Reference Manual

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    ALESIS Reference Manual...

  • Page 2: Table Of Contents

    CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION 1.0 PRINCIPAL FEATURES... 1 1.1 RETURN YOUR WARRANTY CARD NOW! ... 2 1.2 HOOKUP/INSTANT GRATIFICATION ... 2 1.2A Installation ... 3 1.2B Hook Up Audio (rear panel) ... 3 1.2C Hook Up MIDI (rear panel) ... 3 1.2D Hook Up External Triggers (rear panel) ...

  • Page 3: Table Of Contents


  • Page 4: Principal Features

    CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Thank you for purchasing the Alesis D4 Drum Sound Module. The D4 provides over 500 high-quality drum/percussion sounds (many of them in stereo), that use the same drum recording expertise responsible for making the SR-16 and HR-16 standards in the music world.

  • Page 5: Return Your Warranty Card Now, Hookup/instant Gratification

    • Velocity-sensitive Preview button. Audition sounds at the D4 itself, so you don’t have to go back and forth between a controller and the D4 when making drum kit assignments or checking out sounds. • Headphone jack. This is excellent for practicing, or for creating drum kits while other activity is taking place in the studio.

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    MIDI IN Jack 1.2A Installation For most applications the D4 should be installed in a rack frame so that you can tap the Preview button without causing the unit to slide around. The D4 generates very little heat so it is not necessary to leave an empty space for ventilation above or below the unit.

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    2. Insert the AC adapter’s smaller plug into the 9V AC Power jack on the D4’s rear panel, and plug the AC adapter itself into a source of AC power. Use only the AC adapter supplied with the D4;...

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    3. Trigger D4 notes via MIDI or acoustic triggers. Different MIDI notes (within the range of 36-96) or triggers should trigger different drum sounds. 4. Turn the Data wheel clockwise to select higher-numbered drum kits or counterclockwise to select lower-numbered drum kits. Each click calls up a Drum Set.

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    If you don’t hear anything, and you’re tapping the button with sufficient force, check your audio connections and volume levels for your monitoring system and D4. 3. To audition other drum sounds within the selected Bank, check that the cursor is under the drum number.

  • Page 10: Basics And Definitions

    1.3 BASICS AND DEFINITIONS 1.3A The Voice Each time the D4 receives a MIDI or acoustic trigger, it plays a voice. A voice is a sound-generating element with several variable parameters: Drum sound, tuning, volume, output assignment (the voice’s audio output can go to either one of two sets of stereo outputs), panning (the voice’s audio output can be positioned at any of the...

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    The D4 includes several default settings. Example: If you want to save a Drum Set, the D4 will default to saving it to its existing memory slot. However, if desired you can save to another location in memory.

  • Page 12: About The User Interface

    (any trigger may be assigned any note number within the 61 note window) MIDI IN DATA Programmable Drumset Rootnote 1.4 ABOUT THE USER INTERFACE The D4 is very easy to edit. The various buttons are organized as follows. Volume Data Wheel Headphone Jack Display External Triggers...

  • Page 13: A Function Buttons

    Group Determines how a drum sound (or group of drum sounds) will respond to successive series of triggers. MIDI Edits D4 MIDI parameters. 1.4B Cursor Buttons Upon selecting a function, the LCD will show one or more editable parameters. A cursor (underline) will appear under whichever parameter is ready to be edited.

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    After selecting the parameter to be edited, use the Data wheel to vary its value. Once a Drum Set has been edited, a period appears in the display after the Drum Set number. Example: This Drum Set has not been edited. This Drum Set has been edited.

  • Page 15: Selecting Drum Sets, Storing/naming An Edited Drum Set

    CHAPTER 2: DRUM SET MANAGEMENT In most cases, you will call up a particular Drum Set when you want to use the D4. Drum Sets can be selected, named, edited, and saved (stored). 2.0 SELECTING DRUM SETS 1. Press the Drum Set function button; its LED will light. The LCD will show a Drum Set number on the upper line and the Drum Set’s name on the lower line (similar...

  • Page 16: Recalling Factory Drum Sets

    Store button again. The LCD will briefly show DRUMSET STORED to confirm that it has been stored. The Store LED will then go out and the D4 will return to the mode it was in prior to the Store button being pressed.

  • Page 18: Note Chase/drum Note Selection, Voice, Tune, Output

    MIDI note. This will only happen if the sending device is on the same MIDI channel as the D4 and if the sending note is within the note range of the currently selected drum kit. Also, whenever the D4 receives a signal to play one of its sounds (via either trigger or MIDI input) the Note Chase LED will flash.

