Nord Drum 3P Ableton Live (M4L) Editor –

Nord Drum 3P Ableton Live (M4L) Editor


There are 2 devices: Nord Drum 3P Editor (Main)and the 2nd one is for the reverb and delay section: Nord Drum 3P Editor (Reverb + Delay)


Finally, after a little while of experiments, finding my way around in M4L and a very time consuming way to get the internal presets from it, it is done: The Nord Drum 3P editor for Ableton Live (Max4Live).

Nord Drum 3P Max for Live Editor
Nord Drum 3P Max for Live Editor from Ableton Drummer

I love Clavias Nord Drum 3P, it has a big range of possibilities to create sounds, great presets and it’s just fun to play with them and very inspiring not only flicking through samples but being able to alter every parameter of the sound. A friend introduced me to the 3P, as he is really into hardware synths and being able to use MIDI from a centralized source e.g. Ableton Live to change sound settings and parameters. I was hooked to this concept as soon as he showed me but I was struggling to understand the sound and effects engine and structure from the Nord Drum 3P and I felt that only having one wheel to contol all those parameters with all the select and shift-select buttons was kind of in the way and stopping the flow I was in when I was creating sounds on it.




So nearly every parameter is controllable with the two Max for Live devices I created. You have 121 presets stored in here already plus you can save and recall your own presets.

Nord Drum 3P sound presets

MIDI mapping and automations

You can MIDI map all the wheels and menus, this way you can use other MIDI controllers to change the sound and what is opening up a new level of use her: YOU CAN AUTOMATE SOUND CHANGES e.g. only a few parameters or even changing to a completely different sound preset – that means if you are playing live and want the sound to change when you start a new scene in Ableton Live, you just need to write or record this into a MIDI clip.

Nord Drum 3P Automation

How to start and set up

First of all you need to create a MIDI connection from your computer to your 3P – this would work for both direction, so the editor M4L device is able to receive changes of the parameters made by hand on your 3P as well BUT this really only works for changes actually made BY HAND(!) – so changing to a preset on your 3P won’t send all the parameters values to the editor, just if you select a parameter and turn the wheel the 3P will send this information out. For that reason let us focus on the MIDI connection FROM Ableton Live (MIDI OUT) TO the Nor Drum 3P (MIDI IN).

Once you have connected a MIDI cable (e.g.from an external sound card) or a USB to MIDI converter from your computer to the 3P you have to set the right channel(s) in Ableton Live.

Per default in the factory preset the Nord Drum 3P has following settings:

Channel 10 GLOBAL – this means all pads can receive those parameters/preset changes. You  select the pad in the editor to define which pad should receive the changes made in the M4L device.

select Midi channel

PAD 1 – Channel 1, PAD 2 – Channel 2, PAD 3 – Channel 3 and so on

This becomes handy if you want to use multiple instances of the M4L 3P Editor and/or if you want to control multiple pads with one editor. Just create multiple MIDI tracks in Ableton Live for this purpose and route the ins and outs accordingly to what you want to archive, e.g. you could set up one MIDI track for each pad receiving MIDI from a control MIDI track, where the device is sitting on, like on this picture:

Nord Drum 3P multiple pads

This would give you complete and automate-able control e.g. for a live performance in Ableton Live.

If you want to find out more about the Channel settings in the Nord Drum 3P – have a look in the manual provided by Clavia.

Reverb and Delay

For the reverb and delay section of the Nord Drum 3P, I created a second device. This way you are able to change these parameters globally or individual. This works the same way like before, just select the right channel output (channel 10 for global, channel 1 for pad 1, channel 2 for pad 2 etc.) on the MIDI track the device is sitting on. You can use mulitple devices on one MIDI track, but to keep things nice and clear I would recommend to use seperated tracks.

 Multiple M4L devices

User Presets

On both devices you are able to store, recall and externally save your own presets, so they are available for other Ableton Live projects as well. To this stage (version 01) this works only as following:

1.Store the presets in the USER PRESETS section

-select a number in the store section for the slot (you got 24 to choose from) where you want to save it

-press the button on the right

save preset

2.Recall presets – after you stored presets, the preset box will show you in which slots you have saved presets as the color of those slots will be changed to red – you can just click on those slots to recall those presets you made

recall presets

3.Save and recall a list of presets

After you have created one or various presets (up to 24) you can save all this presets in one external file (in the JSON format) – note up to this point of Version01 this is the only way to save and recall presets!

Just press the little button next to “WRITE”. A saving dialog will open and ask you to name this list of presets and ask you where you want to save this.

save presets

To recall those presets in any Ableton Live set you just need to press the button next to “READ” and pick this JSON file.


I am very much interested in feedback about this device what to improve, bugs etc. Please share this to people who might be interested in using this device. As I am not charging for this device please keep in mind that changes and developments might take it’s time. Of course it helps if people show their interest and donate a few bucks(even if e.g. 10 bucks is not much money compared to the time I m spending on this) – it is really motivating to keep spending time on projects like this. So I am looking forward to hear from you.