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Triggering WAV files from Cakewalk
Written by Chris Dunnett, Copyright 2000, and Reprinted with permission.
The Vision: to trigger a WAV file in Cakewalk. The Dream: I know this can be done. The Dilemma: how? The answer I have found. My situation was that I had some MIDI drum tracks where the drums sounded fine but the cymbals just sounded too darn cheesy (read: machine-like). I wanted to be able to have the MIDI note numbers of the cymbals trigger WAV files of real cymbal samples. I knew there had to be a way for this to work.

One option, at the suggestion of Scott Garrigus, was to try to run Sound Forge at the same time as Cakewalk. Sound Forge allows this through its Virtual MIDI Router. This would involve synching Sound Forge to Cakewalk, which is also synched to my Roland VS 1880. Sorry, but this was way too many "synchs" for my kitchen. I didn't EVEN want to attempt this. Besides, "musician's intuition" (which has also lead to a great many disasters) told me "where there's a will, there's an estate settlement...uh...I mean a way."

First step was to consult the almighty Cakewalk Gurus to see if I was just dreaming. The tech I spoke to said yes this could be done provided I was running a software synth sampler (say that 3 times at 160 BPM) such as Gigasampler. Much to my dismay, I do not own that. I said what about Seer's Reality? He said yeah, that’d do it. I just happened to own Reality so I was on my way.

Next step was to separate my drum MIDI notes to individual tracks in Cakewalk. While this step was not ACTUALLY a "necessity", I felt it gave me easier control over what I was doing. This was achieved by simply running the Cal program in Cakewalk that allows you to split to individual tracks. [Ed. Note: For step-by-step instructions on how to do this, check out Splitting Up Your Midi Drums In Cakewalk.] I use this quite frequently as I have several different drum sound modules and sources and often find that some snares are better on one but toms are better on another.

Now this is where Reality settles in...literally. First I imported the WAV files into Reality and assigned each a MIDI note number. For my use I had needed two different crash cymbals therefore, I saved them as note numbers 49 & 57 as those are the standards for crash cymbals. I saved it as a new bankset and exported it to Cakewalk where it was automatically stored as a new Cakewalk Instrument Definition. This was all done very easily in Reality.

The last step was to simply assign the track of each cymbal to the new Cakewalk Instrument Definition. Since they were both different MIDI note numbers, they each played their respective sample. Victory achieved!

For more information: The Cakewalk Sonar Power! Book Series

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