Skip to content

Experimental: Trigger 2 for the blind in Logic with VoiceOver

Introduction

Trigger 2 is a popular drum replacement / sample augmentation plugin developed by Steven Slate Drums. It has over 2GB of stock samples with many more packs available, like the CLA expantion pack.

However, it has been very difficult or impossible to get trigger to actively play a sample on a channel it’s inserted on, without visual help.
On the Mac side, there was no way to access the browser to be able to pick a sample, and if by some miracle you managed that with a keyboard, you wouldn’t be able to load a sample in because it would require you to click on the sample if ‘enable instrument loading with double click’ was enabled.

Trigger would be very unstable for VoiceOver users as a result, forcing me to either get visual help when triggering or to get the best out of the real drums because that’s all there is. I always prefer the second option.

In this resource I’ll cover:

  1. Important prerequisites.
  2. How I download and set up Trigger.
  3. How I managed to get Trigger to do the job it was intended to do while using VoiceOver.
  4. The importance of saving all individual samples you might want to use as presets in the logic plugin window.
  5. Cool tips for mixing triggers with real drums.

Why trigger drums?

So why would you want to trigger a drum track when the technology we can use to clean up real recordings is just getting better and better as years go by? We can still get the best out of the real drums we have available, however we might want to use Trigger to aim for a larger than life sound, or the tracks provided might just not be up to scratch.

Recently I took on a project where I was left with no alternative than to trigger the kick because of an issue with the raw recording and I came across this method for getting it to work. You can either do a sample blend like I did in this situation or an outright replacement on a low quality or completely unusable recording.

All the drums must be separated in to their own track, kick, snare, individual toms, and cymbal tracks or overheads for this to work.

Important prerequisites

  1. Logic Pro X, tested on v10.8.0 and upwards
  2. Trigger 2 software
  3. VOCR, a voiceover OCR provider for mac.
  4. A close mic track to trigger.

If you want, you can also get an expansion pack, such as the Trigger 2 Expansion from Slate or the previously mentioned CLA Expansion.
Today I’ll just use the Trigger 2 Deluxe Sample Pack.

If you have all these things ready then we’ll start here.

Setup

I’ll assume you already have Logic Pro X installed, and are using it as either your primary DAW or have intermediate experience with it, so I won’t go through the detailed instalation process for that or detailed navigation of the DAW. However, one thing you can do is make sure you have a multitrack session available, either an ongoing project or test session.

If you need a test session, then there are many multitrack sessions available on Produce Like A Pro or on other pages, or you can use an old session, so long as the original is backed up should you or the client want to recall it in the future.

  1. Get your session ready to go: import all the tracks into Logic if you haven’t already, then close out after saving changes.
  2. Go to the Steven Slate Trigger website, and decide whether you want to use Trigger 2 Free or Platinum.
    Note: I have only managed to get this to work with Platinum, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t work with the free version, however the amount of samples it comes with is limited.
  3. Go through the registration process on the slate website if you’ve never downloaded a slate product. This will include creating an acount and getting your order (free or paid) dropped into your account to use later. Once this is done, you should get an email from Slate with further instructions, and a link to download the Slate audio centre. Slate audio centre is your main control point for installing any products you have in your slate account. Although you can’t buy things from in here.
  4. Install the slate audio centre by dragging it to the applications folder and run it for the first time.
  5. Follow the instructions given by the application, which will display like a webpage with voiceover, keep in mind you might need to enter your administrator password to allow slate to install all components needed for products to function.
  6. Once Slate audio centre has done it’s initial setup, then you should be presented with the ability to log in to your account which we created earlier. Follow the instructions given by the application.
  7. Once logged in, your core products should be shown. Follow the instructions to install your products. You should only see products you own in this list.
  8. The installation process for the products is pretty simple, just use the voiceover key, VO, +Left and right arrows to navigate and see the instructions to follow. Insure you’ve chosen a directory for the trigger 2 library and go through the steps to complete the process.
  9. Once trigger is installed, you should be presented with a successful install message and the option to go back to products or exit. If you want to install an expantion, then go back to products, and find the expantions button. Then repeate.
  10. Now this is done, Open Logic, wait for it to rescan plugins, and then open a session.

Loading Trigger 2 in Logic

  1. Find a close mic channel that you want to trigger and open the Trigger 2 plugin, it should be under Steven Slate.
  2. Then, switch your plugin view from ‘Controls’ to ‘Editor’, and if you can, get someone to go to the settings tab and ensure that ‘enable instrument loading with double click’ is enabled. You can also try and navigate to settings yourself by running VOCR on the window. If you find something that says settings hit VO+Shift+Space to click, hit escape to clear VOCR and start again. If you find something about enable instrument loading, or instrument loading, then click it. VOCR may display differently dependant on your system.
  3. You might want to restart Trigger at this point to make sure changes are saved by removing the plugin from the audio track and then re-inserting it.

