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Topic: recording MIDI suggestions

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  1. #1

    recording MIDI suggestions

    Up until recently I've been punching in my music into a notation program and recording the playback for my music production purposes. Obviously the results are robotic and totally unrealistic sounding. So I've now begun trying to play in my parts, but everything inevitably sounds sloppy (I'm not a great piano player but I don't think I suck by any means). I quantize things to tighten everything up but then it sounds fake again. I'm working with a metronome of course, and I suppose the next logical step is to record take after take until its as perfect as I can play it, then go in and tweak it all by hand. By the way I'm using Cubase SX.

    So what's the process you guys use for best results? How do you arrive at that perfect sound somewhere between sloppy mess and over quantized fakery?

    I really appreciate any suggestions.

  2. #2

    Re: recording MIDI suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Musica142
    By the way I'm using Cubase SX.

    So what's the process you guys use for best results? How do you arrive at that perfect sound somewhere between sloppy mess and over quantized fakery?

    I really appreciate any suggestions.

    I'm certainly no expert on achieving realistic results but here's a suggestion. If you're using Cubase SX, try using Iterative Quantize instead of regular Over Quantize. Iterative Quantize brings the notes closer to the grid by a certain percentage. For instance it will move a note 50% closer to the set grid rather than making everything dead on. This can tighten up a track without making it overly robotic.

    Using the quantize setup you can also make it so that only notes beyond a set degree of sloppiness are quantized, the notes that are pretty close won't be quantized.

    I've found a good approach for me is simply slowing the tempo down til I can play it comfortably. I should probably just practice more.

  3. #3

    Re: recording MIDI suggestions

    I've been there!

    As Looper wrote, slowing down the metronome can help. As can practice. (Get a Hannon book and work those exercises!)

    The other thing that helps is to accept some sloppiness. If you're used to quantization, normal playing can sound more sloppy than it really is. Add more layers and the sloppiness may get covered up. Put the work aside for a bit, and you might find that you actually prefer the natural flow.

    Sometimes you'll still hear some notes that are just too far from the norm. When that happens to me, I'll hand edit them to be closer to the beat, but I will leave it a bit late or early, depending on where I was when I played it originally. If you push a single note to far, it can ruin the phrase - and then you end up having to move more and more notes.

    An interesting tip from Bruce Richardson was for the case that something is very difficult to play. What you can do is to play the desired rhythm, but play the wrong note values. You can then move the notes to the correct sharps and flats, while constraining the time and duration of the played notes. That way you can work with the original tempo, but not have to be a virtuoso.

    Best of luck!

    -Jon Fairhurst

  4. #4

    Re: recording MIDI suggestions

    If you do stick with the metronome, you can also make things less linear by tweaking the tempo. Same for velocities--Things sound robotic when everything is the same.

  5. #5

    Re: recording MIDI suggestions

    Great suggestions guys. Thanks a lot. I'm going to try some of this stuff and see what happens.

  6. #6
    hv
    Guest

    Re: recording MIDI suggestions

    Trying singing along while you play. Make up silly lyrics to instrumentals. Even if you only do it in your head, it'll help your playing to flow.

    Howard

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