DDRUM4 Hi-Hat Controller “Fix”

Disclaimer: I’m not sure why anyone other than me and a handful of other dorks would care about this; however, it seems like a shame to not share it if there is someone out there that could use it.

I built a MAX/MSP patch for MAX for Live that will allow you to use the ddrum4 hi-hat controller with basically any drum sample library you can find.  This may not sound like a big deal, but this controller came out in ’94 and has been discontinued for years despite it kicking the shit out of every controller before or since it was created.  The patch does what it does by taking the CC:4 messages that the ddrum4 uses to determine hi-hat position to control which note actually gets sent to the drum sample library you are using.

You tell it the closed note for the hi-hat, the open-hat note, set the threshold you want to use, and it does the rest.  You can see your pedal position on the Hi-Hat Current Value slider and you can see what note it is sending to your drum sampler in the Output After Processing keyboard.

What this means is that you can use the ddrum4 hi-hat (which is my favorite hi-hat controller ever made, suck it Roland) to control whatever sample library you use without having to do all kind of insane configuration of your drum library.  I got sick of using BFD2 and jumping through hoops to get it to work and then having it all be for nothing if I wanted to use kontakt or some other library that had standard keyboard mappings.  You use this, set up your ddrum4 brain to send regular keyboard mappings, and rock out with your cock out (as much as you can playing midi drums in your bedroom).

At some point I plan to had another feature so you can get the tones of playing the hat with just the pedal with no stick.  It kind of works right now, but it could be better.  I was going to program it to do a splash as well so that if you stomp it and release it real quick it will make a sound.  I’ve found though that it already does that like a real hi-hat with the existing code because it’s using a real hi-hat stand and the abrupt stop of the pedal is what causes the splash… yet another perk of the ddrum hardware.  It just works.

Here is a screenshot of the actual “code” and here is the actual code if you are one of the 10 people on the planet who still use this hardware and want to use it with Max for Live.  Good luck and let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.

Published by


Geeky musician born and raised in Wyoming and currently living in Denver CO.

3 thoughts on “DDRUM4 Hi-Hat Controller “Fix””

  1. Dude, just purchased a ddrum4 kit 2nd hand and found this issue. I can’t wait to test your fix!!!

  2. Hey man,
    Just stumbled across this when trying to work out some kinks after returning to using my ddrum4 as a trigger device and was surfing for some ideas. You are dead on that there is nothing to beat the Ddrum pedal, or any part of it, in terms of playability; and that getting BFD to work is a sucky process. I am in the same mind as you. So, since Live is NOT my tool of choice (although I have it and will try your Max patch), I was wondering if you have any ideas on achieving the same results with either Logic or ProTools?

  3. I think you could use Max/MSP to do the same thing with Logic (although that’s a sizable investment for just one feature), it’s just not as nicely integrated. I haven’t really tried it to be honest. I love Logic and Pro Tools for tracking vocals and live drums, but I like Live with Max/MSP for custom effects and MIDI, and that’s where I’ve used this particular tool. If you have a copy of Max/MSP, you should be able to open up my max4live patch and modify it to work with the midi going in and out of Logic. It will probably be more of an exercise though. I’m not sure of any other ways to do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *