Category Archives: DJ tools

5 Ways to use MIDI Pad Controllers in Linux

Pad controllers are a lot of fun to play and use for making music. They’re great for live performance, or for composing drums at home and not disturbing the neighbors or taking up space. I have one just like the one pictured above (MPD24) that I used to make many performance videos on YouTube.

If you’re on Windows or Mac, a lot of people just use Ableton Live for pad controllers. But what if you’re using Linux? What kind of options do you have for fingerdrumming? I thought I’d put together a list of a few programs I know work well with Pad Controllers.

  1. Creating your own soundfonts with Swami.

Swami is great for pad controllers because you can create very complex sample sets then save them to .sf2 files. Then you just open them up with qsynth/fluidsynth and you have an awesome standalone sample player that is fully customizable with your particular pad controller.

2. LinuxSampler

Linuxsampler is a very powerful software sample player that can load many sampler formats like sfz, GigaStudo, and sf2. It’s a bit of a pain to setup and use though.

3. AVLDrumkits

If you’re wanting to just play drums on your controller, AVLDrumKits is an LV2 plugin that has some good drumsounds. You can program your controller to a comfortable layout to play the kit.

4. Drumgizmo

Drumgizmo is another great drum sampler for Linux. There’s some very high quality drum kits available for it, and you can create your own using it’s special editor called DGEdit.

5. Drumkv1

Drumkv1 is probably my favorite option for pad controllers on Linux right now. All you need to do is drag and drop any sample into whatever slot you want to have on your controller. This makes it easy for mapping, as well as easily apply fx, filters, and LFOs to any sample. No external editor needed! Then you can save your kits and use them any time!

If you’re looking for a place to get a ton of samples, loops, and one hits, check out this page!

8 bit performance on a Korg nanoPAD 2 and nanoKONTROL

This is something I put together a while ago, but still really happy with it. I wanted to make an 8 bit trap song in real-time using Ableton Live and my Korg nanoPAD2 and nanoKONTROL. I first found and created all of the samples I needed and loaded them into Ableton’s drum rack, then I spent some time working out some beats and setting up arpeggiators to create the hi hat roll sounds. Once I had it all together I just had to practice for a few days then I made the video.

Korg’s nano series is a great way to get inexpensive and versatile controllers for Ableton. The fact that they are so small and come in different categories too makes them really great for creating modular setups for your needs.

You can pick up your own nanoPAD2 here

Or if you want a nanoKONTROL, get that one here

Buliding a Soundfont in Linux with Swami

I used these tutorials for learning how to create a soundfount in Linux enabling my MPD 24 to work great with Linux and Jack! Thanks so much to Linux Music for making these!

If you’re looking for a great ableton drum rack replacement that is open source, this will do the trick!

Live vaporwave fingerdrumming (Vaporphonics)

Here’s a playlist I put together of all the Vaporwave inspired tracks I’ve performed live on my YouTube Channel. The earlier entries in this playlist were originally in a different playlist, but then I started to notice a sound develop in the ones I was posting, hence the term “Vaporphonics”.

Soon I’ll be compiling these, as well as some other tracks into a subscriber only exclusive release on Anthill Recordings.

WeirdScience

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