Groove agent 4 your own drum kit

I am a new groove agent 4 user and would like to know - can I make my own drum kit with existing drum sounds of groove agent 4 …
I know how to make drum kit with other samples ( waves) but can’t find how to make with groove agent its own sounds … :frowning:
Will appreciate for help …

as far as i know it’s not possible to mix and share sounds and create your own kit from the different GA4 acoustic drum presets unfortunately(if that’s what you mean)…
wish they add it on next updates

Thanks for answer…
I am very disappointed- can’t to make my own drums kit with existing sound of groove agent :frowning: why ?
That mean - I have to use just existing preset ? :frowning: … Not good :frowning:

Another thing - I can’t find any snare roll and crash cymbals revers drum sound in groove agent :frowning: … What kind of drums kit it is that haven’t roll articulation for snare ? …
Very very disappointed… :smiling_imp:


Hi there

I know that one can just drag. wav files from Explorer onto the pads and that works fine. I’ve only done this for one off hits but I would imagine one could build up a kit from scratch this way.

Best Regards


yes indeed GA4 is limited in some aspects…
i think it’s not possible to share sounds only between the acoustic drum kits…(please prove me wrong )) )
for snare rolls i managed to achieve similar(little mechanical ) by using the midi articulation feature inside GA4.
you can find it under: Edit-> midi fx there you have options to build your own articulations

The ‘Agent’ kits are somewhat fixed, however, you can mix and match them.

Method 1: (Great for CuBase Users)
Simply load different kits on a different MIDI channel. You can load up to 4 at a time. If you need more than 4, open a new instance of GA and keep building :slight_smile: If you need all of your DAW track data for an extended multi channel kit to live on the same track, CuBase users can take advantage of the track drum mapping features and Diamond Drum editor to build it all quickly and easily on the fly.

Method 2: (I’ve only needed to resort to this if I’m using a different Host than CuBase, I.E. Sibelius/Finale)
If you need the kits to be mapped out on a single channel as if they are a single kit you can ‘remap’ an Agent Kit.

So, you would first load the Agent Kits you want individual instruments from and put them on the same channel.
Next, you would remap pads to the keys or MPC pads/banks you’d like playing them.

To remap Agent instruments you’ll first click “User Hardware Control Mapping” icon at the bottom GA4’s virtual MPC pad.

At this point, you can right click pads in GA4 and map them to be ‘triggered by’ any MIDI Note Names/Numbers you like.

You can have more than one trigger note on a pad if you like.

If you want to add custom samples, then you’d build a new User kit in one of your 4 Kit slots, add the instruments you want, and map them accordingly. Just leave pads and/or trigger keys ‘Empty’ that are already in use by one of the other 3 kit slots.

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like ‘remapping’ the trigger notes, you can stack kits and ‘mute’ unwanted pads. In a parallel kit…place whatever sound you want on the same pad location and make sure it is NOT muted.

Method 3: (To base entirely new and customized instruments/kits off of an Agent’s sample set)
Finally, if you happen to be working from inside CuBase 8 Pro or later…you can also instant render any samples you want from a Groove Agent Kit, and then use those samples in your own User built kits. If you want the samples ‘dry’, retuned, etc… Then go ahead and build an Agent preset that has all the individual pieces sounding ‘exactly’ as you’d like your RAW sample.

Next, simply build a little sequence on a MIDI track in CuBase that makes GA play all the kit parts you want one at a time (at different velocities if needed).

Finally, instant render that track, then go in and slice it up to make your own kit using those samples.

Happy Sequencing!

May the music be with you…

Good workarounds . But dedicated functionality added by future update will be very welcome :wink:

Agreed…it’d be nice if there were a more obvious method to expand upon the Agent kits…or tear them down and use them in user designed configurations. However, I think the simplicity of the “Agent” engine kits, the addition of the easy to use ‘macro screens’, ‘style engine’, and having it all pre-tuned to work well together ‘as is’ may have been part of the mission. The ‘Agent Packs’ are meant for folks that need to just load it up, and use it to knock out projects quick and dirty…more so than ‘sound designers’ who want elements to ‘build their own stuff’ with. Locked down presets with some sort of DRM protection (for developers interests) can be marketed as expansion packs. They’re usually not very expensive, and are meant to be easy to use and service.

