Combining A TR-8 + Ableton’s Crush/Delay For “Live” Drumming Effects

Today we’re releasing two more videos from Ean’s series on using the Roland AIRA TR-8 alongside Ableton Live in a live performance setup. The first video focuses on using delay on hi-hats for a fresh live drumming feel, while the second shows how just a bit of bit crushing can make rides sound really cool. All of the effects are MIDI-mapped, turning the TR-8 drum machine into a powerful live instrument!

Performance Drums + Effects: Making A TR-8 Hi-Hat Sound Like A Live Drummer

In this video, Ean shows off how just adding a few basic effects to the hi-hat coming out of a Roland AIRA TR-8 can quickly make it sound more like a live drummer. Here’s some of the basic steps that he goes over in the video:

  • Add a Ping Pong delay to the hi-hat channel
  • Map the wet/dry knob in Ableton to the Decay knob on the TR-8, selecting a range that works well without getting excessive
  • Play with the delay time to get a unique swing sound
  • Add an Overdrive effect to the effects chain – mapping the frequency range to the decay.
  • Add a basic EQ Eight to the chain and map a low-end and high-end pass to the decay knob – narrowing down the sounds that come through the mix. Use the spectrograph to find any other frequencies that need to get removed.

Adding Crush+ Delay To A 909 Ride Cymbal

Similarly in this video, Ean creates a unique-sounding performance effect just by adding a few effects to the audio chain that are mapped to the decay knob of the 909 ride cymbal sound on the AIRA TR-8.

  • Add a Crush effect to the effects chain, playing with the frequency to determine a good-sounding range of frequencies to apply it to.
  • MIDI-map the frequency knob on the effect to the Decay knob on the Roland TR-8
  • Add a Delay effect to the chain, after the Bitcrusher. Map the decay knob to feedback for all three inputs, and volume for the left and right inputs.
  • As with the first video, add an EQ Eight to take out some of the harsher frequencies that develop when layering additive effects.

Gear Used In This Video

Stay tuned to DJTT in the coming weeks for Ean’s performance using all of the techniques from this entire series. 

ableton livedelayhi-hatRazerRoland AIRA TR-8
Comments (10)
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  • Schrodinger

    Which “crush” effect is used? I don’t find it in Live…

    • lucaformisano

      me too…

  • user1

    i got it ean, although you love apple products, you’re still not getting anything from them, razer blade people knew how influencial you are in the dj world that’s why they hire you. this and the previous videos are not about tr-8 or ableton but it was about razer blade as the main gear.

  • John Viera

    What song is at :35 seconds in?

    • maybe

      Ean’s own, I believe — One Take Track?

    • Ean Golden

      Hey John,

      That is a new song we are working on and will be publishing in a few weeks. It’s going to be a one take track just like the others posted on my facebook page

  • Unreallystic

    Really like the hi-hat video. I recently purchased a MX-1 & a TR-8, and the one thing that irks me (well two) are setting up both to play nice and the sound quality having to be at 96 instead of 48 like most things. I’m going to see how hard it is to do something like this using MIDI through the MX-1. I’ve currently got it set so that the TR-8 outputs to a single channel through the MX-1, so I my confidence is kind of low.

    • Tim Maughan

      Not tried this (not got an MX-1) but would it be possible to route TR-8 sounds to individual outs, when these into the MX-1, then use that to route them into Live and then out again, using the MX-1 in external mode?

      • Unreallystic

        No. That’s the problem with the TR-8, its one line out (can be split up into two via left/right) unless you do it digitally (how Ean is doing it in the video). that creates two issues though, if run directly into say Ableton, it has to function as the audio interface, notice that Ean doesn’t really have anything else tied in while doing the videos. With Mac, you can make aggregate devices, but its a work around. The other issue as I mentioned is the 96khz sampling rate that you are forced to, it can be stressful depending on your setup. with the MX-1, you can lower the sample rate to 44.1 or 48khz, but then the TR-8 gets reduced to a single stereo input that you “can’t” do what Ean is showing in the video (I tried last night, I knew it wouldn’t work, but it can’t hurt right?

        I’m actually looking into grabbing a couple other drum machines, namely the Volca Beats and the Akai Tom Cat, so that I at least have 3 different things I can do what Ean is showing in the video, I’ll just rotate between which machine/who is giving me the BD, Snare/Hits, and ‘Percussion’. Roland really dropped the ball with the DAW integration, the gear itself is LOVELY, but without at having at least ‘grouped’ outputs, you have to ‘choose’, which kind of stabs at doing a live performance with software integration.

        And don’t get me wrong, you can, set the MX-1 as the master and route everything through it, but if you want to throw any effects that aren’t on the MX-1 against the TR-8, you just don’t have control.

        • Tim Maughan

          Ah, yeah. Gotcha. What I was thinking was routing *some* of the TR-8 sounds through the 4 analog outs and then in to the MX-1 and then back in to Live that way, but yeah – it’d be a work around just for a few sounds.