Loading samples in Trigger

  1. Re-open the Trigger plugin if you chose to restart it. Then change your plugin view from controls to editor. Then use VO+Right arrow, and you should find a Trigger 2 group. Interact with it, and press VO+space on the first radio button. This should be the browser. Continue navigating, you should see a table, interact with it. This lists all the folders trigger 2 has found.
  2. To expand a category such as Trigger 2 Deluxe Snares, navigate to it using up and down arrow. Expand by pressing right arrow. If you press down arrow after doing this, you should see all the available options within that category.
  3. Find an option you’d like to try, in this case I want the Black Beauty Snare without dampening, third option under Deluxe Snares, and try pressing CMD+VO+F5 to put the mouse over the keyboard selected option.
  4. Then press VO+F5, and if VoiceOver says that the selected option is under the mouse, then you should be good to press VO+Shift+space twice to double-click and load it in to Trigger.
    If VO doesn’t say that the selected option is under the mouse, then you’ll have to try running VOCR on the window, and trying to find the option you want that way, and try double clicking with VO+Shift+Space.
    Which ever method you have to go with, this should result in the sample being loaded in to Trigger.
  5. If you press play on your session, you should hear the triggered sample being played whenever in this case the snare hits.
  6. If this works, then save the sample preset by navigating to the Logic plugin menu with VO, hitting save as, and giving it a name. Since this is a very experimental method, it is crucial to save the sample in the logic plugin menu so you can go back to it in the event something were to get updated or moved around in such a way you can’t access that sample again with the methods described above.

Tips and tricks

Finally, I’ll go over some tips for mixing triggers with real drums. I personally tend to prefer working with live drums, so if I absolutely must go with a Trigger then I’ll aim for about 95% of my drum sound to be real drums. This means my workflow might go something like this:

  1. I’ll use tools like BlackSalt audio’s silencer to gate the close mic tracks that I need to bolster with a sample.
  2. Then, I’ll EQ and compress the close mic tracks before I hit Trigger 2.
  3. After this, I’ll set up an audio track or aux, where I’ll send a parallel output of the close mic track that needs Triggering. It’s important to use one of the send slots rather than setting the output of the real drum track to the aux or audio track otherwise you’ll lose the original track in the mix.
  4. I’ll then use the second track I just created as my trigger track, so I’ll load trigger 2 on to the audio / aux track and load in my sample I saved in the plugin menu.
  5. Then, you can adjust the sensitivity of the trigger, the detail or the re-trigger amount by having the plugin in controls mode, and adjusting it like you would any other plugin with VO in Logic.
  6. Adjust until there’s no accidental triggers or issues with the trigger track not hitting as hard as the real drum track.
  7. Also adjust until the trigger clearly picks up any rolls or double kick work.
  8. Blend this in to the drum mix by bringing the volume to a happy medium and EQ and process as you see fit.
  9. Since I already gate and process the drum before I hit Trigger 2, that should prevent other elements of the kit, like hats, spilling in to the Trigger track and creating false trigger points on the snare track for example.
  10. When triggering Tom tracks, make sure that the tom you’re triggering is roughly the same pitch as the real tom, if you plan to do a sample blend rather than an outrite replacement. Failure to do so will result in interesting off-pitch results and will scream that you’re using a blended sample.

Remember the reason we do this is because we don’t want it to stick out like a saw thumb but need to improve our mix…

Another cool tip you could try is to use the triggered samples to create ambience around your real drums. Each sample in Trigger has several channels, with varying levels of ambience, and you are able set the level of each. Use your ears and adjust the plugin controls on controls view. Aim to only keep the room tracks, then process as you see fit to create a false room or use them to make a small tracking room sound bigger.

Again, this is a very experimental method, and things like screen resolution and voiceover settings might depend on whether this works as intended. The hardest part is getting the sample loaded.

If the double click loading option is on, then if VO won’t cooperate when loading samples you should be able to ask someone to help load them in by double clicking on them.

I’ll also go through all my sample packs at some point and load them all in, save them and set some ‘ideal settings’ for my situation, and upload the saved Logic presets somewhere to be downloaded.

Something to note with this is I’m not fully sure whether just dropping those presets in to the directory and loading them will work all the time. This is something that will need to be tested.

Leave a comment

marshall fairbrother

marshall fairbrother

A blind recording and mixing engineer in the east midlands, with a passion for making all the studios I work at as inclusive and accessible to all as possible.