In having the kits ‘fixed’, it insures that the automatic ‘style engine’ will work and sound as intended. The user won’t change stuff, break the groove engine, then post support tickets to the effect of, “Why is the snare part missing from my groove? It was there before, but now it’s gone!”

Raw sample packs with zero DRM for developers protection do exist, but you rarely find them for the $20-$50 price tags of the GA4 consumer expansion packs. So…resampling bits from that $20 jazz kit on the rare occasion you need it might be worth the trouble, when compared to shelling out thousands for libraries of ‘raw samples’ and no ‘patch information’ to go with it. Not to mention the man hours involved in tuning up a kit so all the pieces sound good together. Oh the compromises :frowning:

Just ‘stacking kits’ on different channels, is probably the easiest thing to do…particularly if one uses CuBase. Tracks are super easy to give a ‘drum map’ right on the DAW track, so getting a kit to show up in the same track (or score stave), but broadcast MIDI notes coming in over different ‘channels’ is not a problem (and there are other methods to do it as well).

If scoring isn’t important…just use separate DAW tracks for each ‘kit’ and just use what you need…no big deal :slight_smile: If you find that you later need to merge all the kit elements into one track (I.E. to get it all on the same stave in a score)…you can ‘freeze’ them first, then merge them into a single track with channel set to ‘Any’, and it should work as long as it’s all talking to the same GA instance.

If your merged multi-channel ‘super kit’ kit has grown large enough to need more than one instance of Groove Agent, and you need it all to be driven by a single CuBase track…you’re still good for up to 16 channels.
The easiest method is to just use a track Drum Map which will let you assign any note on the track to any port and channel you like.

If you don’t want to mess with a drum map…you can simply set up an ‘AUX MIDI send’ to the next instance of Groove Agent. You get 4 of these MIDI sends, per track…so that would get you up to 16 kits using 4 Instances that you could drive from a ‘single track’.

Have a look at the Drum Diamond Editor, and the drum mapping options in CuBase. If ‘scoring’ is important, the drum mapping features of CuBase along side that editor will let you quickly and easily remap drums on the fly, as you need it, and still keep things in the same ‘track’ that might need to send over different 'channels.

Let me dig around a bit and see if there is a way to pull the raw samples out of an Agent Kit without ‘re sampling’. I think there might be a way…just haven’t bothered to try it yet.


First…GA4 does come with many unlocked layers and samples. There is quite a bit of unlocked content to make custom kits with. You can also bring in your own personal samples as long as the kit you wish to add them to is not locked.

Having explored the possibility of importing samples from “Acoustic/Percussion Agent” kits (the ones that have a instrument macro and groove style macro, I was NOT successful in extracting samples directly from the VSTsound files. Such kits use locked layers, as well as ‘locked kits’.

GA4 does come with tons of unlocked layers and samples, and it does allow you to use your own samples and make custom kits and grooves. Just not with ‘locked’ layers, or directly onto ‘locked kits’.

Here’s a screenshot showing what the GA browser looks like when you hit a kit with locked layers/samples:

Here’s one showing successful navigation into an unlocked layer to get at the samples. Of course you can drag these samples (and in some cases even entire layers) to pads on fresh kits (or existing kits that aren’t using the 'Acoustic/Percussion Agent" macro/style systems). I’m also thinking it ‘might’ be possible to drag some types of layers into Halion 5…you definitely can pull the samples into H5). From there you can use GA4’s instrument editors to layer and manipulate the samples on each pad, and all of its extra FX and playback parameters.

The screenshot also shows a trick I use with Windows Task Manager and Performance Monitor to see what files CuBase is accessing in real time. That can help track down where samples are physically living on the hard drive.

If you ever need to pull a sample or two from a locked layer for a custom kit…just re-sample it (instant render makes it fast and easy). Usually it’s easier to simply stack kits ‘as they are’ and build your ‘custom stuff’ around them in another kit slot…but re-sampling is an option if you just want a few samples out of an Agent Kit.

I think Halion is the intended tool for this, however GA is a direct product extract from the Halion engine, so should be builtin in my opinion, at least when I take the costs of GA in perspective.

