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Mixing MIDI-controlled sounds with digital audio tracks

kocomposer

I'm upgrading my outdated recording setup. I have an iMac, but no DAW yet (as choice may be determined by the answer to my question). I primarily want to record MIDI tracks with some digital audio (guitars & vocals). When the sequencer software plays back the digital audio tracks and the MIDI tracks, and the MIDI tracks are controlling external keyboards and sound modules, what is the best way to get the audio from the keyboards/modules back to the sequencer for a final mix, so I can have all of the audio on the computer? In the past, I've taken audio output (from sequencer's digital audio tracks) and keyboard outputs (controlled by sequencer's MIDI tracks) into an external mixer and recorder, but I'd like to have all audio in the sequencer, so I can burn to disk, make MP3, etc. Should I just record the keyboards (when being played by the sequencer) as new audio tracks (knowing I'll have to re-record if I change the MIDI sequence)? I'm wondering if this causes timing problems (since MIDI gets sent to keyboards and keyboards generate audio that's supposed to be in sync with the original MIDI tracks).
June 11, 2009 @05:35pm
Andrew_Malloy

Digital Performer with Unisyn (a.k.a. DP) is tremendous for working with external synths. You can solo individual MIDI tracks and record them back into DP or let them run live into an input in your software. This will all depend on your audio interface. I would suggest a larger multichannel audio interface for that if you don't already have one. The MOTU interfaces are rock solid for DP or Logic.
Logic and Pro Tools can do this as well, but I think DP is most strongly suited for sequencing.
June 11, 2009 @05:43pm
yeahforbes

Should I just record the keyboards (when being played by the sequencer) as new audio tracks (knowing I'll have to re-record if I change the MIDI sequence)?

If you want to be able to manipulate the programmed sequence and hear the results without being connected to your keyboards, what you want is a softsynth. But then you're using those sounds, not the sounds of your keyboard. Unless you sampled every note of your keyboard at every velocity (etc, etc) and put that into the softsynth... maybe there's an automated method of doing this?
I'm wondering if this causes timing problems (since MIDI gets sent to keyboards and keyboards generate audio that's supposed to be in sync with the original MIDI tracks).

Technically yes, it will be delayed by the MIDI latency and the A/D conversion latency, but it probably won't be noticeable. But if it is, or just knowing that it happens bothers you, the easiest thing would be to send the original audio to an aux bus with a short delay plugin inserted on it.
June 12, 2009 @01:16am