The Hydrogen Advanced Drum Machine is a really great (and really free) drum sequencer that was made for Linux and ported to Windows. It’s easy to get used to and comes pre-loaded with a couple of drum kits (including the Roland TR-808 for all you b-boys and b-girls), but you’ll eventually want to add more kits to support your beat making needs.
And that’s where the fun ends. Nearly every time I tried to add a new drum kit, Hydrogen would crash with the following error:
Microsoft visual C++ Runtime Library Assertion Failed Program: hydrogen.exe File: instrument.cpp Line 122 Expression pDrumkitInfo
The only response I could find via my good friend, Google, was that I could solve the problem by switching to Linux. I’m all for Linux, but I’ll dig out my old Boss DR-550 drum machine before I switch O/S’s to play around with a drum machine. I have a lot of respect for people who develop free products, and a lot of sympathy for people who have to work on help desks, but telling someone to switch O/S’s to solve an issue isn’t a solution. It’s a cop out.
I like Hydrogen quite a bit, so I wanted to see if I could come up with a solution. It only took 20 minutes of poking around the Hydrogen directories to figure out what was going on. If you try out Hydrogen and get to the point that you want to add more kits, you don’t need to switch to Linux to do it. You can add kits on Windows (without tearing your hair out) as long as you know couple of small, yet important, pieces of information.
First, Hydrogen doesn’t actually support importing drum kits in the .h2drumkit format like you would expect it to. It’s a known bug, so the sooner you forget about the import button, the better off you’ll be. Second, Hydrogen is ridiculously finicky about how drum kit directories are named. It not only cares what you name your directories, but whether you use upper or lower case.
If you follow the instructions below, you’ll be crash free and adding kits to your heart’s content. Happy beat making. Long live free software.
How To Install New Drum Kits In Hydrogen Without Crashes
- Download a kit from Hydrogen’s drum kit page.
- Unzip the file until you have an .h2drumkit file. The .h2drumkit file is just a zip file containing a bunch of sounds (kick drum, snare, high hat, etc.) and an XML file. The file is usually a zip of a zip of a zip, so you use your favorite unzipping tool (such as 7-Zip) to unzip the .h2drumkit until you have a folder of audio files and an XML file called drumkit.xml.
- Open the drumkit.xml in your favorite text editor (Notepad++, anyone?) make note of the line that looks like
- Create a folder under
<installation dir>\Hydrogen \data \drumkitsthat is named exactly the same as what you found between
</name>in the drumkit.xml file. If the folder that you create isn’t exactly the same as the name line, Hydrogen will crash when you try to use the drum kit.
- Copy all of the files that you unzipped in Step 2 into the folder you created in Step 4.
- Now, open Hydrogen and click on “Sound Library” and your new kit should be available under “System drumkits”.