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Anderton

How Important is MIDI to Your Recordings?

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It seems what with virtual instruments, automation, and so on, MIDI is having a bit of a resurgence with software hosts and DAWs. Please indicate which of the poll options comes closest to how MIDI figures into your world.

If you use analog recording, or an all-in-one workstation that may have MIDI inside but it's transparent to the user, choose "Not applicable."

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Seems there is a general attitude floating around some groups of younger musicians that MIDI sucks and that "you can tell" when MIDI is involved.

 

Seems to me it's like anything else - all music involves a certain skill level to sound natural, smooth, organic, expressive etc., MIDI-driven music no less.

 

But let's stop beating up MIDI amatuers who lean on MIDI to make up for a lack of chops. Sheesh, it's not a capital offense. MIDI is a great tool. It just needs to be UPDATED to a new standard in the worst way!!! Not just for purposes of greater resolution than 127 steps, etc., but for closer integration with audio clips, and stuff like timing to sample-accurate grids.

 

MIDI could be so much more than it is that any disputes over it's usefullness or validity would evaporate.

 

C'mon Craig - who else but you has the pull to get a new MIDI standard hammered out. Anderton speaks and Korg/Yamaha/Roland listen and obey!!!!!

 

nat whilk ii

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MIDI is crucial for my keyboard-based studio. However, none of the poll choices as I understand them correspond to my way of working. Put simply, most of what I create begins as MIDI and is then tracked to audio, leaving absolutely no live MIDI playback in the tracks that are mixed down.

 

Depending on the project, some of the tracks may include straightforward tracking of live playing and/or singing. However, it's very rare that I work on something that requires no MIDI at any stage of the project whatsoever.

 

Craig, do you have a suggestion as to which answer best fits my situation?

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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I am using DP for audio recording only. I have a Triton Extreme 88 with built in sequencer. I use that to compose and replay for recordings and performance. I do not like the idea of using a seperate computer to drive the keyboard when performing. Therefore, I never use the DP MIDI features. I suppose if I used it to compose, I could always download the results into the keyboard using standard MIDI for performance, but I have never spent the time to figure out how to do it.

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Because I work with hardware and softsynths I need a midi connection. At times I like to record with midi, then on playback I'll tweek synth pararmeters while the audio is recording. I like midi for the initial mix like instrument numbers, volume and pan positions, saves time, particularly in a live situation.

 

Steve

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I use mostly MIDI tracks along with some digital audio

 

I choose that cause though all I'm interested in any more is working in midi, every thing gets bounced to audio for mixing.

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MIDI plays a very important part in Pre Production for me as I build a song and its structure. Once I am satisfied with it, I pass a demo along to my players and they eventually replace the drums, bass and guitars.

 

I always end up keeping my strings and piano as MIDI because I like the sounds I have. Now that I am using REASON, I foresee lots of samples being used on the drums as well.

 

MIDI is obviously used to automate many mixes too. After fire and the wheel, MIDI is the next great invention!

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MIDI may have had somewhat of a bad rap as of late, but I couldn't have written my C.D. without it. It's a great tool.

 

I bought a computer back in 1992, with the intention of just writing charts. I bought a simple notation software, Encore, and its corresponding sequencing software, MasterTracks Pro. I found that I hated the typical way of sequencing drums, and thought that if I notated it first, then imported it into the sequencing program, that I could have more control over the grooves and fills. What I didn

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I use a mix of midi and digital audio. Midi's veeery important to the way I work. I do have a lot of external midi controllers and modules, and I leverage them in the tracking process whenever I appropriate. Only when I've got the whole tune complete do I commit the tracks to digital audio. I don't see any difference to it than why ya track dry rather than commiting effects when tracking - if it's midi, you can always change it (the part or the sound) until everything sits right.

 

I just picked up 2 more AMT-8's for my Logic set up tonight - bring me up to 32 ports. I guess it's kind of important to me :)

 

EoS

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I can't believe how useful MIDI is today - considering how long ago it was developed. The way it has adapted and been applied to various tasks over the years is really a testament to the vision and farsightedness of the people who made it all happen - Dave Smith et al. See what happens when companies work together? :cool:

 

I find myself using MIDI a bit less than I did in the 80's... but I still use it for all sorts of different things... from automation to CC control of effects and other devices, and certainly for a lot of keyboard parts and emulations for instruments that I don't have available. But a lot of times, I'd rather have my own audio recordings of a sound source, and audio is really where I'm at overall. But still, MIDI does have its uses for me and I'm happy to have it. I use it when I need it. Just another useful tool in the ol' toolbox. :)

 

I just wish Pro Tools had an editable MIDI notation display. :(

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MIDI is crucial for my keyboard-based studio. However, none of the poll choices as I understand them correspond to my way of working. Put simply, most of what I create begins as MIDI and is then tracked to audio, leaving absolutely no live MIDI playback in the tracks that are mixed down.

