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Cubase/VST Drum-Map - how to make one

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Author: admin
Date: 13-May-00

[dancetech database recompiled in 1999 - some articles listed April '99 are older]


It's easy to create a custom drum-map in VST/Cubase so that you can quickly load up a setup for all your drum samples ready to compose... It works with drum-box, sampler, or both... You can even make a drum map to create patterns triggering several devices from the same patterns simultaneously to mix drum_Box & sampler sounds in the same map/patterns... you could create a map for a s/w drum_box, or a mix of outboard & internal s/w drums... whatever... as you'll see, each drum 'row' in the map has a selectable set of parameters, so you can set each drum in the map with a different out_port, note number, etc etc...

ok... I'm doing this on a newbie level... first, go to the Arrange page - that's the default page Cubase/VST opens up with.... Select Track_10 for this tutorial... I always stick my drums on Track_10 to start with cos it's defaulted to MIDI_Channel_10, the default GM_MIDI drum channel....



ok... first set-up the TRACK.... to do that place the mouse-pointer over the deviding line between the TRACK_Parameters on the LEFT, and the Arrange-area where the music parts live.... a hand Icon appears... just click and drag the line as far as it'll go to the RIGHT...




what you see looks like this....






Click on A - the note_icon and change it to: DRUM TRACK



Click on B - the MIDI Port and change it to a default midi port






ok.... we have now setup the TRACK to be a DRUM-TRACK - now drag the screen devider back to the LEFT to set the screen-area to normal ready for adding music parts..



Set the LEFT_Locator to Bar_1.01 --- and the RIGHT_Locator to Bar_2.01

Then draw in a music-part with the PENCIL tool.... we now have a blank part to take us into our default Cubase DRUM MAP... once we get in there we can create a custom map ... See the DRUM-TRACK 'Drumstick' Icon circled in red ?.. that has to right for it to be a drum-track... and show the drum-map when you double-click a part to open it's edit window




Ok... this is the default DRUM-MAP screen that greets us when we double-click on the music-part on the DRUM-TRACK...



place the Mouse-pointer over the deviding-bar just like in the main Arrange-Page area, and drag it far RIGHT... this reveals the details for each DRUM-MAP drum entry 'Row' in the Map list....




Now.. it might look complicated... but remember, each 'row' or entry in the drum-map list is the same... so when you can set ONE drum.. then you can set them all.. it's just the same repeated for each entry in the descending list.... ok... from Left to Right, let's look at the parameters that are important now to get us going....



  • A - double-click to re-name the drum
  • B - set the quantise for inputting drums with the pencil
  • C - Note Length - more on this later - leave it as 32, or change to 64
  • D - OUT-Note - set this to the note_number in your sampler, s/w or drum-box etc for the sound you want
  • E - MIDI-Channel - set this to play sounds on the correct channels
  • F - MIDI Out port.. again, set this appropriately, - internal s/w device, or external port
  • G - The default note-Level's... more on this later...




C - NOTE-LENGTH
Ok... on a drum-box.. the drum-samples in the box play their whole length as soon as they recieve a MIDI Note trigger... so for drum-box uses, mostly you can set this Note-Length to the lowest and it'll trigger the drums ok whilst sending little 'blips' of note data and not swamping the midi data flow with un-needed long drum notes...

But... triggering samples in a sampler, or more advanced or esoteric drum modules MIGHT offer you the ability to have a sample play as long as the length of the note lasts.. For example.. the drum sample might be a cymbal crash... and if the note triggering the sample is a small 32nd length note, then the cymbal sample will only play the initial attack of the sample.. Just a snipppet of the first 'crash' sound.... but NOT the Cymbal_samples decay section...

But, if you make the MIDI trigger note longer... say a full quarter or half note long, then that will play the attack/start of the sample, but also the sustain part lasting longer... The longer the note, the longer the sample plays thru it's length, up to the limit of the sample length and also a whole note (full bar) is Bubase's maximum setting for length in drum_map..

