roland bedrooms. So you do. Would you just load that preset? Well, you would. You would want to save a preset. Nothing is gonna change. That's a great question with the presets. Then that's why I said that's always the starting place. So you load the preset first and then you adapt the preset to whatever model off E drum you have. So in this case of Roland, now let's say you're adding a whole bunch of different drums as we're going to see in the next session as we talk about extra ums. When you start adding other drums and you start bringing other things into your kit, there are a number of considerations that you have to bring in the play. And a lot of people, unfortunately by no fault of their own, don't have all the steps down. They don't know every single little button that needs to be pushed in that has been able. So then, of not hearing all the sound or the mapping is a little odd or again, one of the biggest components. I'm gonna everyone. I'm just gonna close pro tools. I'm not going to save this because we've got some other stuff to do later. Or maybe it was going to save it and just, you know, it's like, yeah, don't save, okay, One of the problems and it sounds like and I could be wrong. Obviously, I'm not intimate with this customer. Specific e kit or problem is that your mapping a high hat and what did I just tell you? Um, earlier, about mapping high hats again when you select a high it. So you have to map all of these every single one of these particular articulations. Look at that. That's a lot of articulations and those articulations our command control related when it comes to an e kit. So there's a layer there. Here's what I would suggest. This is for everybody that's got an e kit that's having high hat problems, which, let's face it, is everybody because the high hat is the hardest part of the EQ it to bring in line. So just like we have these mini presets here, we have pedal correction presets, peddle correction. So what we're doing is accommodating for the different velocity curves that will occur in a high hat when you open and close the pedal. And when you say well, which one's the best for me? We don't know. It depends on your high hat. Some e kits are just a pedal and then a rubber pad that doesn't really move, but simulates once you're opening and closing the pedal. Some e kits or actual real high hat symbols that have been modified with triggers baked into them. Some eq its air to rubber pads like the roller kits are very famous for the tour, so everything is different and there is a different type of pedal curve for all of this stuff. So when you come in again, the first thing is to try these different curves is to try these different presets because the presets exist based on our experience with our software and certain kits. Obviously, we can't go in. Let's grab role interment. We can't go in. You'll see already how these things are mapped in the CC world. Um, we cannot go in as I keep saying and always be, as up to date as we'd like to be with E kits. We can't just by every new Eket that comes out and have a guy map it. And most manufacturers quite honestly don't change the core of their mapping. So again, going back to what I said earlier, start with one or the other. Don't do both at the same time. Find the software, get the software running, get everything where you're hearing the sound you want to hear work with your pedal correction in the software, then okay, the software's find moved to the harbor or vice versa. But generally speaking, most high hat problems we seek stem from the fact that people presume once you build an extra high at an extreme high hat and you assign it to a high hat that all the articulations come with it and they don't you have to go articulation by articulation. And that means as you're selecting different articulations, each one could have a different velocity curve and probably should if you're playing so there's a lot of trial and error. There's a lot of making sure you've got everything connected. And you know something that'll tell people to. That doesn't help. That you might want to think about is folks generally 10 to spend a lot of time obsessing and buying new gear, and I'm all for new gear. Um, but if you get something that works and you've got it dialed in, maybe don't change it so quickly. Maybe don't run out and jump to the newest thing, because it might not always be better. So there's a number of things and a number of variables to consider when buying an electronic drum kit. It's the keyboard. Players kind of have it easy, because generally the velocity control has laid out the same way. It's fairly predictable. And again when I say keyboard players, I'm also talking about folks that use pad controllers the more popular, most popular native Instruments machine, maybe use able to push. Maybe you're using anything to control the sounds. It's a little bit easier when you play with your fingers to dial those velocities and sounds in, based on what you're used to when you're physically playing or moving right. There are so many moving parts that it really does stand to defer that you understand all of the different articulations and that the Onley way keep saying the only way and we're talking about the high hat in the snare. To get multiple articulations out of a triggered high hat or triggered snare is if they're multi positional triggers if they're not. And how do you know if it's multi positional, where there's a couple of ways you can have two outputs coming out of the trigger to plug in? So, for instance, in some of the rolling units, there's a high hat control plug and then a high hat closed plug or I forget what they call. But there's two basic plugs. It's the same thing quite honestly, with ride Cymbal, how you get the bell and then the cost. For the bow of the