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Diff b/w recording hardware synth and VST into DAW?


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  • Diff b/w recording hardware synth and VST into DAW?

    What is the workflow for using ableton/protools and something like a prophet or a TI2 for your sounds, as opposed to virtual instruments such as Komplete?

    As I understand, with virtual instruments, most people will record using MIDI which will send the notes to the virtual instruments to create the actual sound. I don

  • #2

    harmonychiq wrote:

     Does this mean people who have h/w synths record these as physical audio into the DAW?


    Yes, and certainly when the old synth has no MIDI IN. The technician brings the synth to the studio, or the musician goes with a laptop to the particular synth in the storage room and records





    • #3

      Virtual instruments are plugins. If that plugin is saved in the project and the bank/voice was selected when saved, that same voice should appear each time you open the project.

      When you track an analog synth, its like tracking any other instrument. What you track is what you'll have to mix with. If you record a guitar its going to have specific notes and tones created by the performer. you arent going to be able to change the notes captured on the recording if you wanted different notes when you're mixing. There are some effects that can be added,  Reverb, echo, chorus etc, but you'd have to dub in a new recording to change the actual notes.  You can use autotune to fix a sour note but for the most part its faster to just dub in the correct notes.


      An analog synth is like playing a guitar except the player has control over the sounds he makes when performing. He can move sliders twist knobs, flick switches to get all kinds of different tones, much like a guitar player using stomp boxes for different effects. But whats recorded is analog. its a one shot deal and theres little that can be done if the performance wasnt good.

      If you record a virtual instrument using midi, theres allot more information thats saved. The velocity of how hard you hit the keys is one key item. The touch sensitivity equates to dynamics. If you capture the velocity, you can alter the strength of the notes hit mixing. You can add compression of use an expander to change analog but its not the same, especially with guitars or an analog synth thats saturated/overdriven. 

      Other items recording midi is the actual pitches of notes and the timing of the notes can be changed after the fact. In analog you can cut paste and dub thing in real time. In midi the notes are placed on a virtual musical staff. The staff is a clock that runs through time. The notes can be moved left and right in time and up and down in pitch. The sustain/duration of the notes can be changed from different timings as well. If you wanted a half note instead of a quarter note its no problem using midi. In analog, you can sustain a note out with a compressor but the noise level comes up as the signal fades.

      Once the notes are recorded in midi, they have no actual sound to them. They are simply note triggers saved in a time based format. You have to select a digital voice for them to trigger. The saved note triggers are what activate the sounds once you select a voice bank. That voice bank can be your standard midi voices, or one of thousands of virtual instruments you can plug in on a track.

      The voices of an analog synth are built into the synth and triggered when the instrument is played. In midi you're only recording the mechanical actions of the fingers depressing the notes on the keyboard along with the timing and velocity of the fingers hitting the keys. The sound is added to the data captured by the player inside the computer.


      Thats an over simplified explanation of course, but it should be enough to put the two in perspective. If you're recording digital everything that goes into the computer is converted to digital. The difference is the kind of data thats saved. Analog is converted to digital by scannaning the sine waves to create a series of measurements/dots that are saved. When played back the series of dots are smoothed to create a smooth analog waveform again. Kind of like a kids book where they draw a picture by numbers.

      Midi does some things simular but its basis are a grid of scan signals. There is an X/Y grid in the midi signal kind of like Tic Tac Toe. There are clock frequencies sent through the Y scan lines and when the keys are depressed the Key contacts the Y to the X and it routes the scan signal back to the computer. Each key will create a different code and the duration of how long the note was held is counted by the clock signal. 

      Again this is over simplified, but it gives you a basis of understanding the differences in communication between the computer and the connected perrifrials. Midi isnt that much different than a computer keyboard,  mouse, or game stick, and in fact you can connect a midi keyboard through a game port on most computer sound cards with a dongal adaptor. Commercial sound cards arent exactly optimal for midi recording. They may have some latency in comparison to some cards designed specifically for midi instruments, but it does work.


      • Rudolf von Hagenwil
        Editing a comment

        Technical addendum:


        C Eb G is a major triad

        C E G  is a minor triad

        C G is not a chord


        no matter what the tonality is.

    • #4

      harmonychiq wrote:

      When you save the DAW session, does it also save all the virtual instruments? Let