So... lets say you have a sample in your map of a booming 808 kik... You've got it set in the sampler so that if you trigger the full length of the sample in say a 120_BPM pattern, it will sustain until roughly half way thru the bar to it's full length... So to make that kik play all the way to the end of it's sample when triggered by a note in your Cubase drum-map, you must set the note length to '2'... this will make the drum_note ON last until halfway thru the bar... and the sample of the cymbal will play all the way thru to it's full sustain...

However, most samplers have the option to set samples to play all the way thru once triggered, and for most drum needs that is the best way to go.... loops can utilise the other method best I find....



G - DEFAULT NOTE-LEVELS



That mysterious 4 note-levels.... You can see, you've got 4 avaiable level settings on each drum 'Row' of the grid.....

Lev1, Lev2, Lev3, and... Lev4 -- just visibly hidden by cubase no matter how hard you try to drag the deviding-line further to the right - doh!! - but don't worry if the last LEVEL (Lev4) is not 100% visible... you can still get to it to double-click and open/edit it...

ok.... after adding notes into the map with a pencil-tool, you can open-up the controller area underneath the drum-map to fine-tune the velocities of individual notes within a pattern... but when first inputting the notes with the pencil Cubase offers you 4 basic velocity levels to quickly add the note in, after which, you can fine tune the velocity further....

Personally I don't think it is such a good method as Logic's drum HYPER-Edit, but still.. here's how it works....

The default velocity LEVELS are -

  • Lowest = 70
  • Second-Lowest = 90
  • Second-highest = 110
  • and highest = 120


When inputting notes with the Pencil-tool, Cubase defaults the 4 velocity 'Lev' presets like this:

  • Lowest = 70 -- Ctrl/Shift & click -- (diamond-icon is white)
  • Second-Lowest = 90 -- Ctrl & click -- (diamond-icon is light-grey)
  • Second-highest = 110 -- Shift & click -- (diamond-icon is dark-grey)
  • and highest = 120 -- just click -- (diamond-icon is black)
you can see the diamond note-icons with the ascending 4-levels of velocity -- So...


This is where you select your own 4 default Note LEVELS.. just double-click on the 'Lev1', 'Lev2', 'Lev3' or'Lev4' setting (as shown in the circular image above), and type your own default setting/s Velocity values.... Then when you are inputting notes you can quickly use Ctrl & Shift to move between those velocities...







Here's a full drum-map image... you can see the hi-lited drum; '909_Rimshot' on the leftside drum-list...

You can see the 4 notes and their 4 velocities show vertically underneath the grid in the Controller area... (marked in red: 1, 2, 3 & 4)



You can see the '909_Rimshot' notes velocity in the lower 'Controller-Area' matching the shading of the diamond-shaped drum-Notes on the grid - The Velocity shows 'Verticaly' in the control area, and you can see the Four notes added at velocities of 70, 90, 110 & 120....

Also, you can see two other red hi-lites - 'A' & 'B' ---

  • A - is the button you click to OPEN the lower 'Controller-Area'
  • B - is the button you click to select what TYPE of control you are working with.





Well, apart from the In_Note that's pretty much it... For the In_Note bit, it's pretty simple..






IN_Note is obviously the Note triggering the sound assigned to the OUT_Note.... if you have all your OUT_notes on your drum_Map setup for when you work in your studio and it is just right..... Then someone brings you a MIDI drum track with the notes on the wrong numbers for your setup.... so... you load your DRUM_MAP up, then set NEW IN_NOTE numbers to match the notes in the sequence... So, if your drum_map OUT_note for your Kik was C1, and the MIDI_File was C#0, then simply set: C#0 as your IN_Note, and your C_1 kik will play happily everytime a C#0 note occurs... see ?... good...

Also.. If you want to PLAY the drum sounds from a master keyboard, pads or a midi drumkit, then set the IN_NOTES on each drum_Map 'row' accordingly... if you're midi-kit kik_drum outs it's kik_pedal on note 'C2', then make 'C2' the IN_NOTE for whichever Drum_Map sound you want it to play....

the sound will come in to the PC from the master device you are tapping/playing, into Cubase, into the drum_map from the hi-lited Drum_Track in the Arrange_Page... Then in the drum map, that IN_NOTE will be seen, and if it is the IN_NOTE for the 909_KiK OUT_NOTE_C1, then it will THRU that note out of the OUT_PORT and on the NOTE_NUMBER set for that drum 'row' in the MAP....

