Creating MIDI drum track with wav samples

I would like to create a drum track using the MIDI tools. I’ve done it with the built in drum sounds, and it works well. I would like to try this using wav files as samples for each instrument - sometimes you need more than the built in percussion sounds. I can do it my copying and pasting a million wav files in an audio track, but that can be really time consuming and messy.

What’s the best way to do that? thanks all.

A drum sampler. (Or really most samplers should be able to). But it is a plug in you would load on the track and trigger via MIDI.


depending on your OS you can find some free samplers…
i personally prefer Renoise Redux | Renoise
it support multiple platforms…
it’s very versatile…
…and it does not cost much

For drums, the canonical FLOSS plugin for this purpose would be DrumGizmo.

You can also do this sort of thing without sampler. This video shows one workflow:

Note that although it shows Mixbus, the editing features of Ardour & Mixbus are essentially identical.

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that’s good approach but very tedious in case you want to:

  • layer drums
  • swap drums
  • and everything else that will introduce more complex workflow

not saying at all that one should just skip the part where you lay down samples on the grid, but the OP asks to avoid that way in particular

one example:
make whole track/arrangement, and decide to swap your kick drum, or decide to layer it… in this case it’s faster and easier to just duplicate track and reach for ‘drum replacement’ plugin, instead going manually and layering/replacing every hit…

or you would like velocity (or other parameter) to influence/trigger some other stuff like eq/dynamic/spatial changes within that single sound…

Thanks - I was initially thinking of making a soundfont with all the wav samples and then using fluid-synth to use it - but I couldn’t find an easy was to make soundfonts. I’d prefer to use the MIDI tools in Ardour (cause I already know how to use them), but I’m open to anything. Thanks

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I think something like lsp-Sampler will do.
Here is an explanation video.

The lsp-plugins are known to be of high quality.

Sitala seems like a very interesting product.

Not as friendly in the wine-d version, but seems like once you figure it out, it’s pretty neat. The first instrument says it’s mapped to C1 in Sitala, but it’s C2 in Ardour. You can’t seem to drag and drop the sounds, but easy enough to browse and load samples.

They just dropped Linux support (for valid reasons)…

Also it is not to my knowledge able to support sample velocity layers which the LSP sampler(s) do, Many point to apisonic speedrum as a replacement but it also doesn’t support velocity layers…

Ah, my bad. Yes, I have the Linux v1 copy… I was thinking it was a Win VST. See how transparent you make this!? :stuck_out_tongue:

I found this Polysound soundfont editor that seems to work with the fluidsynth plugin. I can put as many wav files as I need in it, assign them to different keys, have multiple channels - along with hundreds of other confusing settings. There is some setup getting the soundfont created, but I can reuse that same soundfont everywhere and use all the Ardour tools for laying it out. I think I’m going to go that route. Thanks All.

I use Polyphone Soundfont Editor to create my .sfz and .sf2 soundfonts, then in Ardour I load them into the sfizz and ACE Fluid Synth plugins.
In sfizz you can also directly load an audio sample.


I tried the LSP Sampler plugin and it’s variations, it seems to be limited. There are only 8 slots for 8 velocity ranges for one instrument… Other sampler plugins are based on soundfonts or banks and not single samples.

I think @graymon means something like this drum sampler plugin below, where you can upload different samples to different “slots”.