Saturday, I went to Guitar Center to pick up the upgrade to Reason 8. I’ve been using Reason 4 for too long and have been wanting the new version for a while. While I was there, I spotted an M-Audio Trigger Finger Pro.
It was on sale, so I decided to pull the trigger (get it) and buy one of these. When I got home, I immediately started setting it up. After installing and playing with the software that came with it, I noticed that it wasn’t completely connecting. I was unable to map the sliders and knobs to any functions on the software. It turns out that I simply had to download and install the latest driver. Since I’m using Windows 10 and they don’t have a driver for it, I picked the Windows 8.1 64-bit driver. Once installed, that fixed the issue.
I wasn’t really all that interested in the software that came with it. It was OK, but what I really bought it for was to control Reason. So, I watched a YouTube video that described what you need to do to get it running with Reason. I played around and created a few beats with it last night. It’s got a quick workflow for beats. I used the Kong drum machine within Reason. However, you can also use it as a keyboard input for other instruments in Reason.
The TFP also has modes that map the pads to specific chords and sends those keys to your software. The sequencer is incredibly easy to use. I had a beat created in just a few minutes after installing everything. Once you create a sequence, you can save it to the TFP’s memory. Also, when you hit Record on your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation software), it will send the sequence as MIDI events, so it will record your live performance as any changes you make to the sequence while it’s recording. Or, you can just let it run after creating a sequence and it will record the sequence to your DAW. Since the sequence is all MIDI, you can manipulate it in the DAW and do whatever you need to it. For me, in Reason, I was able to modify the instrument being used and add some cool filters (I really like the new Kangaroo Rack Extension).
Next, I’m going to start working with rhythms as sources for a vocoder and create rhythmic chords. I’ve always liked harmonizers and vocoders. I think they add a futuristic sound to a song (even if they might be overused). An example of extreme vocal harmonization is Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek.
I’m not planning on being a live performer, so I can’t speak to the capabilities of it as a live performance instrument. However, I saw a pretty cool YouTube video of a guy (Carl Rag) performing live with the TFP.
Overall, I’m really liking the TFP so far. The quality of the hardware is good, it’s solid and doesn’t feel like a toy. The pads are responsive (and velocity sensitive, something the Novation Launchpad at the same price point does not offer). I like having the sliders and knobs on the device, and with 4 banks of controls, I have 16 of each to work with.
So, besides being a drum controller, it’s also working out great as a controller for when I want to automate knobs and sliders in Reason.
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