So you can think of the Drum_Map as a switchable THRU device - routing data from incoming playing or from step-sequenced patterns Out to required Ports & Note numbers & channels...-....




routing example
for example, say your drum device has it's toms or percussion sounds on fixed MIDI Note numbers... But, it is easier to play drum parts on a keyboard if they are on the Black Keys... cos those keys are raised and spaced apart, so it is easier to seperate them as drums to tap with your hands & fingers.... But, the actual drum_sounds in the hardware device has those sounds fixed on some white and some black notes not in any useful or convenient order for playing on the keyboard....

so, set the Black_Notes you want to physically play as the drum IN_NOTES on the MAP... then set the OUT_NOTES as they are to your samples or drum_Box Notes so that the right IN_Note is playing the right OUT_Note.... see ?...



saving maps
anyways, when you've made a map, you want to save it.... Save it as a .DRM (drumsets) file... Just go to Menu: FILE / SAVE AS.... then select file type = 'drumsets (*.drm)'

you can open that saved drum_map into any song or arrangement you are working on ....

Well, i think that's enuff to get the job done... For more on the other underlying principals of the Drum_Map mechanic's go look at the main Cubase page in PC-WARE SECTION of the site where it is described....






other stuff....


You can make a map for your sampler.. Just choose your PC OUT port that the sampler is attached to, and load up your samplers drum programme/preset, and assign it to say MIDI channel_10... load up your Cubase 'sampler' Drum_map, and all the samples are laid out in a list each with it's required default velocities, note-length's etc....

Let's say you've an old drum box, ... you want to add those 10, 20 or so sounds in the box that are good, to the map... fine.... just add those drums into the map as new 'rows' in the map list.... set them up, and make sure no sounds are in your Samplers drum programme on the same note_numbers as the drum-box samples... otherwise they will both sound at the same time....

As long as you watch that one & keep drum-box & sampler notes seperate, then they can reside on the same MIDI channel nicely, and you can have all your drumsounds available in the same Cubase map nicely

Even if some of those sounds ARE on devices on different channels to the sampler... you can have the drumbox & sampler both on channel 10, or have them on seperate channels.... It doesnt matter, the Drum_map can manage them all together in the same beats..... It's pretty straightforward really...

Each 'row' in the Drum_Map list can be any sound on any channel on any port on any note_number.... so you can see you can create map's incorporating different tasks & kits, or just one default master kit - whatever....

So you can have a Cubase drum_map that's easy to load up... that has all your favourite sounds listed ready to sequence ...





You can make a map to play a midi triggerable S/Ware drum-box/sampler.... well you need to setup a midi-port to that s/w device.... In it's own preferences section it will have a dialog box to set it's in-coming MIDI port for Note & Control data.... so assuming you've wired it up to Hubbi's or similar s/w driver, or the s/w actuaslly puts ports on the PC, like dreamstation or Generator etc... we have available a Midi port in Cubase direct to that open s/w drumbox or sampler....

ok.... as you see in the examples above... each drum_map drum 'row', has an entry to set the OUT port for Midi, and the channels & Note... Well, set the port to address the internal PC s/w device sampler or drumbox.... set the note number right for the s/w... and away you go....


To play that drum sound/sample from your S/W via an external device.... just set the drum_map IN_Note for that sound to match the required note_number on your external keyboard or other device... You should then be able to physically 'play' the s/w drums/samples THRU the drum_map with whatever latency your system gives...




well, there's some newbie Cubase stuff.... enjoy !














COMMENTS FOR:

'Cubase/VST Drum-Map - how to make one'


There are a total:  19  comments posted to this page.


Name:  Dom
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  10-May-01

This is an excellent article-but it would have been helpful to know how to actually hear the drum track that I've just programmed - it's probably too obvious, but for a newbie..It also took me a long time to work out how to actually put a drum trigger(or whatever) onto the map(by using the drumstick icon. That said, I'm in the proccess of reading through all of your articles at the moment (and for the last few weeks!) Keep up the good work!

