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Using the Cakewalk Session Drummer 2 Virtual Instrument
Written by Scott R. Garrigus - © 2006, Cengage Learning. Reprinted with Permission.
This article is an excerpt from the following books: The Cakewalk SONAR Power! Book Series

Like the Cyclone and RXP, Session Drummer 2 is a MIDI sample playback synth, but it isgeared toward the playback of percussion instruments. Session Drummer 2 is multitimbral (meaning it can play more than one different sound at a time—up to 10) and instead of being limited to one-shot samples or sample loops, it can load multisamples, which provide very realistic playback.

Session Drummer 2 Basics
If you examine the Session Drummer 2 (SD2) main interface (see Figure 10.47), you’ll notice that it is divided into three sections—the File Functions and MIDI Pattern section, the Instrument Pad section, and the Drum Mixer.

The File Functions and MIDI Pattern section allows you to load and save programs/MIDI patterns, kits, and instruments. You also use this section to control MIDI playback. The Instrument Pad section allows you to assign different instruments to each pad, preview instruments, and assign output channels to each pad. The Drum Mixer lets you adjust the volume, width, panning, and tuning for each pad, as well as set the main volume, width, panning, and tuning for all pads.

To begin working with SD2, you need to first load in some sounds, which come in the form of instruments. This is the name given to the sample files loaded into each pad. A group of 10 Instruments (corresponding to the 10 available pads) is called a kit. And a kit combined with Drum Mixer settings and 8 MIDI patterns (corresponding to the 8 available MIDI Pattern Pads) is called a program. You can load/save programs, kits, and instruments.

Working with Programs
A program stores all of the SD2 parameter settings including the currently loaded kit/instruments, the 8 MIDI patterns associated with that kit, as well as all of the Drum Mixer parameter values. The quickest way to start working with SD2 is to simply load up an existing program. Click the Program File Functions button (PROG) to perform the following programrelated tasks:

* Initialize Program. This option will clear all of SD2’s parameter settings including the currently loaded kit/instruments and MIDI patterns.
* Load Program. Use this option to load an SD2 program. SONAR ships with a large number of predefined programs, which are located in the following hard drive folder: C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Dxi\Session Drummer 2\Contents\Programs. After choosing a program, SD2 will load up a drum kit (along with the associated instruments), MIDI patterns, and Drum Mixer settings.
* Save Program or Save Program As. If you make changes to a program (such as loading in different instruments or MIDI patterns, or changing Drum Mixer settings), you can save your changes using these options. Use Save Program to save your changes into the same program file that you loaded. This will overwrite the existing program file. To keep the original program file and create a different file, use the Save Program As option and use a new name for the program.
* Save Default Program. Normally, when you load up SD2, it contains a blank program. If you would like a program to be automatically loaded every time you use SD2, then load a program and choose the Save Default Program option to save the current program as the default.

TIP: THE PROGRAM BROWSER
Click the program name (located to the right of the Program File Functions button) to open the Program Browser for a quick way to load an SD2 program.

Working with Kits
A kit keeps track of what instruments are loaded into each of the instrument pads. A kit does not contain any MIDI patterns or Drum Mixer settings. This allows you to keep your existing MIDI patterns and Drum Mixer settings loaded while experimenting with different drum kits. Click the Instrument Pad and Kit File Functions button (PAD) to perform the following kit-related tasks:

* Load Instrument and Unload Instrument. Click an instrument pad and then use one of these options to load an instrument into the selected pad or unload the current pad instrument.
* Load Kit. Use this option to load an SD2 kit. SONAR ships will four different drum kits,which are located in the following hard drive folder: C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\ Shared Dxi\Session Drummer 2\Contents\Kits. After choosing a kit, SD2 will load aninstrument into each of the instrument pads. MIDI patterns and Drum Mixer settings remain unchanged.
* Save Kit or Save Kit As. If you make changes to a kit (such as loading in different instruments), you can save your changes using these options. Use Save Kit to save your changes into the same kit file that you loaded. This will overwrite the existing kit file. To keep the original kit file and create a different file, use the Save Kit As option and use a new name for the kit.

* Find more great Session Drummer 2 information in The Cakewalk SONAR Power! Book Series. You'll learn how to work with Session Drummer 2 Instruments (along with multiple instrument outputs), how to use the SD2 Drum Mixer to mix drum instruments, how to use MIDI patterns with SD2, how to create SD2 drum parts via drag and drop drumming and MIDI pattern triggering, and more.


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