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Alpha: Eigenharp Alpha Hang Drum setup

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written by: GoneCaving

Hi Geert, Nope, I'm camera shy ;-) An aside from that I've been spending more time with my modular in the last month or two. I'd like to start to try to combine the two, and process some of the output from EigenD through the modular. I may try to record that if it works out/I can find time.

written by: geert

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 10:31:39 +0000 GMT

Hi everyone,

I've been talking about this for quite a while now and actually created a Hang Drum setup for the Eigenharp in Belcanto right before I joined Eigenlabs more than a year ago. Several people have asked about it, but I never actually sat down and made it available.

Last night my soul needed some Hang Drum 'zen goodness' and recorded this improvisation video of me playing it:

If you would like to set this up yourself, here is the Belcanto script and associated instructions:

Note that this is really fine-tuned for SonicCouture's Pan Drums Kontakt instrument, though it could be useful for other percussion instruments.

The main idea is to not play with notes but with areas on the Alpha's playing surface by using several grouped keys for different articulations of the same note. I arranged the two different sampled Hang Drums on the playing surface of the Eigenharp Alpha so that one is on top and the other at the bottom. The notes of the Hang Drums are structured in colored ‘zones’ of five keys which correspond to the different articulations for the same note. This means that I can just hit the area without thinking about musical notes and get into a percussion mindset. The arrangement is very similar to what would happen if you cut a real Hang Drum in two and bend each half until it’s straight, with the Ding and Gu stuck at the top end.

It works very well and feels extremely nice with the super sensitive keys of the Eigenharp. The colored lights are also naturally soothing and it’s truly a relaxing experience to play.

Hope this is useful for someone.

Take care,


written by: keyman

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 12:48:05 +0000 GMT

Thanks for sharing this! (hope we eigenharp users don't get all the power stations down this Christmas)

written by: mikemilton

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 13:23:56 +0000 GMT

Yes, I was wondering how to spend money other than on xmas - and here you supply the answer!


written by: mikemilton

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 13:58:05 +0000 GMT

Oh, and if you are scurrying over to SC to buy the plugin, note that you should buy *2* since the cheaper of the 2 will be free.

I, of course, noticed this *after* buying just the pan drum - sigh


written by: geert

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 14:00:36 +0000 GMT

@mike send them an email, they're good people, they might give you another cheaper one of your choice

written by: 0beron

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 15:20:09 +0000 GMT

I got the Pan Drum set a while back, as I love the way those things sound. Thanks Geert for sharing your setup, I'll definitely give it a try!

written by: NothanUmber

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 18:56:41 +0000 GMT

Thanks for sharing, looking forward to try this. The scripts are also quite educational!

written by: mikemilton

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 19:12:36 +0000 GMT

Well... this is fun and a nice little learning experience.

Geert, your nki files won't load in my copy of Kontakt saying they were written with a newer version - Komplete 8??

written by: geert

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 20:15:30 +0000 GMT

@mike I'm sorry but yes, these have been saved with Kontakt 5 and I can't seem to convert them back to Kontakt 4. I didn't do anything major to the instruments though, just adapted the velocity a little bit.

written by: mikemilton

Thu, 8 Dec 2011 21:54:41 +0000 GMT

No prob... gets me to explore separately... fun!

written by: GoneCaving

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 00:40:33 +0000 GMT

Hi all,
I'm trying to build the hang drum setup that Geert posted into a setup based on factory 2 with Workbench. First off, it's given me respect for Geert in building the factory setups. It must have been quite a task!

Anyway, I've not managed to get this working. If I described the steps I've taken perhaps someone could point out what I've missed? I'll put the setup up somewhere once I get it working.

1. Create a new output on main key group. Specify the mode keys for this. I can select the new output ok.
2. Create two new key groups, rename and wire the new output from main keygroup to these. Wire the light connection back to the main keygroup.
3. In each of these keygroups set the musical map by picking the keys in each of the 5 courses for each keygroup, and the course offset to [0,5,5,5,5] .
4. Create two new rigs, for the two audio groups.
5. Open the first new rig, and create and name the inputs (left audio, right audio and lights), and outputs (as per the original script).
6. Create a recorded, scaler, audio unit and summer.
7. Wire the controller input from the gateway to the recorder and from there to the scaler.
8. Wire the frequency output from the scaler to the audio unit.
9. Set the channel count to 8 on the audio unit, and wire the first two through to the summer inputs, and from there back to the left and right inputs on the gateway.
10. Wire the scaler light output back to the gateway light input. At this point I can see that the lights are at least showing!
11. Wire the audio from the rig gateway through to a new channel on the mixer.
12. If I set the AU, load the instrument, set the tail time to 0, and play a note virtual keyboard in the AU I can hear sound, so at least the downwind wiring is ok.

However, no sounds when I press the keys. If I set the tail time back to 10.0 the AU remains idle. I'm sure this tells me that _something_ upwind of the rig isn't wired, but what??

Any suggestions?

written by: keyman

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 15:46:08 +0000 GMT

Hi D...

I did try to follow, no conclusion yet.

Another idea, why not use the existing rigs? with those new keygroups...

Later tonight, I'll give some more attentions to this, promise!


written by: GoneCaving

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 23:50:54 +0000 GMT

Well I thought I'd add to the setup and also learn along the way. But it's a good suggestion, and when I wire the new keygroup to audio unit 1 I get sound when I press the keys. From which I draw the conclusion that the wiring up to my new keygroup is ok, and that the issue has to be downstream of the key group, and upstream of the new audio unit.
Similarly if I connect the key group 1 audio unit 1 output to the new audio unit 5 rig, I get no sound. Which makes me suspect the rig gateway is the problem.

More digging!

written by: GoneCaving

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 23:56:42 +0000 GMT

Eureka! So I had the controller and key inputs connected, but hadn't created the pressure input on the rig gateway. I discovered this by going to audio unit rig 1 and deleting the other inputs until it stopped working.


written by: GoneCaving

Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:46:27 +0100 BST

Just a quick note to say that I've added belcanto and a config to TheTechnoBear's Creator repository that builds a simple hang drum setup (ie. just the pair of hang drums). It should be easy to add this into your own setups!

written by: geert

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:58:52 +0100 BST

Good to see that you got this working Duncan, any videos of you playing this setup?

written by: GoneCaving

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:57:54 +0100 BST

Hi Geert, Nope, I'm camera shy ;-) An aside from that I've been spending more time with my modular in the last month or two. I'd like to start to try to combine the two, and process some of the output from EigenD through the modular. I may try to record that if it works out/I can find time.

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