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Name:  Fabio
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  08-Mar-04

how can I export midi file with the proper instrument assign

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Name:  dean
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Activity:  part-timer
Date:  07-Apr-04

i have been on cubase a lot i have been woking on a hard dance tune and a just cant get the beat right so could u send me a drum pattern of a hard dance tune to my e-mail please.

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Name:  mark
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Website?:  www.dancetech
Activity:  Professional
Date:  17-Apr-04

very helpfull, i was finding it difficult to find the drummap set up

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Name:  urim
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Website?:  www.fontana.qg
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Date:  02-Sep-04

kuje ni more

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Name:  Nawal Kumar Saxena
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  30-Sep-04

Dear Sir,
I need a manual of Cubase VST/32. Do you have any idea where can I download this from? I'm seaaarching this manual since an ages but couldn't find the one.
Your help would be great!
regards,
Nawal

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Name:  Nathaniel
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Date:  17-Dec-04

how to i download the cubase programme

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Name:  alec
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  18-May-05

I want to use the midi drum editor to play a specific drum sample from my hard drive... can this be done?

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Name:  Jay
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Website?:  www.psypha.com
Activity:  Professional
Date:  11-Jun-05

Hi, Stumbled into your site whilst looking for drum maps. A well written guide sir. I am looking for drum maps to download for my RM1x, do you know of any that may be gleened from some charitable entrepeneur? Thanks dude

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Name:  adolf
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Website?:  cubasis
Activity:  Professional
Date:  19-Aug-05

super

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Name:  jay
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Activity:  Professional
Date:  22-Sep-05

I make R&B and Hip-Hop tracks. It is common to have the BOOM change notes within the pattern or sequence. How can I set a drum map up to where all I have is just BOOM that range from the low end to as high as it can go across the keyboard to play a variety of notes?? So imagine KICK BOOM doing a low scale.

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Name:  SATANIC!
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  26-May-06

HELLO,EVERY ONE! i want to konw how to import a cool sound of bass drum or cymbal into the map editor and how to transform my beat creation in a mp3 or wave file,tanks alot for your answer,god bless you!

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Name:  Harry
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Website?:  www.stuartfyfe.co.uk
Activity:  Professional
Date:  19-Oct-06

i'm trying to convert audio files into MIDI and then use these sounds with a drum map within cubase?

can anyone help? i've been looking at loads of forums and can't really find what i'm after.

thanks very much (Y)
harry

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Name:  pop
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  16-Jun-08

got everything my heart desires...a G3, cubase vst32,OMS,yamaha cs1x, midisport 1x1, a mixer, cables etc, but!
Cannot get it working!?
guess I need amanual too...
and keep on searching...

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Name:  Guillermo
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  18-May-09

I use Cubase LE V1.0.7 and would like to create my own VST Instrument, i.e. load my own .wav samples and control them via MIDI. Is this possible with my SW version, or is there a free plugin for that?

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Name:  ade felix timmy
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Activity:  Professional
Date:  02-Feb-10

love it

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Name:  David
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  17-Feb-11

screen shots in example not the same as what is on my screen. It would help us newbies if you showed every move. So much for the newbie approach.

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Name:  Rob James
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Activity:  Professional
Date:  24-Dec-12

I'd like to know how to delete entries in a Drum Map? I'm trying to make/modify a Drum Map for a Roland TD-20, and it's full of muted unused entries. I'd like to delete those unused entries, but I can't figure out how to delete anything in that map. Right clicking doesn't work, nor does trying to delete from within the Drum Map Set-up page. Highlighting the line then hitting "Delete" on the keyboard doesn't work either. There must be a way, but I can't figure it out. Do I need a separate editing program for deleting entries in a Drum Map?

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Last added comment

Name:  admin
Email: 
Activity:  Professional
Date:  31-Dec-12

"I'd like to know how to delete entries in a Drum Map?"

You cant in vst.

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