Mike Slinn

Pro Tools GrooveCell & Xpand!2

Published 2023-01-01.
Time to read: 3 minutes.

This page is part of the av_studio collection.

None of the information presented on this page applies to EZDrummer 3. I prefer EZDrummer 3 to GrooveCell and Xpand!2. This page was published before I purchased EZDrummer 3.


The new Pro Tools GrooveCell plugin is useful when used within an Edit/Mix Group. PDF

Adding GrooveCell to a Track

The Pro Tools documentation does not mention how to add a GrooveCell track to a project.

  1. Create a new track by selecting Track / New Track (CTRL-Shift-N). Do not select MIDI Track or Instrument Track. Instead, notice that the bottom choice is Track Presets.
  2. Select Track Presets / Avid / Virtual Instruments. From the next pull-down, which is currently displaying 808 Bass, select GrooveCell.
  3. Click Create.

Interesting Presets

Preset / Flatpack Kits / Classic 5

External MIDI Controller

The drum pads can be performed with an external MIDI controller, by clicking on the drum pads within the GrooveCell window, or by programming notes into the sequencer window.

The MIDI note used to perform the pad’s sample can be changed at the bottom left [of each pad].

MIDI Percussion Track Using Xpand!2

Xpand!2 needs a MIDI track per input (a maximum of four on MIDI channels 1-4), plus an instrument track. These 2 videos showed me how:


  1. Make a new stereo instrument track (CTRL-Shift-N); this track will accept MIDI input data and output an audio signal. I called this track Beats.
  1. Click on an empty insert slot for the new track, select multichannel plug-in / Instrument / Xpand!2 (stereo). Refer to the Xpand!2 User Guide.
  2. From the Preset pull-down menu at the top of the Expand!2 dialog, select 29 Multitimbral / 03 Soundtracker:
  3. Turn off Xpand!2 instruments B, C and D.
  4. Click on the displayed instrument for channel A and select 025 Percussion / Djembe+
  5. Make a new MIDI track (CTRL-Shift-N)
    By default, MIDI tracks accept input from all MIDI sources. This means all MIDI devices transmitting on any channel should be ‘heard’ by this MIDI track.
    1. Assign the new MIDI track’s output to channel 1 of the instrument track that has Xpand!2 loaded.
    2. Once an input device works, you can assign the new MIDI track input to a specific hardware or software device, so other MIDI inputs do not accidentally get routed to this track. The following setting causes the VMPK to work, and disables all other MIDI devices, such as the Roland HPD-15.
      The following setting disables the VMPK and enables the Roland HPD-15 because the drum pad is connected to the MIDIPLUS 8x8 input 1:
      If Pro Tool MIDI devices were defined, they would appear before the predefined choices:

Recording MIDI

You should already have set up a click track and set the tempo (beats per minute) and meter (4/4, 3/4, etc.)

  1. Record arm the MIDI track(s) (not the instrument track)
  2. Press Enter to rewind the playhead.
  3. Press CTRL-Space to start recording
  4. Play the MIDI devices.
  5. Press Space to stop recording.

The MIDI data will remain in the MIDI track. When that track is played, the data is sent to its assigned instrument track, which makes sound. Control the volume of the sound, and apply effects by adjusting the instrument track.

Editing MIDI

  1. Ensure that the smart selector is set
  2. Double-click on the lower half of the MIDI track recording (the instrument track will not show any data). The MIDI editor will appear, and all the MIDI data will be selected. You can move all of it left and right to adjust when the notes sound, or up and down to reassign notes to the data. Each note might correspond to a different sound.

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