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Using softsynths, midi/audio & getting tracks mixed?


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*1. I'm still not sure which software I'll be getting (it will be for Mac), but how would I go about putting down track by track? Say in my song I have the drums that come in.. played on the keyboard.. through MIDI or audio through USB to the computer?


Would I then save that track, and create a new individual file for say, the background drones.. it seems easy in my head to do it this way: instrument by instrument, then layer them thus 'fleshing out' the song.


If you look at this image http://carbonflaw.phaitaccompli.com/x/ms.gif

, this is very intuitive to me and I've written .MID files with this program - track by track, instrument by instrument, layed out, can play as many as I want at one time.


Like when I use goldwave I export a drumbeat measure in Hammerhead to .WAV - open it in Goldwave, copy it, and paste it until I get like a 30 second loop. I save this as d1.wav. Then I take my guitar riff I recorded, same prodecure as the drums.. save it as g1.wav - and then mix it in with d1.wav (drums) and build up like this.


*2. Since I should get the song mixed and finalized by a professional, in what state do my tracks need to be.. as individual tracks? - in what format?


*3. I'd like an example of when and how I should use MIDI for putting down a track - and when I should use it over audio, or in conjunction with.. gah, I don't know.. I just - am so new to this I'm .. clueless :| I know MIDI is just instructions to play what sound and not music itself, and when working with actual audio it's a more intensive (I assume) process..

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An example is probably the best way to explain this. You want 3 tracks: drums, bass, organ. This is how I might do this in cubase.


Assign channel one to RM IV (a software drum sampler) and record my drum track


Assign channel 2 to sampletank (I use Sonic Reality's bass collection for a lot of my basses), and lay down your bass track


Assign channel 3 to the B4 (software clonewheel), and record your organ track.


This is pretty much how you would do this in a multitrack editor.


Remember that though softsynths respond to MIDI they actually use your soundcard to process sound, i.e. so you don't need to bounce to audio, but you can directly render these tracks, either individually, or collectively. You can also add effects to each channel (I tend to bounce each track individually and mix in audio land), EQ, panning, etc to mix your song before mixing down, which is the minimal state in which you'd take it to the mastering pro.


That's my amatuer advice :)



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Originally posted by Phait:

*3. I'd like an example of when and how I should use MIDI for putting down a track - and when I should use it over audio, or in conjunction with

If I am recording a track using either MIDI hardware or MIDI software as the sound source, I will, as a general rule, always record it as a MIDI track. The reason for this is that it is much more difficult, and often impossible, to edit a performance recorded as an audio track. You could mess with an audio track to move notes that come in a bit too early or late, but that's a pretty intensive process. Of course, the only way to change the sample drum kit you used for an audio track would be to record it again with the different samples. With a MIDI track you can just move notes around at will and change the sound being controlled by the MIDI information.


I record MIDI tracks whether or not I think I will need to do editing like this later on because I want to option open to me later on.


At some point, when I am closer to the mixing phase for external MIDI gear, or even earlier if using soft synths and I want to clear out some room in the CPU, I will record an audio version of the MIDI performance (via either recording the external gear through the inputs of my audio interface or recording the soft synths by using the "bounce" or "render" commands in the DAW software). Then, I mute the MIDI track and play back the audio track. But, I don't delete the MIDI track in case I decide later on I want to edit it a re-record/bounce it to an audio track.


Hope this helps.

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Phait, think of it in terms of Illustrator (MIDI) and Photoshop (Audio).


Manipulating and correcting shapes and curves is a no-brainer in Illustrator. Try to reshape a circle in Photoshop and you'll have resolution issues.


It's the same thing with MIDI and Audio. Moving a MIDI note up an octave is a single mouse drag. Changing a single note of audio by a full octave almost never has the desired effect.


On the other hand, once the vector shapes are in place, all the layer manipulation and filtering occurs in Photoshop. Audio is the same way...once you're ready to commit, you should print the tracks to audio so you can apply effects, etc.

"For instance" is not proof.


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