In this case, Halion 5 couldn’t do any better. H% can’t load the groove engine kits at all.

Making durm kits in H5 can be done…but not with these particular expansion packs, and It would just provide a different set of groove engines and ‘work-flow’.

A locked layer, sound-set, or kit is locked in either H5 or GA4.

Content can be developed that is locked down and fixed.

GA4 does have advanced tools for editing samples and building your own kits from the ground up. Here, the OP is simply wanting to know ways to expand an existing ‘locked agent kit’, or to borrow pieces from it to make a different custom kit.

When someone gets GA4 new and installs it for the first time…they get a pretty big array of new content, as well as access to older stuff that might already be installed on the user’s system, such as GA1.

All the ‘VSTpresets’ show up in the DAW Media browser as well. If the preset is ‘unlocked’, then samples can be individually pulled directly onto DAW tracks, into GA4 pads (if the kit you’re trying to drag it to is not locked), Halion 5 zones/layers, Padshop Pro, etc…

One can also buy extra expansion packs and install them.

Some of the content is ‘locked’ and media browsing stops at the top most preset level, and a good bit of it is not ‘locked’ and can be fully edited.

I thought the OPer wanted to make a drumkit of his own physical drumkit, with layering samples, that’s why I suggested the above, not my intention to simulate the whole GA thing, just plain making your own drumkit through sampling and layering, setting filters or whatever may be needed.

Halion is a building platform ideal for that, just saying.

No problem…

I may have misunderstood myself, but GA4 can do most of those things so long as the kit and content you want to pull into it is not ‘locked/protected’ from user edits/access. It’s not as indepth as H5 with the types of layers and zones you can build (fancy filters, endlessly deep envelopes in a series or in parallel, lfo, synth layers, etc.), but it has the bits one usually needs when doing percussion instruments.

Ok, in that case when starting with a empty new template, it should be unlocked by nature. Then again if GA4 can do the job it would go for it.

The best way for example with snares, would be to be able to choose from acoustic agent (and porchesed expantions)acoustic snares from any kit… Just add or replace a snare from menu of listed kit…just like any other drum vst has…(ez drummer, BFD etc…)

I hear you…I don’t mean to come across as condescending or augmentative (apologies if taken that way), I just want to make sure anyone considering GA4 who is browsing the forum doesn’t get the wrong impression and think, “All kits in GA4 are locked and cannot be edited”, or that it can’t build ‘custom kits’ from the ground up. It has many very good tools, and several gig of ‘unlocked’ material included for top to bottom MPC style kit building.

Empty kits are indeed unlocked, you can drag samples right onto pads in them and then go about manipulating them in the ‘edit’, ‘sample’, ‘mix’ and ‘FX’ tabs of the kit, whether the new samples goes to a new layer, or replaces any previous samples on the pad depends on the hot spot you drag and drop it on:

  1. From GA’s media browser.
  2. From CuBase’s media browser.
  3. From a CuBase audio track.
  4. From a Windows or Mac ‘file explorer’ window.

Kits with the name ‘agent’ in them are often locked down so they can’t be changed by the user except in their ‘edit macro’ screen(s) (These are similar to ‘macro editors’ in Halion [Like HSO and the Basic GM set], and often provide quite a slate of common sense and often used user-editable parameters, which can be assigned to MIDI controllers and so forth). Such kits also often come with a bunch of grooves optimized and tuned to work with the kit. There is an optional macro screen in the ‘edit tab’ of the ‘pattern banks’ for easily dialing in different variations and complexity of this glorified ‘groove/arp’ engine. Finally, if the kit developer desires, he can lock down the VSTsound archive so that the samples cannot be extracted from it directly.

Locking them down serves multiple purposes from the ‘developer’s perspective’.

  1. Simplicity and ease of use for less technical minded users.
  2. Consistency in sticking, style or technique…Moller didn’t hit drums the same way as Pinazzo…
  3. Easier servicing of ‘content packs’. The user can’t break the kits and grooves that go with them by mistake.
  4. DRM protection for developers who want to market quality/easy to use locked down kits at lower prices.
  5. Many more…

With all that in mind, it would be nice if any ‘unused pads’ in the agent kits were unlocked. That would make it easy for a user to expand a kit without the mental gymnastics of just starting a new kit on the same channel and using different banks and pads as the ‘agent kit’. I.E. Just drop a wood block sample on one of the unused pads in the kit and have the ‘one pad’ bypass the ‘macro system’ and go to the standard editors.