 

Then I'd say it's definitely a balance of MIDI and digital audio...in fact, the quintessential balance of MIDI and digital audio!

 

I'm the same way...I like to save MIDI parts as audio to "future proof" the tracks. But I still keep the MIDI tracks around, just in case I need to edit them at some later point.

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I'm the same way...I like to save MIDI parts as audio to "future proof" the tracks. But I still keep the MIDI tracks around, just in case I need to edit them at some later point.

 

Absolutely - me too. If I'm recording a MIDI keyboard part, I'll normally record both audio and MIDI versions simultaneously... that way, if there's just one accidental that's off that I need to fix in an otherwise perfect performance, I can fix that via the MIDI tracks and then re-record the audio, keeping most of the player's original feel and vibe happening. And IMO, it's always nice to have the MIDI tracks available just in case I decide that a different organ patch might be more appropriate for the tune when I'm doing the mixdown. I always hang on to the MIDI tracks, even if I think the audio is fine.

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Originally posted by Anderton:

I'm the same way...I like to save MIDI parts as audio to "future proof" the tracks.

 

Craig, that's one of the many reasons your archiving article resonated with me. (I'm happy to report, by the way, that Ernie Rideout finally replied to my request to post your article online. He posted, "We'll make sure to make it part of the new content, as soon as possible." :) )

 

There's an extra advantage of tracking my MIDI performances as audio. It allows me to stop being a performer and put my engineering hat on while I listen back to what I played. Even when tracking soft synths, I often like to run the MIDI parts I played through analog outboard gear to tweak the dynamics and tonal quality.

 

Originally posted by Anderton:

But I still keep the MIDI tracks around, just in case I need to edit them at some later point.

 

Same here.

 

Originally posted by Anderton:

Then I'd say it's definitely a balance of MIDI and digital audio...in fact, the quintessential balance of MIDI and digital audio!

 

Thanks for your voting guidance, Craig. As a result, I've selected "I use a balance of MIDI and digital audio tracks in my DAW."

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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Midi is very important in what I do. When I started out... Cakewalk 3.0 didn't record or deal with audio, so everything was midi driven. What softsynths started coming out most people (myself included) didn't think they sounded that good. I totally gave up on them for years.... when I came back and gave them a listen...wow. So between midi driving my soft synths, some audio of accousitc instruments (like my piano or simple percussion) and an occasional loop.... that's how I write.

 

Take Care

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"Transparent to the user"

 

What a great thought!

 

Of course I am a MIDI ignoramus.... I understand the concept, but my biggest move towards using MIDI was to buy two MIDI cables recently. They are still unopened!

 

Whenever I have used MIDI in the past, I just hire someone who really, really knows.

 

The business has changed greatly in the past couple of years. I feel as though now I had better learn a little about MIDI. I have many excellent devices that use MIDI.

 

i.e. -

 

An AKAI MPC 3000. I love the drum 'feel' of this machine.

A Big-ass Triton that sounds pretty good.

 

Do you think an old dog like me can learn MIDI??? I am doing much of my work in own beautiful studio here at home now. I love working this way!!!

 

What to do???

 

Brucie the Viking!!!!

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Bruce, I hate to sound self-serving here, but I wrote a book called "MIDI For Musicians" that was designed to take people from knowing nothing to the point where they could at least intimidate salespeople :) I'd send you a copy but I don't have any left except for my own. I think you can find it at Amazon.com and so on...if you do get, then you're entitled to tech support from the author if there's something you don't understand!

 

And yes, you can definitely learn MIDI!! It's not that tough once you get a few basic concepts down. Go for it!!

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Much of what I do is ...

 

LIVE GTR's & Vocals ....

Everything else midi.

 

I've got it down and hardly EVER can anyone tell the difference. I've got em all fooled ... which brings me back to something I learned from Bruce many years ago about "The Illusion of Music."

