[Ardour-Users] MIDI recording workflow
nandinga at gmail.com
Wed Jul 20 13:11:55 PDT 2011
I'm trying to establish a workflow that's useful for me. I have a MIDI
keyboard and jack soft synths like Yoshimi.
I want to be able to record MIDI and work with effects over the generated
audio. My idea is to have maximum "editability" (can you say that? hehe), so
I clearly prefer saving MIDI info to just saving the output to an audio
track. OTOH, when the project gets big, I like to "render" that MIDI info,
or in other words, save the output of the synth to an audio track so its
easier for the hardware to play. If I need to change something, I just
discard the rendered audio data and use the MIDI info again.
To achieve this (for each softsynth in the project) I was creating a MIDI
and an audio track, and routing them like this:
MIDI Kbd --> MIDI track --> Synth --> Audio track --> Master
But... I have a problem here. I just can't hear the output of the synth when
I need to.
When recording the MIDI notes from the keyboard, I can only hear my playing
record-enabling the audio track, and thus recording both MIDI and audio. I
can hear my playing when the transport is stopped though.
When playing already recorded notes, it is not possible to hear them.
The MIDI track it's doing its job well, because the output of the track
(recorded notes AND notes played on the kbd) are flowing towards the Synth,
which is generating the audio.
Then we get to the audio track, as if we where recording, say, a guitar. The
described behavior is when "Record monitoring handled by" is set to "ardour"
in the prefs. If set to "audio hardware", I just never get any sound, except
when playing audio data previously recorded in the audio track. With "Tape
Machine Mode" on (which I'm not sure to understand), the behavior is the
same, except that when the transport is stopped, I only hear sound from the
record armed tracks (which might be useful, so I've left it like that).
So, I guess I understand the problem. When you're recording a guitar, you
don't want to hear the hum or anything from the guitar when playing the
recorded audio, so it makes sense that it mutes the input when playing. In
my case, when I'm recording MIDI notes, the audio track is playing so it
mutes the input and I can't monitor. When playing back it's the same.
The only solution I see is to put a bus in between the tracks, and route it
*MIDI Kbd --> MIDI track --> Synth --> Audio Bus --> Audio track -->
Here we have the same routing as before, but with the bus in the middle, and
an extra connection from the bus to Master. In that way, if I want the
recorded audio I can mute the MIDI track and/or the bus, and If I want the
keyboard or the recorded MIDI data I can mute the audio track.
This solution also takes effects into account. They are set on the bus, so
they'll be "rendered" and recorded on the audio track, and they get disabled
(with the bus) when using the recorded audio.
Given that muting the bus and the MIDI track really lower processor usage,
this approach would work. The only problem would be that it starts to get
cumbersome... 2 tracks + a bus for every synth part you use can get
difficult to browse and manage. I was experimenting with grouping, narrow
tracks strips, track heights and hiding, but it's still cumbersome.
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