Thank you for checking out AD2 Suite! In this guide you’ll find all the information you may need to use AD2 Suite, whether it’s for basic use or for customization and better understanding of internal MIDI and audio handling. On the bottom of each chapter that covers a device, there is a paragraph in which is explained what’s inside the device that makes it work the way it does.
AD2 Suite is basically a toolbox that allows you to interact with Addictive Drums 2 in a different and more convenient way. Use Push to insert or record notes into the Drum Rack sequencer with a clear overview of all the kit pieces. Instead of setting velocity values manually in MIDI clips the old fashioned way, use simple Macros to control the velocity values that are sent into Addictive Drums 2 in real time, or through automation. To add extra liveliness to the drums, you can let the Ghost Note Generator generate ghost notes for you.
To start using AD2 Suite, first make sure Live 10 and Addictive Drums 2 are installed correctly. The plug-in format that is used for Addictive Drums 2 is VST, so make sure VST’s are detectable by Live.
Only the Ghost Note Generator uses a Max for Live device: LFO MIDI. This plug-in comes free with Live Suite in the Max for Live Essentials pack. The plug-in is however attached in the project folder, so you don’t necessarily need to download the mentioned pack.
It is recommended to place the AD2 Suite project into a folder that is visible in your Browser under Places. From here you can easily access the project file, unfold it, and import the entire Drum Rack channel with AD2 Suite into your existing project. There are three presets you can choose from:
- Pre Fader preset – This preset disregards the internal mixer of Addictive Drums 2. The loudness of the channels is determined by the faders in Live alone. This causes the native drumkit presets to sound slightly different from the previews inside Addictive Drums 2.
- Post Fader preset – The internal mixer of Addictive Drums 2 is still in use, causing the presets to sound identical to the previews inside Addictive Drums 2. You can determine the final balance of the sounds with Live’s mixer.
- 2ch preset – All separate outputs have been disabled, and all sound comes out of one stereo channel in Live. All mixing must be done internally in Addictive Drums 2.
Presets of AD2 Suite.
The Addictive Drums 2 plug-in inside the Drum Rack has no kit loaded in by default. In fact, all kit pieces and parameters have been reset, making it possible for you to build up and configure a kit from scratch, or pick a kit to your liking. As soon as you’ve loaded in a kit, you’re ready to start playing.
Make sure that the MIDI mapping inside Addictive Drums 2 is always set to “AD2 Standard” for AD2 Suite to work as intended.
To access the Map Window of Addictive Drums 2, open the plug-in and click the “?” in the top right corner of the plug-in window. Then, select “Map Window”. On the top left you can check if the Map Preset is set to AD2 Standard.
Addictive Drums 2’s Map Window.
AD2 Push Layout device
To access the Addictive Drums 2 plug-in, click on the Kick pad inside Drum Rack.
The AD2 – Kick pad contains the Addictive Drums 2 plug-in.
While in the Step Sequencer mode on Push, the bottom left 16 pads offer a collection of the main kit pieces so you can easily build the main beat. Switch to the 64 Pads mode to get access to all the other drum hits that Addictive Drums 2 has to offer.
In the images below you can see what each pad and color represents.
The Loop Selector mode with the step sequencer and 16 pads for the main kit pieces.
64 Pads mode with all additional drum hits.
Working without Push
If you do not own a Push, that doesn’t mean you can not use AD2 Suite. Everything works like a normal Drum Rack. Once you create an empty MIDI clip, you will see a long list of all available sounds and you can draw, or record notes using any other MIDI controller.
What happens inside
Both Drum Rack and Addictive Drums 2 have their own MIDI mappings, so there had to be done some re-routing of MIDI notes to get a sensible and easy to understand layout on Push. This is what happens in the I-O settings, which can be accessed once the Chain List is visible. From here you can see which note is played, and to which note it is redirected to trigger the right corresponding kit piece.
