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Home Recording Studio Set-Up MIDI

In this series we've looked at some hardware and software which enables you to record and playback your music on your PC. The software recommendations such as Cubase and so on, are basically home recording packages which give you control over how you can make and record original or covers music (useful for backing tracks, gigs etc.), from your Home Studio.

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Customized Settings One of the fundamental tools which is the backbone of many music sequencer packages is called MIDI. The best thing about this is that it mostly operates in the background and does it all automatically for you.

But say you wanted to assign different sounds, tempo's or volumes to various tracks which you have recorded either live or even step-by-step thru using MIDI itself? The key to doing this and taking a further leap forward in your recording exploits is through a basic understanding and use of MIDI.

A good grasp of these basics will enable you to take complete control over your songs and recordings, and can open up a whole new musical world to you.

What is MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) exactly, and how can we use it in our Home Recording set-up? It's a long and fascinating story why, but in a nutshell all the major players in the Biz have agreed on a standard communication system for instruments, which allows Musical Equipment from different manufacturers to talk to each other (musically speaking of course). This includes PC based software and real instruments such as keyboards etc. It's the common communication language of musical equipment.

  • This communication between music gear is called the General Midi Standard. You'll see GM written on a lot of musical equipment and this means it's compatible.

It's also a way of controlling and playing the sounds and effects of one instrument (or sound module), but using another playing instrument to drive it - e.g. Play a Guitar with a Midi equipped set-up but make it sound like a Church Organ.

With a MIDI based PC Software Sequencer program, you can record various program or sound settings such as volume, program (sound) changes and so on, just like real notes. Press playback and the MIDI track will make these parameter changes automatically on your Music gear as it moves thru the track (if everything is set up correctly - it's easy enough).

So a keyboard or sound module that's playing a melody you have written, might change it's sound from say a Saxophone to a Piano at a certain point in the tune, get louder or softer, add vibrato, fade in a drum track ... all of which which you have complete control over.

The MIDI Files

Perhaps the most well known MIDI term is the "MIDI file". This is basically a song which is put together and saved in .MID form.

You can buy ready made MIDI files of complete songs and even albums. Or you can make your own MIDI files of original music or covers.

These MIDI files or backing tracks can then be used for live gigs or in the studio. All MIDI files can be worked on and changed, tweaked or improved to suit! For example you might buy a MIDI file of a song which includes the vocal melody played on a Sax - you can take out this Vocal Sax piece and just use the file as a backing track which you can sing to.

This is just a small example of how you can use simple but powerful MIDI commands in your home recording set-up. Btw many modern keyboards, PC software packages and sound modules have MIDI capabilities onboard, and it's pretty standard on most electronic based instruments today.

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Home Recording Studio Set-Up Midi #B






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