Category Archives: MIDI

Soundfont with Akai MPD and Live Drums

This is a type of track I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve had the idea of making a song on the Akai MPD24 and playing drums to it, but was stuck with how to use the MPD with Linux. I finally figured out how to create a soundfont from samples I cut up myself and using fluid synth as a means to play them. Using a soundfont gives me nearly as much control, and in some ways more than Ableton’s drum rack. I don’t have anything against Ableton, it’s great software. I just wanted to produce this whole track within Linux. I mixed it all in Mixbus, but still edited the video in Windows, Vegas Movie Studio. My cameras record in MTS which kdenlive in Linux has some problems with. I worked around this on the last few vids, but forgot this time, so rather than go convert everything again then re-edit in Kdenlive, I thought it would just be quicker and easier to do it in Vegas.

Sorry for the long-winded explanation. thanks for watching and commenting 🙂

Drum setup:
Custom Tama Imperialstar Hairline Blue finish 18×20 kick, 8×12 rack, 14×14 floor, 5×14 snare
Tama Iron Cobra hi hat stand (main hats)
Vintage Olympic hi hat stand (trash hats)
Ludwig flat base straight stands (crashes)
PDP boom stand (ride)
Vintage Nuvader Nickel Silver 15″ Hi Hats
Meinl HCS 8″ Bell
Kasza 17″ Dirty Bell crash cymbal
Vintage NuVader 22″ ride cymbal (Nickel Silver)
Meinl HCS 16″ Trash Crash / Generic 16″ brass crash bottom (trash hats)
Vintage Camber 18″ Crash Cymbal (Brass)
Aquarian Studio X on tom batters
Tama single ply clear tom resonants
Aquarian Studio X Dot on snare batter
Tama thin clear snare resonant
Aquarian Response 2 Coated kick batter
Remo Vintage Emperor w/ Kickport 2 on kick resonant
DW 6000 kick pedal (sucks, I want a new pedal)
Vintage flat base Slingerland snare stand
Vintage MIJ canister throne

Mics on this one I did something new. I used only a kick and overhead, then blended that with the camcorder mic from my Sony HDR-CX240. It made it a very raw and cool sound. There is also some slight decimator (bit crusher) effect on the kick and overhead mics.

Amiga Drummer 2.3, The Full Motion Video Game That Never Existed

Here’s part 5 of my Amiga ProTracker and a Drummer series. I made this one using all samples of objects laying around me at the time in while I was visiting my mom’s in Florida. Samples used were my Casio wristwatch beep, a kalimba (thumb piano) snapping my fingers and tapping on a plastic lid. I then dropped dropped the bounced wav file into Pro Tools 7.4 and added bass, then went into the studio and recorded the drums and this video. The video in this one I was going for a 90s Full Motion Video Game look. I used a green screen and drew the background in GraFX2, then assembled it all in FCP 5.1. To get the pixilated look I rendered using the Cinepak codec with a 256 color palate.

Written, produced and performed by Justin Wierbonski (me)
I play Tama Drums and Paiste Cymbals.

Amazing 1980s VHS Macintosh and MIDI documentary!

There’s a lot of these old vids surfacing on youtube these days, but this is definitely one of the coolest ones I’ve seen.

I love Herbie Hancock’s song on here “Little by Little” I can’t seem to find it anywhere. If anyone knows if this is actually on a release of his anywhere, let me know!

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.


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How to control anything in Logic using your hardware MIDI controller

Novation 64-Button Ableton Controller-Logic Pros

The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

In this week’s edition of The Logic Pros, we will be looking at how to map all those fun looking sliders, switches, buttons and encoders on our controllers to various functions inside of Logic Pro X. In many case, we get home with our MIDI controller, plug it in, and it just works. The keys/pads function just as they should, but the plethora of other dials and faders available generally won’t do much, unless you tell them to.

We will be covering the basics of how to get our MIDI keyboard/controller mapped to just about any parameter in our session, along with a few creative ways to bring some of Logic Pro X’s more powerful features into the real world:

Akai MPK249-MIDI controller-Logic Pros
Control Your Controller:

There a number of customized controller options (some of which we will be taking a closer look at in future Logic Pros articles) that are specifically tailored to software counterparts like the Native Instruments Complete Kontrollers, or the popular Abelton Live grid controller options. While these might work great for some, with a few simple moves, we can have just about any MIDI controller communicating with Logic Pro X in a completely customized way.

