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Quick Guide To Programming The Alesis Nitro Module

So you got an Alesis Nitro Mesh eh? Those preset sounds are pretty lame eh? But the Nitro Module is not lame at all, actually it can sound quite good once you learn how to make your own custom kits. I’ve done several videos on YouTube about this already, but they’re pretty lengthy and usually going for a specific sound. I thought I would put together this quick reference for anyone looking to get right into creating their own drum kits on the Nitro Module.

The Voice Key (NUM tells you watch sample you’re using for that pad)

  1. The Voice Key – The voice key is where you’ll be spending most of your time. Tap it to enter edit mode and show the currently selected voice on whatever the last pad you hit was. Tap the pad, or the corresponding button on the top of the module to select which pad you want to edit. Then use the arrow buttons to select the sample you want to use. I have a complete list of all the samples in the Nitro Module located here.

    VOL sets the volume of each sample

  2. VOL – Tap the voice key again and you’ll see VOL. This is a hugely important parameter that is overlooked by a lot of people (including the preset programmers). This is your mix for each individual drum and needs to be set right, since you only have a stereo output from the module. It’s good to ballpark this setting at first, then try playing the kit and see what needs to be adjusted. Like the NUM setting, you simply tap the pad you want to change, then use the arrow keys to change the parameter. This method is used on all editing aspects of the Nitro. (Hint – try setting snares and kicks around 28 to 32, toms and cymbals around 25 to 28, and hi hats around 12 to 15)

    PAN sets the position of the sample left and right

  3. PAN – tapping the voice button again brings you to the pan menu. This is where you can put each sample more to one side or L or R. There’s two basic schools of thought here, panning from the drummer’s perspective (which is what I always do) or panning from the audience perspective. Panning from a right handed drummer’s perspective will usually have the kick and snare panned center, hi hats slightly to the left, crash 1 a little less slightly to the left, tom 1 about even with crash 1, tom 2 slightly left of center or center, ride a little right of center, tom 3 even more right, and if you have a 2nd crash and tom 4, still more right. The audience perspective will be the opposite of all of this. These are not hard rules, just general guidelines to get you started.

    PIT adjusts the sample pitch up or down

  4. PIT – Tapping the voice key again brings up PIT. This parameter allows you to move the pitch of each sample up and down. Essentially speeding them up and slowing them down to change the pitch. This is another very useful parameter to achieve your overall goal. I find it especially useful on cymbals and hi hats.

    REV stands for reverb

  5. REV – Tap the voice button again and bring up the REV menu. This allows you to set the reverb level for each drum individually. (hint, keep them all around the same it it can sound weird and uneven). If you want to turn all the reverb off, this is more easily acheived using the “KIT” button where you have the option to turn off all reverb.
  6. SAVING YOUR KIT – DO NOT FORGET TO SAVE! Once you’re happy with how things are sounding, tap save while still in the voice menu. Select any memory slot from U25 or above then tap save again, and you’ve created your first custom kit!

Notes: What about the rest of the parameters under voice? Don’t worry about these for now, since they have to do with MIDI and using an external sound device. They are not really needed to create internal custom kits. Keep in mind that VOL and PAN are equally as important as the sample selected. This is your mix, and I view it as part of the overall production process. By default the Nitro hi hat is way too loud, bring it down a lot and it will sound more natural.

Anyway, I hope this little guide helped you out, feel free to post your comments or questions below!

The quick guide to plugin formats and compatibility VST or AU? 32- or 64-bit? We explain it all…

Brought to you by Computer Music


The advent of the VST plugin is arguably the most pivotal, important development in shaping the way we make music on our computers today. When Steinberg made its VST technology freely available to any and all developers in 1997, the doors of creativity were thrown open, and before too long, virtually any studio tool could be had for little or even no money.

More importantly, VST plugins could be used in any DAW that supported them, meaning that you didn’t need to own a Steinberg product to take advantage of all of the new toys that soon flooded the marketplace.

The VST format reigns supreme to this day, but it isn’t the only format available. There are AU, AAX and RTAS to name but a few, though we’ll focus on VST and AU in this article since they’re by far the most popular standards.


In addition, some plugins are written for 32-bit systems, while others are coded for 64-bit systems… And some for both! Your own operating system and host program (by which we mean your DAW) will determine which format you’ll want to use – we’ll come back to the specifics a little later, but see the handy table below for a guide to which DAWs run on PC and Mac, whether they support AU/VST2/ VST3, and whether they have a ‘bit bridge’ for running 32-bit plugins in their 64-bit version.

Special delivery

Most plugins are available as downloads, and this is now the delivery system of choice. Some developers provide programs that facilitate downloading, authorising and managing their plugins. Lots of plugins are delivered using installer packages with file extensions like PKG or EXE (Mac and Windows respectively). Mac users will be familiar with the DMG file that is mounted and opened like a disk with the installer or plugin contained within.

Many plugins will require unlock codes, serial numbers, authorisation codes or license files, and the product’s documentation should be referred to for instructions on how to use these. Be sure to keep any codes and the like backed up in a secure location so that you can access them again in case you need to reinstall.

Let’s take a look at those formats again in a little more detail. VST (effect) and VSTi (instrument) plugins are the most common, being used on Mac, Windows and even Linux machines. These are good if you need compatibility with a machine running a different OS. VST plugins are sometimes delivered in their raw DLL (Windows) or VST (Mac) format, to be copied to your plugins folder manually.

The VST format has recently been brought up to version 3, though many developers still support the older VST 2.xx format. VST3 plugins are always 64-bit-compatible, offer sidechaining options and dynamically assignable outputs. However, they dispense with the popular preset/patch and bank storage format (.fxp and .fxb, respectively), which can make transferring patches between plugins and projects trickier.

RAM it home

64-bit systems they can access more RAM than 32-bit ones and thereby allow more plugins, samples, and so on, to be loaded up at any given time. However, many plugins are still 32-bit only – especially on Windows. Often this isn’t an issue, as most – if not all – modern DAWs offer both 32-bit and 64-bit versions that can exist side-by-side on the same computer. You can’t run a 64-bit plugin in a 32-bit host; the reverse is also usually true, but many 64-bit DAWs have a built-in ‘bridge’ that can make 32-bit plugs available. If your DAW doesn’t, you’ll need a third-party bridge or wrapper.

Beyond compatibility, is there a difference between formats? A little, yeah. For instance, Audio Units cannot send MIDI out, meaning some plugins won’t function without some workaround. In such a case, you’ll be better off using a VST version, if your host supports both.

Avid’s AAX format is found in only one DAW: Avid Pro Tools, and it’s an improvement and replacement for the older RTAS (native Pro Tools) and TDM (hardware PT) formats.

Finally, Reason has its own plugin format too, Rack Extensions, which work a lot like Reason’s built-in plugins, so they’re dead easy to figure out.

Via http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/the-quick-guide-to-plugin-formats-and-compatibility-620406