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TheOtherSide

Beware importing midi - a warning!

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8 hours ago, TheOtherSide said:

OK - so I did as prescribed here and opened the midi file with CbB... not imported. This time, however, the tracks were all midi tracks - not instrument tracks. That might sound reasonable to you seasoned CbB guys but not ideal to me. Possibly (so far) the thing that baffles me the most about CbB is that I can't just drag and drop (or right click and add) an instraument onto a midi track to turn it into an instrument track. Anyway, like I already mentioned previously, if I need to add midi from another DAW again, I'll just save each track as an indvidual midi file and import separately into CbB, one track at a time, which, although is not ideal, at least works. Thanks for your suggestions.

There are a couple of ways to easily get the MIDI routed to the instrument of choice.

  • An instrument track is a combined MIDI and audio track, that appears as a single track if inserted as a "simple instrument track".  The instrument track supports MIDI, and provides audio output for the instrument. The MIDI input for this track, as well as any MIDI clips on it, are automatically routed to the instrument on this track.
  • You can also  place your MIDI clip data directly onto a plain MIDI track and select any instrument track from the output section of the MIDI track.

My basic workflow for opening up a MIDI file and assigning instruments would simply be (for an example using 4 MIDI tracks):

1. Create a MIDI file with the 4 tracks elsewhere, and save/export as a type 1.

2. Open the MIDI file in Cakewalk. It should open up the file with 4 MIDI tracks (don't forget to save this project as a .cwp file now, as .mid files cannot retain Cakewalk settings).

(a) If you have not set a default MIDI output port in Cakewalk preferences [MIDI devices > Outputs], it will automatically insert an instance of the GM synth TTS-1 with the 4 MIDI tracks routed to TTS-1.

(b) if you already have a default MIDI output port assigned [MIDI devices > Outputs], your 4 MIDI tracks will be routed to the default MIDI output.

3. If you are using 2(a), then proceed with using TTS-1 and setting up the GM sounds to correspond with the MIDI channels you want to use.   If using 2(b), you will need to insert your own instrument tracks as explained in step 4 below.

4. To keep this example simple, it will  focus on 4 additional separate instrument tracks (although using a multi-timbral instrument like TTS-1, or Kontakt, you could accomplish this by using one simple instrument track using MIDI ch 1-4).

(a) Insert 4 new simple instrument tracks with your choice of instrument, one for each MIDI track that you have brought into the Cakewalk project. Your MIDI data will still be on the 4 MIDI tracks that you opened in step 2.

(b) Go to the output selector in each MIDI track, and route it to the respective instrument track that you want to play the MIDI data. No need to copy the MIDI data over to the instrument track. Set up each instrument with the desired sound, and you will be good to go.

Note: for this example, if you are using simple instrument tracks in addition to the MIDI tracks that you opened, you will end up with 8 tracks total (4 MIDI + 4 Instrument). It's a matter of personal preference in how you manage and use tracks, but you can use track folders to tidy things up a bit.

 

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13 hours ago, TheOtherSide said:

Possibly (so far) the thing that baffles me the most about CbB is that I can't just drag and drop (or right click and add) an instraument onto a midi track to turn it into an instrument track.

Hmm, while you can achieve the same typically in more than one way in CakeLab and having to go through multitude of mouse clicks of course, for the workflow this seems to be a great feature request indeed :).

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16 hours ago, TheOtherSide said:

Possibly (so far) the thing that baffles me the most about CbB is that I can't just drag and drop (or right click and add) an instraument onto a midi track to turn it into an instrument track.

The one concept about Cakewalk that is probably hardest to grasp initially is how the simple instrument track is designed. It is a hybrid combination of a MIDI track + audio track.

You can drag and drop an instrument onto an audio track (but not a MIDI track), which will insert the instrument into the FX bin of that audio track, and will also  add it to the synth rack. That gives you the audio output that an instrument requires.

Then you can route a MIDI track to that audio track and leave the two tracks separate. This give the instrument the MIDI data input that it requires.

Or, if you select both tracks, then you can right click for the context menu and select "Make instrument track",  and presto, it will combine the MIDI + audio track into one instrument track.

You can always split an instrument track back into the two component tracks by a right click for the context menu and select "Split instrument track".

