Remapping MIDI notes (Alesis DM8 with Toontrack EZDrummer) for free

So I found out that you can’t edit the MIDI notes assigned to the pads on the Alesis DM8 electronic brain. Sure, you can edit the sounds that any of the pads trigger, but you can’t change the actual note number being sent out of the USB port and down the wire to your computer.

Similarly, you can’t edit what drums are mapped to what notes in EZDrummer. This means that two of my toms pads trigger the same sample, even though there are three toms available in the kit. Not handy!

You can get round this with free software and with very little effort and so I thought I’d share my findings. You need a piece of software that sits in the path of the incoming MIDI information, changes some notes (which you will set up yourself), and then send those notes back on to their original destination. What this will do is leave some notes unchanged (in my case, and in the case of this post, kick, snare, hats, cymbals and so on will NOT be touched), and every time this piece of software detects one of your configured notes, it will change it to whatever you set it to, and then send it on. This happens so fast that you shouldn’t detect any MIDI latency.

Once we get to the setup of the mapping software, I’ll walk you through setting up one of my toms. Hopefully it’s easily understood! If not, get in touch.

1. You need to get hold of some virtual MIDI port software. There are probably others out there, but I used LoopBe1. The freeware version can be downloaded from this page. Make sure you click the right piece of software!

2. You need the filtering software. I used eDrum MIDI Mapper. You can download it from this page. Click the Download icon at the top right.

3. Get your hands on the Toontrack MIDI Mapping chart. There’s one here.

4. I’m not going to walk you through software unzipping and installation :)

5. Open your MIDI devices settings in REAPER and make sure your Alesis DM8 is disabled for input. While you’re there, make sure that LoopBe1 is enabled for MIDI input. Close REAPER.

6. Run Loopbe1. IIRC it requests a restart after installation, and so it should already be running by your clock somewhere.

7. Configure the MIDI Mapping software:

Open up eDrum MIDI Mapper. Select the Alesis DM8 as the MIDI In and LoopBe Internal MIDI as the MIDI Out. Now click Pads -> New Generic. A new entry in the lower area will appear, called Drum Pad. Click it, and then click Pads -> Rename. Call it High Tom and hit enter.

Now double-click your new entry and the settings window will open. Next to the MIDI Input / Note text box there’s a button with three dots on it. Click that button. The software is now waiting for you to tell it which MIDI note you want it to listen for. Hit your High Tom pad and it should change the MIDI Input text box to say B2.

In the MIDI Output text box, type in the MIDI note to which you want the software to convert your High Tom hits. I chose C3, as that’s the sound that triggers a high tom in my version of EZDrummer. C3 in the Toontrack note map says it’s a “Hats Open Max”, so I’m wondering if it’s just an octave off, because C2 says it’s mapped to the Rack Tom.

You’re done!

You can test this by opening REAPER, record-enabling a track, set the MIDI input as LoopBe1, load up EZDrummer as a plugin, and make sure record monitoring is on. Each time you hit your High Tom, you should now be accurately be triggering the High Tom (“Rack Tom”) in EZDrummer.

For the mid tom i mapped incoming A2 to outgoing B2

The floor tom is set up correctly on G2, so there’s no mapping needed for that.

I’m very relieved that I can actually play some of the additional sounds in EZDrummer with my electronic kit, and not just a MIDI keyboard :-) I’ve heard that there are additional sounds available inside EZDrummer in the hi-hat area. I’ve not played around with any of them yet, but you can be sure I’ll just be adding a few more maps in the eDrum software to get my kit talking to them :)

Hope this helps some of you out there.

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