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    To change the Volume, place the cursor under the Vol value and turn the Data wheel. Values are variable from 00 to 99. The D4 has two pairs of stereo outputs. Drum sounds can be assigned to either pair of outputs as described in section 3.4, and placed anywhere within the stereo field of the assigned outputs via the pan function.

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    D4. Otherwise, some of the sound from one drum will leak into the other output. Separate Percussion/Drum Outputs: Standard drum kit sounds can be spread in stereo and assigned to the main outputs, with percussion sounds spread in stereo and assigned to the Aux outputs.

  • Page 21: Ext Trig, Group Button

    The D4 can play up to 16 voices at a time, so it’s possible to run out of voices if you play a flurry of notes and have lots of drum sounds assigned to Multi mode. If 16 sounds are playing and you ask the D4 to play another one, the sound that’s closest...

  • Page 22: Midi Button, Copying A Note's Parameters To Another Note, Drum Set Root Note

    problem, try assigning all the toms to a group so that they only use up one voice at a time. 3.8 MIDI BUTTON Press MIDI, and the LCD shows the root note for the selected drumset on the bottom line. Example: MIDI options are spread over five different screen displays, which are described in detail in Chaper 4.

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    This sets the lowest note in the “window” of 61 consecutive MIDI notes, from MIDI note number 36 to 96, to which the D4 will respond; when the root note is altered, all drum note and trigger assignments move in parallel. Example: If the root note is changed from 36 to 35, then all notes will be triggered by a note one value lower than the existing assignment—e.g., what was triggered by note 96...

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    2. Turn the Data wheel to select the desired Drum Set root note.

  • Page 25: Midi Channel Selection, Midi Thru/out Selection, Program Change Enable

    When on, this function passes data appearing at the MIDI In to the MIDI Out/Thru jack as well as to the D4’s internal circuitry. This input data is merged with any data being generated by the D4. Example: If the D4 is being used for trigger-to-MIDI conversion and Thru is on, the notes generated by the triggers will be merged with the data appearing at the MIDI In jack.

  • Page 26: Controller Enable, Program Change Table

    2. Make sure the cursor is under the Program Change status. 3. Use the Data wheel to select a status of On (the D4 selects Drum Sets when it receives Program Change commands) or Off (the D4 ignores Program Change commands).

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    Non-Registered Parameter LSB (0-127) This works similarly to controller 98 but the controller value selects the Least Significant Byte of the parameter to be controlled. Reset All Controllers (0) Any value sent for this controller resets volume to maximum, pitch bend to zero, and restores all non-registered parameters to their default values.

  • Page 28: Save Data Via Midi

    The D4 converts its program data into a special type of MIDI data, called System Exclusive or sys ex data, that can be sent over MIDI. This data can go to another D4 or to a MIDI system exclusive storage device, such as the Alesis DataDisk, a computer running System Exclusive storage software, or a musical instrument capable of recording System Exclusive data.

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    System Exclusive file name to prevent possible confusion. To back up: 1. Connect the D4’s MIDI Out to the MIDI In of the other D4 or system exclusive storage device, such as the DataDisk. 2. Select the fifth MIDI page, Sysex Backup. With the Sysex Backup page selected, the Store LED will light.

  • Page 30: Receive Data From Another Midi Device

    The D4 will automatically load D4 system exclusive data present at its MIDI In. Therefore, there is no associated function since reception can occur at any time that a sys ex storage device or another D4 sends data through its MIDI Out into the D4’s MIDI In.

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    External triggering has three main uses: • Driving D4 sounds from electronic drum pads. Some electronic drum pads provide MIDI triggers when hit; these can feed directly into the D4’s MIDI input. Other pads generate analog triggers, which can interface with the trigger inputs. •...

  • Page 32: About Trigger Parameters

    (or drum) will trigger from stand or head vibrations. This is how it works: First, you strike a pad and the D4 triggers its sound. Shortly after this hit the D4 receives a secondary, "softer" signal from a nearby pad. Before the D4 will play this softer signal, it will scan the other inputs to determine whether this was a legitimate hit, or simply a vibration from a stand or head.

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    This chart represents three signals which are "seen" by the D4. Signal 1 is a legitimate hit from the snare pad. Signal 2 is the Tom 1 pad, but it is not a hit. It is the pad being triggered by stand vibrations from the first snare hit. Signal 3 is a second "real"...

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    DCAY time threshold is adjusted too low, the DCAY level curves off too soon allowing a second point, during the signal's decay, to exceed the threshold. Once this happens the D4 will trigger the sound. On the other hand, this chart shows the same hit but with the DCAY parameter set at a higher value.

