First let me ask if you might happen to have some sort of MPC style sampler plugin already.
Sorry, I’m not familiar with “Max”…is that an MPC style plugin?
Examples I can cite are things like Steinberg’s Groove Agent, AKAI’s MPC Essenetials (Often comes free with AKAI MIDI controllers that incorperate pads, like the MPK series), NI’s Battery etc. You might also have luck with one of the free plugins like Nasty Looper that use this instrument design concept. I haven’t spent much time hunting, but there’s bound to be several free or really inexpensive MPC style plugins out there if you’re not looking to lay out cash at the moment.
The nice thing about these sorts of samplers is that they are simple. Drag a sample onto a pad, and it’s ready to trigger via the corresponding MIDI event. Right off the bat, they usually play a clean and unaltered version of the sample…IF you need it, you can go deeper and add filters, dynamic envelopes, effect chains, multiple velocity layers, dynamic velocity curves etc.
Some of these types of plugins also have groove engines and pattern sequencers built in if you want to sync the thing with the host and manage a parallel ‘pattern sequencer’.
Out of the box, you probably won’t need this sequencing aspect though, as you can opt to simply make a stave and trigger the pads as needed. You’ll need to use whole notes tied together to keep the sample playing, as the sounds tend to stop playing when receiving a ‘note off’ event. It’s also typically possible with these sorts of samplers to make pads ‘one-shot’, which would remove the need to tie lots of whole notes together in the score to keep the sample playing.
This sort of plugin is great to have around for a number of reasons. It’s just dead easy to build custom percussion kits on the fly. How often do you need oddball special effects from the percussion section that aren’t in your current sample libraries? If you’re like me…it happens OFTEN. Lion’s roar…break drums…flushing toilets…rattling pie pans, crashing garbage can lids together…whatever sound effect(s) you need…just record it real quick using whatever device/audio app you like, and drag the resulting wav/aif onto an MPC pad…done.
You simply trigger the pads with a standard Dorico Stave, using a suitable Clef for the range of pads you want to trigger (or even a grand staff to cover the whole range). Again, if you’re not using some kind of one-shot mode, a note off event will stop the sound…so use lots of ‘ties’ to ‘hold the pad down’ until it’s done playing.
Next…Do you happen to have a registered version of Bidule? If so, let me know and I’ll go into detail. I personally use this quite often in lieu of an MPC style sampler, as it also allows me to actually sync full length audio tracks with Dorico as well. One can build very powerful and super interesting ‘instrument systems’ with this plugin! It can fudge missing features into any DAW you care to use it with. I’ve worked up my own little bidule group I call Dorico Tracker which lets me easily sync up audio files with Dorico, and even record things being played through the Dorico sound matrix. This is a pretty complex plugin in terms of what all it can do (MIDI and Audio routing, plugin hosting, sampling, sequencing, and more…it’s a realtime swiss army knife kind of plugin), and the learning curve can be pretty steep if you’re not well versed in low-level protocols of things MIDI/Audio. It’s not exactly free or cheap either. If you don’t have this, and it doesn’t seem interesting enough to ‘learn’ read on.
Finally, there are traditional sample players like HALion 6, Kontact, Mach 5, sforzando, etc.
These typically have ARP generators geared for runs and arpeggios instead of a dedicated ‘pattern sequencer’ that is more approriate for making ‘drum patterns/sequences’. Of course you can still make drum patterns with an arp engine…it’s just not as ‘simple’ for this particular job.
Oh, out of the titles I mentioned…sforzando/ARIA does NOT have any sort of built in ARP or Pattern Sequencer engine.
These are also geared to making instruments with a more traditional piano keyboard layout. They tend to have a little different workflow than building sounds for an MPC style sampler. They’ll usually have more advanced options for altering the sound with filters, lfo, etc, and probably even options to mix in various types of true synth routines (wavetable, granular, emulation of analogue circuitry, etc.) Of course you can also build very simple drum kits like with the MPC…but the whole feature-set of such a plugin is usually overkill for the kinds of things you’d want an MPC plugin for. If you need deep instruments with many layers, key-switches, and other truly advanced abilities, then these are the sorts of tools to build an instrument with.
Do you already have one of those plugins?
If not, you might have a look at the free sforzando player, as you can build sounds rather easily for it using a standard text editor. If you happen to own any Garritan libraries that use the ARIA player, these same sfz files will work in that as well. One can find most of the opcodes for building an sfz file here:
Various youtube videos exist demonstrating how to make simple sfz instruments (search for them).
There are also fourms where one can find help and support such as this one: