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Topic: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

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  1. #1
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    The Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Hi to all musicians

    Being new to digital music production I've been studying the difference between the two technologies MIDI & Digital Audio and so far this is what I've gathered, please comment on putting me right.

    Am i right to say that the advantage MIDI has over Digital Audio is that with a MIDI recording you can manipulate and edit the data to your own taste, play software instruments and even export the MIDI file in to an Audio file so you can burn it to disc ?

    Whereas with an Audio recording you are much more limited in terms of manipulating and editing the track, not being able to play software Instruments etc ?

    I would expect then if i am right ? that MIDI recording technology is mainly for PC musicians who want to create music using plug-ins and effects inside a DAW etc ? Whereas Audio recording technology would be more focused on real live bands with real acoustic instruments ?

    MIDI Vs software, Audio Vs hardware, am i right ?
    Music.. the many characters of how God speaks to us all

  2. #2

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Howdy, Musicmad - Still wrestling with it I see, as in your earlier MIDI VS Audio thread.

    MIDI is the robot musician. It's the data stream representing a performance, but remains completely flexible and editable like all data - until it's rendered into audio. And most serious users of MIDI want to end up with recorded tracks which were originally "played" by MIDI tracks.

    You don't have a live drummer set up in your studio with his huge drum kit - you have a drum machine or drum sounds which you trigger in any number of ways (play them via pads, play them via keyboard, insert their notes by hand, use MIDI loops and customize them to fit your song) - Now you have a "virtual performance"--ready to play back just as the live drummer would. But eventually, you want to record that drum machine just as you would the live drummer.

    Audio isn't as limited for "manipulating and editing the track" as you thought--A lot can be done with audio that can't be done with the raw MIDI data.

    MIDI--data "recording" of a virtual performance.
    Audio--the stuff mixes are made of, with audio effects, audio mixing, slicing and dicing, EQing, mastering et al. Those audio tracks were either recorded from real-world, physical instruments, or not.

    And then there's also the live use of MIDI - you see a keyboardist playing on stage with a band. He's playing MIDI keyboards, but not recording into a computer. MIDI isn't just for computer composers. It's a way to have 5 gazillion instruments and sounds available to you, whether you're sequencing, notating, or playing live.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Think of MIDI as instructions on what, how, when, and what sound to use when the data is run into a MIDI soundcard.

    Think of digital audio as what comes out (the audio stream) after those data instructions have been "rendered".

    Steve

  4. #4

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??


  5. #5

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Good ones, Steve and Reegs

    And here's a classic MIDI metaphor:

    MIDI data is like the punched paper rolls that make a player Piano play. The holes trigger the right notes.

    We are the hole punchers, making holes in a stream of data, like the rolls of paper, telling the instrument what notes to play (and how long to play them, how loud).

    The VSTi instruments (or hardware modules) are the player Pianos.

    And just like when the performances of player Pianos had to be recorded in order to be preserved as audio which could be played back on records, we record the MIDI performance into digital audio files.

    Ta Da.

    Randy

  6. #6
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Hi Randy, thanks for your response.

    Am i right though when i quote Digital Audio recording would be more focused on real live bands with real acoustic instruments as opposed to MIDI musicians using software intruments ? MIDI Vs software Instruments Audio Vs hardware Insruments, yes ?
    Music.. the many characters of how God speaks to us all

  7. #7

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Quote Originally Posted by musicmad View Post
    Hi Randy, thanks for your response.

    Am i right though when i quote Digital Audio recording would be more focused on real live bands with real acoustic instruments as opposed to MIDI musicians using software intruments ? MIDI Vs software Instruments Audio Vs hardware Insruments, yes ?
    ---Hmmm, well, no, I wouldn't actually say that's accurate.

    Musicmad--I think I must be missing the essence of your questions. Everyone on your threads has explained several times over what the differences are between MIDI and Audio - What exactly is still confusing you? And why is it such an issue?---If you just started digging into the process, everything would become clear through your own experimenting and experiences.

    When a band is recorded, naturally they're going straight to audio. Microphones pointing at drum sets, at Guitar amps, at singers etc.

    But your new question, which is still the same question really, seems to still be asked with a misunderstanding of what MIDI is. For the music created through MIDI to become a recording which can be played back--it also has to be recorded onto Audio tracks--just like the band.

    MIDI has to be recorded to be distributed as a produced MP3, or CD.

    The difference between the band and the MIDI musician is that the band is playing in real time and being captured on audio tracks - the MIDI musician's performance can be edited before being captured on audio tracks. Drummer--recorded directly. MIDI Drums - also recorded, but the MIDI musician can edit the performance before it's captured to audio.

    Now - Go make some music!!!

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    I'd just like to point out that at this point in time, all audio recording is digital audio recording. Well, unless you're still using magnetic tape, but very few people are doing so.

    It doesn't really make sense to question whether MIDI or digital audio is preferred since MIDI is generally used to create digital audio. It's kind of like wondering whether HTML is better than a web page.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  9. #9

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Hiya, Jamie - I like your contribution to this thread. I think maybe you've gotten to the heart of what he's asking more than I have - I've been explaining over and over what the differences are between Audio and MIDI, Reegs posted the excellent Garritan tute page about it - But when you said "...It doesn't really make sense to question whether MIDI or digital audio is preferred..."--Maybe you hit on it--That escaped me. Is that all you've trying to get at Musicmad?--trying to figure out which is "better"--? If so--I love Jamie's analogy - that you may as well ask if HTML is better than a web page. LOL--that's good.

    All music which is aimed at the listening public has to be recorded so it can be distributed. It's been that way since Edison first started mass-producing 78 RPM records. How that music is played is another question - and the answer is that it can be played by a musician playing a traditional Real World, physical instrument, or it can be played by a musician playing a MIDI controller. - Advantage of the latter is that the performance can be edited before it's recorded.

    Oh man--I can't believe I got sucked into trying to explain again!

    Thanks Jamie - You're on a roll this morning.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: the Difference Between MIDI & Digital Audio Recordings ??

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Oh man--I can't believe I got sucked into trying to explain again!



    Randy
    LOL I almost jumped in earlier but thought better of it. LOL
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician

    http://www.myspace.com/451525581

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