The SR18 is loaded with cutting-edge drum kits and electronic drums, one-shot hits, and modern percussion sounds for any cutting-edge musician’s performance and compositions. However if you are looking to expand your sound plate, you can connect the SR18 to a computer and trigger software instruments in your favorite Digital Audio Workstations as well. This guide walks through the process of setting up the SR18 to trigger the software instruments built into Ableton Live.
Setup & Preferences
- You will need a MIDI Interface that has the ability to connect to a computer. For the purposes of this article, we used an M-Audio M-Track, which has the necessary MIDI Input and USB connection to the computer for proper setup.
Connect a 5 pin MIDI cable to the MIDI OUT/THRU on the back on the SR18 module to your MIDI Interface MIDI IN port.
- Open Ableton Live.
- Choose Live > Preferences (Mac) or Options > Preferences (Windows).
- In the window that opens, select the MIDI/Sync tab. For both Input and Output choose your MIDI Interface. As we are using the M-Audio M-Track for this article, we have selected the M-Track in the image below.
- Choose On for both Track and Remote for the M-Track MIDI Port Input.
- If you notice any delay or latency, check and adjust your latency slider in Preferences > Audio, then close the menu.
- Next, build your drum kit using the Ableton Instrument library. Inside Ableton, to the left there is an Instrument Library. Click on The second icon down, which looks like a folder icon. It is called Live Devices. This instrument library will contain many different types of instruments including pianos, synths, drums, and more. The Drum Rack contains individual drums like snares, toms, kicks, etc. You can drag-and-drop each drum sound from the Drum Rack into the main mixer window. Each time an instrument is added, a new track is created.
- Each drum sound chosen is assigned to a certain MIDI note and pad in Ableton. For each drum sound you select, it will be added to the Drum Rack Pad located at the bottom of your screen in Ableton. If you hover over the instrument in the Drum Rack Pad you will notice underneath the drum rack a MIDI Note is shown. Refer to image below. As you build your kit, take note of all the sounds that make up the kit and what the MIDI note is. As you add different drum sounds, they will show up in the Drum Rack Pad. You will use these MIDI note assignments to map out each pad on the SR18.
- Next grab your SR18 and press SYSTEM SETUP. Use the PAGE UP button and navigate to Page 3. Use the VALUE/TEMPO dial to set the DRUM OUT to ON so that MIDI data can be sent.
- Then use the PAGE UP button and navigate to Page 4. This page shows the MIDI Note Value assigned to each pad on the SR18.
This is where you will assign each pad on the SR18 to the MIDI note assignments in Ableton. Each time you strike a different pad, the SR18 display will change and show you the MIDI Note Value for that particular pad, so you can change it if needed.
Go through each pad on the SR18 until you've matched up the correct MIDI Note for the sound you want in Ableton. Use the VALUE/TEMPO Dial to change the MIDI Note. For example, in the image below, in Ableton the kick drum selected was assigned to MIDI Note Value C1. Then on the SR18 an adjustment was made to make sure the Kick pad MIDI Note was set to C1 as well.
<-- Refer to image in step above
- Once you have made the proper changes to each MIDI Note on each pad on the SR18, press and hold SAVE/COPY. The display will read "Save Setup".
- While still holding the SAVE/COPY button press the REC(ENTER) button and the display will read "Setup Saved".
- In Ableton, record enable all of your tracks by holding Option(alt) and clicking on each Track Arm button on on of the tracks. Make sure that on each track the MIDI From drop-down menu is set to All Ins + All Channels, the Monitor is set to Auto, and the Audio To is Master.
- Set your Master track to Pre.
- You are now ready to record a sequence using your SR18!
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