Alesis D4 TRIGGER Setuo Guide

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ExternalTrigger 0uickSet-UpGuide


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The D4 has twelve trigger inputs designed to accommodate the most widely used drum pads and other triggering sources. It's triggering mechanism is an advanced signal to midi converter which incorporates five user controllable parameters. Trigger parameters are independent for each of the twelve inputs, and the set up is global for all drumsets.

The five types of user controlled parameters are:

1.VCURVE. There are eight separate curve tables, 0 through 7 which represent the velocity curve, or sensitivity of the trigger

input. Curves 1-3have the least amount of sensitivity; curve 4 has the median, or"average type of play" sensitivity; and curves5-7are the most sensitive. Curve 0 is"Unassigned". This is a special situation parameter which is fully explained in section 5.2 of the D4 Reference Manual.

2.XTALK. The crosstalk parameter is the trigger suppression level adjustment. It is used to control interaction problems between pads or drums. Crosstalk problems can occur when two or more pads are mounted on a single stand or rack.

3.DCAY. This represents the signal decay time and threshold of the D4'strigger inputs. In other words, DCAY controls the amount of time between once a pad has been struck and

triggers, to when it will trigger again from another hit. When properly adjusted, this parameter defeats "double triggering" by allowing the D4 to determine which signals are actual hits, and which are secondary decay signals.

4.NOISE. The NOISE parameter allows you to control the noise floor, or the signal level threshold that an exterior vibration or sound must exceed before it will trigger a drum

sound. This is used mostly in situations where the stage volume and vibrations are strong enough to "rattle" the drum hardware to such a point that the D4"thinks" these vibrations are actual hits.

5.GAIN. This is the signal strength that the transducer is sending to the triggers in the D4, It'sadjustment is very similar to that of a tape recorder'sVU meter. With the gain threshold set too low, soft hits may never be recognized.

With the gain set too high, you may experience false, or double triggering. A properly adjusted gain setting will allow the highest dynamic range for the pad being used.

Nofe: For more detailed information and examples, regarding the functions of these individual parameters, please refer to Chapter 5 of the D4 ReferenceManual.

When triggering from padsalways follow these5 basic steps:

1. Plugio a!! of thetriggersyouwill beusing.

. Plug all of the triggers you will be using into the rear panel jacks. Since the triggers are interactive, the D4 needs to"see"

all of the signals simultaneously.

. Use the following guide for your trigger inputs. The trigger default note numbers correspond to these drum sounds.

1. Hat

7. Ride Cymbal

2. Bassdrum

8. Crash Cymbal 1

3. Snare

9. CrashCymbal 2

4. Toml

10. Conga

5. Tom2

11. Hi Timbale

5. Tom3

12. Hi Agogo

Nofe: Drum sets 17 &18 use a different set of default note numbers. The trigger default note numbers for all pre set drum sets can be found in the D4 Factory Drumset ReferenceChart.

Turn the note chase feature off.

oDo this by pressing the note chasebutton on the front panel so that the LED is off. Note chaseis a feature that

automatically displays the data of the most recently struck pad, enabling you to easily "move" around the kit for editing

purposes. Flowever, the active trigger should always be selectedmanually since other unadjusted inputs could "fire" simultaneously during editing resulting in confusion on the display.

Note; The note chaseLED also functions as a signal indicator and will flash when a trigger is generated.



3. Next, manually select a trigger to ediL

. Press the Ext Trig button once to enter the page showing the editable parameters for the TRIG number, VCURVE selection, and MIDI note assignment. The cursor will appear under the trigger number field.

. Use the Data wheel to select the trigger you wish to edit.

4. Select the velocity cunte.

r Move the cursor under the VCURVE field.

oChoose the sensitivity value which bests suits the style of play, or the pads being used. For average play, (hits ranging from very soft to very hard) the default setting of 4 will give you the full range of sensitivity which corresponds to MIDI velocities 1 through 127.

Nofe: VCURVE 0, Unassigned, is fully explained in the D4 Owners Manual.

5. Choose the MIDI note number.

Note: The default trigger note numbers in the D4 correspond to General MIDI, so in many casesit may not be necessary to change the assignments. These default settings can be found in the Factory Drumset ReferenceGuide included with your D4 literature.

If you choose to make changes:

. Move the cursor under the NOTE field and select the desired MIDI note number.

