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MIDI is a great way to lay down ideas and record music using synthesizers (external or sound card-based), samplers, and drum machines, among other things. However, distributing your work on a CD or through the Internet using MIDI is probably not the greatest solution. This is because, even with the General MIDI standard, the sounds they produce are not necessarily what you had in mind, and CDs just don't support MIDI. VST Instruments and Rewire instruments are also MIDI-based, so they won't work well outside the VST environment. So you need to convert your MIDI events into audio events when you are satisfied that the tracks are what you want them to be. In the next couple of sections, you will see how to do this. Note that if you are using sounds generated by a synthesizer, wave table, or any other sound-generating device found on your sound card, or if you are using any software-based sampler that is not VSTi or Rewire compatible, you need to convert them into audio files to include them in your final audio mix.
There are a few ways you can approach this task: the simple way, the multitrack way, and the sample-based way.
The simple way involves mixing all your MIDI events using the Mixer and then recording a stereo mix of all MIDI events as a stereo audio file that you place on an audio track in Cubase.
The multitrack method involves recording each MIDI instrument as a separate audio file, mono or stereo, depending on the instrument itself. Later, you can treat these instruments the same way as you do any other audio track in Cubase, using the Mixer windows to adjust the effects and levels. With both methods , the recording starts where the MIDI events start on a track, recording them as you record any instrument.
In the sample-based method, you proceed in the same way, but for space efficiency purposes, you record only the parts that are different and then copy these parts on the tracks, as you would do for a drum. For example, if the bass line of a verse remains the same for the first eight bars and then changes for the second eight bars of each verse, you record the first eight bars, copy it across the track, and then record the second eight bars for the remainder of the verses. Which method you use is entirely up to you and involves the same procedure with different levels of manipulations.
To convert MIDI tracks playing external MIDI devices into audio tracks:
Start by turning the MIDI metronome off, especially if the same device you are using to record generates this.
Mute all your audio tracks and create an empty stereo (or mono) audio track. If you have a multi-input sound card and a mixer with multiple output buses, you can record more than one track at a time, if you are recording your MIDI tracks on separate audio tracks. Just make sure to read Step 4 carefully to avoid having feedback loops .
Set up your MIDI tracks to play only the events (tracks) that send MIDI information to external devices, muting all other tracks and unmuting the tracks you want to record. You can use the Solo button to quickly isolate a specific track for recording.
Connect the outputs of your MIDI devices to the inputs of your sound card. If you have an external mixer, send the output of your mixer into the inputs of your sound card, making sure not to include the output of your sound card in the mix. This can be done in different ways, depending on your mixer capabilities. For example, if you have buses, assign all your MIDI devices to the bus or buses you are sending to the input bus that you will be using to record the audio. Make sure that the output buses associated with your sound card outputs are only sending audio to your monitoring system, not back into the mixer's bus that is assigned to your computer. If your mixer does not have a busing system, mute the inputs of your mixer, corresponding to the outputs of your sound card. This way you won't have a feedback loop. You may want to consult your sound card's manual to find out how to route the output of the soundcard back into the input internally, using the sound card's mixer application if you are using the audio outputs as sound generators for your VSTi and Rewire instruments.
Create an audio track and select the desired configuration for it.
Select the appropriate input bus for this track.
Activate the Record Enable button.
Activate the Monitor button on the audio channel you are using to record the MIDI.
Press Play to begin playback and adjust the input level of your audio channel. Remember that the Mixer's channel faders only control the output level, not the input level. SX users may adjust the input level from the Input Bus channels. SL users can adjust the input level using an external mixer, the sound card's Control panel, or volume control on the MIDI device itself.
After you are satisfied with the input levels, position the play cursor before the MIDI events you want to record.
You can set the punch-in and punch-out to automatically engage and disengage the recording at the left and right locator respectively.
Start the recording of your MIDI events as audio events.
If you need to repeat the recording process, repeat Steps 2 through 12 before every recording and mute the previously recorded MIDI and audio tracks, creating a new track for every recording.
If you choose to use the sample-based technique, you need to place the newly recorded events at their proper location on each track.
After you have completed the MIDI to audio conversion, you can move all your MIDI tracks into a folder track and mute it while listening to the newly created audio tracks. Because there might be volume changes between the original MIDI tracks and the audio tracks, you will probably want to adjust their levels by using the automation in the Mixer. You may also assign inserts , send effects, or adjust the EQ for these tracks before moving on to the final mixdown of all audio tracks.
Since VSTi and Rewire channels exist as audio channels within Cubase's Mixer, they will be included in the audio mixdown when the Audio Mixdown function is used. Remember to unmute these tracks if you want to include them in the mixdown file; otherwise , they will not be included in your exported audio file.
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