The Roland AIRA TR-8 is an incredibly powerful standalone performance and production tool – but what would happen if you super-charged it with a bit of creative MIDI mapping and sound manipulation in Ableton Live? In part one of a new series, Ean shares his technique for taking the tom-tom channel on the TR-8, adding resonance to create a synthesizer-like sound, and then adding more effects on top. It makes for an expressive and fun performance tool – watch the full video inside.
MIDI Mapping Roland TR-8 In Ableton
Basic Setup Instructions
As a reminder for if you’re setting this up for yourself, here’s what Ean did in this video:
- Connect the Roland TR-8 to Ableton Live via USB
- Send the TR-8’s audio output into Ableton Live – set up a new audio channel for each instrument on the TR-8
- Make sure the TR-8 is also set up as a MIDI input device in Ableton’s preferences – this allows you to MIDI map the controls on the device
- Add an Ableton Resonator device to the Tom channel – in the video, Ean applies the Berlin preset.
- Hunt for expressive controls inside of the Resonator (Color, Decay, etc), find a solid range, and MIDI map the TR-8’s knobs to them. Use Ableton’s mapping interface to set the start and end points for the knobs’ controls!
- Note that the original control of the knob will still exist – for example, in the video Ean maps the resonator’s decay to the decay knob for the tom channel. Try to find controls that work well together!
- Add a Grain Delay audio effect, apply the Kick Toner preset to detune and repitch the synth – and map the
Gear Used In This Video
- Razer Blade Pro laptop
- Ableton Live 9
- Roland AIRA TR-8 drum machine
- Chroma Caps (to remind you which knobs are particularly important!)
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