To further explain this process, here is an example: the Snare pad in Drum Rack – next to the kick – is triggered by C#1. The main snare inside Addictive Drums 2 however responds to D1, so C#1 has to be converted to D1. Each pad other than the Kick’s (the Addictive Drums 2 plug-in is located on the C1 pad), houses an “External Instrument” instance so that the MIDI output of the Chains is routed back into the Addictive Drums 2 plug-in.
In the Map Window of Addictive Drums 2, on the right side you can see exactly which kit piece responds to which MIDI note.
MIDI routing inside the Snare Chain.
Ride and cymbal Choke notes
By default, Addictive Drums 2 has separate choke MIDI notes for each cymbal (6) and ride (2). To make things more compact and easy to use, one single pad is routed to all cymbal choke notes. The same applies for all ride chokes.
Pressing a choke pad however sends out only one MIDI note at a time, therefor all the choke Chains have Arpeggiators on them with random a-musical timings. These Arpeggiators trigger all choke notes many times within a few milliseconds to make sure all Chokes are actually triggered inside Addictive Drums 2.
All cymbal, ride and choke routing happens inside the Overhead Chain.
Routing inside the Overhead Chain, showing Arpeggiators on the Choke Chains.
AD2 Intensity Control device
Each of the 8 macro knobs in this MIDI Effect Rack control the Drive parameters of Ableton’s Velocity MIDI effect. Intensity Control houses 8 of these Velocity MIDI effects. Each of the instances have the “Drive” knob mapped to the different kit pieces. You can automate these knobs like any other, or map them to physical knobs on a MIDI controller.
What happens inside
Once the “Show Devices” button is turned on, one Velocity effect and another MIDI Effect Rack are revealed. The Velocity’s Drive parameter has been mapped to the Main Intensity Macro knob, enabling you to increase or decrease incoming velocity values for all incoming MIDI notes at once. This provides control over the intensity of the entire drum kit.
Intensity Control with devices shown.
The Intensity Key Map MIDI Effect Rack houses a lot of Chains, sometimes even multiple Chains for the same kit piece. For example: there are 5 Chains for just the Flexis. This is because the notes that trigger the Flexis are spread out over the Piano Roll. Because you can not split a key mapping Zone, multiple Chains and Zones had to be created in order to group all of the Flexis together. Each Flexi Chain houses one Velocity effect of which the Drive parameter is mapped to the Flexis Macro knob in the Intensity Key Map. The same Macro knob is then mapped to its parent Flexis Macro.
This process is repeated for all the other kit pieces.
Intensity Control Key Map.
AD2 Random Control device
Since this device is almost an exact copy of the AD2 Intensity Control, there isn’t much explaining to be done. The only real difference is that each Macro Knob is mapped to its related Velocity Random parameter, instead of the Drive parameter.
The velocity value is randomized within the margin determined by the Macro. For example: if the input velocity is 60, and the Macro is set to 10, the output value for each individual note is a random number between 50 and 70. This results in a more dynamic drum sound as a larger variety of samples with different intensities are triggered in Addictive Drums 2.
AD2 Ghost Note Generator device
By default the Ghost Note Generator does not generate any ghost notes. This is because the Max Velocity outputs have been set to 0. Increasing these values will determine what the highest possible velocity value will be for generated ghost notes, thus controlling the intensity of the added notes at the same time. Use the Velo Random Macros to get a variety of velocity values for the ghost notes, resulting in a more dynamic intensity.
Ghost Note Generator.
There are two factors at play which determine what MIDI notes are allowed to generate ghost notes.
- The first factor is the length of the initial MIDI notes. If an initial note is long enough so that multiple 1/16, 1/24 or 1/32 notes fit in its length, it will enable ghost notes to be generated for the duration of the initial note. For example, an initial note with the length of 1/4 has room for 4 1/16, 6 1/24 or 8 1/32 notes. Which division is generated is random.
- The second factor is whether the kit pieces and division Chains are activated or not. This can be done in the Chain List, right of the Macro Knobs. Kit pieces that are not in the list are not able to generate ghost notes.
