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Josh Wolfer

Feature: Drums maps are garbage

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I think the title says enough, but in case it doesn't.... ;)

Drum maps are almost unusable. They're extremely cumbersome and should be completely revamped. In a dream world, this is how I'd want it to work:
 

  • In the Track, I can define whether or not the midi track is for percussion (drum map) or for standard midi notes (standard piano roll)
  • If Drum Map is chosen, I can double click on the PRV note to rename it to whatever sound is triggered (IE: Kick out, Kick in, snare top, so forth)
  • Multiple out assignment: I want to trigger multiple percussion instruments simultaneously and should be able to say that map note X triggers both output NoteX+instrument1 and noteY+instrument2
    • This is for layering percussion that should be triggered together. 

These are the core items. I'm not even sure what else. I was excited when I just thought about drum maps and after trying to set it up, in its current form, it's not even worth my time. 

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59 minutes ago, Josh Wolfer said:

If Drum Map is chosen, I can double click on the PRV note to rename it to whatever sound is triggered (IE: Kick out, Kick in, snare top, so forth)

Right Click the note name and choose  "Map Properties" to rename or remap the individual note.

 

Your first item is determined by the track output. So it is already there.

Your third point is a long standing feature request that would please almost everyone who uses CbB.

 

Drum Maps are not the most intuitive feature of Cakewalk. But once you have a basic map created it is easy to modify from the above mentioned "Map Properties" dialogue.

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Agree, haven't used 'em in 20 yrs when I had a hardware drum machine

There are so many more options now for making beats, what I would also like is to be able to collapse the PRV and show only notes used in a kit

 

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10 hours ago, Base 57 said:

Drum Maps are not the most intuitive feature of Cakewalk.

I wholeheartedly agree after coming to Cakewalk from Mixcraft, where, basically, if you want to use a drum map, you click a button in the Piano Roll and then choose which one you want and that's all you have to do.

Much amusement/sympathy when later, I spotted a Cakewalker in the Mixcraft forum who couldn't figure out where to set up a drum map because he had been looking everywhere but the place where I, anyway, expect to find such a thing, which is the place where it's used.

The only Drum Map-related command that the user can access from the place where, y'know, they're actually going to use the Drum Map should come with sitcom laugh tracks, because they're as if a character asked another "could you hang a picture frame for me?" and then the two of them proceeded to hang only a picture frame with no picture in it.  "Show/Hide Drum Map Pane" shows (or hides) exactly that and only that: a blank space where a drum map would go if the program gave you the tiniest clue how to set one up. Once the pane is there can you right click in it and start the process of setting up an actual Drum Map? Nope. All you can do is stare at it wondering where else Cakewalk could be hiding its Drum Maps.

If you do somehow manage to figure out that  you get to Drum Maps through the pull-down menu near the bottom of a MIDI channel strip (of course you do!), you'll be starting at a page in Preferences that tells you you're about to "Create and save drum maps for use with hardware and software samplers." Even if it's not a sampler you're working with and you thought it would be nice if you could just "assign" a drum map rather than "create" one, because you stopped feeling "creative" about 15 minutes ago.

First section is Drum Maps Used in Current Project. Blank. So you click the "New" button because, ominously, it's really the only thing to do, being that there's no list of preconfigured maps to choose from, it just says "DM1-" Down in the section below there's a thingie that says "Presets" and a file picker, so you choose one from there, a General MIDI, hoping that all this does something, as there are no confirmations. All this configurating you're doing seems like it's happening miles and years away from the Piano Roll, which has a different look and feel. You're probably thinking about now that the chances of what you're doing making rectangles with the names of the drums show up along the left side of the Piano Roll is pretty low, and also even if it does work you'll never remember how you did it, and the idea of going through this every time you just want to smack together a little drum beat seems a bit much.

Go back to the Piano Roll, and....nope. Yeah, didn't think so.

