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.
Step 2: Select the second track and press the “MIDI” button. Activate recording. Monitoring will be switched on automatically.
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”
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.
Step 5: Now we should also deactivate loop mode as we only want to make one recording.
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.
Step 7: Start recording by clicking on the record button in the transport console and play a melody using your keyboard.
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.
Step 2: You can insert and edit further controller settings using the buttons located above and below “Pb”.
Freezing MIDI tracks
Step 1: Click on the small arrow next to the track name in the track header and select “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.
Step 2: If you want to edit the MIDI files again, open the context menu and select “Unfreeze Track”.
Step 3: In the MIDI editor you can now make alterations, change the sound or experiment with a different VSTi.
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.
- 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.