ride. There's a couple of different ways, so again in presets, try petal correction. Make sure your note mapping is is dialed in for whatever it is you're doing at the moment, and that's the crucial 12 Don't presume that because it worked with your mini because, like we're just approaches have worked with many. Fine. So that's a performance. It should work with my performance fun because you're not that drummer. It's always going to be different. I'm gonna say it a 1,000,000 times. Always gonna be different. There's no silver bullet, and anyone who says that they're software again is rock solid. Out out of the box is telling you a little bit of a lie because it always takes tweaking between whatever hardware you have, whatever software you're using. So I just want to encourage you again to, um, keeping your mind. Get your mapping, make sure your layer limits are set properly. If you're not hearing all the sound you want to hear, make sure you're not eating up all your memories. So things aren't getting glitchy. There's all of these components that come into play from yesterday, like we talked about setting this up to succeed, and you kind of have an advantage when you're working with your hardware. When you work with hardware and you're not in the Daw, the only thing that you've got going is your operating system and the software, right, unless you've got crazy things going on in the background, which is on you. But ultimately, most of your resource is should be available to you so you can do some things that you may not be able to do in your doll from a playing standpoint. Okay, so again understand the different mapping for the different task. Many mapping is going to take the notes and spread them out across the keyboard. Each articulation for every drum is going to be a different note. One instrument can have 13 articulations spread out across the keyboard, so in in theory, the realism of that instrument is spread across 13 keys and a lot of people think I should. Just when I hit this softer, I hit it off to the say it doesn't That's not how velocity works. We have to be its multi positional again. If that were the case, we could get rid of the Black Keys and you could just lean your keys into the top and you go, you know, sharp or flat. And that's just not how it works. Okay, Makes sense. I know it's not. It's probably no one ever wants to hear. Oh, it should be. It should be easier, but we are not there yet. We're gonna get there. We keep trying. We're gonna keep getting better. We keep updating. We keep trying to find new ways. By the way. Side note. Total kind of related yet unrelated. Um, midi controller Midi control are very popular MIDI controller for a while, actually, that also works with superior drummer. Believe it or not, is anyone that's got guitar here or GarageBand. Those drum sets that actually come with superior Germer will work in solo with as a mini trigger. So if you're a particular type of musician, that's looking for some very basic playing, and you don't have any kids via USB. Those are programmed in here and will respond accordingly so you can use it. You know, just the trigger. Things hit things. I mean, it's kind of cool. Little kind of a fun thing to do. A lot of people have those laying around there sitting in the garage from when that was a cool thing, and now no one uses it. Bring it into the studio, clean it up, painted a different color started trend. Tell people it's a special, custom built thing you had made for you. You know they'll believe you, totally. But it will work on and again midi at this particular point, time could get into this computer. I didn't go over this. I probably should have. But we're using just a USB connection, which you can actually send midi information over. But maybe you have an actual rack mount or small box MIDI interface where you plug a traditional MIDI cable in, and then it would run a cable out or USB out. It doesn't matter how you're getting in. You just need to make sure to start with when you go into many devices. Everything you're looking at is there so we can turn on the launch. Key Control. I don't want the Quartet, which is our audit of ice. I don't want it to send its many to solo, but okay, so again we take the 12 inch time we hit it. Once we highlight that Tom, we see it's a note B one. We could remove that note or we could hit, learn and assign another articulation. Right now, when I say that Tom is on B one, we know the center. Articulation is why? Because it's orange. The rim shot is right here. So as I'm doing this, you can follow the keyboard below. Does that make sense? Everyone sees where that's headed, right? So you can follow where it's going. I don't know if I showed that before. You're in a good place. It's a very good place. Okay, so we've got that. We can select articulation. We can adjust the velocity to accommodate one of three playing scenarios. Many drum performance, keyboard performance, weaken, remap everything. Try some presets. Save it all. And it now becomes of grand scheme of things. Right? We're gonna get in the midi. No disease. Many nodes. Next. So let me make sure that we've got everything squared away because again, many note many node people confuse this. Now nodes happen on this page a little bit different. They actually accommodate a different function in different purpose. And they're very cool. A lot of you have sort of alluded to some things that you're hoping you can do and you can. So, as opposed to just moving forward and then breaking coming back, I'm just gonna again show you one more thing that I probably should have showed you here in settings. So again, you've got on. And I know I showed you this one. You've got the C C. C seven. So continues control. Seven can be assigned right on your keyboard to the master volume, which