Note: when you select "simple instrument track" as you insert a soft synth, you are creating one of these combined tracks. There are various options that you can set for default behavior with the "Insert Soft Synth Options" dialogue. Some folks like to insert instruments in the separate MIDI and synth output modes, rather than combined. It is quite flexible.

Edited by abacab

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I made a tutorial on how to open a midi file and then replace the instruments one by one.  http://www.cactusmusic.ca/sonar-tutorials   

By default if there are no midi outputs selected in preferences, Cakewalk opens midi files with TTS_1 and the song can be played. 

It is important to now save the song as a CWP file first before you muck about. 

Then it is supper easy to insert your favourite synths and simply point the midi tracks at them. If you prefer instrument tracks just drag the midi data after you insert the VST. Takes 10 minutes to upgrade a song from TTS-1 to better stuff. I do a LOT of this. 

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19 hours ago, chris.r said:
On 2/5/2019 at 12:13 AM, TheOtherSide said:

Possibly (so far) the thing that baffles me the most about CbB is that I can't just drag and drop (or right click and add) an instraument onto a midi track to turn it into an instrument track.

Hmm, while you can achieve the same typically in more than one way in CakeLab and having to go through multitude of mouse clicks of course, for the workflow this seems to be a great feature request indeed :).

While I agree this could be a convenient feature (though not at all 'baffling' to me that it isn't already), I  wouldn't call dragging the MIDI clip to a new Instrument track and deleting the unneeded MIDI track a 'multitude of mouse clicks'. 

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That is my typical approach too - open MIDI file first, then load new vst instrument, that will create an instrument track, then either drag MIDI data onto the instrument track (and make sure it didn't change it's position while doing it) lastly delete empty MIDI track, or if there are more than one MIDI tracks that I want to assign to the same synth - simply assign their outputs to this synth. Right, I didn't count exactly how many clicks was that, but you know the way really old highlanders do count: "one, two, three, many..." :D.

And yes, I'm a loooong time Cakewalk user too, so I'm simply used to do things that way and tbh never before wondered about it, still I can see a big potential in doing same thing with "just two" clicks. Workflows...

Edited by chris.r

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16 hours ago, David Baay said:

While I agree this could be a convenient feature (though not at all 'baffling' to me that it isn't already), I  wouldn't call dragging the MIDI clip to a new Instrument track and deleting the unneeded MIDI track a 'multitude of mouse clicks'. 

Sorry - I think my choice of words was misleading. What I meant was: drag a VST instrument onto a midi track to instantly turn it into an instrument track.

Edited by TheOtherSide
  • Great Idea 1

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7 hours ago, TheOtherSide said:

What I meant was: drag a VST instrument onto a midi track to instantly turn it into an instrument track.

That might be handy. :D

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3 hours ago, abacab said:
11 hours ago, TheOtherSide said:

Sorry - I think my choice of words was misleading. What I meant was: drag a VST instrument onto a midi track to instantly turn it into an instrument track.

That might be handy. :D

This would be a great idea, especially if you could drag a multi-output VSTi and it would automatically assign it to the next unused stereo pair.

 

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11 hours ago, TheOtherSide said:

Sorry - I think my choice of words was misleading. What I meant was: drag a VST instrument onto a midi track to instantly turn it into an instrument track.

Yes I understood that. I was responding to chris.r's comment that the alternative required a "multitude" of mouse clicks. Really it only requires one more on top of dragging the instrument into the project, and then a couple more to delete the abandoned MIDI track. If you were to drag in all the instruments first, in the corresponding order, it would only take one click to drag all the MIDI  clips to those instrument tracks, and two clicks to delete all the abandoned MIDI tracks - an average of  0.188 extra clicks per instrument  for a 16-track MIDI file. ;^)

 

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On 2/7/2019 at 9:26 PM, msmcleod said:

This would be a great idea, especially if you could drag a multi-output VSTi and it would automatically assign it to the next unused stereo pair.

Or/and select a few MIDI tracks and drag VSTi onto them, then a dialog box would appear (optionally) for setting outputs etc, where you can select if you want to assign them all to the mains or to multi-outs subsequentially?

:D

Edited by chris.r

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