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MIDI in Home Recording Studio Set-Ups

MIDI in Home Recording Studio Set-Ups - In our last installment we talked about MIDI and looked at some of the ways you can use it in your Home Recording Studio. It's a pretty powerful tool to say the least, and the learning curve to use it's main functions in a software program such as Cubase is reasonably short. When you have the basics under your belt you can really exploit the control over your mixes which are offered to you.

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But the simplest way to instantly use MIDI is through using a MIDI file or song, as a backing track to yourself either for practice or vocals for a gig etc. These can be easily stored on even a good oul' Floppy Disc.

Midi File - Songs

This is as simple as choosing a song to work with, and using a pre-programmed version of the particular song you like or need. When you have the song file you like, it's just a matter of pressing Play on whatever it is that you have to play the MIDI track - just like a CD player.

For example you can play MIDI files (songs) on Windows Media Player and other software players. You can also play these tracks on a dedicated MIDI file player at a gig and so on.

Programmed MIDI files are available in many places nowadays and are all over the Net both free and to order. The problem is that they range from truly abysmal to excellent. It's the excellent ones you should aim for of course and there's a few recommendations down below.

Tweaking the Mix

Where's a good place to start using MIDI? A good middle ground would be to start off with a quality pre-programmed midi-file or song, and tweak it in a software editor (like Cubase). This means you could for example take any lead vocal instruments out of the mix and sing it live. The more you become familiar with the software editor the more you can change and manipulate the track. You can even start a track from scratch and compose your own masterpiece. From Pop songs to full blown orchestral pieces - it's up to you. The quality and sounds of the track can be perfect if you work at it.

Here's a quick demo of a David Gray tune I covered myself using a backing track that was MIDI based. It's a cool song released in '01 called Please Forgive Me Written and Recorded by David Gray

... taken from his cool CD - White Ladder

  • This demo - David O'Toole
  • (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Programming, Sampling)

Mother Keyboards - MIDI Input

The best and easiest way to put musical notes and MIDI commands into your Computer is by using a MIDI Mother Keyboard We'll have a quick look at the options here in the next part of our Home Studio Setup's Special. In the meantime here's two excellent online resources where you can order quality MIDI files - SheetmusicPlus (USA) and Musicroom (Europe/UK). Just type in the term "MIDI" and Go to see what's available.

If it's freebie midi-files you're looking for, I would suggest Google with a search using the terms "+free +MIDI Files". But as mentioned the quality varies a lot, and finding a quality version of a particular song can be a bit time consuming and "Luck of the Draw" as they say.

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Btw There are MIDI files supplied with many music software programs to get you started - check your PC. Do a search on your PC for .mid files ... use *.mid in a "Find Files" search to see all the .MID files on your PC. That's asterix >>> *.mid

  • As mentioned MIDI generally works away quietly in the background, but to take advantage of it I recommend that anyone running a home studio learn the basics - try our recommended Midi Files to get a good grounding.

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