How to use the DR-008 drum sampler

Last updated on 3/31/2016

Are you looking beyond General MIDI drum kits, for a flexible and versatile sound source for contemporary and traditional music composition?

Enter the DR-008 DXi Advanced Rhythm Production Workstation for SONAR XL. The DR-008 DXi Advanced Rhythm Production Workstation is an exciting, full-featured drum sampler, capable of creating incredibly realistic sounding acoustic drum tracks with features like its 128-way velocity mapping, as well as the professional sounding dance, techno and other electronic styles with its exciting library of analog-modeled drum synth modules. The DR-008 also has some very nice features not found in other drum based virtual instruments, such as flam and roll options as well as the ability to program and trigger an entire pattern from a single MIDI note. You can create you own kits using a combination of DR-008's internal drum synth modules and .WAV format samples. You can even import LM-4 drum kits.

Getting Started
1. Start by downloading a sample .CWP file

2. Open up the file and you’ll be greeted by the DR-008 UI. NOTE: If you've manually disabled SONAR's layout capabilities and don't see the DR-008 upon opening the file, open it manually through the “Synth Rack” window (Go to menu View | Synth Rack), then double-click the DR-008 entry to see it's interface. 

3. To hear the DR-008 you can begin playback of our project. You will hear a MIDI track playing through the DR-008. You can use this track as a guide to audition and edit the different kits included with the DR-008.

Click for larger image

This example file has a basic drum pattern pre-configured for the DR-008 to utilize the Smart Loops Dry Studio Kit.

Each pad has a specific MIDI note number 

When you first open the DR-008, you will notice a grid of blocks. Each block is a 'pad' that represents a MIDI note. The example file references the Smart Loops Dry Studio Kit. The lighter shaded blocks indicate that there is an actual sound (synth or sample) loaded in that particular pad. You will notice in SONAR 2's Track view there are five audio tracks and a corresponding MIDI track. The five tracks are for the DR-008’s multiple outputs and auxiliary send. The synth is hosted in the audio track, and the MIDI or controller data, resides and gets recorded onto a MIDI track. Let’s familiarize ourselves with some of the DR-008 basics. 

1. Right click on a pad in the DR-008 and a menu will appear.

2. Using pad C3, Bass Drum 1.wav for example, you can choose “Open editor”. This will open up the “Easy Sampler” module.

3. This module allows you to load wave files and trigger them via MIDI. You can adjust the samples pitch and filter settings within this editor. It is also possible to assign different pads to individual outputs for further processing.

4. We can utilize audio tracks for individual outputs and aux send buses. To do this, select either “DR-008 DXi2 1 Out <1-4>” or “DR-008 DXi2 Aux 1” in an audio tracks “in” parameter.

5. You can then go into the DR-008 “Details” view and click on the Output field in a channel to specify which output a pad will be routed to.

You can use the AUX volume to set the amount of signal that will be sent to an AUX audio track. This is useful if you want to have a reverb plug-in that you can route a specified amount of from each of your drum pads. For example, cymbals and snares sound good with a fair amount of reverb, however, it not normal to process a bass drum through a lot of reverb because it tends to get buried and indistinguishable in a mix.
Lets try using a different bass drum sound. Go to the “Overview” window, right click on the “Bass Drum Pad” (c3) and choose “Objects” and select the “DrumSynth008”. 

Right click on the same pad, choose “Presets” and select a bass drum sound. You can further edit one of these preset by right clicking on a pad and choosing the “Open Editor”. Lets add a new snare to our kit. Right-click on pad E3 and choose “809 Snare”.

This will give us a classic drum machine-sounding snare. You can select presets with this and most DR-008 modules as a good starting point.

Lets create a pad that will give us a snare roll triggered from a single MIDI note. Right click on D#3 and choose “DD Auto Roll”. Right click on the pad and choose open editor.

We need to assign pads to Pad A and Pad B. These pads will be alternated during the 'roll' when the pad is triggered. Lets choose D3 for Pad A and E3 for Pad B. This will use our two snares from this kit. Double-click on the “Rate” field and enter a numeric value of 20. You can further adjust this to taste. A larger number gives a slower roll.

Ok, now how about pattern based sequencing from a single key. Right click on pad C5 and choose “DD Sequencer”. Open the editor and you will find a pattern-based grid. In the fields that say “None” we need to select a “Pad” to trigger. Do this by clicking on it and selecting the notes you would like to sequence, for example C3 for the bass drum, D3 for the snare drum, F#3 for the closed hi-hat, etc. This grid represents a full measure of music or four beats. You simply click in the corresponding grid to step create a pattern.

Now play a C5 note on your MIDI keyboard, controller, or manually input in the SONAR 2.0 Piano Roll view, and you will hear your entire pattern being triggered. This is a very fun and easy way to create loops and break-beats that you can trigger on the fly in your project.

You can load additional kits into the DR-008 by clicking the “Load” button, “Load Settings”, and choosing a kit to open. The DR-008 also imports LM-4 format kits. You can find free kits online. A great source is and go to the banks/patches section. Search for the LM-4 banks. These can be opened after they are un-zipped. Use the wizard option import LM-4 kits.

Please note that you can find a detailed manual for the DR-008 in the C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared DXi\Fxpansion\DR-008 folder in your computer. This is in Adobe .pdf format. You can download the free .pdf reader here at

We have released a SONAR 2 plug in patch update. Please download and install it.

*There is a DR-008 upgrade available for purchase that adds a significant amount of new features and enhancements at

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