You visit the same game cheats forum you did before and learn that you have to revisit the MIDI channel strip once again (of course you do!) in order for the Drum Map to appear in the Piano Roll View. It's like playing that old text adventure game Zork (or for the next generation, Myst) where you had to exit one building, go out and solve a puzzle somewhere else, then go back into the building to find a door or whatever unlocked before you could advance in the game. Since Cakewalk and Zork date back to the same era, my guess is that this was considered "fun" back in 1987.

Yeah, it could be improved about 1000% just by having a tooltip that appears if you hover your cursor over an empty "Drum Map Pane" saying what to do next to set up a Drum Map in that empty space, like "right click to open the Drum Map Manager," and then having a right click menu that takes you to the Drum Map Manager. And could it just default to being applied to whatever MIDI track is in focus in the PRV at the time?

Strangely enough, though, Drum Maps are not the most "not the most intuitive feature of Cakewalk." As far as I'm concerned, that prize must go to the Lyrics View. The instructions in the Cakewalk documentation for using this oft-ignored feature are pretty brief, and like any good mystery, the fun would be spoiled by telling the reader too much, which would be a warning not to enter your lyrics before you're done editing the rest of the song.

Since this topic is about Drum Maps, I'll stop talking about the Lyrics View except to say that however you think it works: you're probably wrong.

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1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

Since this topic is about Drum Maps, I'll stop talking about the Lyrics View except to say that however you think it works: you're probably wrong.

Very entertaining post ! 

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5 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Drum Maps are not the most "not the most intuitive feature of Cakewalk." As far as I'm concerned, that prize must go to the Lyrics View.

This deserved repetition. 

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21 hours ago, Josh Wolfer said:

I think the title says enough, but in case it doesn't.... ;)

Drum maps are almost unusable. They're extremely cumbersome and should be completely revamped. In a dream world, this is how I'd want it to work:
 

  • In the Track, I can define whether or not the midi track is for percussion (drum map) or for standard midi notes (standard piano roll)
  • If Drum Map is chosen, I can double click on the PRV note to rename it to whatever sound is triggered (IE: Kick out, Kick in, snare top, so forth)
  • Multiple out assignment: I want to trigger multiple percussion instruments simultaneously and should be able to say that map note X triggers both output NoteX+instrument1 and noteY+instrument2
    • This is for layering percussion that should be triggered together. 

These are the core items. I'm not even sure what else. I was excited when I just thought about drum maps and after trying to set it up, in its current form, it's not even worth my time. 

Yeah, for years (like 15 at least for me) we've been asking for a better Drum Mapping system. Ent seen it yet.

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Posted (edited)

For years, I've KNOWN how to do a drum map in Sonar/Cakewalk, but rarely bothered,  because it's cumbersome. But recently I found that my go to kit for a lot of stuff was the same (NI Abbey Road 60s Full Kit) so I decided to give it a go. It did take some time, but once you're in the groove it's pretty easy, and I also had a chart in the Abbey Road manual that gave all the note names/numbers and drum names, so I could easily copy and paste names from the PDF.

To date, this is the only drum map I've ever used (been using Sonar since 2003-ish). I only use NI Battery 4 quite a bit, and some of those kits have many drums, but I could never find maps for them so I don't think anyone else bothered to create them either!

Edited by Neel Modi

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Posted (edited)

To be fair, I wrote my above post from the viewpoint of someone new to Cakewalk, which I was two years ago, and I was trying to be funny and entertaining to illustrate how clumsy the current system is.

In the more serious interest of my fellow Cakemongers getting work done while we wait for an overhaul of the Drum Map system, here's how I do it:

All of the rigmarole I described only needs to be gone through once for each unique drum VSTi you use, and most of them don't deviate too far from GM if they do at all.

Once you have a MIDI or Split Instrument track set up with a Drum Map, save it as a Track Template and from that point forward, it will take you seconds to be ready to go.

BTW, Neel, you've reminded me of a question I've had for some time, which is whether there is some way we can share our custom drum maps with other users. Let's say I wanted to share the maps I made for DrumMic'a or Blue Jay Drums, or you wanted to share yours for Abbey Road or whatever. Anyone know if there's a way to do this?

Edited by Starship Krupa

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Drums maps exist in the project but may be saved as drum map presets using the Drum Map Manager.

