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 customisation 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 come up with ghost notes for you.
To start using AD2 Suite, unpack the .alp file somewhere in your User Library, or in one of your custom folders in Live’s Browser. 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.
- 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.amxd. This plug-in comes free with Live Suite in the Max for Live Essentials pack. The plug-in is attached in the project folder however, so you don’t have to download the mentioned pack.
The AD2 Suite project folder contains two project files, one for users who own Max for Live, and one for the users who do not. In each of the project files are three presets to 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.
Project folder and 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, enabling 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.
Every now and then SoundSuite’s devices receive updates.
To check if you’re still on the latest version, right click AD2 Suite’s project folder and click Show in Finder/Explorer.
Once the folder is revealed, double click the www-Check For Updates.url file.
Right click the project folder to reveal URL files in the Finder.
To ensure that all of AD2 Suite’s devices will work correctly, keep the map preset set to “unknown”. This map preset corresponds with the MIDI mapping of all other devices, so that means that if you want to change the mapping of the Drum Rack, you’ll have to change it for all the other devices as well.
If the default map preset does not fit your taste, there is a video on YouTube where I explain how AD2 Suite works and how to make your own Drum Rack preset for Addictive Drums 2.
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”.
Addictive Drums 2’s Map Window.
Info View and Macros
Hover over any of AD2 Suite’s Macros to reveal information about their usage in Live’s Info View.
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
By default Addictive Drums 2 has its own MIDI mapping preset called “AD2 Standard”. In order for the MIDI patterns from the Beats section inside Addictive Drums 2 to be imported correctly, a custom MIDI mapping preset had to be made that corresponds with the routing inside the Drum Rack. 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. This means that inside Addictive Drums 2’s Map Window a snare trigger has to be assigned to C#1 as well, and this step has to be repeated for each single Drum Rack pad/chain. Each pad (with the exception of the Kick/C1 pad, as the Addictive Drums 2 plug-in is located on this pad/chain), houses an “External Instrument” instance so that the MIDI output of the Chains can be 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, two Velocity effects and another MIDI Effect Rack are revealed.
- Floor/Ceiling – The purpose of this device is to raise the minimum of all incoming velocity values to 7, and lower the maximum to 120. The reason for this is that the Drive parameter only increases or decreases the velocity values when those values are not near to 0 or 127.
- Main Intensity – The 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, even if MIDI clips contain notes with velocity values close to 0 or 127, thank to the Floor/Ceiling device.
Intensity Control with devices shown.
Intensity Key Map
The Intensity Key Map MIDI Effect Rack houses seven Chains. On each chain (except the Kick) is another MIDI Effect Rack named MIDI Notes Filter, that filters out all notes that do not correspond with the kit piece at hand.
For this part, the Flexis chain is used as an example:
There are 5 Chains inside the MIDI Notes Filter (Flexis) device. This is because the notes that trigger the Flexis are spread out over the Piano Roll, due to how the notes were mapped in Drum Rack. 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 notes together, so that the output will only contain the notes of the Flexis. There are no devices inside the MIDI Notes Filter (Flexis) device.
The remaining MIDI notes will pass through the Flexis Velocity device of which the Drive parameter is mapped to the Flexis Macro knob of the Intensity Key Map Rack device. That same Macro 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 an exact copy of the AD2 Intensity Control (with the exception of the Floor/Ceiling Velocity effect), 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 Velo(city) Macro’s 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. The velocity values for the ghost notes will automatically be randomised slightly for a more realistic sound.
As 1/24 and 1/32 ghost notes are more scarcely generated by default, opening this Macro will increase the chance that these divisions are generated.
As the GNG generates its ghost notes using arpeggiators, a possible negative side effect is that you get a string of ghost notes, all playing in sequence. Disperse gets rid of this effect as every generated ghost note will go through a chance-based selector. The further you open the Macro, the more ghost notes will be dispersed.
This Macro randomises what kit pieces are triggered by generated ghost notes, thus inducing some form of chaos.
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.
What happens inside
The Max for Live LFO MIDI device is what is causing the randomness. It is located in the Main Feed Chain, at the bottom of the list. The LFO modulates the Chain Selector at an a-musical rate, set to 0.64 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.
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 LFO’s Rate also increases slightly as the Chance Increase Macro is turned clockwise.
