How to Use EZdrummer With Standard Keyboards

Written by jason savage
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How to Use EZdrummer With Standard Keyboards
EZdrummer uses samples of actual drums and can sound like a real drumset. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Toontrack solo
  • VMPK
  • LoopBe1

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Instructions

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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."

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

    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.

  7. 7

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

  8. 8

    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.

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