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Author Topic: Recording with MIDI out  (Read 1101 times)

randtor

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Recording with MIDI out
« on: December 02, 2011, 12:50:09 PM »

Hi all,

We have been doing some recording of tracks for our band, and I have been using the 8 channel outs on my Roland module to add 8 channels of drums (some on separate channels, and some like the Toms, panned hard and soft, left and right) so when it is engineered there is some separation of the snare, kick, toms, cymbals, HH, etc. Since the Roland has MIDI out, and the recording device allows for MIDI in, the question has arisen, can we use the MIDI 'out' on the Roland module, to the recording device, and then be able to separate the drums?  Or would it be just like running a simple stereo pair from the Roland master (L) and (R)'s, which does not allow any significant ability to engineer separate sounds, or change volumes of individual drums within the kit once it has been recorded.

I can't recall the board they are using for recording, but I don't think that makes a diference. This is more a question of how MIDI is recorded, and if the individual drums can be tweaked, or is it only the entire kit that can now be engineered.

Thanks,
Rand
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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 01:11:19 PM »

Hey Rand,
This is possible but not quite the way you imagine-
The MIDI out of the Roland will send your MIDI performance, not the actual sounds you hear.
The performance can be recorded as a data track in the DAW, then that MIDI track played back through the Roland MIDI IN and tweaked ON the Roland however you want it to sound afterwards.
You still need separate audio outputs to add outboard post effects and processing.
Hope this helps!
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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 01:31:33 PM »

I think David nailed what you were asking, but to throw my two cents in -- since you'd be recording the MIDI within your DAW you could then run that through any VST/RSAS you may have available, rather than using the Roland for playback.  This would give you even more options for routing and mixing and is less cumbersome (imho).  Moreover you'd probably have better sounding drums than with the Roland, depending on the software you're using of course.

This is actually how I've been doing the majority of my studio work for the past couple years.   I capture my performance on my TD20 kit, and then later replace all the sounds with BFD2 and tweak to taste.  It's a bit of a gateway drug though because eventually I wanted to have those same sounds live  ;)
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randtor

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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 07:45:23 PM »

Thanks guys,

Hmm, that all sounds pretty complicated to me, I am not very familiar with recording techniques, DAW's, VST's and the like. I understand the principles of what you are both saying, but it seems a rather cumbersome route to recording a decent sound for drums. I'm thinking, when folks record acoustic drums, they mike them, record them, and then tweak the sounds to get what they think is best. Or is that different now? One thread said the drums we hear on pretty much all recordings now, are remixes of an acoustic set that was miked, then engineered as you were saying Darren, using VST to make the drums electronically sound different, better, more suited to what the band/engineer wants to hear.
If I understand what is being said, the MIDI sends a signal, not a sound,  and that signal can then be recorded as a 'data track'. Then take that track and send it back through either a module (Roland) or a PC using BFD, SD, or whatever software I am using; that track would then be edited and further tweaked to get the sound wanted, then THAT recording would have to be sent to the board for a final mix in with the vocals and instruments.... is that about right? Would that still allow for an engineer to do a mix, bringing volumes up or down of certain drums/cymbals, etc., during certain portions of the song? Or is that better addressed using the 8 'outs' for separation of drum sounds?

~R

Thanks for the info. I am SO not technically proficient! The guys in the band are pretty good with all this stuff, but electronic drums are not their forte, they are looking to me for answers.
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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 08:26:25 PM »

You are correct.  A MIDI file is nothing but instructions (play note Y for X seconds), aka performance data.  Any DAW you use will allow you to assign samples to individual note numbers, very much like how you program your Zendrum.  The engineer can tweak those or the MIDI data at any point during the production.

Uber-flexible.

-darin
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randtor

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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2011, 12:40:18 PM »

Hey Darin,

I guess the question that begs an answer is, how the heck do you sound as good live, lol!
OK on all that then. To save time and not spend hours upon hours engineering the drums myself, I think (due to those time constraints) it's probably better to stick with 8 outs, pan the toms, crashes, ride and HH, also percussion, hard left and right for separation and allow the engineer to get in there afterwards, and do what they do. That's what one of the engineers suggested, for the drum tracks. We just didn't know if that was the best way.

He also suggested we record the drums as dry and flat as possible, with NO effects, so he can make them sound the way he thinks they should. I don't like that much, I like my own tones, and sounds. When I listen back to recorded tracks with no effects, there is no life to  my sound. It is disappointing when I hear it. Course the final mix will address that. But do I cave in and do it that way, or stick to my guns and ask for my own sounds to be used as much as possible? I don't want to do it the wrong way (if there is a "wrong" way), but I am not real happy giving up tonal control.
Thanks Darin, ... btw, after all the chatting we've done, and all your help for me with Zenedit, I am sorry I misspelled your name in the last email! The Zenedit program is "Da Bomb" ! ! ! !
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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 12:51:04 PM »

Sounds like you're getting good advice there, I'd trust the engineer ;)

If the drums go down flat with no effects, he has maximum control in placing them later, ensuring the overall mix sounds as good as it can.  If you were to record your sounds WITH all the effects, then those are set in stone.  It's very easy to add stuff after the fact -- very hard, if not impossible to remove something like that later.

As for getting those same sounds live, that was a big reason why I finally switched over to a laptop rig last year.  More details on that and the reasoning behind it here:  http://nebiru.com/drumWagon/index.cfm/2011/8/1/Korg-NanoKONTROL

HTH
-darin
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randtor

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Re: Recording with MIDI out
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 11:56:14 PM »

Thanks Darin,

I have read your blog several times, good stuff and great informational source for me. I have the Vex packs for the TDW20 module, they sound pretty decent. i am going to mix and match some of the drums and make my own kits, according to my ears. Not necessarily a good thing, lol! I am still giving a great deal of consideration to the idea of upgrading to a laptop and SD, but that will have to wait until next spring at the earliest. My GAS condition has emptied my wallet and completely busted my budget... for this year AND next, lol! I will have to borrow from the 2013 budget to upgrade anything in 2012. Argh!

I will record then with my drums flat and no effects, since what you say makes sense and is essentially the same story we got from the engineer. It's just a bit disconcerting to hear my drums so 'lifeless' on the rough tracks. We got one track back that was just a quick and dirty mix, and I wasn't really fond of the end result of my drum sounds. I suppose I need to make the engineer aware of that, and let him know what I like; 'course that may not carry any weight if the band likes HIS end result !!

Latah,
Rand
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