Drumpad - Percussion Modeling Instrument

The Drumpad percussion modeling instrument gives you total control over a physically modeled drum and is based on the Drumaxx instrument. Drumpad has been designed to work with the FL Studio Stepsequencer, so that any number of Channels can be loaded with a Drumpad instrument. Great, but why should you care when the internet is awash with fantastic sounding drum samples? In two words, expressive realism.

Once a drum sound is recorded, the performance and modulation options are limited to filtering, volume or similar 1-dimensional effects. When a single drum sample is triggered in a roll you get the familiar 'machine-gun' effect, it just sounds artificial. Multi-sampled, multi-layered drums can overcome this limitation but need multi-megabyte or even Gigabyte! drum libraries, and even then, you are still limited to the sounds originally recorded. Drumpad is not based on samples or even commonly used 'synthesis' techniques, where oscillators are mixed and the result is 'electronic'. Drumpad is a truly 'modeled' drum, and not just a single drum, Drumpad can model bass drums, hi-hats, snares, realistic and yes electronic sounds too. But what about the traditional 'Achilles' heel' of synthesis, cymbals? We have left the best until last, Drumpad models cymbals & metallic 'ethnic' percussion instruments with ease.

At the core of Drumpad is a model of the drum-head. Here the vibrating membrane is represented in a mesh of inter-connected of points, each given physical properties, mass, inertia, stiffness, damping and all that good physics stuff. For the musician, this means Drumpad can model the drum-head with multiple parameters such as material, thickness, tension and even shape. More importantly the parameters can be modulated in real-time as a function of velocity or external controls. The drum body is also modeled, in terms of size and shape. All this gives you multi-dimensional performance possibilities, a Matrix of variables providing the almost infinite complexity & subtlety of hitting a real drum.

Visit the Drumaxx & Drumpad Image-Line forum for more patches and programming tips.

See a Drumpad Video Tutorial here.

Header Controls

  • Preset selector - The left/right arrows on the window. Step through the presets in the bank. Right-click to open the preset browser.
  • Save Drum Pad - Save/Load the complete set of 10 drumpads. Kits are saved as .dmpatch files. These can be shared with Drumaxx.
  • Save single presets - Open the Wrapper menu and use 'Save preset as...'.

Modeling Controls


Modeling Controls for the mallet (stick) used to hit the drum.

  • Amplitude - Striking force.
  • Decay - Decay time for the strike. Simulate quick, sharp hits or slower, deep hits.
  • Noise Level - Noise to simulate brushes and softer mallets. As the noise level is increased the fundamental (lower) frequencies are reduced. To compensate you can increase the amplitude.
  • Noise Phase - To be used in conjunction with Noise Retriggering. The Phase will influence the tonal character of the mallet.
  • Retrig - Noise retriggering. When selected the tonal character of the noise remains constant (the same each time as the noise is 'retriggered'). When deselected the noise will continue to randomize so that each hit will have a slightly different character.


The drum membrane (skin) has a significant impact on the tonal character of the final sound. There are 4 key parameters - Tension, Phase, Material and Shape. When the right balance between these four controls is achieved, the sound will be most natural. We recommend adjusting Tension and Phase first, so that the pitch is close to what you need. Then adjust Material and Shape to fine-tune the tonal qualities. If the balance is right, the Drum Pad will sound like a drum, and if not, the Drum Pad can sound 'blurry' and 'loose'.

  • Decay - Decay time for the membrane response and reflections.
  • Tension - Membrane tension (how tightly stretched the drum is).
  • Material - This control moves the membrane material through a range of possible characteristics and types. Generally left are heavier slower materials and right are lighter more reflective materials. Set by ear.
  • Cutoff - High frequency cutoff.
  • Phase - Relates to the impact-point on the drum-head. Set by ear.
  • Size - Drum-head size.
  • Shape - The shape can be varied from square (left) to round (right). Most drum-heads are round, but experimentation is always rewarded!

Low Frequency Filtering

Low cut frequency filtering

  • Freq - Low frequency cutoff.
  • Res - Resonance or 'Q' adds a peak at the equalizer's cutoff frequency. Useful to simulate resonances in the drum head or body or accentuate the 'tone' or pitch of a drum.

Self Oscillating Filter (SOF)

The SOF is an 'allpass' filter with a narrow frequency-peak exhibiting high levels of self-oscillation. When the frequency-peak is swept quickly downwards, it is useful to make kicks and snares.

  • Freq - Down-sweep starting frequency. The frequency will sweep down to ~20 Hz (fixed).
  • Decay - Down-sweep time. Fast sweeps produce the most realistic 'kick' sounds.
  • Level - SOF mix level. The SOF sweep is added before other filters in the modeling engine, immediately after the Membrane sound is generated.

Mid Frequency Filtering

Mid-range frequency filtering. The Mid frequencies also include EG controls (EG Freq & EG Level) that allow modulation of the associated parameters. EG modulations are particularly important for creating more realistic drum sounds.

  • Freq - Initial filter cutoff frequency.
  • EG Freq - Determines where (left = lower, right = higher) the frequency moves after the mallet hits.
  • Level - Boost/Cut Mid frequencies.
  • EG Level - Determines where (left = lower, right = higher) and how strongly the frequency moves after the mallet hits.
  • Res - Resonance or 'Q' adds a peak at the equalizer's cutoff frequency.
  • Decay - How quickly the Freq and Level are modulated.
  • Retrig - Retriggering of the modulation envelope. Zero = no retriggering. Retriggering values (I to III) are necessary to make Claps for example.

NOTE: The Mid frequency Freq and Level controls are excellent modulation targets for velocity.

High Frequency Filtering

High frequency shelf filtering.

  • Freq - High frequency cutoff.
  • Level - High frequency level.
  • Res - Resonance or 'Q' adds a peak at the equalizer's cutoff frequency.


Main output controls.

  • Hold - Overall sustain.
  • Lo Fi - Bit reduction effect. Turn right for a low bit-rate crunch.
  • Pitch - Drum tuning.

Velocity Modulation

Velocity can be assigned to 4 modulation targets per Drum Pad. If more control independent of velocity is needed, any of the modeling parameters can be linked to external modulation sources (a mod-wheel for example).

  • Parameter - Select Modulation targets by clicking on the Parameter name field and selecting from the pop-up menu.
  • Value - Modulates the target parameter value as a function of velocity and 'Value' setting. If the velocity = minimum, the target parameter remains at its original value. If velocity = maximum then the target parameter = Value setting. Intermediate values are the linear scaling between those two points.

NOTE: You can automate any of the modeling controls using standard automation & modulation techniques.

Plugin Credits:

Drumpad was created by Maxx Claster exclusively for -

Image Line NV