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MIDI Synth Recording and Editing

MIDI Synth Recording and Editing

Many popular productions are programmed entirely with computers without the use of “real” instruments. That’s why it’s important to be able to create a MIDI arrangement that sounds as natural as possible, so that you can produce professionally at home too.

VSTi/MIDI synth recording and editing

Last time we focused on MIDI drum recordings but this time we’re going to be looking more generally at recording and editing VST instruments and MIDI synths.

Recording VSTi/MIDI synths

Step 1: First you have to deactivate recording mode by clicking the record button in the track editor/track header. This will also switch monitoring off.

deactivate the recording mode

Step 2: Select the second track and press the “MIDI” button. Activate recording. Monitoring will be switched on automatically.

choose the MIDI button for the recording

Note: If monitoring isn’t automatically switched on, right-click on the “Mon” button and select the option “Automatic MIDI monitoring (Thru)”.

Step 3: We’ll use the MAGIX synth “Revolta” as the plug-in for our MIDI synth recording”

search the right synth out of the plugins

Step 4: Right-clicking the “Click” button in the transport console opens the “Metronome Options” dialog, in this dialog select the “Active while Record” and “Precount click only” options. This way when we record we will only hear the metronome during the precount.

choose the options for the metronom

Step 5: Now we should also deactivate loop mode as we only want to make one recording.

deactivate the loop mode

Step 6: Right-click on the plug-in slot to open the “Revolta” graphic interface. From the presets we are going to choose the “Pads > Trance Gater Sweep” sound.

choose the right pad

Step 7: Start recording by clicking on the record button in the transport console and play a melody using your keyboard.

start the recording

The recording will stop automatically once the play cursor reaches the end of the range.


Now we want to edit our recording.

Editing: Controller changes

Step 1: Double-clicking on the MIDI object in the VIP opens the matrix editor. Click on the “Pb” button in the controller section of the matrix editor to open the “Pitchbend” controller. The mouse cursor changes into a pencil in the pitchbend editing field, you can use the pencil to draw pitchbend changes.

open the matrix editor


Step 2: You can insert and edit further controller settings using the buttons located above and below “Pb”.

edit further controller settings

Freezing MIDI tracks

Step 1: Click on the small arrow next to the track name in the track header and select “Freeze Track”.

choose the option freeze track

Now you should see a wave object instead of the MIDI object. The new wave object is normally slightly longer because it includes reverberation time.

the wave object including the reverberation time

Step 2: If you want to edit the MIDI files again, open the context menu and select “Unfreeze Track”.

choose the option unfreeze track

Step 3: In the MIDI editor you can now make alterations, change the sound or experiment with a different VSTi.

the midi editor


Step 4: When you are finished making changes you can “Refreeze Track”.

Volume Control Settings

Step 1: Right-clicking on the volume control brings up the fader settings.

volume control option

Step 2:

  • For example, if you use an external MIDI synthesizer, you should set the corresponding volume controller to “MIDI volume (CC7)”.
  • If on the other hand you don’t use any external equipment, you should select the “Audio Track Volume” option.
  • If you want the volume fader for MIDI tracks to reflect MIDI velocity scaling select “MIDI Velocity (Scaling)”

In any case it is worth checking these settings if you notice that a fader isn’t having an effect on the track’s volume.

Next time we’re going to take a closer look at drawing and editing MIDI events in the matrix editor. Until then have fun recording and editing your VSTi/MIDI synths in Samplitude.

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