5. Adiust the GAIN for the selected higger.

. Pressthe Ext Trig button twice to get to the page showing the trigger number and GAIN editing parameters.

. Move the cursor under the gain field and strike the pad. Now the lower LCD line will urn into abar-graphmeter that shows the peak strength of the trigger.

o Adjust the gain by gradually turning the Data wheel until a

powerfulsuike resultsin the meterreachingtheright-most

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side of the display. Be aware that the gain values are extremely sensitive even in small increments. A period will appear to the right of the gain number signaling that the trigger level is reaching it'sfull dynamic range. If a trigger's gain is adjusted properly, the period will appear only on the stronsest hits.

Now repeat steps 3 through 6 fot the remaining ttiggers you anill be using.

After completing these steps, you should be able to play on all of the pads plugged in to the D4 and hear the sounds being triggered.

Before going on to steps 7 -9, you should be aware that the amount of adjustment needed for the remaining parameters will depend on several variables. Since all drum pads do not

utilize the same design and materials, they vary somewhat in sensitivity and how they respond to "outside" surroundings

The factors that most effect the performance of triggers will be your hardware configuration, the different types of pads or drums being used, and the environment in which you will be

using the D4. First we should define the parameters which enable you to control these various "factors."


Nofel In our crosstalk scenario we will use two pads, a snare pad and the tom 1 pad, both mounted on a single stand.

If you are using a set up which consists of several pads mounted on one rack or stand, you may be hearing some crosstalk as you play around the kit. Crosstalk is when you hit the snare pad and the tom pad also triggers. This is usually the result of stand vibrations causing the pad (the tom 1 in this case)to trigger. If so, the XTALK for this pad needs to be re.calibrated.

The important thing to determine is which pad needs the XTALK adjustment. Remember, the trigger that needs adjustment is the pad that is false triggering, not the pad being struck.

So, if you are hitting the snare pad and the tom 1 pad triggers, adjust the tom pad, not the snare pad. Now, to correct the problem...

Set the XTALK value.

1.Press the Ext Trig button twice to enter the page showing the parameters for XTALK DCAY, and NOISE.

2.After selecting the desired trigger (tom 1), place the cursor under the XTALK parameter value.

3.Now, gradually increase the XTALK level of the tom 1 trigger until it stops triggering when you hit the snare pad (00 is minimum, 99 maximum).

A properly adjusted crosstalk level will stop the pad's interaction, and still allow you to play quick hits without loosing any notes.


Note: In this scenario we will use only the snare pad.

Depending on the type of pads being used and your mounting configuration, you may be experiencing some "double

triggering". If shortly after the initial strike to the snare pad it retriggers or sounds a second time, the pad is "double triggering".

This can be controlled by altering the DCAY parameter value.

Set the DCAY value.

1.First select the snare trigger.

2.Now place the cursor under the DCAY parameter value.

3.Gradually increasethe value until the snare stops double triggering on hard hits.

A properly adjusted DCAY parameter will end double triggering, and still allow you to play fast, repetitive hits on the snare pad.


Nofe: In this scenario we will be using the tom 1 and the tom 2 pads in a live performance situation. The two tom pads are mounted together on a single floor stand, and the crosstalk and

other parameters have already been correctly adjusted. When you play the pads while no other instruments are being sounded, all of the hits are triggering and tracking properly.

Now as the band begins and the stage volume is very loud, the stage starts trembling which causesthe drum hardware to vibrate. At times the tom 1 and the tom 2 pad are triggering when not being played. This is becausethe D4 is interpreting the signals from the stand vibrations as hits. By adjusting the NOISE parameter the D4 can determine which signals are vibrations caused by the surrounding noise level, and which signals are actual hits.

Set the NOISE value.

1. First select the desired trigger to edit, tom 1 in this case.

2.Next place the cursor under the NOISE parameter value.

3.Increasethe value to a level that will stop the pad from false triggering when the strong vibrations occur. If the triggering is frequent and strong, try starting with an increaseof 20 or more. If the triggering is not as often and is softer in volume, first try adding 10 to the value, then gradually add more if necessary.

4.Repeat steps 1 through 3 to correct the problem with the tom 2pad.

5.Finally, return to the Drumset mode by pressing the Drum Set button. This will protect from the possibility of accidentally editing your settings.