The LFO Rate and Chance Increase Macros may have some influence on how frequently ghost notes are generated. Changing the default values will in no way decrease the chance of ghost notes being generated. To understand more on what happens, read on below.
What happens inside
The Max for Live LFO MIDI device is what is causing the randomness. It is located in the Dry Chain. The LFO modulates the Chain Selector at an a-musical rate while set to Hertz. As the Chain Selector scrolls by, it generates 16th ghost notes all across at varying velocity values, while generating 24th and 32nd notes more rarely.
Turning the LFO Rate Macro will result in the Chain Selector moving slower or faster, possibly giving different results. The Chance Increase Macro is mapped to the LFO’s Depth parameter. Turning the Macro narrows down the range of the Chain Selector, increasing the chance to generate 24th and 32nd notes for all enabled kit pieces.
The Max for Live LFO MIDI modulates the Chain Selector.
Inside the chains
All Chains but the Dry Chain contain an Arpeggiator with the Rate matching the Chain’s name. Whenever the Chain Selector scrolls by a Chain’s Zone, it are these arpeggiators that generate the ghost notes. Behind each Arpeggiator is a Velocity MIDI effect, of which the Out Hi knobs are mapped their respective Max Velocity Macro knobs. The same applies to the Velocities’ Random knobs.
Each Chain contains an Arpeggiator and Velocity effect.
Using and forwarding send / return channels
The Push Layout device contains 3 internal send/return channels. No effects have been loaded into them yet. You can either choose to keep them to work internally and use effects for the drumkit alone, or you can forward the audio signal to the project’s main return channels. To do this, with the Chain List open, click on the I-O icon. Open the Return channels with the R icon. Now that the Return channels are in view, with the output menu on the right you can select to which Return channel you’d like to forward the signal.
If you need more or less Return channels, it is safe to add or delete them. It won’t affect anything or require any additional setup.
Return channel routing inside the Push Layout device.
LFO MIDI workaround
If you do not own Max for Live, this means that the Chain Selector inside the Ghost Note Generator is not modulated as the LFO MIDI device is disabled. To counter this, modulation will have to be hand drawn inside an existing MIDI clip. To do this, follow these steps:
- Open the Envelopes Box in the Clip Editor. In the Device Chooser menu, select AD2 Ghost Note Generator. In the Control Chooser, go for the Chain Selector, which is listed at the bottom.
The Envelopes Box in the Clip Editor.
- Next, unlink the Envelope from the MIDI clip and set the duration of the envelope to an a-musical length.
- Finally, draw the Envelope in a sawtooth fashion. Start at the minimum, and end at the maximum.
Unlinked envelope in the MIDI clip with an a-musical length. The line starts at 0, and ends at 127.
The Chain Selector now has a red dote next to it, showing that it is now automated. Once you trigger the clip, the Ghost Note Generator will now generate ghost notes as intended.
When the Chain Selector is automated correctly inside a MIDI clip, the result should be similar to the animation above.
Because the LFO Rate and Chance Increase Macro Knobs are mapped to the LFO’s Rate and Depth parameters, these two Macros have no effect on the MIDI signal without the Max for Live LFO MIDI.
- For GNG: rearranged the Chain List.
- For the main Mixer in the Session View: all levels are now defaulted to 0dB.
- For GNG: added Kick Chains for each division.
- For GNG: divided 1/16 (All) Chain into separate chains for similar functionality to the 1/24 and 1/32 chains.
- Updated the online manual’s Ghost Note Generator chapter in regard to the new features.
- Fixed some bugs in GNG.
- Instead of 1 single Drum Rack channel, the AD2 Suite project now contains 3 channels/presets for AD2 Suite. One with all channels set to Pre-Fader outputs, one with Post-Fader outputs, and one Stereo channel preset.
- Updated the online manual’s installation chapter in regard to the new presets.
- Minor audio routing bug fixes.