 

Russ

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Bruce, ask Craig to send you a signed copy of "MIDI For Musicians" - IMO, it's the best overview on the subject available, and it really makes everything easy to understand. Trust me my brother, it's a great, yet easy read, and by the end of it, you'll have all the basics down cold. I highly recommend it! :cool:

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Craig, I would have beat you to that suggestion, but HC is posting REALLY slowly right now at my end for some reason. :(

 

Anyway, send Brucie a copy - he needs that book! :cool:Phil-Thumbs-Up-Small.gif

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Heck, since Craig's out of stock, I can buy you a copy and send it to Craig, who can sign it for you and forward it on to you if you'd like Bruce... (assuming that's cool with Craig... ;) ) I've still got that CD that I promised to send on to you anyway... and all I want in exchange is a signed copy of "Make Mine Music". ;):D

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MIDI is the most amazing technology I have ever played with. I love it. My goal is always to get as much down as possible on MIDI and then add the digital audio tracks before mixdown.

 

I always try to get a good mix in MIDI before I go to digital audio.

 

Ideally, my compositions will be 75% 80% MIDI and the rest digital audio.

 

Unfortunately, lately I'm recording more of the *.wav side and less of the MIDI. And I don't enjoy that part of recording.

 

MIDI is the language of the Gods.

Digital audio is recording sounds. MIDI is something much more interesting to me.

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Craig.....

 

MIDI For Musicians.... I bought it. Now you have to come over here and autograph it!

 

I am going to use it. I will probably need help....

 

Bruce

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I have 2 PCs, one for a sequencer (Usually Sonar, but a lot of Tracktion lately) with DXi / VSTi softsynths, and a second PC that is used only as a midi sound module. The second PC uses both hardware and softsynth sound sources.

 

I try to do as much as possible in Audio only, but when I need a cello or timpani part, I resort to MIDI. It greatly increases the available instrumentation.

 

I don't know, a lot of people pick on MIDI, but it's only human to blame the tool if the operator doesn't have the chops to operate it...

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We use midi to trigger a D-4 for click track, and to sync console automation, Mackie HDR, Protools Le (001 w/apogee converters), Tracktion and DP, but all audio is actual recorded sounds, no midi.

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Once again, I'm in the Great Unwashed Middle.

 

 

MIDI was still in the throw-the-baby-bottle-out-the-crib stage of development when I started with synths and studio recording in 1981.

 

So, back in the 80s, all my synth work was played by hand (man, I had a hellacious right hand back then... no bawdy jokes, ok?) and my drums were from a series of non-MIDI drum machines. (My first rhythm toy was a Roland battery metronome. My second was the very first Dr Rhthm, the one where the hat had three settings: off, 8, and 16. My third was an Oberheim DX... you get the idea.)

 

When I finally got up with MIDI at the flip into the 90s (I can't even remember my first sequencer's name. It was from Voyetra. The second was the old MasterTracks Pro, a refugee from the Mac.)

 

 

I actually was using loops long before I used MIDI (outside one class). One of my collaborators back around '83 or '84 (the esotericist/musicologist Loren Nerell, then fresh out of high school) had bought a used Emulator 1 (not cheap back then... my low mileage used Plymouth Valiant cost less than half what the EMU cost) and we used it for a number of projects and goofs, even building a band around it for a brief period. (Walk on Fire, we never played out.)

 

 

But, after an initial period of abject and utter confusion (we're talking near-total befuddlement, folks), I found myself taking to MIDI like the proverbial duck to water. At its worst, of course, it was more awful than the cheapest music box or tinkiest Casio demo. But at its best it could approach a vague level of musicality.

 

And, if you stopped fighting it and let it do its robotic thing, you could make some very cool and fun music that could never be played by humans. (Well, it was cool and fun for a while, anyhow...)

 

I always found wavetables to be a devil's bargain -- too useful and easy to ignore -- but always compromised on multiple levels. I still use them all the time -- but I try to use them intelligently, like, for instance, not using a sample of a Rhodes vibrato -- since the vibrato is locked to the sample and any kind of polyphony tends to produce vibrato trainwrecking, but using a straight sample set and applying vibrato (and often 'reamping' as well).

 

Anyhow, MIDI... it might turn into something some day if they work out the kinks... :D

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Half of our studio tracks~ are always MIDI...We sync to our keyboard/sampler, for every demo.. The drums are complete Midi combop of pads/ Kurzweil ::::: .Our studios would not exist >> without MIDI

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I am going to use it. I will probably need help....

 

Let's do online support, okay? Because if you have questions, other people will have the same questions, guaranteed. Maybe I'll start a "MIDI Q&A Thread."

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Originally posted by Bruce Swedien

"Transparent to the user"


What a great thought!


