On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 19:19:38 +0100, "Ben Holness"
......and in reply I say!:
>I am starting out with MIDI. I know what I want to do, I am not sure what
>I need to do it:
>I currently have a Roland XV-3080 sound module, a four track tape recorder
> and a MIDI Piano (not a keyboard, a full piano :) ). In my computer, I
>have an AWE64 soundcard.
My advice right now is: Lose the 4-track. Unless you have a very
special reason for using it, the digital equivalent in your PC is far
better and more powerful. It may do as an interim mixer until you get
another one......if you need it! I bought a Yamaha 4-track just before
digital really took off :-< As I say, it's a mixer.
>I want to be able to use MIDI from the computer to playback MIDI that I
>have recorded or created (probably just drums and effects, maybe some bass
>and melodies too). The MIDI should be played back throught the
>XV-3080, which I will then record onto the four track. Then I will lay
>guitar, vocals and any other acoustics onto the four track while it is
>It is important that I can, for example, create a drum track either by
>entering the rhythm on the computer, or through the MIDI piano. Then I
>want to be able play back the drums and put in a melody in real-time via
>the MIDI piano, with the computer recording that melody, so I can then do
>another melody line, with a different instrument etc.
>I believe that the XV-3080 can play up to 16 parts at once. I have the
>manuals, so I can probably work out how to do this.
You need a Sequencer. 99% of sequencers these days also do Digital
Audio. So you can record the Audio straight into the PC, and see
multi-tracks (not 4, but probably up to 40!), which can be actually
looked at and manipulated extremely powerfully on the PC, then plonked
to CD. No bouncing down, no losing a previous take, no tape hiss.
Sequencers also allow entry of MIDI notes in Piano Rolls or Staffs, so
you can enter "step time" not real time. I actually only use a
keyboard as a "notebook" for trying things out.
>Same as step 1, except that instead of recording onto the four track, I
>want to record the guitar/vocal/acoustics onto the computer and have the
>computer output through the soundcard (for the recorded instruments) and
>the XV-3080 (for the MIDI instruments) at the same time.
>Finally, in doing all of this, I would like to be able to output each
>acoustic instrument to a different channel in a mixer (yet to be bought),
>with the output of the XV-3080 also going into the mixer and be able to record the
>mixdown back to the computer so that I can burn a CDROM. (Although I might
>get a separate burner, or do it straight to minidisc, so this is not
Now, you _may_ need a mixer, if you want to record into the PC from
Mic or guitar in tyhe first place. You also may need basic mixing to
allow you to record the output from the Piano and the Roland, when you
do the final mix and take down. But _all_ the levels can be set,
either in MIDI or Audio, within a single sequencer.
There are 4-8 input Audio cards around, and these will have _Digital_
mixing capability (onscreen), and often also have FX etc capability. I
am not up with the latest.
>I have done some research, but I am not too sure what else I need in the
>way of software/hardware. I currently have no software and just the AWE64
>soundcard. As is this a MIDI group, I am seeking advice on the MIDI side
>of things, although feel free to recommend a soundcard that would fit my
MIDI and Digital Audio are now almost inextricably entwined.
Quote:>As I understand it, the AWE64 will do the MIDI fine, as I do not require
>sound generation, just the MIDI connection. I guess I take the MIDI out of
>the piano into the soundcard and pass it out again to the XV-3080 (haven't
>tried it yet because I'm not sure about software). I currently have the
>soundcard out to the piano and then the thru to the XV-3080 if I want to
>generate sounds from the computer, or out if it is being generated from
I would suggest that if the Piano and the Roland are both multi-MIDI
Channel instruments ("multi-timbral") you are better off either
getting a MIDI card with at least 2 MIDI Ports, or at least getting
another MIDI Port card, so you have a full 16 MIDI Channels for each
external instrument. Actually, the AWE 64's MIDI is only OK. It will
get you going, but may well *up if you get into any really dense
If the Piano is _not_ a multi-timbral instrument, then you could stay
with the AWE 64 for now, losing one Channel to it from the Roland.
That's assuming you can switch that channel off on the Roland.
Quote:>So what is the right software to be able to do Step 1 and 2? Decent music
>software (and I don't mind spending money for the right software - more so
>for step 2) is quite expensive and I don't want to go out and buy
>something that will not do what I want :)
Definitely use the demo versions of any you try
- Cakewalk's SONAR
or Home Studio (slightly less features and less power)
or Cubasis (slightly less features and less power)
are the two main contenders. I prefer Cakewalk mainly because of the
attitude of the company to its users. My opinion may be out of date on
the Cubase side.
There is also Power Tracks Pro. Much cheaper and very powerful, but I
am not all that happy with its interface....maybe I am just used to
>I would also like to understand how latency might affect me here. I think
>that if I am not using the computer to generate the sound, but the
>XV-3080, I shouldn't have any worries, MIDI side?
Pretty much right. There is "MIDI latency" but it's in the order of a
couple of mSec, because it's a serial port, running at about 30Khz,
and carrying quite a bit of data. _Real_ latency comes with
softsynths, on the PC. You may get to those yet. You will surprised
how many synths you can "need" <G>
Huh! Old age!. You may hate it, but let me tell you, you can't get by for long without it!
Nick White --- HEAD:Hertz Music
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