Drum Map presets are binary files stored on disk. These files may be copied and shared just like the drum maps bundled with CbB.

There is a utility to create simple drum map presets from a .Note Names fragment in an .ins file. I mentioned this in the OP's other thread

This can save a lot of time if one has a way to copy and paste map info from an existing document.

 

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I appreciate everybody's comments. Very much so. The "pain in the *****" Delta is massive between simply remembering which notes do what in prv and trying to set up a drum map.

I hope Cakewalk revamps at some point though, because this would be very handy to have an intuitive and streamlined process to make programming percussion better. 

But until then, I've been using prv for 20 years, and I will just continue to do so. Setting up templates and obtuse drum maps and trying to get them all to work together makes me want to gouge my eyes out. ;)

 

 

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On 6/7/2020 at 2:11 PM, Mark Morgon-Shaw said:

Agree, haven't used 'em in 20 yrs when I had a hardware drum machine

There are so many more options now for making beats, what I would also like is to be able to collapse the PRV and show only notes used in a kit

 

Pretty much one of the functions of Drum Maps

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I dont use the drm pane for editing notes in the PRV. I use the PRV itself. Excuse me if im not understanding but with drum maps you can sort, arrange those midi notes in any fashion you want.

Dont get me wrong, Drum maps need an update, i would love to see that. but its never been a show stopper for me, only time consuming. But what isnt time consuming when your customizing something you are going to use over and over again.

This is how i use the PRV for drum editing. I made this video years ago (around 7 years ago i believe) but i still use the same technique today.

 

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The FREE MT PowerDrum Kit 2 VSTi  +++ website +++   includes instructions for loading a drum map into Cakewalk by BandLab and a drum map.

The "Audible Distortion"  +++ website +++  has a tool that

Quote

will convert an instrument definition (ins file) into a drum map for Cakewalk Sonar. (Essentially, any text file with a mapping from midi note number to drum instrument name can be used.) The created drum map uses default values for most parameters and is not linked to a particular virtual instrument, so it's mainly the first step and may require enhancements

Forum user @James Argo attached some ToonTrack EZ Drummer drum maps to +++ THIS +++ forum post.

Mike Eno of Creative Sauce created two drum map videos.  +++ HERE +++ and +++ HERE +++  Mike's website has drum maps for MT PowerDrum, and Studio Link's +++ Drum Pro +++  and Cakewalk's Studio Instrument drums +++ HERE +++

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Posted (edited)

I haven't used drum maps for a long time.
I would be happy if I could easily write notes on the keyboard with a piano roll.

*This sentence is a Google translation.

Edited by Toy

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On 6/10/2020 at 8:12 AM, chuckebaby said:

I dont use the drm pane for editing notes in the PRV. I use the PRV itself.

I use the same method you do in your video. Is there another way I don't know about?

What "Drum Map" means to me is that list of drum kit instruments you have over on the left that are mapped to the drum synth you are using, whether it's a soft synth in Cakewalk or an external drum machine.

Using it is fine (if kind of primitive looking UI-wise). As you point out, it's little different from editing any other Cakewalk MIDI. Setting it up is what's like playing Zork in 1986.

It could be much simpler, and when the time comes, I have some ideas. It looks like others have some ideas about making them more versatile as well.

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On 6/10/2020 at 8:12 AM, chuckebaby said:

I dont use the drm pane for editing notes in the PRV. I use the PRV itself. Excuse me if im not understanding but with drum maps you can sort, arrange those midi notes in any fashion you want.

Huh. I learn something new every day. I've never realized I could do that. Just for kicks I added a [AD2 Drums] note names section to Master.ins and tried it out.

Handy. I could definitely use this in the future as a quick check on drum tracks without using a drum map.

Thanks, @chuckebaby

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14 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

I use the same method you do in your video. Is there another way I don't know about?

The other method is using the Drum pane. Which for me anyway, is a bit difficult, you are grabbing those little triangles which i can not always grab in one click unless my Zoom is maxed in. Using 1/4 or 1/16 notes are easier to grab and lets you work in a wider field.

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