How to build a simple drum rack
In this tutorial, we're going to make a simple drum rack consisting of a kick drum, snare, and hi-hat.
You will need to make four cable connections to get started. Three of them will be gate or trigger signals for each of the three drums, which you will generate using another module. For this tutorial we will use channel 1:
- Patch OUT1 to your mixer or sound card.
- Patch your incoming kick drum gate/trigger to A1
- Patch your incoming snare drum gate/trigger to B1
- Patch your incoming hi-hat gate/trigger to C1
For more information about which inputs are appropriate for various signal types, see Front Panel Inputs.
You can use any kick, snare, and hi-hat samples that you like. The following zip file contains one sample of each. If you'd like to use these, then unzip these to your SD card. Place them in the ER-301/samples directory. If the samples directory doesn't exist, you can create it.
Building the Patch
(2) Insert a Mixer Channel. A mixer channel passes any signal fed into it from the left without attenuation, and mixes it with any signal coming from it's subchain, with the amount of attenuation specified by the gain control. Select the gain control by pressing the S button underneath it. Then press the M1 button to enter this mixer's subchain.
(3) Inside the subchain, move the encoder until you see the insert option appear in the lower display. Insert a new Raw Player unit. We will use the raw player since these are drums, and there is no need to change the pitch or speed. This can conserve CPU. We won't use anywhere near the available CPU in this patch, but it is good practice to use the most efficient unit possible. Down the road, you may build some very complex patches!
(6) Navigate to the ER-301/samples folder. You can use the M5 button if you need to navigate up a directory. Directories or folders are indicated with square brackets around them. Press Enter on a directory to navigate into it. You can use the M6 button to preview any samples. Select the "Money Kick.wav" file (or your own kick drum sample). Press Enter to select this as the sample for the Raw Player. You will be returned to the view of the Raw Player, and will hear the sample fire once.
(8) Use the encoder wheel to scroll down the page and examine the Playback options. You can see the defaults to Play Duration: once. Since this is a one-shot type of sample, this is a good choice. You can also see a default Play Extent: slice. Our file contains no slices, so this is an OK default. It will still play the entire sample, in this case. Press the UP button to return to the Raw Player controls view.
(12) Press the M2 button to choose input A1. You should immediately begin hearing the kick drum firing to the rhythm of the trigger signal you connected to input A1. If you'd like to temporarily mute the track, hold down SHIFT while pressing the Channel 1 button. Unmute by following the same process.
(13) Press the UP button twice to return to the top of the chain - our mixer channel. You may want to reduce the gain of this mixer a bit, as we'll be adding more sounds. Let's make a copy of this mixer. Position the encoder so that the selection arrow is just to the left of this mixer channel. Hold down the SHIFT button, and turn the encoder to the right. When the mixer channel is selected, release the SHIFT button. Press the S1 button to copy the mixer.
(15) You will see a new mixer channel (Mixer Channel #2) appear to the right of Mixer Channel #1, and you will notice that your kick drum sound has increased in volume. This is because inside Mixer Channel #2, there is a copy of the Raw Player playing the same kick drum sample at the same time as Mixer Channel #1. Let's change the sample and trigger signal for the second mixer. Select the gain control for Mixer Channel #2 by pressing the S button underneath it. Then press the M1 button to enter this mixer's subchain.
(19) You will be returned to the Raw Player unit. You will hear the snare sample firing with the same timing as your kick sample. So let's change the trigger signal input. Press the M button underneath the gate control. Then press the S1 button to enter its subchain. Since we connected our snare drum trigger sequence to B1, press the M3 key to select the B signal inputs.
Saving Your Work
A drum rack is pretty handy to have around for quick recall. So let's save our work. We're going to do 3 different kinds of saves here. Refer to Persistence for full details about the various save options. Here's a quick overview of the three saves we'll be performing:
- Quicksave: this saves the entire state of the ER-301 including all four channels, and any global chains (not used in this tutorial) for recall. These are great for recalling when you power up, or if you want to completely switch gears on what you're doing.
- Channel Chain Save: this will save everything on Channel 1, so we can restore this drum rack without affecting anything on the other channels
- Mixer Channel Save: we'll save one individual mixer as a preset. This will make it easy to add a new drum to the rack.
(7) Let's name this "drum rack chain". Adding chain to the end is a bit redundant since it's already in the chains sub-folder, but this might be a nice clue for others that this is a chain preset, should you decide to share this preset at some point. Press Enter when finished. To load a channel chain, move your cursor to the header for that chain and press S1 to load.