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Bruce Olsen

Seeking MIDI Advice

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I've started writing drum and percussion parts for a band, and also a couple of melodies/progressions.  I then export audio tracks that are sent to our engineer for mixing/mastering. 

Thus far I've ignored MIDI channels completely.  Each part has its own MIDI track, with 1 or more associated audio tracks. I think everything is on MIDI channel 1 (I actually haven't looked so far). It works fine.

So I'm asking how my poor MIDI channel hygiene might (realistically) get me in trouble in the future. I won't perform any of this work live: I don't even have a real MIDI controller--everything has been done with a mouse.

Can anyone suggest the kind of thing that would make me clean up my MIDI act?  Would getting a MIDI pad controller and keyboard controller change things? Is there anything big I'm missing out on by Ignoring MIDI channels?

Thanks.

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FWIW I record everything on MIDI channel 1.   The track MIDI channel overrides the MIDI channel before it gets to the synth (whether hardware or software).

In any case, if you're exporting as audio to give to an engineer, MIDI doesn't come into it.

I wouldn't worry about it.

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Posted (edited)

"Would getting a MIDI pad controller and keyboard controller change things? "

It would speed your progress tremendously if you can play keys. Even if you really can't there are ways that it would speed your input. That's not really your question but using the mouse to input music is painful.

 

Edited by rfssongs
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If mousing, you don't need an input channel.
When using multiple tracks, use different channels or a change of value in 1 track (velocity, volume) may affect another track using the same channel. That is if they're using the same synth.
I think that's pretty much it.

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On 4/8/2022 at 4:41 PM, msmcleod said:

FWIW I record everything on MIDI channel 1.   The track MIDI channel overrides the MIDI channel before it gets to the synth (whether hardware or software).

In any case, if you're exporting as audio to give to an engineer, MIDI doesn't come into it.

I wouldn't worry about it.

Thanks so much! Back in the day, when everything was done by connecting cables, I imagine it was pretty important (so your synths didn't respond to every note they saw) but I guess that's irrelevant... because you're routing MIDI notes to synths directly, I guess?

 

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On 4/9/2022 at 10:01 AM, 57Gregy said:

If mousing, you don't need an input channel.
When using multiple tracks, use different channels or a change of value in 1 track (velocity, volume) may affect another track using the same channel. That is if they're using the same synth.
I think that's pretty much it.

OK, so I guess it matters more if you're out of the box, because routing in the box is a direct connection from MIDI data to synth...?

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On 4/8/2022 at 6:41 PM, rfssongs said:

... using the mouse to input music is painful.

 

If you need someone to testify to that, I'm  available.

My main concern was that I'd have to redo a bunch of work if I didn't set things up correctly, but it sounds like that wouldn't be the case for what I'm likely to do.

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2 hours ago, Bruce Olsen said:

OK, so I guess it matters more if you're out of the box, because routing in the box is a direct connection from MIDI data to synth...?

Yes, every software instrument has a dedicated port so there's no need to differentiate channels unless the instrument is multitimbral and you actually want to use it that way. Even then, the events can still all be entered/recorded with the same channel, and you can use the forced output channel assignment on the track to re-channel them. 

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Midi hardware can be chained by connecting the midi out from synth X to midi in on synth Y. Then midi out on synth Y to midi in on synth Z and so on.

In such a case it is necessary to filter out channels. Synth Y should be set to its own channel that differ from the rest of the synths in the chain. Otherwise it will play a midistream that's meant for another synth in the chain or, if omni, play every channel. It would probably freeze the synth because of the problem with playing the same notes at the same time.

(Just some general info for those that find the topic title interesting.)

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2 hours ago, Kurre said:

Midi hardware can be chained by connecting the midi out from synth X to midi in on synth Y. Then midi out on synth Y to midi in on synth Z and so on.

In such a case it is necessary to filter out channels. Synth Y should be set to its own channel that differ from the rest of the synths in the chain. Otherwise it will play a midistream that's meant for another synth in the chain or, if omni, play every channel. It would probably freeze the synth because of the problem with playing the same notes at the same time.

(Just some general info for those that find the topic title interesting.)

This is not strictly true - The correct way to chain MIDI hardware is by connecting the midi Thru from synth X to midi in on synth Y.

Some synths have a "MIDI Out as thru" or merge function that merges MIDI Out with MIDI In, which allows the MIDI Out to act somewhat like a MIDI Thru.  However,  there are differences:

  • MIDI THRU - echo's exactly what came in on the MIDI IN port
  • MIDI OUT (with no thru/merge function) - only outputs what this particular synth is sending (i.e. what you're playing on the keyboard), anything that came in on the MIDI IN is not sent out.
  • MIDI OUT (with thru/merge function) - outputs exactly what came in on the MIDI IN port as well as anything you're playing on the keyboard. Obviously, if you're not physically playing anything, in this mode its essentially the same as MIDI THRU,  but be aware that some MIDI data may have been filtered out or re-ordered.

You should also be aware of cable length limits when chaining synths in this way, especially when using MIDI THRU.   

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35 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

You should also be aware of cable length limits when chaining synths in this way, especially when using MIDI THRU.   

And processing delays too!

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Thanks to everyone! I first learned a little about MIDI in when is first became a standard, but didn't really use it then. 

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On 5/3/2022 at 7:46 AM, Kevin Perry said:

And processing delays too!

Some delays can be fixed with quantize. Or in extreme cases moving the entire midi recording slightly then quantizing. I have a drum pad that for some reason records everything a bit late to midi. I have to move by hand everything back before quantize.

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