Turning your Drum to a MIDI Controller with Triggers

A year ago I wanted to turn my drums into a MIDI trigger. I didn’t want to spend a 1,000 on a drum brain or E-drums. In my search I found an awesome Hack / DIY way of doing it with Ableton Live. This lets me take any drum and trigger samples in Live, be it drums or even loops.

The key to this is using KTdrum trigger. This VST is for Windows and Mac. It lets incoming audio be turned into MIDI messages. Download the VST here.

I created a video walk-through of setting up KTdrum Trigger in Ableton Live. Check out the video below:

For the Piezo Mics I ended up grabbing some off of Amazon for super cheap. I just ran those into my soundcard to Ableton live. You can use these mics on anything. I have tacked
them onto my desk, books, and even sculptures.


If you use this technique for an art project, performance, or whatever I would love to hear about it. Comment below on how you use Drum Triggers in Live.

By |2018-10-16T12:50:53-07:00March 2nd, 2016|Ableton, Gear Review, Producers Blog, Sound Design Tech|6 Comments


  1. Subaqueous March 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Let me know how you use Drum Triggers in your production.

  2. Oliver Kucera March 3, 2016 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Realy nice max for live application for the Piezo mic’s :) You are running Live 9 in wich OS/OSX?

    • Oliver Kucera March 3, 2016 at 12:42 am - Reply

      i was supposed to say vst instead of max for live, sorry hahah

  3. ketomob.co July 2, 2016 at 10:00 am - Reply

    I’ve bookmarked subaqueousmusic.com

  4. Antoine September 20, 2017 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Really interested in using your vst!
    I downloaded opened the .dmg but it keeps on launching max and the vst doesn’t appear in ableton.
    Any idea about how to make this work? Thanks !

  5. Cindo Santos December 26, 2018 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Hi there brother! Happy Holidays, musical and otherwise! Would you believe that this page of yours came up first when i googled “trigger to midi controller” ?! That’s no easy feat, congratulations.
    I’m on verge of accomplishing what I set out to in your 2017 Audio Forge retreat, 14 months ago!
    Take care and I hope to run into you at in 2019. When you come to South Florida, remember, I”m here! Miami Winter Music, anyone?!

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