sfz format mapping of The Optimist's drum kit

Alex Weidner (The Optimist) produced a Native Instruments Battery drum kit called Opti Yamaha YD OKM and posted this on KVRAudio. The samples are well recorded, sounding naturally "live". This does include a couple of unfortunate clicks on the second crash cymbal. Alex has de-clicked versions available but it's fairly easy to de-click the files in a wave editor.

Speaking of preparation, the first thing to do is convert the AIFF samples to Windows Waves. I used sox version 14 and found no problems with the resultant files.

Alex used a rather individual mapping which probably works well but I'm more comfortable working with the General MIDI drum map, so that's what I've used (click here!).

The sample set (available from KVRAudio, along with Alex's mapping and comments - thanks to KVRAudio for letting me link to them) includes several different hi hat sounds, from closed through part-open to fully open, plus the foot (or chick) sound as the hat cymbals are closed.

In version 1 of the mapping, I had the various opennesses set up on the Open HiHat note, with MIDI Continuous Controller 1 ("mod wheel") controlling them. I have since seen the error of my ways and the current version has the various opennesses set up on Closed HiHat, controlled by the Foot Controller (MIDI Continuous Controller 4).

I have made a number of minor volume changes in the new version to try to better balance the kit (reversing some of the decisions I made in the original mapping!). In light of the differences, I am leaving the old version up as well as the new version.

Once you've downloaded and converted the samples, save the sfz format file into the same folder as Alex's Optimist_Yamaha_YD_OKM.kit Battery map.

This kit does not follow Alex's mapping!! The mapping is as follows:

(C4 = middle C)

B1  \_ Kick
C2  / 
C#2 - Sticks
D2  - Snare
D#2 - Snare rim
E2  - Snare
F2  - Snare rim
F#2 - Hihat closed to open (controlled by CC4)
G2  - Tom 3
G#2 - Hihat foot chick
A2  - Tom 2
A#2 - Hihat open           (there's a mute group on the hihats)
B2  - Tom 2
C3  - Tom 1
C#3 - Crash 1
D3  - Tom 1
D#3 - Ride
E3  - China
G3  - Splash
A3  - Crash 2

In addition, there's a set of bass drums from D4 to D5... I wasn't really sure what to do with them :-).

As a subsequent development, I have put together an NDK (Natural Drum Kit) map of the kit, extending the toms with a bit of pitch shifting. The velocity layers are now based directly on the output of Voxengo Leveler - translated to MIDI velocity layers with my VelLeveler toy.


Normally I wouldn't post an sfz map of samples you couldn't use commercially without royalty. I asked Alex and he said:

1) Feel free to use the kit for anything you want - i won't charge you if you make a hit :)
On the other side, some MP3s of your songs you produce with the OKM kit would be very appreciated! And, if you find the time, you could write me how you post-processed the kit (EQing, compressing etc.) cause I experienced a bit too little "punch" in an overall mix and I would like to hear from others how they work around with it. Thanks in advance!

Note that this was in personal email. If you plan to use the samples in something you're going to release publicly, I'd suggest you contact Alex to check. (Effectively this is pretty much the same deal as the NS_Kit7 (Free) samples.)

I'd also like to thank Alex (1) for recording the samples in the first place and (2) for letting me publish this mapping.

Other sfz format mappings

Last updated: 3 June 2009
NDK mapping using Voxengo Leveler / my VelLeveler levels
25 May 2008: Various changes to the volume parameters; remapped the hihats
24 October 2004: Used amp_velcurve_nnn=1 rather than trying to compensate for unnormalised samples. Also moved the cymbals.
20 September 2004: first version