Drum Kits as LV2 plugins

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There are three integrated synthesizers playing soundfonts in Zynthian.

1. FluidSynth - is a real-time software synthesizer based on the SoundFont 2 specifications. So need to have matching SoundFont 2 here drum sounds. A popular kit is e.g. AVL Drumkits https://www.bandshed.net/avldrumkits/ which we will meet again.

2. Sfizz - is a sample-based musical synthesizer. Here you need to have tools in sfz format. AVL Drumkits can also be downloaded in this format. Another collection of sound fonts can be found here https://sfzinstruments.github.io/drums/

3. LinuxSampler - is also a sample-based musical synthesizer. The same applies here as for Sfizz, you need files in sfz format.

FluidSynth is used in drum LV2 plugins, at least those present in Zynthian.

These drum sets are made in such a way that by selecting them you don't need to set anything else, only the appropriate midi channel. They are thus a shortcut to searching for the right soundfont in the Zynthian menu of the selected engine.

In this chapter of our drumming, we won't need to transfer any other files to Zynthian, everything is already ready, only the appropriate module needs to be turned on.

Drum programs can be found in Zynthian in the LV2 Plugins section. We turn it on via webconfig local.zynthian in the LV2 Plugins / MIDI Synth section.

When I divide the available plugins by source, the first part will be about plugins from the project repository http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/

There are special LV2 plugins playing SoundFonts 2 (sf2) and using FluidSynth as an engine. Available in Zynthian we have:

  • Black Pearl 4A
  • Black Pearl 4B
  • Black Pearl 5
  • Red Zeppelin 4
  • Red Zeppelin 5
  • Fluid Drums
  • Fluid Percussion

These plugins do not have a graphical interface.

The second source is https://www.bandshed.net/avldrumkits/ with the plugin avldrums.lv2 - a drum sample player plugin dedicated to Glen MacArthur's AVL Drumkits. This self-contained plugin provides a convenient way to rapidly sequence and mix midi-drums. Available in zynthian are:

  • Black Pearl Drumkit
  • Black Pearl Drumkit Multi
  • Red Zeppelin Drumkit
  • Red Zeppelin Drumkit Multi

So the basis is in the same sound samples and also the FluidSynth engine. The plugins also have a graphical interface, see the picture from Zynthian VNC-Engines. The GUI doesn't set anything, but can be used to find out the mapping of individual sounds to notes. The mapping of notes is as follows:

 Key#	(Note)	Drum Sample	
 35	(B1)	Stick Click (Blonde Bop kit only)
 36	(C2)	Kick Drum
 37	(C#2)	Snare SideStick
 38	(D2)	Snare Ctr.
 39	(D#2)	Hand Clap
 40	(E2)	Snare Edge
 41	(F2)	Floor Tom Ctr.
 42	(F#2)	Closed HiHat	
 43	(G2)	Floor Tom Edge
 44	(G#2)	Pedal HiHat	
 45	(A2)	Tom Ctr.
 46	(Bb2)	Semi-Open HiHat	
 47	(B2)	Tom Edge
 48	(C3)	Swish HiHat	
 49	(C#3)	Crash Cymbal 1 (left)	
 50	(D3)	Crash Cymbal 1 Choked*	
 51	(D#3)	Ride Cymbal Tip	C
 52	(E3)	Ride Cymbal Choked*	
 53	(F3)	Ride Cymbal Bell
 54	(F#3)	Tambourine
 55	(G3)	Splash Cymbal
 56	(G#3)	Cowbell
 57	(A3)	Crash Cymbal 2 (right)	
 58	(Bb3)	Crash Cymbal 2 Choked*	
 59	(B3)	Ride Cymbal Shank	
 60	(C4)	Crash Cymbal 3 (large Paiste)
 61	(C#4)	Maracas

You can find the precompiled plugin at https://x42-plugins.com/x42/x42-avldrums The following sets are also written here, but they are not available in Zynthian:

  • Blonde Bop stereo
  • Blonde Bop multi-out
  • Blonde Bop Hot Rod Stereo
  • Blonde Bop Hot Rod multi-out
  • Busman's Holiday

For versions labeled Multi, there is a so-called Multi Channel Layout The plugin ports are named, when using pin-management in Ardour or Mixbus, the names are displayed. Also fan-out will use the port-name as part of the created bus. For reference the 9 ports are

  • 1 Kick (mono)
  • 2 Snare (mono)
  • 3 Hi-Hats (mono)
  • 4 toms (mono)
  • 5 Floor-Tom (mono)
  • 6+7 Cymbals (stereo)
  • 8+9 Percussions (stereo)

I recommend avoiding Multi Drum Kits for now. Zynthian does not yet support multiple audio channels from synth engines, sounds are assigned to the right and left channels of the mixer using a round-robin method (stable image 24-01).

And here for an overview of how individual sets sound. Drummed by Arturia Step Pro sequencer.

Sound example of Red Zeppelin Drumkit Multi Drum Kit