“Cymbal Choke” with E-Drums and Ableton Live


Cymbal Choke with electronic drums has become a common standard for current electronic drum kits on the market. Drum sample apps, plug-ins and VST are supporting this feature as well. Ableton Live support Cymbal Choke from Version 11.

How to set up a cymbal choke for e-drums with Ableton Live

Unfortunately to make this all work it will need some changes to be made in your drum module (“Gate Time”). There are few other things to be considered as well. And not all electronic drum modules will work for choking cymbal sounds in Ableton Live.

I developed a PDF guide which will walk you through all the steps. It includes a checklist for you to find out if cymbal choke is possible with your e drum module. You can get the guide for free / pay-what-you-want HERE

GET THE FREE GUIDE ON CYMBAL CHOKE WITH Ableton Live

Mute electronic cymbals with Roland e drum

Understanding Polyphonic Aftertouch / Poly Key Pressure for cymbal choke with e-drums

Poly Key Pressure (Poly KP) is being send e.g. by Roland eDrum modules (like the Roland TD-27, TD-30, TD-50, TM-6Pro ) when grabbing an electronic cymbal pad and Ableton Live 11 is now being able to hand that message IF send before a MIDI Note Off message.

cymbal choke with electronic drums in Ableton Live

Mastering Gate Time and Drum Sound Plug-Ins

For electronic drummers this means to adjust the “Gate Time” in the drum module. This way you pass through he “Poly KP” message into an Ableton Live MIDI track. This way the “Cymbal Choke” can now mute the cymbal samples and trigger a “choke” sample in drum plug-ins / VST like Superior Drummer 3 ( SD3 ), Adictive Drums 2 ( AD2 ) , EZ Drummer 2, Steven Slate Drums 5 ( SSD5 ) and more. Now you will record (and can play back) the Cymbal Choke.

Choke presets for Ableton Live Accoustic Drum Stock Sounds

Unfortunately Cymbal Choke with Ableton Live’s Core Library drum sounds won’t work. I created a Max for Live device + a collection of presets for the 5 acoustic kits in Ableton Lives Core Library which will do so. Get them HERE.

I have developer several plug ins for drummers using Ableton Live. If you are new to the topic I can advise you to check out my RESOURCES FOR DRUMMERS USING ABLETON LIVE page. You will find a lot of different online courses, plugins and tutorials for using Ableton Live in a live concept there.