  • Page 35: Trigger Selection

    Note: The NOISE parameter in the D4 is similar to XTALK in that the level you set determines whether the trigger will fire on "softer" signals. But there is a difference.

  • Page 36: Trigger Note Selection, Trigger Velocity Selection

    For example, a hard hitting player might have a difficult time in playing the softer velocity sounds available in the D4 due to the high impact of most of his hits. Using a lower VCURVE setting (1 - 3) would require a much harder strike to generate a full MIDI velocity of 127, and make it much easier to obtain the more "subtle"...

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    NOISE floor setting would be selected to reject the high level of ambient noise and vibration. In certain cases with crosstalk and noise floor settings too high, softer hits might become rejected because the D4 assumes that they are noise.

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    Unassigned mode. 5. Now when the D4 receives a signal (from the tom 1 pad) which was generated by the string pop from the bass, not only will it compare this signal to the other drum pads, it will also compare it to the bass.

  • Page 39: Trigger Parameter Selection

    5.3 TRIGGER PARAMETER SELECTION To compensate for differences in transducer outputs, the crosstalk, decay time, and noise floor level for each trigger can be set independently. These are Global settings that apply to all Drum Sets. 1. The second Ext Trig page shows four parameters. Example: As with the other screens, the cursor buttons move between the three parameters.

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    3. Place the cursor under the XTALK parameter. While you hit the snare pad (triggering the tom pad) gradually raise the crosstalk level of the tom 1 pad. 4. Continue to raise the level until the tom pad stops triggering when you apply hard hits to the snare pad.

  • Page 41: Trigger Gain Selection

    "tracking" of your play. For more detailed tips and suggestions in these areas please refer to Tips On External Triggering From Acoustic Drums, included in the D4 literature package. 5.6 TRIGGER NOISE LEVEL SELECTION When in a high noise floor level situation such as playing live on a stage with bass cabinets nearby, it may be necessary to adjust the NOISE parameter level.

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    Remember : In keeping potential problems to a minimum, it is always a good idea to try to keep some distance between your pad or drum kit, and nearby speaker cabinets (especially bass cabinets). Whenever possible, try to aim them so they are not facing directly towards your set up.

  • Page 43: Footswitch Mode

    You can use either a normally closed or normally open momentary contact footswitch. Plug it in to the rear panel footswitch jack before powering up the D4; on power up, it will automatically sense the footswitch polarity and calibrate itself accordingly.

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    This is a feature for hardcore drummers. It’s a little complicated, but hang in there— the D4 finally gives you a way to get truly realistic hi hat effects with electronic drums. An acoustic hi hat produces three main types of sound: •...

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    Striking the pad while the footswitch is held down plays the closed hi hat sound.

  • Page 46: Midi Supplement, Midi Basics, Midi Hardware

    CHAPTER 6: MIDI SUPPLEMENT (This chapter is an abridged version of material from Power Sequencing with Master Tracks Pro/Pro 4 and The Complete Guide to the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8, copyright 1990 and 1989 respectively by AMSCO Publications, and is adapted with permission.)

  • Page 47: Midi Message Basics, Channel Messages

    An optional MIDI Thru jack provides a duplicate of the signal at the MIDI In jack. This is handy if you want to route MIDI data appearing at one device to another device as well. Some devices, like the D4, switch their MIDI Out between the Out and Thru functions.

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    Pitch Bend This “bends” a note from its standard pitch. Continuous Controller Footpedals, breath controllers, and modulation wheels can vary sounds as you play, thus adding expressiveness. MIDI allows for 64 continuous controllers (these act like potentiometers in that you can choose one of many different values) and 58 continuous/switch controllers (these can act like continuous controllers but some are assumed to choose between two possible states, such as on/off).

  • Page 49: System Common Messages

    The D4 implements two different MIDI modes. Omni On/Poly (Mode 1) The D4 responds to MIDI data occuring on any channel. Omni Off/Poly (Mode 3) The D4 is tuned to a single MIDI channel, from 1 to 16. 6.4 SYSTEM COMMON MESSAGES Intended for all units in a system, some of these messages are: Song Position Pointer This indicates how many “MIDI beats”...

  • Page 50: Books On Midi, Videos On Midi

    MIDI in Spanish, suitable for beginners and/or advanced users. 6.6 VIDEOS ON MIDI The Basics Of MIDI featuring Craig Anderton with Steve Smythe; Alesis Publishing. An overview of the concepts and applications of the MIDI interface. Available through Alesis Command Performance Accessory Collection.

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