Nate Morton: My TR-8 Setup for The Voice

How to Trigger the TR-8 from Your Drumset

Nate Morton: My TR-8 Setup for The Voice

Nate Morton’s hybrid kit for The Voice includes acoustic drums, V-Drums and a TR-8

EDM has definitely become part of the pop musical lexicon and is the backbeat to much of today’s music. So much so, that I recently received a call from Nate Morton, the drummer for NBC’s The Voice, who told me that more and more contestants where competing with EDM tracks. As a result, Nate was looking for a convenient way to be able to add EDM sounds alongside his acoustic rig. Nate, and his drum tech, Steve Morrison (of Drum Tech Services) had brought an original TR-808 into rehearsals, and were determined to integrate these classic sounds. Because space was an issue, along with needing the most realistic 808 sounds possible that could be triggered by MIDI, we decided to experiment with a TD-15K V-Drums Kit, triggering an AIRA TR-8 Rhythm Composer. What we discovered was that the AIRA engineers had not let us down, enabling the TR-8 to easily integrate as a sound module for V-Drums. For V-Drums enthusiasts, adding a TR-8 to your rig is easy, inexpensive and gives an edge to your sound that you won’t find anywhere else.

Nate Morton TR-8 Setup Step-by-Step PDF

Why Not Use the 808 Sounds in the Module?

In Nate Morton’s scenario, direct sound control and the sound detail of ACB may play a factor. If the music director wants more low end on the kick or a snappier snare sound, Nate has full control from the surface knobs and sliders, unlike the TD-15 sound module. On the TD-15, you’ll need to do a little menu diving, not much, but when you couple it with the value dial, it could be enough to slow down rehearsals. That being said, you’ll still need a drum sound module like the TD-15 to trigger the TR-8. Here’s the step-by-step process for connecting the TR-8 to the TD-15 drum sound module.


Nate Morton triggers the TR-8 from his drumset

Setup Your TR-8 Hybrid Rig Like Nate Morton Step-by-Step:

First, with a standard MIDI cable, connect the MIDI Out of the TD-15 to the MIDI In on the back panel of the TR-8.

Once you’ve made this connection, turn off the “Standard MIDI Setup Lock” in the TD-15. Here’s how:

  1. On the TD-15, press the MENU button.
  2. Press the down cursor button until the “SYSTEM” icon appears in the display.
  3. Press the function 3 [F3] button (SYSTEM).
  4. Press cursor down to choose “MIDI.”
  5. Press F3 (ENTER).
  6. Cursor to “Std MIDI Setup Lock.”
  7. Turn the dial to choose “OFF.”
  8. Press EXIT three times to return to the main kit menu.

Nate Morton TR-8 Setup Step-by-Step PDF

Next, temporarily turn down the volume on your TD-15, but keep the volume up on your TR-8. Since you’ll be triggering the sounds in the TR-8 from the TD-15’s pads, you’ll want to have its volume turned up. You’ll also want to choose your favorite kit in the TR-8. By default, you may notice that you’ll already be triggering a few of the TR-8’s sounds when you play on the TD-15’s pads (kick, snare, hi-hat, etc). Cool!!!!

Follow these steps if you want to trigger specific instruments that are assigned to the TR-8’s pads from the TD-15’s pads:

  1. On the TD-15, press MENU.
  2. Press the down cursor button once so that the “MIDI” icon appears in the left of the display.
  3. Press F1(MIDI).
  4. Hit one of the pads on the TD-15 (head or rim).
  5. Turn the dial to select the Note Number for the pad.
    • You can choose any of the following assigned note numbers in the TR-8:
      • BASS DRUM = 36
      • SNARE DRUM = 38
      • LOW TOM = 43
      • MID TOM = 47
      • HIGH TOM = 50
      • RIM SHOT = 37
      • HAND CLAP = 39
      • CLOSED HI-HAT = 42
      • OPEN HI-HAT = 46
      • CRASH CYMBAL = 49
      • RIDE CYMBAL = 51
  6. Repeat the process for any of the remaining TD-15 pads if desired or needed.
  7. When you’re finished, and you are triggering the sounds like you want them, press EXIT twice on the TD-15. The new changes are saved in the Kit automatically.

Note: You’ll need to repeat the assignment process in each Kit of the TD-15.

Nate Morton’s TR-8 Setup for The Voice