If you are a micro-level sound designer, you can likely apply to Steinberg for the dev tools to add macro screens and ‘lock down’ the layers and samples in similar fashion, then sell/distribute your expansion packs in that format if you wanted.

GA4 comes with a bunch of content that is not locked down as well. Some of it may include the very same samples found in the ‘agent’ kits. There are hundreds and thousands of samples for ‘individual kit pieces’ included with GA4 that are NOT locked.

For CuBase users, it’s quite easy to just start a second ‘unlocked’ kit on another channel if you need to expand upon a ‘locked’ kit. If you are using a host that really needs everything on a single channel, you can remap the ‘agent’ kits, mute out pieces you don’t need and get it working. If RAM is an issue, you can click the RAM saving option and that will help.

For advanced GA Users who are deeper into designing custom kits from the ground up…if there is sample they really really want from a ‘locked kit’, resampling those bits for ‘personal use on their own system’ isn’t that difficult.

GA4 Can do this…the key item here is ‘listed kit pieces’.

If the kit developer chose to ‘lock’ the preset, it’s not going to be listed as generally accessible by the system at large. It has a custom ‘UI’ ‘macro’ with it. The ‘whole agent kit’ is meant to be treated as an instrument by its own right…more or less ‘as is’. More like a rompler patch…load it up and use it to make music. It has many of the elements for this ‘particular kit’ that one would have in a real world studio, including a DRUM ROOM, all sorts of mic and FX choices, and it is all laid out for you to tweak in no-brainer fashion…even via MIDI remote if you like. It was all ‘miced and recorded’ as a unit…in the same room, at the same time, with the same musician, using the same pair of sticks, etc. A ‘matching kit’.

That’s why some of the patches are called ‘Acoustic Agent’. Stienberg (possibly in partnership with a 3rd party developer) is serving as your AGENT, and for a fee of $19.95, they’ve sent you a session drummer (with his kit, mics, and playing technique, etc.) to play with. A drummer (Maybe it’s some famous Paul, or Allan, or whoever, with their 20k custom built shells and overheads) just showed up at your studio and brought ‘his kit’, with his favorite sticks/mallets, and all his favorite ‘Mics’ to play with you. He also happened to pack a $300,000 sound room on the back of us truck and bring it along to tack onto your studio. So…Now…you get to ‘mix’ his kit and his ‘technique (the way he HITS the pieces)’, and a pocket full of his groove styles in with the rest of your music/instruments.

If you want two drummers and their stuff…then Paul and Allan both will come over and bring their kits, mics, and favorite sound rooms to play with you. Just load them both up on different channels…easy peasy.

As a developer you can create unlocked kits with no macro screens at all, and choose whatever levels of the kit and samples you want users to be able to edit, or extract raw for personal use. The developer can also unlock the layers if he wants users to be able to extract samples and such for their own kits. That’s the ‘expansion pack developer’s choice’.

GA4 comes with both kinds of kits. The ‘agent kits’ are meant to serve folks who simply want to lock and load, and start making music. The rest of it can be used as is, or broken down into elements to build any kind of kit a user can imagine.

Again…Some presets are part of locked down expansion packs that use custom Macro’s and Groove engine UIs. Others just use the open format with the native GA4 GUI. In either case, the developer of the VSTsound archive can control what elements are locked/unlisted, and what is wide open for users to do with as they please.

Nice, I own GA4 and Halion5, but never really did building something only quick fiddling and then back to rompler mode :mrgreen: .

To my knowledge only Halion was up to the task of making good professional libraries for all categories,
but GA4 is a rhythm tool and good to know that building is a possibility, you’re never to old to learn…

Thanks guys!

First, this is mainly relevant for people who NEED everything in a single track so they can SCORE it on a single Stave. Otherwise, just use separate tracks and be done with it :slight_smile:

In tinkering with using a bunch of different ‘Agent Kits’ over different channels, but through a single DAW track…
I found that as long as everything comes from a single instance of GA4, it does a pretty good job of automatically mapping things out so that all of the instruments are available through a single track.