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 are three Velocity MIDI effects:
- Velocity Randomizer: sets the velocity value for all generated ghost notes to 64, and then fully randomises it between 0-127.
- Velocity Disperser: only lets through MIDI notes with a velocity value that falls within the allowed range.
- Velocity Max: determines the max output velocity value for the ghost notes, and slightly randomises the values for more realism.
This Macro is mapped to the Steps parameter of every Arpeggiator in GNG. The Distance parameter of the arpeggiators is set to +2 semitones. This means that for every generated ghost note (with the exception of the first ghost note), will be pitched up 2 semitones. The process re-triggers with every new initial MIDI note. Therefor, Displace (Chaos) has a stronger effect on long initial MIDI notes, especially 1/24 and 1/32 divisions, as they generate notes more frequently.
Each Chain contains a MIDI Notes Filter device (shown above), followed by an Arpeggiator and Velocity effects (shown below).
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. An example is present in the “Basic beat” clip in the presets labeled “Without Max for Live”. Here’s how to do the workaround yourself:
- 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 Chance Increase Macro is mapped to the LFO’s Rate and Depth parameters, this Macro will be disabled when Max for Live is not installed.
V1.5.2 (October 11, 2019)
- Reintroduced automation examples in every Basic Beat clip in the (without Max for Live) project.
- Optimized both Intensity Control and Random Control devices, resulting in a smaller number of total devices.
- Removed 4 scenes from both project files.
- Updated the online manual’s AD2 Intensity Control device chapter in regard to the new changes.
V1.5.1 (October 3, 2019)
- Repackaged download file format to Ableton Live Pack (.alp). The new file contains two project files serving as presets, the LFO MIDI.amxd file and URL files that lead to the online Manual, Changelog and Update Checker.
- Added info texts to all of AD2 Suite’s Macros. Hover over the Macros to read info about them in the Info View.
- Updated the online manual’s Installation chapter in regard to the new changes.
V1.5 (May 29, 2019)
- AD2 Suite now supports the Beats section inside the plug-in. When importing a MIDI pattern into Live, the mapping will be correct, unlike in previous versions. To achieve this, a custom MIDI mapping preset was added to the Addictive Drums 2 plug-in. When opening the Map Window in the plug-in, the name of the preset is displayed as “unknown”.
- The routing inside the AD2 Push Layout device has been changed to match the new MIDI mapping.
- Added one new Velocity effect to the AD2 Intensity Control device: “Floor/Ceiling”. For all incoming MIDI notes it raises the minimum velocity value to 7 and lowers the maximum value to 120. This ensures that the Drive parameters on the other Velocity devices WILL have an influence on all MIDI notes, while in previous versions this was not the case whenever notes had velocity values close to 0 or 127.
- Updated the online manual’s Installation, AD2 Push Layout device and AD2 Intensity Control device chapters in regard to the new changes.
V1.4 (February 28, 2019)
- For GNG, the Macros for Max Velocity and Random Velocity have been combined into one Macro for all three note divisions. The maximum random velocity for ghost notes is calibrated to 32 (above and below the maximum value).
- For GNG, The Chance Increase and LFO Rate Macro’s have been combined into one single Macro.
- For GNG, added new feature: Disperse. Opening the Disperse Macro’s will make generated ghost notes disperse across the duration of the initial MIDI note. It also makes it possible to use much longer MIDI notes. This way the ghost notes feel more impulsive, and less arpeggiated.
- For GNG, added a new feature: Displace (Chaos). Opening this Macro will add steps of +2 semitones in the arpeggiators that generate the ghost notes, resulting in unintentional kit pieces being triggered instead of the just the initial note’s corresponding kit piece.
- For GNG, reorganised and removed redundant devices in the primary Chains.
- In the project file without Max for Live, the Basic Beat clip now has the Chain Selector of the GNG automated by default to illustrate an example.
V1.3.1 (November 9, 2018)
- Added a second project file with presets for users who do not own Max for Live, as V1.3 wouldn’t load on Live Standard.
- Updated the online manual’s Installation chapter in regard to the new presets.
- Fixed a broken link in the attached Readme PDF.
V1.3 (April 8, 2018)
- For GNG: rearranged the Chain List.
- For the main Mixer in the Session View: all levels are now defaulted to 0dB.
V1.2 (March 29, 2018)
- 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.
V1.1 (March 20, 2018)
- 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.
V1.0 (March 1, 2018)