is great record started midi. And again I'm showing you many because talking about many mapping this is a little bit sort of We're getting ahead of ourselves. It's for bounce. But ultimately, if you can recall when we were in pro tools how the Midi started at the first beat of the song, I can ultimately set superior Drummer up by default to start recording at the first note of the actual MIDI that's played. Or let's say the money doesn't come into 045 bars in the song, right? I can have it still start recording at the beginning of the song, and then it'll just you'll have that space, that marker, and we'll talk a little bit more about that. But in other people see midi and the quote things. Now this too many keys is numbers. If you check that all of these here, we'll just change the numbers. So many key see one or, as opposed, a key 36. A lot of guys air different. You can select that as an option that when you're mapping, comes up you're more familiar with it. Makes sense. I'm going to just I'm going to kill this afterwards because I'm gonna move through it lightning fast some of the other presets and many nodes. But everybody understands how the velocity works on a particular articulation were good. We know that we've got control over all kinds of stuff, that we can build these things to accommodate whatever we want, and it can go up and then tailor down. I mean, any extreme you can think of, we can accommodate. And that mostly, mostly they mostly come out at night. Mostly if anyone types in the movie, that's from on the same page. Just let Drew No. So you can go in it. But these air, mostly for performance based scenarios, Obviously you can adjust the Midi anyway want to. But really, these tools are to help all of you guys out there that avoiding to talk about a drums. This is the help you dial in much more realistic performances. And then if you have something you don't want, you could just not reverse it. But you can reset it. Everything goes back to normal and you're golden. Okay? And then again, you get each articulation, so you click on the articulation, adjust the velocity, click on the articulation, adjust the velocity quick on the articulation, adjust the velocity, save them all. Just go in and save a preset that makes sense or or select a mall ones. Remember I showed you that magic button. Yes, sir. Did you have a question? We dio Oh, are you gonna go over multi out for live performance where engineers want proper channels happen? Sorry. No, we are We actually have a multi out session set up in pro tools that we're gonna be looking at after lunch. So it's there. Has anyone come back with that movie at anyone? Know? Uh, aliens. Dude. Yes. Aliens, Dude. Yes, indeed. Well played. So you can select all of your articulations and then you could apply a global if you wanted to know. So I showed you that last just so you get used doing them all individually. I'm going to tell you right now, this seems like a time saver. And of course, it's designed to be. However, it doesn't mean it's going to respond the way that you think it does. So I just want to put in your mind that it is worth going through each articulation and assigning the right velocity curve, because again, a drummer does not hit a rim shot the same way he'll hit a rough or flam or side stick and to apply the same thought process and say that well, it will all come up here, come down there. That's not always going to be the most accurate thing for you, and it certainly is gonna make for the most realistic performance. So again. The other big thing. When you've got something you want, that's cool. Let's take this guy here. We like that. Let's take the center. Learn now it's There was a symbol. Now it's that very soon you could have an entire set up of Tom's. Everything would just be Tom's all the time or times, right? And then you can always remove that as well, right? You probably selected before you're moving, but in any instance, you have really easy options to accommodate all your hardware with the software. Figure out what you're gonna do. Figure out the best way to do it and then make all your commitments in the software. Moved your hardware, make sure they're married well, and that they're working well together and then start to adjust accordingly. Use the tools that you have always start with a preset again. We've done the work for you. Why work hard work smart again. Pedal correction preset. No mapping preset. You can save your own presets. The same concept applies here with the next load selected only if you select these drums and you want a load a preset, it's gonna only load on the next instruments only So, for instance, where would use that with any kit? Very simple. Let's say you go in here and you've got the note mapping on for your Roland kit, and this happens a lot. You have a role in Kick Drum, but you blew your Tom's out. So you went. You bought new Yamaha Tom's. Well, you could go in and you could shift. Hold on shift and you could select the toms, and then you could engage next load selected only. And then once that's engaged, you could go in and you could put in your Yamaha and the mapping for the Yamaha. Tom's is gonna come up in your kick drum and everything else We're gonna stay Roland super duper cool, right? And then you can save that preset and you can call your hybrid kit and you're good to go. You don't ever have to go back in and redo that work makes sense. So again, that particular menu option appears a lot, and I want to make sure that we keep going over because the wording is a little next load selected. It's like I it's next load selected only, so whatever you're going to do after you select this After you check that little box is only gonna happen. Toe. What you've selected makes life really easy for kind of swapping different components.

