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Alesis D4 Questions Rackmount Synthesizers
Old 26th April 2007
Gear Head
amomentsloss's Avatar

Alesis D4 Questions

I have a pintech electronic drumset with an alesis d-4 brain. I've become somewhat competent at changing / modifying settings to suit my needs. I have come across an issue that I am looking to resolve though, and am hoping someone in this forum may be able to assist. What I would like to do is use the Alesis d4 and one of my drum pads (either a full pad or a cymbal wingding) to trigger samples while playing my acoustic set. For instance I would like to "preload" the drum brain with 10 different samples and have them play in sequence (ie the first time i hit it it plays sample one, second time sample 2). Is this something that can be achieved with what I have or do I need something else. Basically we would like to work some electronics/sampling in to our music, but i don't want to record anything we can't perform live. I've seen the drummer from MIRV (a sf based band) play live and he had something very similar to what I am describing. When he hit the same pad, it triggered the sample for the song they were playing (of course this means meticulously planning set lists - but thats cool). Any help/advice you can offer would be much appreciated.


Old 26th April 2007
first off yer gonna need a sampler. d4 is a ROMpler & only plays the sounds in it.
theres some pretty decent samplers out there you can pick up for cheap.
I picked up an EMU ESI-32. i connect my DAW direct to it over SCSI & dump my edited samples via Sound Forge. once you have all the sounds you want to trigger on the sampler it's time to start configuring your d4 & setting up yer samples to work with your drum kits. if you want sounds to automatically change, the only thing i can think of is adding some sort of sequencer which means more hardware. otherwise you are talking about setting up a few different kits in the d4 in conjunction with yer samples & switching them manually on the fly.
Old 26th April 2007
Gear Head
amomentsloss's Avatar

[quote=Stevil;1251512] i connect my DAW direct to it over SCSI & dump my edited samples via Sound Forge.quote]

you lost me with the above part, but admittedtly, I am a novice here

i figured a smapler and or sequencer may be required.I will start looking into that. Any one who has the time and patience to "dumb this down" for a beginner would be great. I am determined to make this work. I would even be willing to not use the d4 and pick up a new piece of hardware if it's more efficient. Any suggestion? Thanks again
Old 26th April 2007
Gear Head
amomentsloss's Avatar

what did you pay for that samp[ler if you don't mind my asking? pros cons? anything it doesn't do that it should?? Thanks again
Old 26th April 2007
i got the esi32 for $250. it has an upgraded zip drive for storage. i also spent another $25 upgrading the ram to 32MB. it has a minute of sampling time which is more than enough for what i use it for, triggering short percussive sounds & loops. there are a ton of other samplers out there that can be had for cheap these days. most people are dumping them in favour of computers. i'm not aware of any sampler drum brain combos that arent rediculously expensive. i believe there are also computer solutions if you wanna hook up a laptop to yer triggers or something but i havent messed with that. i'm guessing a program like battery would work.

theres a million ways to skin this cat. everyone i know who has gotten into it uses a different method & they all can work. i suggest reading up on the basics of midi & sampling see what the options are for yourself.

theres a great electronic music crash course @ tweakheadz lab
Tweak's Guide to the Home and Project Studio

Using your Hardware Sampler Creatively

electronic drum web
Harmony Central: Electronic Drum Web

drum brains
Electronic Drum Modules
Old 27th April 2007
Gear Head
amomentsloss's Avatar

that's funny, i stumbled across 3 out of 4 of those sites today researching the sampler you suggested. It looks like I'll be able to get it for around $100, so im pretty happy with that. I do have a laptop too i could use, may have to pursue that avenue as well. I appreciate the help and am always open to any other ideas.

Old 27th April 2007
should be able to route the d4 midi into the laptop & trigger from there. i prefer the sound/stability of a sampler though. good score for $100. i bought mine a while back & that kind of gear has been dropping like a rock.

what i was saying about connecting over scsi. there are several samplers out on the market that can cnnect to your computer. that way you take the sounds you've been using in your mixes & dump them directly to the sampler for live use.
the esi-32 connects via SCSI using sound forge. there are some other sampler, software, connection type combos out there.

How to Connect your E-mu Sampler to a PC
Old 27th April 2007
Lives for gear
Dave Peck's Avatar

I get that you are trying to trigger a series of sounds in a particular sequence, each sound playing once when you hit the pad & then the next sound plays when you hit the pad the second time, but I can't tell from your post if you are trying to play the sounds that are in the D4 or if you really want to play samples/sounds from some other source.

If you want to play sounds that can't be created in the D4, you'll need someother sound source (could be a sampler, could be a different percussion module or synth).

If you're just trying to figure out a way to trigger a sequence of D4 sounds, one after the other, each time you hit the same pad, there are a couple of ways that I can think of to do that.

1. Get a basic midi footswitch controller that allows you to send patch change commands to the D4. Set up your D4 with the ten different sounds in ten different preset locations, like #1 thru #10. Use the footswitch to change patches after you hit the pad, so it will play a different sound the next time you hit the same pad.

2. If you want to get fancy, you could get a Nord G2 Engine, which could be used to create a pad-triggered sequencer that automatically sends a new midi note# with each pad hit, and set up the D4 so that all ten sounds are in the same preset, but with each sound triggered by a different midi note#. There may be other ways to send a sequence of midi note#'s with each hit too, but this is one way.

Old 27th April 2007
Gear Head
amomentsloss's Avatar

Thanks to both of you for the info so far. I may keep this thread alive for a while with questions while getting this pegged, and appreciate the continued help. Still looking good on getting the emu sampler. Will know for sure by the end of the weekend. I am actually trying to use the d4 (or something in conjunction with it) to trigger samples that I make. They may range in length from a few seconds to a few minutes. The emu that I am looking at has the extra space that is required for longer (or several) samples as I understand it. Some of them will be recorded from the alesis/pintech set, some may be loops I make in audio programs. I am looking for a way to combine the 2 sample sources into one memory bank, and then trigger sequentially from there using as little equipment as possible (ie this would need to go everywhere my drums do). I would also need to be able to move the order of the samples to accomodate changes in the set list and such. I am kind of learning as I go along here so I appreciate your advice as you both seem more experienced. Thanks.
Old 1st July 2007
Lives for gear
jchas's Avatar

If you're still looking for help with this...

I thought you were trying to do a sound arpeggio - like pounding away on the trigger during a drum solo and having each hit be a different sound. It now sounds like you're simply trying to use the trigger to start playback of a sample (single hit) during a song.
This is actually quite simple. Assign the samples/loops you will be using to each of the 16 MIDI channels. Another words, the sample for song 'A' is on MIDI channel 1, the sample for song 'B' is on MIDI channel 2, etc.
When playing your gig, leave the MIDI Output Channel parameter of the D4 in the Active Mode. Now, simply change the MIDI Output Channel at the top of each song to the corresponding number. If you play songs out of sequence - no problem, just scroll to the proper MIDI Output Channel for that song and GO.
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