How to Use EZdrummer With Standard Keyboards

Updated April 17, 2017

EZdrummer is a drum sampling application made by Toontrack. It can load and play Toontrack's "EZX" sample banks, such as "Jazz EZX" and "Metalheads EZX." Because EZdrummer is released as a plug-in and not as a stand-alone application, using a standard computer keyboard to play EZdrummer is not possible without the use of a few utilities. You need a host application (Toontrack solo), a virtual MIDI keyboard utility (VMPK) and a virtual MIDI cabling utility (LoopBe1). Toontrack solo, VMPK and LoopBe1 are all free, stable and reliable applications available for both Mac and PC.

Download and install Toontrack solo. It is available for Mac and PC. Toontrack solo is a small, simple hosting program custom made to host Toontrack's drum sampling plug-ins such as EZdrummer. It is meant for use in situations where the user does not want to plug EZdrummer into a full-fledged DAW or similar host application.

Download and install VMPK. VMPK is a simple, free "virtual keyboard" application which makes it possible to use your standard computer keyboard as a MIDI keyboard.

Download and install LoopBe1. It is available for both Mac and Windows. LoopBe1 is a free virtual MIDI cabling device that virtually links or "cables" different MIDI-based programs as though they were hardware devices. You will need this to create a MIDI link between Toontrack solo and VMPK. It runs in the background automatically once installed.

Open VMPK. Leave "Channel" set to "1." This refers to the MIDI channel that VMPK will use to send MIDI data. Open VMPK's "Edit" menu and select "Connections." A dialogue box will appear. Select "LoopBe Internal MIDI" from the "Output MIDI Connection" drop-down menu. Click "OK."

Open Toontrack solo. On loading, Toontrack solo will display a dialogue box listing all available Toontrack products on your system. Select "EZdrummer" and click "OK." Toontrack solo will load the EZdrummer interface.

Open Toontrack solo's "Options" menu and select "MIDI device." A dialogue box will appear. Select "LoopBe Internal MIDI" as the input device and click "OK." You are now ready to play EZdrummer with your standard computer keyboard.

Click Toontrack solo's "Add Drummer" button and select the EZX kit you want to play from the menu.

Bring VMPK's interface to the front to make it the active application; try pressing a few keys on your standard keyboard. You will hear EZdrummer play the drum sounds that correspond to the notes you played. Consult EZdrummer's documentation for a detailed keyboard layout. This will tell you which drum sounds are located where on the keyboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Toontrack solo
  • VMPK
  • LoopBe1
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About the Author

Jason Savage has been a freelance writer since 2005. He has authored technical and procedural documents for a variety of clients, while his journalism and fiction have appeared in "Monday Magazine," "The Pedestal" and other publications. Savage holds B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in music.