Nofe: Whenever possible, keep some distance between your drum kit and the nearest speaker cabinets (especially bass cabinets), and make sure they are not facing directly at your set up. Remember that the closer and louder in volume the cabinets are, the greater the chancesare that they will causefalse triggering problems.



When triggering from an acousticdrum, that is using a contact pick up (transducer)mounted to the head or shell, the same

generalset-upproceduresand parameterprinciples of triggering

from pads apply. However, due to extremehead vibrations and resonanceof acousticdrums, keepingthe "factors"under control

is considerablymore difficult. Thesetips should help you in eliminating potential problems.

There are several things to consider when purchasing transducers(triggers),and when mounting them to your drums.

Output Sensitivity

The difference in output levels between transducersis considerableWhile. a really "hot" trigger might work great on

the snare,it may not work as well on a bassdrum. For example, a high sensitivitytrigger will detectthe softer"grace"noteson a

snaredrum and provide the besttrackingin a tight pressedroll. On a bassdrum however,becausethat sametriggeris so sensitive,it may be over-drivendueto the sheervelocityof each impact from the beateron thehead.Over-drivingthe trigger can allow it to detectevery slight vibration as you hit the bassdrum. This resultsin double triggeringand contributesto crosstalk problems.It can alsoreducethe life of the triggeritself.

When consideringtrigger output sensitivity towards applications,generallythesetips will apply.

1.Use "hotter" triggersfor shell mounting. Sensitivetriggers can detectsignalsthrough the shellmore accuratelythan others.

2.For direct head mounting use lesssensitivetriggers.When possibleusea trigger that containsa built-insensitivity adjustmentThereare severaltypes available.


One of the most important aspectsof triggeringis mounting. For any trigger to work properly it must be correctlymounted to the drum. Always usesometype of a foam tape,and make certain the trigger is firmly mounted with little or no movement.In addition to forming a solid foundationfor the trigger,the foam tapealsoactsasa shockabsorberwhich helpsto deterdouble

triggering. Most of the trigger manufacturers supply several pieces of mounting tape with their trigger products. It is also very important to be certain that no part of the trigger wire, which connects the trigger to the audio jack, is touching or resting on any part of the drum or rim. This wire is sensitive enough to trigger signals from the drum vibrations which would then cause double triggering.

Trigger Placement

Placement is another very important part of triggering performance, but unfortunately there is no right or wrong set of rules. It simply takes a lot of experimentation to arrive at the correct combination for the type and size of drum, and the drum kit configuration you are using. These tips will help you get started with a step in the right direction.


1.Mount the trigger directly on the impact head.

2.Place the trigger approximately 2-4inches in from the rim, and level with the beater.

3.Slightly reduce the sensitivity of the trigger if it has an adjustment.


If you play with a fairly tight batter head, try this:

1.. Mount the trigger on the batter head.

2.Place the trigger approximately one inch from the rim, on the opposite side of the drum from the player.

3.Slightly reduce the sensitivity of the trigger if it has an adjustment.

If you play with a looser head, try this:

1.Firmly mount the trigger to the shell approximately one-halfinch from the batter rim.

2.Placement of the trigger should be on the players side of the drum, within a lug or two of where the stick would hit if you plaved a rimshot.

3. Use a high sensitivity setting if the trigger has an adjustment.


With smaller toms it is possible to get proper tracking using either head or shell mounting. You will need to experiment with both to determine which will work best in your situation.

For head mounting:

1.Mount the trigger so that it is within one and one-halfinch from the batter rim.

2.Placement of the trigger should be on the players side of the drum, within a lug or two of where the stick would hit if you

played a rimshot. (In some casesthe opposite side of the drum, directly across from the player may work well).

3.Slightly reduce the sensitivity of the trigger if it has an adiustment.

For shell nounting:

1.Firmly mount the trigger to the shell so that it is approximately one inch from the batter rim.

2.Placement of the trigger should be on the players side of the drum, within a lug or two of where the stick would hit if you played a rimshot

3.Use a mid to high sensitivity setting if the trigger has an adjustment.

LARGE TOMS 14''-18''

In most casesshell mounting will work the best. However, you might experiment with head mounting and find great results.

1.Firmly mount the trigger to the shell so that it is approximately one inch from the batter rim.

2.Placement of the trigger should be near the side you sit, within a lug or two of where your stick would hit if you played a rimshot