First steps with Yamaha’s DTX Multi 12 drum pads

My second-hand Yamaha DTX Multi 12 drum pads

A bit of context

Why did I want to buy a DTX Multi 12, you ask?

  • Roland’s SPD-SX Sampling Pad
  • Clavia’s Nord Drum 3P
  • Alesis’ SamplePad Pro
  • and Yamaha’s DTX Multi 12
A good comparison review between Roland’s SPD-SX and Yamaha’s DTX Multi 12.
A convincing demo of the DTX Multi 12

First contact: pad sensitivity

When I first played on the DTX M12, I really appreciated the sensitivity of the pads while playing with hands and fingers (which you can enable by pressing Shift-Utility), but I must admit that I was disappointed by the lack of dynamic range of the “drum sticks” sensitivity mode…

  1. press Shift-Utility to adjust the pad sensitivity settings;
  2. press the Right key and Enter to edit the “PAD” settings;
  3. use the +/- keys to select the “HandDyna” trigger type;
  4. then, using the Left and Right keys to switch to different settings, and the+/- keys to change their values, set “Gain” to “1”, “VelCurve” to “hard2”, and leave all the other settings to their defaults;
  5. Save your changes in the first custom/user trigger (“U01”) by pressing “Store” and confirming using “Enter”. (if you don’t do that, your DTX will forget your settings when you turn if off).
Hello, fine-tuned trigger settings :-)
  1. press Utility to go to the main settings menu;
  2. press Enter to go to the “general” section;
  3. go to the “StartupTrg” setting by using the Left and Right keys;
  4. set its value to “U01” (or whatever name you stored your settings into);
  5. press the Store button to save this preference.

Let’s put the headphones on

At that stage, I was still hearing the DTX through speakers. I decided to plug my Urbanears headphones, by respect to my girlfriend’s ears. ^^

Simple hack to fix the sound of my 3-band headphone’s jack: pull it just a little bit.

Recording in GarageBand, thru MIDI

One last thing I was really excited about was to record my performances in GarageBand, using the MIDI format rather than Audio, so that I could later fix the hits independently. (e.g. to quantise and/or change the sound of pads after recording)

The Roland UM-ONE Midi-to-USB interface, between the DTX and my MacBook Pro.
The best way I found to control GarageBand’s “SoCal” drum kit is to use the DTX’s “Vocal Drums” preset.

Finally, let’s try a different layout of pads

While trying to play some groovy rhythms on the DTX’s most classic kit presets (like “Oak Custom”), I found that I could play them more smoothly after swapping the position of the bass drum and snare pads + moving the hi-hat from the bottom-right pad to the top-left one.

Next things I want to explore

So far, I’ve been amazed by the quality of the DTX’s pads, the possibilities in terms of customisation, but also the instrument’s ease of use despite all these possibilities. The provided sounds and presets are great, and I really love the fact that I can use the DTX for both training sessions, live performances and even stick-free jam sessions.

  • adding my own samples, (e.g. the “dirty” hip-hop snare I mentioned earlier)
  • connect an iPhone or iPad to the DTX in order to select and customise kit presets with a more intuitive and fast user interface,
  • trying the “Cubase AI” software, included with the DTX, (even though I still have to find a way to get a working activation code for it, now that my DTX’s previous owner used it already…)
  • and plugging a MIDI keyboard to the DTX, like shown on the video below.
Yes, the DTX can be used as a synthesiser, if you plug a MIDI keyboard (or other controller) to it!

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Adrien Joly

Adrien Joly

👨‍💻 Software crafter @SHODO, legacy code / tech debt doctor (http://ajo.ovh/pro) 🥁 Drummer of “Harissa”, VR lover, music digger