Nord Drum 2 - how to start?

Hi, I am a beginner and would like some advice for the settings and how to start. I read the manual but f.e. I just get the base drum sounding. Do I have to use 6 tracks for the 6 channels of the nord drum? Or how do I tell the pyramid witch sound he should use from the synth? Is this done with cc messages? I dont want you to write a complete tutorial for me, I just need tips where to start to work on beats with the pyramid and the nord drum 2. I’m a newbie and got stuck… thanks in advance, and please dont wtite ‘read the manual’ but give hints which chapters or youtube-links… :wink:


I don’t own a Nord2 but I will try and help you. You need to send MIDI notes from the Pyramid to the N2 to trigger different voices. You can either send them all on the same MIDI channel (which should be the global channel on the N2) or separate MIDI channels which you can define on the N2 per voice) Would suggest you keep it simple to begin with and just use the global channel.

On that channel, send MIDI note numbers 60, 62, 64, 65, 67 and 69 (C4-A4) from the Pyramid, this will trigger the different voices on the N2. One note for each voice. However, these are factory defaults and if the N2 is not using factory default settings to respond to those note messages, you may have to put each voice into MIDI learn mode. If you do this, the next MIDI note that you send to a voice in learn mode will be the one that it responds to from then on.

If that seems overwhelming for now, just put in a load of steps on the same note and move it up and down the piano roll until you hear other voices sounding.

If you use global mode on the N2 you can send all your notes on one track or set up different Pyramid tracks for each individual voice - make sure they all transmit on the appropriate channel though and you are only triggering one voice per track. If you assign a different MIDI channel to each voice you will definitely have to use a different Pyramid track for each one to trigger each each voice.

All the sounds are coming from the N2, the Pyramid is just gonna tell the N2 what to play and when. If you send note messages on channels or notes that the N2 is not set up to receive on you won’t hear anything.

CC messages can be used to change the timbre of the voices in the N2 e.g filter cutoff. But unless you have set the voices to receive in different MIDI channels the CC will effect all the voices that share that channel.

Good luck.


hey - long time ND2 user here … I’d recommend to set the ND2 to respond to individual midi channels for each track (page10 nord manual)… this way you get the 2 units to behave like ‘normal’ drum machine (each track triggers a voice) - but much much cooler. it’s a wicked good combo.

if you set each voices pitch to 60 (middle C) you 'll be able to play it chromatically like a mono synth (times 6)…(pitch 60 is only to calibrate so when you play a C on a keyboard the pitch will actually correspond)
having individual channels will also allow you to have dedicated CC tracks for each voice and this is where the fun really starts

using the ND2 becomes second nature quickly, although it felt convoluted at first to me… but it’s actually not…

so to re-cap:
read page 10, define channels for each voice (like channel 1 - voice 1, and so forth), (now any note will trigger a sound on the right channel)
then create 6 tracks on the pyramid and set each track to a diff channel (1-6)… get comfortable…
later add more tracks and play around by modulating your sounds using midi CC

hope this helps… you’re in for a treat here!


since I had the manual open… might as well:

MIDI Note assignment
When the Nord Drum 2 is shipped from thefactory, channels 1 to 6 are assigned to MIDInote numbers: 60, 62, 64, 65, 67 and 69 .Here is how to change this:
1 Connect a MIDI pad or other MIDIcontroller to the MIDI Input on the NordDrum 2
2 Hold Shift and press the MIDI buttonrepeatedly until you see a “n” followed by a number in the display .
3 Press the Channel Select buttons onthe Nord Drum 2 to select one of thechannels .
4 Turn the Dial to set the desired MIDINote Number for that channel .
5 Repeat steps 3 and 4 to assign the otherchannels to the MIDI note numbers thatthe MIDI unit transmits .
6 Press the Program button to exit


Thanks everyone for your help - I appreciate it very much! This is why the community here has such a good reputation! :slight_smile:
I hope I can try everything out soon… looking forward to it!

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I like this idea - but how do you keep all your tracks organized? I’m imagining 1 track per voice (6 tracks) x however many parts, fills, changes in a song getting out of hand quickly.

welcome to the forum/community!
very good question and it took me a while to figure out (in fact, still searching)…

here’s how I do it all the time - sticking to it stoically so I have at least something consistent to get used to:

i usually dedicate whole banks to the ND2, with the bottom row being voice 1-6 and then the top row being voice 1-6 but only for CCs - this way i get A LOT of variations by just using mutes and i can easily disable CC modulation… for further variation i added program changes switching to very similar kits on the ND2 and getting even more variation.
If I want really different parts I would dedicate another bank just to that. not ideal but somewhat tidy…
you are right though, big changes in a song can/will get messy … i have gotten into the habit to commit to audio early-ish on (sample into my MPC live) so I don’t end up faffing around with intricate tweaks… so most of the time one bank as described gives me plenty flexibility… you will still have 4 tracks spare per bank using this way, which would allow you to add variations to either 2 or 4 voices …
also something i keep eyeing on but never fully used, are patterns within the track which will give even more variation just with one bank…

as you can tell no real wisdom here, just habit - so i don’t have to keep reverse engineering my own creations on revisit
hope this could help!


Thanks! I read the N2 manual and I just did some test with Logic Pro…

Page 29
The Channel Select buttons on the panel will therefore be used to set the transmitting and receiving Nord Drum 2 channel focus of the CC messages. This allows you to record and receive parameter changes on the Global MIDI Channel.

There is nothing stoping having both global midi channel and individual midi channels active. Which means you can do all your pattern sequencing on one track (midi ch10). You can then focus any channel on N2 with cc70 and sequence params.

AND create tracks for sequencing params on the individual N2 midi ch tracks!

My Pyramid arrives tomorrow - I think this will be cool!


think this might work only in theory …maybe this works for REALLY slow tempo? would like to be proven wrong here though…
you couldn’t do LFO’s affecting only one track for instance… and the idea only works if you get to send CC70 before any other CC and I don’t suppose you’ll have control over the order your messages get send… so I would expect this to be flaky.
again - as it would be awesome if this works - I’d love to be proven wrong here… so lemme know how you get on.

Hmm, food for thought… I’ll know more tonight. Will report back.

I hook up my ND2 on Midi B and use 6 channels. I guess it’s not ideal if you want to play in stuff on one channel, but for sequencing it’s very flexible since you can do different patterns and lengths for all the sounds.

I have my ND2 setup on global ch10 - individual ch11-16. I program patterns on one track, modulate individual parameters on other tracks. You could have a euclidian hihat pattern on one track and automation for that channel. It’s pretty manageable and flexible. I’m still learning the Pyramid, but this with the ND2 is a cool combo.

Hi! I also have a ND2 and just got a pyramid.

I’d like to drum in a sequence live on the ND2 and record this on the pyramid, and then press play on the pyramid and get on to other synths with the ND2 being sequenced by the pyramid.

I’d like to use separate midi channels on the ND2 so that I can do cc, and also melodic stuff, but how to combine this with the first part (drumming in on the ND2)?

Because when I drum in something on the ND2, it will not be recorded to each individual track on the pryamid, right? or is this possible?