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December 8, 2015

MIDI to Audio: A Secret To Studio Success!

Mixing BoardGood morning fellow social media followers and avid readers of the blog!

Today’s topic: MIDI and Audio

Today we will break down what they are, when and how to utilize, and reasons why you should get proficient in your bouncing techniques for speed in your workflow and maximization of computer resources!
One of our favorite sites to get info from is Sound on Sound. Not only do they offer an amazing electronic and print version of their magazine but they also have YEARS of archives (online) packed full of priceless information for FREE!
We are going to start by citing from an article to explain the difference between MIDI and Audio for all the new producers out there!

MIDI

Ableton-MidiLet’s start by looking at MIDI file transfers, because that’s the easiest element of any project to export. MIDI files are read and written in the same way by every DAW, and by a good many hardware machines too. So if you have several tracks of programmed drum beats, piano and string parts, it’s a straightforward affair to save the MIDI file and re‑open it in another piece of software.
You’ll only be sending the standard MIDI information, of course, such as note on, note off, program changes and controller data; you’re not exporting any virtual instruments or audio files themselves. However, if the same instruments and patches are available in the second DAW, you’ll be able to use the MIDI files to get those instruments to play the same things back — although you won’t have any effects or level automation on the virtual instrument output channels. It’s for this reason that I tend to bounce virtual instruments as audio, which can be edited and processed in the usual way, and only use MIDI as a backup.

AUDIO

Logic X AudioThe most basic, and still the most reliable (if not the most flexible) way to transfer audio and virtual instrument tracks is to bounce each down as a continuous audio file, with all tracks starting at the same point (eg. bar 1, beat 1). That way, when you import the files into the other DAW, all tracks will line up as they should.
As long as you use a standard, uncompressed audio file type such as WAV, BWF or AIFF, any DAW will be able to read these files — so even if you don’t plan to transfer your projects, it’s a good practice to archive them in this way after you’ve completed the project. I prefer to bounce two versions: one pre‑fader (pre effects and level automation); and another post‑fader, with effects and processors ‘printed’. That way, whatever changes in technology come along, you’ll be able to re‑open the project in any multitrack software.
This Sound on Sound article is a good read; check it out if you want to go deeper.
For now its good to know MIDI is software instruments and Audio is recorded audio like vocals. When you have a large project your computer will only be able to handle so much. So, it is best to bounce the parts from software processors into audio to free up resources for mixing!
If you are a Logic X user, this video link we sent to us from a reader recently. Feel free to check out this link to learn how to bounce MIDI to audio. If you are not in Logic X simply Google bouncing MIDI to audio in your DAW of choice and you will find a wealth of videos out there guiding you through your specific preferences!
Audio To MIDI
At the bottom of the article will be some links to check out for more on bouncing, exporting, and tips to increase the effectiveness of your workflow!

Here is our brief 2 cents:

  1. Bounce All MIDI to Audio after you finish the arrangement
  2. Bounce a dry copy of the MIDI and a wet with all plug ins and automation
  3. Delete the MIDI files and corresponding tracks to free up CPU and then save as a new version
  4. Open new version and start mixing
  5. Reference old version if you need to make changes to sounds in new audio based version
  6. Stop spending your time freezing tracks and bounce to audio instead
  7. Make sure to readjust your buffer accordingly depending on your track count, MIDI instrument count, plug in count, and machine to bounce with highest quality
  8. Always bounce to sample rate of project
  9. Always bounce to WAV or AIFF never MP3
  10. Keep the bit depth of bounced tracks consistent with the project 

BONUS TIP:

Decrease taxing your RAM by also bouncing audio files with tons of plugs ins to new audio with plug ins printed into the bounce so you can delete the plug in saturated audio track and use the bounced in the project sounding the exact same!
Continuum
Alright kids that’s it for today! Go make some audio a reality!

As Always,

Stay Passionate Music Producers and Never Stop Making Art!

Written by: Kriss Walas

A Licensed Continuum Music Studio Blog Creative Work

© Copyright 2015 Kriss Walas and Continuum Music Studio. All Rights Reserved

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Kriss Walas
Kriss Walas
Kriss Walas is a constantly expanding musician, composer, music producer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer, writer, DJ, artist manager, CEO, record label owner, Reiki practitioner, meditation enthusiast, avid learner, and spiritual activist. Now, at age 31 Kriss has committed himself to living through heart and only spending his time on endeavors he is passionate about. It is for this reason he is proud to be working with the amazingly passionate and talented artists, partners, and educators who are affiliated with The Continuum Music Studio and The Music and Recording Arts Academy.
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