How to Setup the Hi-Hat Pedal in Superior Drummer 2

Check out the updated hi hat guide to Superior Drummer 3! For version 2, see below in this article. 


Mapping the hi-hat pedal in Superior Drummer 2 can be very frustrating. Even when reading the software manual, it took me several hours to really grasp the process and manage to set it up correctly.

After a lot of trial and error, I was able to fine tune the process and I put together a “how-to” guide that anyone can follow.

It may look like a lot of work, but it’s not too bad when you know what to do, and you only have to do it once.

Note: I am using an Alesis Trigger I/O which is basically a very simple drum brain that doesn’t have built in sounds. However, the process I explain should work for any MIDI instrument (including all drum brains that can connect to the computer). For example, I even used these instructions to map a hi-hat to my MIDI keyboard, using one of the knobs as the “open” amount and one of the keys as the hi hat “hit”.  I personally use Roland V-Drums, but any electronic drum set should work. 

Set up your outgoing MIDI

Before getting into Superior Drummer’s settings, make sure you are outputting the correct MIDI data.

Your drum-brain, or whatever device you use to send MIDI to the computer, should be programmable to choose what note you want each pad to send. Refer to your specific device’s documentation on how to change these settings.

In General MIDI standards, Channel 10 is reserved for percussion, so use that as your MIDI output channel to remain consistent. You can probably use any channel and have it work, but you might as well set it up properly!

Confirm that your foot pedal’s continuous control (pedal pressure up and down) is outputting as CC004 (which is the Foot Controller CC message). You should be able to confirm this in your MIDI device’s (drum brain, etc) documentation.

Alternatively you can use a MIDI monitoring software to monitor the exact notes and CC messages your computer is receiving. This can be very valuable in setting up any MIDI mapping to avoid confusion. (You can also record some MIDI notes and automation in your DAW and write them down)

MIDI monitoring software options (many are free):
MidiYoke (PC)
MidiOX (PC)
MidiPipe (Mac)
Bone’s Midi Translator (Mac)

It’s best to use General MIDI standards for the three main triggers. Setup your MIDI device (or brain) to hi-hat to output the following MIDI notes for these triggers.
Open Hi Hat –  A#1 (46)
Closed Hi Hat – F#1 (42)
Pedal Close –  G#1 (44)

MIDI notes are often referred to in the form of musical notes (“A#1”) or MIDI notes (46). They are two ways of describing the same note (these are both the same), but your device may only display one or the other.

You can really use any notes you want to and just change the settings in SD2 later, but I’d encourage you to use these mappings because they are used universally; meaning your kit will automatically trigger the correct samples in a lot of other software outside of SD2 because they use the same standards.

Here is a list of all the General MIDI percussion mappings if you are interested.



Connecting the pedal’s levels of “openness”

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 11.06.50 PM
Go to “Construct” (top left menu)

Go to the Instrument panel (bottom right corner).
Choose “Hats” in the Instrument drop down to edit the various hi-hat parameters.
Choose “hatsCtrl” in the Articulation drop down.
Type in CC004 or CC4 for the key. This connects your pedal’s amount  of “openness” to Superior Drummer.

Connecting the “Open” hi-hat samples
Choose “Open 0” in the Articulation drop-down.
Hit “Remove” if there are any notes already entered int he “Key” parameter.
Type in A#1 and hit enter. This connects your open hi-hat MIDI trigger to the first of SD2’s open hi-hat thresholds. The more “open” the pedal is, the more “open” of a hi-hat sample SD2 will trigger.
Repeat this process for “Open 1-5” to connect all the open hi-hat levels of “openness.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 11.21.43 PM
Go to the mapping menu (top left)

See that it highlights all of the articulations you have mapped so far.

Note: I noticed the current or previous mapping doesn’t always show up as highlighted, even though you just assigned it. This is a little confusing, but don’t worry if it doesn’t highlight right afterwards. Check it again later and it should be fine.

Connecting the Closed pedal
Back on the construct page choose “Close Pedal” as the Articulation.
Type in G#1 as the key.

Connecting all MIDI triggers to hatsTrig
In the construct section, choose the “hatsTrig” in the Articulation drop-down
Go back to the mapping section. Type in F#1, A#1 and G#1, hitting enter after each.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 11.40.49 PM
Below you can see all the notes that are mapped (highlighted as orange keys on the piano). It should look like this screenshot.

Now you have mapped all three MIDI notes to the hatsTrig articulation. This tells Superior Drummer that these are all the notes it is looking for when it needs to trigger a hi-hat sound.

A few things that make the process confusing
Viewing the orange keys in the mapping mode is the only way to check if you have multiple notes assigned to one articulation. For most articulations, aside from hatTrig, you will just want one note assigned. If you have multiples, use the “Delete” button in Mapping mode, or the “Remove” button in Construct mode. They both do the same thing, but Superior Drummer likes to make things seem confusing.

Keep in mind that often in Construct mode you will have an Articulation selected but the Key you typed in will be blank even though you have already assigned a key to it! This is another problem with SD2 that makes the process very confusing. Check the Mapping mode for that articulation to see that it has an orange key mapped to it. Often times the Key shows up as blank in the Construct mode, even though it actually is mapped. Superior Drummer is an evil bastard. (Oh, and don’t worry that you don’t see an orange note mapped for hatsCtrl because that is a Continuos Control message which is different from a MIDI note)

You should also know that “Note” in Mapping mode is the same thing as “Key” in Construct mode. Again, they just like to confuse you.

Another unintuitive problem is that to change the Articulation you are editing, you must go into Construct mode each time, change your Articulation selection and then go back to Mapping mode for more details, such as seeing all the notes that are mapped to it.

Pedal Correction
Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.31.56 PM

Select the hatsCtrl Articulation and go to the Mapping Mode. On the right hand side you are able to edit the curve of the CC values. This is how Superior Drummer interprets the values sent by your foot pedal for the the “openness” of your hi-hat. This is for fine tuning the feel to make it more realistic.

The high MIDI values signal when the hats are closed and the low values signal openness.

OUT Sliders (left): Leave these at full range as they are from 0-127. Pulling the sliders up or down limits the range of samples that can be triggered. For instance, if you pull the top slider down and limit the range of values, SD2 will only make “open” hi-hat sounds because the closed sounds are now out of range.

IN Sliders (bottom): Some MIDI pedals don’t output the full value range of 0-127. If your pedal only outputs as high as, 100, for example, you will never fully be able to close your hi-hat. This slider allows you to adjust the range of what your pedal actually outputs so you have a full, accurate range of control.

Use one of the MIDI monitoring applications (mentioned at the start of this tutorial) to confirm the range your pedal outputs.

Edit the Curve
Often the feel of the pressure you put on the pedal will feel off at first; not matching  the “openness” of the actual sounds you are hearing. For example, maybe it is too open when it should be more closed sounding, or vice versa. Play around with the points on this curve until it feels more realistic.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.34.32 PM
Alternatively you can try some curve presets. These are located above the piano keys under Presets > MIDI > Pedal Correction

Remember to save your kit once you have it how you want it!

You can also add more features if you hi-hat pad allows for mapping the edge and bell and probably even more. My hi-hat pad is pretty basic so I am not able to test these features.

I should also mention that you can use the “Learn” function instead of typing in the notes into the “Key” section. Just press “Learn” and hit the pad you want to add. I personally advise against this because it has room for error such as triggering the wrong pad or multiple pads on accident. Just set your outgoing MIDI correctly and type them in by hand and it eliminates a lot of variables.

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