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Audio Files or MIDI Files for Backing Tracks?

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Audio Files or MIDI Files for Backing Tracks? Reply with quote

Audio Files or MIDI Files for Backing Tracks?

One question that we get a lot is whether it makes more sense to use audio files such as mp3/wav/aif or MIDI files as backing tracks. There is no definitive answer to this; both have their advantages and disadvantages. You will ultimately need to choose which format is best for you depending on your needs. In either case, the quality depends on both the playback device and on the source material. For example, there are some great MIDI files out there but there are also lots of low-quality sequences as well. The same is true of audio files as well. Here's a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach:

Audio File Advantages

-- Can be very high quality
-- No external gear is need to play them back with high quality
-- Less external gear improves system reliability, complexity, and portability
-- If you record your own albums, backing tracks can be easily created by creating a special mixdown


Audio File Disadvantages

-- Fixed pitch, although this can be tweaked somewhat with the software's tuning setting
-- No way to substitute or eliminate certain instruments
-- Audio backing tracks are generally harder to find for a particular song than MIDI files


MIDI File Advantages

-- More widely available than audio backing tracks
-- Instruments can be substituted or eliminated very easily
-- The key can be changed fairly easily


MIDI File Disadvantages

-- The MIDI file market is flooded with lots of low-quality sequences. Finding good ones may take a lot of searching.
-- Without extra expensive gear, MIDI playback may sound more computer-generated than musical.
-- External gear can add complexity to your setup and may be less reliable


To summarize, you will likely find that audio files are a higher-quality and simpler solution but are less flexible and harder to find than MIDI files.

One way to get the advantages of each is to use audio files that are recordings of MIDI files in Solo Performer Show Controller. To do this, you would play your MIDI files through your MIDI sound module or keyboard to get the quality as good as you can. Suppress whatever instruments you don't want to have in your backing tracks and change the key if necessary. Then connect the audio output of the sound module to the audio input of your computer. You can use QuickTime Pro to capture and record the audio. By doing this, you will have a fairly high-quality backing track customized to your liking that you can use without the complexity of lugging around your expensive MIDI gear. Of course, if you ever want to change things, such as the included instruments, you will have to go back and record another version.

Comments are welcome.


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tele_savalas



Joined: 23 Dec 2009
Posts: 52
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject: MIDI V Backing Tracks Reply with quote

Good post. I've been using MIDI files live for years, primarily because of the control it gives me over my external gear - lights, effects etc, but since buying Show Controller I'm gradually changing over to audio tracks as I can now run MIDI commands DMX etc through SC, which is brilliant. Also having the foot controller makes my gigs so much easier as I play guitar. I'm writing my songs on Sonar, sometimes using a good MIDI file as reference.
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UserSteve23



Joined: 03 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have to say MIDI files for now, but you are correct in saying that it depends on the player. I saw this at home in Fort Myers apartments for rent and I visited my cousin living in apartments in Springfield NJ to try some stuff and ask for his opinion on this, too.

He was busy with his college apartment finder but we were able to hash some things out. Eventually we ended up in Catania Apartments Broomfield CO to jam with the rest of our group. Thanks for this post!
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UserSteve23



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We were in Alexandria apartments when I caught up with a friend from an apartment for rent in Raleigh NC and he said the same thing: MIDI. We jammed at /17551/]Santa Ana Apartments and had a blast! Going home to 100 W Chestnut Chicago soon!
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UserSteve23



Joined: 03 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had a great time jamming in Provo UT and Houston while staying in Gulfport MS apartments. Remembered this site and just sharing that it was a great time.
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Resumera



Joined: 21 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like this forum, it has very good knowledge.












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