However, maps imported directly from GA4 would not let me change the channel or port. This might be a problem if you want to trigger stuff in a different plugin, or instance of GA4 from this same ‘drum track’.

An obvious option is to start a ‘fresh/new Drum Map, or begin with the GM Map as your base’ (these maps allow changing the channel and ports at will)…but going down the list and setting every single piece all over again is a bit time consuming and annoying.

So, what if I’m set on doing all this from a single track, and I want to start out with a base Acoustic Agent Kit, and just borrow a few pieces from another kit on a another channel or even a different instance or VSTi? What if I want to be able to do this at any time during my project, without any extra ‘inserts’ or complicated mental gymnastics?

Here’s a little trick I found to quickly import a GA4 drum map and make it so the channel and output for each individual kit piece can be edited.

  1. In the instrument or midi track inspector that you wish to map click the drum map area in the track inspector.

Choose “Create Drum Map from instrument”.

Click that area again and choose “Drum Map Setup”.

You’ll get a big Drum Map Editor…

  1. Unfortunately this imported map will not let you change the outgoing channels or ports as is, but we can fix that with a text editor. A bit of a pain, but it’s much easier and quicker than going through and changing everything by hand on a ‘fresh new map’ where everything defaults to ‘channel 10’, ‘track output’.

  2. So…click the function tab in the top left of the Drum Map editor and save a copy of your imported map by clicking on ‘Functions’ in the top left hand corner of the Drum Map editor and choosing “save”.

Use a name and location you can remember (By default it’ll probably offer to save it in the directory of your currently opened project).

  1. Switch to the GM Map (which can be edited) and save a copy of that somewhere (just like you did in step 3 with the imported map).

  2. Open the GM Map.drm, and your imported map files in a text editor.

Scroll to the very bottom of both files…
Copy this bit of XML relative to “OutputDevices” and “init name” out of the GM Map.

   <list name="OutputDevices" type="list">
         <string name="DeviceName" value="Default Device"/>
         <string name="PortName" value="Default Port"/>
   <int name="Flags" value="0"/>
  1. Highlight this bit of code in your imported drum map and replace it with the code above.
         <int name="Flags" value="1"/>
  1. Save your imported drm file in utf-8 format.
    It’s important to make sure you’ve your text editor to save it in plain utf-8 format, and that the file is named with the .drm extension!

  2. Back in the CuBase Drum Map editor: Click on your imported map in the list so it highlights, click ‘Functions’ again, and remove the map.

  3. Click “Functions” again, and load your altered copy of the imported map.

At this point, you should be able to edit the channels and ports/outputs of the map.

You might need to click the Drum Map area in the track inspector and tell it about this new map so it can use it.

Steinberg, Can we have a way to unlock imported maps in the future without having to hack it this way?

Yes indeed…
I generally use H5 if I’m building a more or less fixed drum kit. It’s not laid out like an MPC, and isn’t as easy and straight forward to build a kit in (lots of advanced features to confuse a new sound designer), but it’s a good deal more powerful in terms of the ways you can zone/layer/lfo/envelope and pull in the synth engines.

I got GA4 mainly for the expansion packs. Just load them and use them…
They’re quite nice for the price.

On building custom kits…
One great thing about GA4 as compared to H5…
While GA4 uses the same base sampler engine and ARP/Pattern engine as H5, and while you can coax H5 into doing the same kinds of things with ARP generators and flexPhrasers"…GA4 is just laid out in a way that’s fast and bone-head easy to throw together a good sounding kit in.

I.E. When doing orchestral work, if I want to build my own Percussion Rack, or grab some special effect sample and just throw it on pad real quick for fast and easy triggering…GA4 is way faster and easier than H5.

With hip-hop, dance, trance, etc…fast and easy access to any sample you like is paramount…particularly if you’re working ‘live’ at a DJ mixer and ‘building grooves in real time’ while others are still playing, all the while sampling your takes of loops improvisationally to further build upon, etc…well…GA4 is a better fit for that style of ‘quick and dirty’ music making.

It’s just laid out in a way that’s simple, to the point, and bone-head easy to use.