To MIDI or Audio, That is the Question

May 7, 2017 | 0 comments

So should you be working solely with MIDI or should you be bouncing out your MIDI to Audio when you’re finished with your idea? Well, MIDI has a lot of flexibility. You can also easily go back and edit the MIDI data. For example, if you want to change a note in the melody you can quickly jump back to that MIDI part and edit the note data. This isn’t as easily done in audio. But that’s also the other problem with MIDI. By not exporting out your MIDI to audio, it leaves it open to always being edited which can leave parts unfinished due to this nature of MIDI and its (endless) editing capabilities.

So let’s go over some advantages of exporting out your MIDI to audio when you’re happy with the MIDI performance.

1. Compose Faster: Export While You Go
By exporting your MIDI to audio, you can move on and focus on other tracks. What I like to do is mute the MIDI part and disable the MIDI instrument to save on processing. This way I can always jump back if I really need to, but solidifying the performance to audio allows me to move on.

2. Get a Clear View of the Waveform
By exporting out your MIDI to audio you also get a clear view of what the waveform is doing.

For example, check out this Native Instruments Rise and Hit MIDI Note. You can’t really tell where the crescendo and impact of this riser sound is.

Now if I bounce it down to an audio track, I can clearly see where the sound is at its peak. Now I can just take this audio part and nudge it so that the Impact part lies on a bar change, this way making sure it’s in time with the song. Some sample libraries’ patches aren’t always in sync with the DAW. So definitely bouncing out your part gives you more control over the timing of that part.

3. Apply Extra Processing on Audio
Another nice thing to do is to export out the part and then apply some extra processing to the audio. For example, let’s say I have a cymbal hit with some reverb. I can bounce this part out to audio including the tail of the reverb on the cymbal hit. Then I can apply some extra audio processing to this, maybe some bit crushing and chorus. Then export this out again to an audio part. There’s something gratifying about doing destructive processing to audio and then moving on. Plus, by exporting these out as audio parts, you can build up your own unique library of processed sounds that you can use in other projects

So those are my thoughts on MIDI and audio parts. Both have their pros and cons. You’ve got more flexibility with MIDI, but this can also be a hindrance as well. So why not try bouncing down your MIDI parts to audio, and get moving with your music productions. Try this out in your next song and see how it works.

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