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Converting MIDI files into Wav. Files (or .mp3, etc.)

MIDI Cables

MIDI Cables

Converting MIDI into any other audio format is not a “one click and you’re done” type of procedure. We discussed in the last email installment that MIDI is not audio data, it’s a language that allows musical instruments to talk with each other. That being the case, in order to get MIDI onto an audio CD or .MP3, you will need to record the midi data in ‘real time’. This can be done in a couple of different ways.

  • Get a MIDI to .wav converter program. One I would suggest to you is made by “MIDI converter”. This program works with many file types including .wav and .mp3 files. Click Here to download this great program: http://www.widisoft.com/
  • Assuming you want some control of how the end product sounds… you can record it manually. You will need to record the sounds you hear (created by the midi files) onto a recording device (probably your computer). These are the steps you will need to take to do that.
    • Once you select the midi file(s) you are wanting to record, select the sound source (This is what actually plays the MIDI file). In most cases this will be your computers sound card, however often a musician will want to use the sounds from a higher quality source, like a keyboard, drum machine, or external keyboard sound module. In the latter case, you will need to attach the external sound source to the computer via a MIDI connection. (depending on the model, you may be able to play the MIDI files from a floppy disk inserted directly into the unit, bypassing the need for a MIDI connection.)
    • Make sure that the midi file actually plays when you hit the play button.
    • Set up the sound source so that the music can be recorded as an audio signal.
      • In the case of an external sound source, simply connect the audio outputs to the “line in” of your computer.
      • If you are using a computer sound card, you will need to connect a short cable from the sound card’s “speaker output” to the sound card’s “line in” input. (Warning: if you don’t turn off the “line-in monitoring” in your sound card’s software settings, you will get massive feedback, so do that first.)

        There are some differences between “Line” and “Mic” inputs that you should keep in mind. The line level input functions in stereo whereas the mic input is usually only mono. The line input requires a louder, slightly ‘amplified’ signal (known as “pre-amp”). Weaker signals have trouble being picked up by a line input. The mic input however, is set to automatically amplify the incoming signal and therefore requires a weaker input signal that comes from a microphone. So don’t plug any line level signals into the mic input of your computer. In most cases, the audio signal coming from a ‘pre-amp’ sound source is too loud for the mic input to handle and you will get distortion (or worse… damage can be done). So be sure you hook it up right.

  • Press record on your computer’s software and then play the MIDI file.
  • Save the audio recording in whatever file format you want. You’re done.

As far as converting .Wav or .MP3 files into MIDI, there are solutions for this as well. You will need a “pitch analyzer”. There are many of these converter programs on the market. One I would suggest is the intelliscore converter program. That can be found here: http://www.intelliscore.net/

Some of these converter programs boast even being able to notate multiple pitches at the same time. For example, strumming a guitar and have the software recognize all six of the notes being played, or notating all the notes played on the radio. In the early days of Wav to MIDI detection this was nearly impossible and even getting one line to notate correctly was difficult. But with the advancement of technology comes better programming. Give it a shot and see for yourself.

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