Drum maps - Roland D20 to Groove Agent

I’m learning to use drum maps and it is not making sense to me. I’m using a Roland D20 to trigger Groove Agent inside Cubase. I imported the Drum map from the VSTi instance. I was unable to edit that imported map, so I saved it under a new name and now I can edit the new copy.

Mostly the mapping is good so I need just a few changes. Kick Drum on my D20 is sending C2/36 to Cubase.
It seems that in all cases Cubase is reading all midi notes one octave lower than what is sent from my D20. GrooveAgent and the drum map is mapping the Kick to C1 for pitch, I-note, O-note, and Display. When I play my kick on C2 the sound is correctly triggering C1. Why is this mapping not 1:1? If my D20 sends C2 why is C1 being triggered?

I’m trying to remap the toms because the imported drum map is not correct for my D20. My Tom1 is playing Tom2 not Tom1. My tom5 has no sound. So, I simply need to shift all the toms to the correct notes using the drum map. This is confusing because my notes played are being transposed. It is difficult to make this correction because of this translation. If I try and change I-note or O-note, it is getting very confusing. I tried shifting my drum map I-note or my O-note an octave, but I keep getting unexpected mapping. Where am I going wrong?

Welcome to the wonderful world of competing standards! :crazy_face:

Roland (and others) name their octaves differently than Yamaha, Cubase and others.

The midi standard for GM/GS compatible drum mapping specifies midi note numbers, so there’s a good chance that a basic kick drum will have the same midi note number in many different pieces of hardware and software (and your drum map shows that).

However, Roland and Yamaha have always differed in how they name the octaves (different by an octave). So what Roland calls a C2, Yamaha and Cubase call a C1. But behind the scenes it’s the same midi note number.

To map your Toms, adjust what you see on your Roland kit by an octave and use the Yamaha/Cubase convention in the I-Note column of the drum map editor.

Once you get used to it, it becomes pretty easy, but it sure is confusing until you realize what’s happening!

If you’re curious there’s numerous write-ups online: roland vs yamaha middle c - Google Search

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Thanks! So, what is the best strategy for setting the D20 output note once and forever, and then have the best compatibility for correct mapping into various VSTi and various patches? Is it best to create drum maps to do this or is it nearly impossible to have good compatibility when simply changing patches?
In the drum maps what does “pitch” actually mean? Is it the incoming midi note or the note of the sample being triggered? There must be a solid reference point that does not change and then all parameters are relative to that fixed point. What is the fixed point? Thanks so much Nico5!

Unfortunately there’s no guaranteed “set and forget”, since mappings may be different in different software drum kits. And software kits can easily have way more drum instruments than your physical drum kit. A software kit can also just be different than your physical kit. It may have 6 toms and only 2 cymbals - or 6 toms and 6 cymbals. Or 2 toms and 6 cymbals.

The best strategy is outlined in the manual: Importing Drum Maps from Virtual Instruments

  • First generate the drum map from the virtual instrument,
  • then decide and map what piece of your D20 kit should activate each sound (while watching out for the octave difference)
    • for most Groove Agent acoustic kits the mapping should be pretty good to start with
    • for various electronica drum sounds, it’s up to you which one’s get triggered by a “cymbal” or by a “tom” or by whatever on your physical kit.
      • if a software kit has 2 kicks, but your D20 has only one, you may want to map the second kit to a low tom, etc, etc.

If I remember it right, you can have Groove Agent to automatically use Drum Maps, so once you have mapped a Groove Agent Kit, it will remember that for the future. But I haven’t done that in much detail, so you may want to also check the Groove Agent manual for drum map related info.

Thanks. I backed into the solution by recording some drum hits on all instruments so I can verify the Roland to Yamaha mapping. Then I noticed that the Phillips and Minniman kits all share the same midi notes for Kick, Snare and Toms. So I remapped the D20 to match them. Problem solved. I also learned that MIDI mapping is not global on the D20. I had to change the few kits I normally use on the D20. I’m all set now. This was all frustrating but it will only hurt once. Thanks again Nico5!

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