Class Description

Superior Drummer is the industry standard for pro-level virtual drums. It is used on countless albums, at nearly every studio on the planet. Yet, most users are barely scratching the surface of the software’s capabilities.

In Superior Drummer Master Class, Rikk Currence, CEO of Toontrack North America, will give you the definitive guide to Superior Drummer. He’ll help you unlock countless new workflow efficiencies and creative possibilities. 

You’ll learn about:

  • The basics of the Superior Drummer interface
  • How to use the Construct page to assemble your kit 
  • Getting the Grooves page to work with MIDI 
  • Working the Mixer page – including effects and routing 
  • Navigating the Mapping page and using Superior with e-drums

You’ll also learn the advanced features that are the real key to getting the most out of Superior. Rikk will show how to use X-drum to assemble custom kits and layer sounds to create custom drums, and how to use the Bounce page, a highly-underutilized feature in Superior that enables you to bounce out every piece of the kit as its own audio file – the ultimate solution to bleed problems!

Superior Drummer Master Class with Rikk Currence will reveal the full potential of Superior and enable you to do things you only dreamed were possible.


Shayne Sheldon

I am very pleased with this course. It was originally presented as a free live stream and is the first CreativeLive course that I have taken in. I am so impressed, that I have purchased it. If you are a current Toontrack Superior Drummer 2 user (or are thinking of buying SD 2) and are looking for a guided way to learning this software, this course is one of the best learning methods I have ever come across. I doesn't matter what your experience level is with Superior Drummer-- there is something here for beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Though I would recommend having a working knowledge of MIDI, audio and computers. Absolute beginners to using software instruments and creating music in their computer might find the information in this course a bit overwhelming. Instructor Rikk Currence takes you thoroughly through basic to advanced concepts showing the true depth of this virtual instrument program. Rikk takes you through the program settings and options; creating custom virtual drum kits; settings for MIDI controllers and E-Drum kits; using the SD 2.0 as a stand alone virtual instrument, as well runninf it as a plug-in in a Digital Audio Workstation (D.A.W.) like Avid's Pro Tools. So much more is covered in this course, that I can't fully begin to share it all in this review. The knowledge I gained from this CreativeLive two day course has given me extra insight, increasing my functionality with Superior Drummer 2. Two thumbs up for this Master Class-- I can't recommend it enough to all Superior Drummer 2 users Thanks to Rikk Currence and CreativeLive for a superior course on Toontrack's Superior Drummer 2.

Ian Stephenson

Great course, the tutor kept it entertaining and held our interest whilst still getting over a huge wealth of detail for all levels of user. recommended :-)


Killer class! Well worth purchasing. Each lesson is effectively thorough, as well as comfortably paced. And Rikk’s sense of humor makes the learning process all the more enjoyable.