Nobody wants to spend time mapping controls when it comes to LPX, but we’ll just need to fire off some quick messages using Logic’s “Learn” function to make this happen, and then it’s back to the music. After making the assignments, LPX will remember your set-up and have it just as you left it every time you open another session up.

Along with traditional functions like volume, mutes and solos, I also like to have permanent hardware controls for some of my favorite effects, Logic’s Channel EQ for basic filtering, third party virtual instrument macro controls, and LPX Smart Control (more on this below). As far as transport controls (play, stop, skip, etc.) go, on some devices there are dedicated buttons for any DAW that will need to be configured on the hardware itself, and in other cases we can use Key Commands. It is also a good idea to check with the manufacturer to see if they have a Logic Pro X map that can be downloaded. Combining/adding-to a pre-made map using the steps below can be a great way to get started:

Controller Assignments-Logic Pro X-The Logic Pros-01

Note: while every mapping assignment we make below can be altered at a later date with ease, it’s always a good idea to take some time think about what functions you use most and which hardware controllers you would prefer them on. I always like to leave a few open so that I can make assignments on-the-fly based on a particular creative situation.

1. First let’s open up Logic’s Controller Assignments window (shift + alt + K, or Logic Pro X > Control Surfaces >…..).

Controller Assignments-Logic Pro X-The Logic Pros

2. From here, we have two options: Easy View and Expert View. First, let’s pop over to Expert View by hitting the tab along the top of the window.

Note: If you can’t see the Expert View option, it is likely because you don’t have Advanced Tools showing in your LPX Preferences. Command + comma, then select the Advanced tab along the top, and enable

3. Optional. Simply click the small plus sign on the bottom most left corner of the window to create a new “Zone” or group of assignments. I like to name the zone whatever the controller is I am signing controls to, in this Akai MPK61. While this step is optional, we won’t be spending much time here and it is always a good idea to keep things organized.

Controller Assignments-Logic Pro X-The Logic Pros-02

4. Now let’s head back to ≈by clicking the tab along the top of the window to start making assignments. After enabling “Learn” mode in the bottom right corner, simply click and move any control you desire. At that point you will notice Logic recognize that control in the “Parameter:…” field. Now interact with the hardware fader, button or rotary encoder on your device you would like it to control, and you’re done. Disable “Learn” mode by deselecting the button in the bottom right corner. Repeat as desired.

If you need to delete an assignment for any reason, simply open the Controller Assignments window and head to Expert View. From here, select the folder or “Zone” you created earlier, and delete the desired assignment in the right most panel where it is listed.

Make Your Controller Even Smarter

Logic Pro X’s Smart Control offer an untold number of creative possibilities, one of which we detailed in last week’s Logic Pros article, especially due to level of user customization it offers. Not only can they simply set-ups and offer handy macro controls for Logic Remote users, but they can also be mapped to your hardware controller just as easily as anything else in Logic.

This effectively allows us to map multiple (any number) of track parameters in Logic to a single hardware control! While this may be more of an advanced set-up, tinkering with multiple parameters on a single control can render some pretty interesting and unexpected creative results. There are two options for mapping smart controls to hardware, either follow the same steps as above or the slightly quicker built-in Smart Control mapper:

Controller Assignments-Smart Controls-Logic Pro X-The Logic Pros

1. Hit the “B” key or the Smart Control icon in your toolbar on Logic to view Smart Controls for the selected track.

2. Click the “i” icon in the top left corner of the pop-up Smart Control window, where you’ll find the “External Assignment” mapper.

3. Just like above, use the “Learn” button and then interact with the software control, followed by the desired hardware control.

While a particular track’s Smart Controls will only offer parameters pertaining to that track, placing a number of tracks in a Summing Stack will open up your options considerably.

Note: Personally I prefer the to go directly into the Controller Assignments window. But only because it can be easier to keep things organized (especially with multiple controllers in your set-up), creating quick assignments with the Smart Control mapper can be very handy and I will use it to assign the few hardware controls left open on my controller I described above.

If there any questions or issues with your set-up, be sure to let us know in the comments below and we’ll see if we can help get to the bottom of it. Also, let us know what your favorite controllers are and how you like to have them mapped up Logic etc.