Of course I am a MIDI ignoramus.... I understand the concept, but my biggest move towards using MIDI was to buy two MIDI cables recently. They are still unopened!


Whenever I have used MIDI in the past, I just hire someone who really, really knows.


The business has changed greatly in the past couple of years. I feel as though now I had better learn a little about MIDI. I have many excellent devices that use MIDI.


i.e. -


An AKAI MPC 3000. I love the drum 'feel' of this machine.

A Big-ass Triton that sounds pretty good.


Do you think an old dog like me can learn MIDI??? I am doing much of my work in own beautiful studio here at home now. I love working this way!!!


What to do???


Brucie the Viking!!!!

 

 

 

I remember attending my first NAMM back in 'bout 85/86 ~~~ MIDI was just hitting the streets. Bought my first MIDI sequencer/program ...in those days you actually called the Developers' home phone # ...it was the keyboardist for Todd Rundgrens' UTOPIA --So, you simply called Powell and asked questions ~~ Not so these days..

 

Since our studios are quite small { in comparision to what you may be sittin' in} and we have grown lazy over the last 30 years ...we use MiDI drums for all productions. We never record the actual drums to DAW/tape but, just sync to the MIDI sequencer on playback/mastering. Samplers have 8/10 outputs --so with a MIDI sequencer ( we use 3 Kurzweils )-- you have a decent 10 seperate channels of drums ~with each sampler (sample of choice =instead of mic placement )

 

So next time you are out West-- * Carmel way:cool:..stop by,,, we'll swap MIDI stories~!~!

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/attachment.php?s=&postid=12654809

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Austin has taken it's toll on me.

 

I'm strictly organic / non-MIDI these days on my own stuff and most of my customers' stuff. And I mean *everything*. I had a real string quartet in the other day.

 

Occasionally a client will come in and use my V-Drum set, but honestly it makes me cringe. It's not quite so terrible if they'll let me put up real cymbals and a real snare.

 

Terry D.

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Its a mix of midi and audio for me with midi also serviing as a platform for control info such as program changes to pass around the system.

 

Basically, I consider that I have three networks goin on in my little sandbox of a studio:

 

1) Analog Audio:- line level connections between sound modules, effect units, mixer and recorder.

 

2)Digital audio: connections to every piece of gear that has digital I/O. I seek to avoid conversions if at all possible.

 

3) MIDI: patched from the PC/Cubase our a number of sound mudules and my automated mixer/recorder.

 

All three of these networks get well used for each and every tune I work on. Some using a midi click and some without.

 

Recently my investments have focused on replacing some often used midi sounds with real instruments. So, Ive bought a few saxes, a bass geetar and some perc. However, because of limitations in my home recording situation, strings, piano, full horn sections, drums and some other items will always be midi generated.

 

I have also found midi to be a useful tool in creating/arranging.

Randomly looping some bass tracks has lead me to some useful riffs. Sometimes i scroll through numerous midi sounds while playing the whole arrangement. This is a fun/interactive way to try out alternative voicings for a given midi part.

FWIW- There are times I find this really useful.

 

For what I use it for midi "as is" is just fine.

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I started using virtual tracks of MIDI with tape sync back into the stone ages (1986)

 

Then, I started using virtual tracks of MIDI, with early digital audio from the computer, mixing to tape in the mid-1990's

 

Now, I still use MIDI, but bounce the tracks into digital audio for mixing in the box.

 

I find myself using less MIDI for drums and percussion, and using more sample assembly. I don't use loops much.

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I like to compose a lot with MIDI hardware, then start moving tracks to soft synths and record them to audio. I also like to play drum parts in using a Roland Handsonic or V-Drums.

 

Robert

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blue2blue:

 

"Anyhow, MIDI... it might turn into something some day if they work out the kinks...

"

 

----

That's what I think about digital audio. In many ways, MIDI is a much more powerful technology. Try slowing down a simple drum track in digital audio. In MIDI you can do it with a click of the mouse. There are all sorts of problems if you try it in digital audio. It's easier to just re-record it.

 

Try changing that guitar track to a flute...or a trombone.

 

In digital audio? No can do.

 

With MIDI, it's a cinch.

 

People don't like MIDI time? Turn off the metronome and play the beat in your own time.

 

I always feel like I'm constrained and limited working with digital audio. MIDI is liberation.

 

Digital audio is a necessity for me. I always have to get there eventually. But I'd rather get there using the most powerful & flexible technology available to me. In my experience, that's MIDI.

 

I wish human beings could sync to a MIDI clock. Maybe in our genetic future, it might be possible.

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